The two directors of the Bromsgrove-based UTAX reseller have created a flexible business model that leverages their strengths within both the print and IT sectors
Co-directors Chris Sample and Matt Dawson have been friends for over 15 years. The two have a very different skillset, Sample has carved out a stellar career working for a number of large print dealerships while Dawson has racked up many years’ expertise within the IT arena.
Just over a year ago when Sample left his former job he was toying with the idea of going it alone and setting up a new business. “I’d
got a relationship with UTAX, I’d worked with them in a previous role and we had a chat about their partner programme,” he explained. “It ticked all the boxes for me, among other things, as a reseller we could tap into their service infrastructure and have access to a leasing solution, which as a start-up, meant that very little upfront investment was needed.”
Print & IT
It was only when talking through a few ideas with Dawson, who had already taken the plunge and set up a small business providing IT consultancy services to businesses, that they realised the two services – print and IT went hand in hand. “These days there are a lot of IT companies that don’t really understand print and print dealerships that are merely dipping their toe into the IT arena,” Sample said.
“We both realised that there was a real opportunity to differentiate by combining both our skillsets to offer a comprehensive service to clients and so we agreed to partner up and launch GoServe.”
The company name GoServe came about as the duo wanted to ensure they could over time, introduce a portfolio of services all of which would sit under the corporate brand. “As part of our current offer we provide clients with a fully managed cloud back-up service, whereby we can restore all their files and data in the event of a disaster. We call this GoBack-up,” Sample explained. “What we want to do in the future is have a series of spin-off products and services that fit within the company name.”
This month marks the firm’s first full year in business. “We got off to a really good start,” Sample said, which he attributes to a ‘bit of luck and a lot of hard work’.
“We literally started out working from home. We got some good IT business on the back of Matt’s contacts very early on and we then approached them to talk about print and how we could help.”
After many years in the print industry Sample had built up a strong network of contacts. “I had a good contact base and I hit the phones and knocked on doors,” he said. “We managed to win some business and brought a number of SMEs on board, we then went to talk to them about their IT requirements and it has gained momentum from there. The two disciplines really do go hand in hand and we’ve found that pooling our expertise has proven to be a winning formula,” he added.
GoServe has worked extensively with PVI Group. “They’re a support group for all privately owned nurseries in Birmingham who fight for better funding,” Sample explained. “We have done a lot of work with them and are now an approved supplier via UTAX. We’ve analysed their spend and helped them reduce their printing costs, it’s been quite a successful partnership.” The company moved into a small office at the end of November and in its first year of trading, recorded a turnover of £100,000. “We’ve done really well and we’re very proud of how much we’ve achieved in our first year,” he said.
“We’ve tapped into the right market,” he added. “Our ethos is that we understand no two organisations are the same and we offer a different perspective. We have a different way of looking at things, we are approachable and always prepared to go the extra mile.”
Keeping costs down
For Sample, the biggest plus has been the ability to keep costs down. “We use UTAX for service which means we haven’t had to invest in training, engineers, cars, spares and storage space,” he said. “We’ve been able to keep it simple and focus on winning new business. And of course, service gives us a revenue stream.”
One other key advantage of the UTAX partnership according to Sample is the fact the customers really like the link. “Clients really like the fact that their servicing is conducted by the direct service operation who are specialists in the UTAX brand, the response times are really good and first time fix rates even better as the engineers almost always have the right parts with them,” he added.
Looking ahead to the future, Sample said the focus is firmly on growth. “We want to win more business and boost our profile within the local community,” he said. The strategy is to keep it ‘geographically tight’. “We want to be recognised for delivering outstanding service locally and being on the doorstep will enable us to be that. It’s important for us to retain our local focus so that we deliver the very best experience.”