‘Take care when crossing the road’ isn’t advice many companies feel compelled to offer their staff. But in 2015 it was on Marcus Evan’s mind, and with good reason.
“Our bus number – which is the number of people who can be hit by a bus before your company can’t operate – was one in most departments. It meant everyone had to be careful crossing roads.”
The point serves to highlight the relative health of the company. It was making money, winning new business and heading for another profitable year. But Marcus says, elements of the structure were missing, which made the company vulnerable.
“We knew we needed more people. Everyone was working hard and the company was making a profit – but how did we push it to the next level? Every year we’d added £150,000 of recurring revenue for the support department, but were bolting on less for salary. In 2016, we added another £300k of salary by recruiting people into every department – we had to do that to be able to cope.’
Nutbourne is now in a far stronger position and only the projects department has a bus number of one. It makes the company far more robust and flexible. They’re better able to cope with absence and to deal with new business.
“All the salaries and structure are in place – so if we brought another £8k of monthly revenue in on the support desk, that equates to another senior analyst and a junior engineer we need to employ. Our systems and processes are well established to support that.
“In three years we have gone from being a company that made business decisions on intuition, to making them on sound fiscal projections. We’ll eventually have a bus number of two or three in the projects department, which gives us the robustness of a medium organisation, allowing us to grow as we need to without having to cross check our processes and systems.
"We have introduced second phase managers that help to run the company and rising stars in each department that also take responsibility. We are in good health. We have another year until we are at a level where we can start to think about taking the steps to become a large organisation.
“In the meantime, we continue to advocate taking care when crossing roads.”