Chance meeting helps business owners make record turnover

Starting up a business is always a major risk, but two business owners who took the plunge 12 years ago are celebrating after record turnover and the launch of a new national franchise.

Steve Bain and John Merrick, the founders of IT support business Pisys.net, met each other at a Swansea-based networking meeting called BNI Dylan back in 2003.

Soon, they realised it would be better to work together rather than competing and quickly joined forces to set up Pisys, which works with the likes of Peter Lynn & Partners and Llanelli Rural Council.

The business has also just launched a new franchise model, with operations running in areas of the UK such as Aberdeen, Inverness and Cardiff East, and has turned over £1m in the last few months.

John Merrick, director of the firm, said: “Steve and I hit it off straight away, despite our businesses competing, and we soon formed our partnership.

“Since we started over 12 years ago, we have grown to employ 17 staff, all based in Swansea, and we have recorded a record turnover this year of just over £1M; all this from a chance networking meeting.”

Speaking of the new model of the business, Mr Merrick said: “We have franchises in Aberdeen, Inverness and Cardiff East. This is a superb move for us as we look to pass on all of our key knowledge from what works, and doesn’t work, in the IT industry.”

BNI South Wales, which offers networking opportunities to people in business, has played a fundamental role in the success of the business – and not just because of the chance meeting.

Mr Merrick continued: “BNI has been the backbone of our business from day one. Particularly in the early days, it was our only marketing platform.

“We built our reputation on the back of referrals received through the BNI network. It gave us a direct route to market which has paid dividends in the form our second and third generation referrals.

“Steve has been a member of the Dylan Chapter since 2003, myself a member of the Waterfront Chapter since 2004, and our Sales Director, Jo-Ann Miles, is a member of Valiant Chapter.

“We encourage our franchise owners to seek BNI membership; that demonstrates the value we place on BNI as we are all too aware of the positives it can have on a business.”