Founded in 2003 by Ralph Gilbert and Chris Goodman, Focus Group stepped out into what was already a saturated market, selling a solution that many claimed was already on its way out. A year later the business began trading from a tiny office in Hove Technology Centre, with just enough room for 3 desks, a white-board and a kettle!
Fast forward 17 years and Focus Group now has a team of over 550 staff supporting over 25,000 customers. Annual revenue is projected to exceed £110 million in 2021.
Our products centred on the re-sale of voice minutes, commonly referred to as 'calls and lines'. This was complimented by sales of telephone system and broadband via strategic partners. Many in the industry would have argued that our business model was flawed. Articles in industry magazines already had headlines of, 'No margin in minutes' and 'Is this the end of the PBX?'.
With this in mind Focus Group chose a commercial strategy that gave us the greatest opportunity to deliver consistent growth. Our route to market was both via Direct Sales and a Reseller community. We took opportunities to diversify the portfolio with complementary products and services.
Our staffing policy was simple. Finding good staff is one of the biggest challenges - when you find them, keep them!
In 2005 we recruited our first member of staff. Vicki Rishbeth started as a telesales executive. She is now our Technical Director and heads up Product Governance and Strategy.
By 2010 we had our own system sales team and had launched both a Mobile and Energy solution. We had over 40 staff and had outgrown Hove Tech Centre.
We took the decision in 2011 to move to new premises, re-brand and launch 3 new product areas; IT, Data and Media.
Now with offices in Europa House, Southwick, our portfolio of products included Voice, Mobile, IT, Data, Security, Energy and Media. Our staff numbers had increased to over 150 and we were providing services to over 10,000 businesses.
In 2019, we moved into our brand new state-of-the-art office in Shoreham-by-Sea.
Through continued organic growth and recent acquisitions we now employ over 300 staff and support in excess of 15,000 businesses across the UK.
We're proud of what we've achieved in 15 years and we owe it to the dedicated people who have put so much hard work into making Focus Group what it is today.
Focus Group is now one of the largest employees in Sussex and - despite the global pandemic - the business grew its team by an impressive 20% in 2020 with over 70 new recruits joining virtually. As a result of our ongoing commitment to employee engagement, we were delighted to be named as one of the 100 Best Large Companies To Work for in the UK and awarded a ‘3* WORLD CLASS’ accreditation by Best Companies, the highest level awarded by the renowned employee engagement specialists.
The business continued to expand through a challenging year, with multiple acquisitions including Resource Telecom, SWComms, Infosec and Highnet serving to extend geographical reach, strengthen product portfolios and enhance service expertise across the UK.