Brian Combe, i4 Product Design
WE LACKED CONTROL
Since 2003, we’ve been designing consumer, industrial and
communications products, as well as equipment for use in places that
range from playgrounds to hospitals.
In the past, clients would approach us with a design problem, and we
would analyse it and offer a solution. We still work that way, and it’s a
perfectly reasonable way to do business, but we had very little control
over fluctuations in our workload – or in our revenue.
WE BECAME MORE PROACTIVE
We made a decision to be a lot more proactive in our quest for new
clients. We have taken on a marketing manager and a PR consultant.
Instead of waiting for the phone to ring, we’re seeking out clients.
It’s already paid dividends – we’re forging relationships with new
customers all the time.
We’re always looking to invest in the business, and sometimes we even
do that by investing in our clients. Occasionally we’ll work with
individual inventors who come to us with an idea. If it has potential,
we’re willing to take a risk. We’re currently working on a number of
joint ventures like this and I’m confident that they’ll go on to be
WE ARE NOW IN VERY GOOD SHAPE
The company is in a better state now than it’s ever been, but even
that brings challenges. We’ve worked on more than 20 products with
Flymo, for example, and 85 per cent of our turnover is from repeat
business, so while we do have the ambition and capacity to expand, we
are focused on maintaining our level of service and keeping existing
We have a great relationship with the Bank, and we plan to work closely
with Jim Hiddleston, our Relationship Manager, who has taken a very
active role and deals with any issues.