Customer Profiles

11 December 2019

Meet Greg, CEO of Illuminet Solutions | BizFaces

Illuminet Solutions offers bespoke consultancy and out-of-the-box consultancy packages in the financial, technology and public sectors. They also help teams recruit the very best talent in I.T.

Their first premises with BizSpace were at BizSpace Poole and then they expanded to an office at BizSpace Basingstoke as their business grew. Today, they have three offices in Poole, Birmingham and Basingstoke.

Lloyds Bank, Dell and Barclays Bank are some of the clients Illuminet Solutions have wowed with their expertise. 

Illuminet’s project with Barclays Bank saw a transformation for their change delivery function, creating improvements in efficiency, reporting and risk management.

For Dell, they provided their Virtual Bench service. A subscription service that enables businesses to access their extensive talent pool of experienced and capable people, which can be considered for deployment within their business.

So, who are the brains behind Illuminet Solutions? We met with Greg Wood, CEO at Illuminet Solutions to tell us more about the business, what drove them to start it and their successes and challenges along the way.

So, Greg, tell us a bit about you!

A little bit about myself, well I am a keen runner, I have run 11 marathons (although not very well!). I have travelled the world - I’ve worked in 21 countries across the globe which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, and I’m a keen environmentalist and gardener.

Can you tell us about your business and what you offer?

We do three things – consultancy, recruitment and products. Our consultancy is the lion’s share of our business, we operate in eight countries across the globe and our products are a new aspect of our business. We have four unique out-of-the-box products that we sell on the market that help our clients transform their organisations. We have been running for ten years and we have four partners and three offices (Poole, Basingstoke and Birmingham). 

When did you start your business and why? 

So I started our business in 2008. I used to be a CIO in a number of big organisations, and I just felt consultancy at the time was pretty poor and mediocre - and very expensive. We had (as partners) all experienced consultancies in our previous roles and just felt we could do better. So we set the organisation up with the ambition of offering better value to our clients but doing so in a more ethical and transparent way.

What were the early challenges?

Well, the early challenges in any startup business are to grow your business. The usual cashflow challenges are always there because you’ve got to fund your growth - particularly because we are self-funded and have grown organically. This means that you can only grow at the rate you can afford to grow. It took us six years to build up a war-chest to fund our growth. We operated at around £1-2m turnover for the first few years and in the last three have grown to around £17m. Then, establishing your credibility when you’ve got no history is always a hard thing to do with new clients. We’ve had some very lovely clients who gave us the opportunity when we first started, and they are still our clients today which I’m very pleased about.

What about a recent success or something you’re proud of?

We have recently separated our product business as we felt that it deserved attention on its own and that we could create something quite special. We’ve grown the team from nothing to five people that are now based in the BizSpace offices in Basingstoke which is fantastic. Plus, we’ve just signed a partnership deal with an Australian company called Virtech to open up the markets in Asia and Australasia. So that’s really exciting for us, but it’s taken a lot of work and its been a big hurdle just getting that going.

What’s next on the horizon for your business?

Well, more growth!  We are aiming to get to £25m turnover next year and £5m profit. We want to grow our team in all divisions, launching new products in Digital Transformation and Change Delivery as well as developing some exciting software. We also want to continue with our green strategy of planting trees for every week that we work on a client’s site which we’re proud of. Our aim is to get to about 10,000 trees a year if we can - that’s my ambition. And, make a difference to the clients that we do business with.

Why did you choose BizSpace as your business premises?

Well, we had a good look around in Poole actually. All of the directors live in Poole so it was key to us that we found someone fairly near to our homes as we travel a lot for work anyway. We met Gordon and Jackie at BizSpace early on in our selection process and frankly, they were the most helpful. We also liked the flexibility, that we could quickly change if things changed for us. And, we loved the facilities as we wanted shared facilities. 

We looked at some offices where we would be on our own and have to get our own kettle in the office and things like that and it’s just dire. We wanted somewhere we would be proud to bring our clients, a canteen facility or restaurant, meeting rooms when we needed them and a great reception that gave a good impression of our business. Since we’ve been with BizSpace it’s been fantastic and Gordon, Jackie and the team here really make it for us.

What tip would you give to those thinking of starting or growing a small business?

First of all, do start your own business! It’s great fun, it’s rewarding and more people should do it. Start with your passion or the need that you’ve identified and build it around that. One of the things that I found really good was working with partners - there’s four of us in our business. I think I would have found it more difficult just doing it on my own. But it is great and if I had to recommend it to anyone I would!

Highlights

Illuminet Solutions' story has a great message about growth, funding and partnership. What are the key takeaways for aspiring successful business owners?

  • When considering starting a business, start with what your passion is, or what need you have identified in the market.
  • Cashflow for new businesses is always a challenge. Consider if you will be purely self-funded or if you will seek investment and judge your business growth based on that.
  • Consider starting a business with partners instead of going it alone.

Discover more about BizSpace

Greg leases office space at BizSpace Poole and has been with us since 2018.

BizSpace offers flexible, affordable workspaces in over 100 sites across the UK.

If you’re interested in joining our community of thinkers, makers, planners and doers at Bizspace, find a BizSpace location near you.




Author

Hannah Lloyd-Jones