Business Profile: ME Consultancy's Paul RobertshawSource: Huddersfield Daily Examiner
"A CAREER in communications was always on the cards for Paul Robertshaw.
Even as a student at Salendine Nook High School, Paul had ambitions to help get the message across.
"I wanted to get into the media and radio," he says. "When I was young, I did a bit of 'DJ-ing' and followed some of the DJs on radio stations like Kiss.
"When I left school, I did a BTec national diploma in the subject at Huddersfield Technical College and passed with distinction, but after leaving college there were not a lot of opportunities to get into the industry."
Keen to get into the world of work, Paul followed the advice of a family friend and got a job with Aspley-based Travelworld – at that time a fast-growing business in a booming industry.
He remained with the business following its takeover by Airtours until 2004 as help desk supervisor.
Paul later moved to Safe Style Windows at Bradford as telephone engineer before moving from a strictly IT environment to telephony as communications manager looking after £40,000 of customer accounts.
When recession hit, Paul took the opportunity for voluntary redundancy and joined his present employer, Golcar-based ME Consultancy, where his telecoms experience is being put to good use in his role as sales development manager.
ME Consultancy, formed in 2002 and based in a converted mill boasting stunning views of the Colne Valley, is perhaps best known for its text messaging specialist division SMileS.
But it also provides business customers with telephony hardware as well as advice on their telecoms spending and ways to get better value from their land lines, mobiles and broadband connections.
Paul, who had already moved house from Salendine Nook to Golcar, said: "Mark Smith, who set up ME Consultancy, was looking for someone to build a sales team.
"It was the perfect move for me because I was only living four doors away!
"We have expanded the team and we have been going from strength to strength ever since."
Said Paul: "It is all about making sure the customer experience is of the highest. IT is an industry where the customer doesn't always know what they need or what they are paying for when they get their telecoms bill. They rely on the professionals to help them.
"We don't railroad customers into a particular product. We look at a range which is suitable for the customer – having made sure we know what the customer requires – and seek out the products that they need."
Among recent successes, ME Consultancy helped West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Children's Hospice save tens of thousands of pounds on the installation of phone lines for its new hospice at Bradley.
Says Paul: "It is particularly rewarding when we can help local companies and organisations.
"In the current economic climate, it is more important than ever that businesses keep track of their costs, including utilities such as telecoms.
"There is a greater need to explain to customers what they are paying for – and whether they need to pay it if there are solutions on the market to save them money and add value to their business.
"We act as a consultant advising on as many products as possible to give the customer the information they need to save money and get the best solution."
Says Paul: "We deal with business from sole traders up to companies with 250 staff – local as well as national.
"Our customers are anyone who needs a phone, a landline, mobile phones or broadband connections."
Given ME Consultancy's commitment to communication, Paul spends a lot of his time attending networking events to generate more business.
Paul is a member of the Terriers Chapter of networking group BNI, which meets regularly at Lockwood Park.
He is also involved with the Mid Yorkshire Network – which is attracting a growing number of delegates to meetings at Huddersfield Media Centre's Cafe Ollo – and the LinkedIn business network.
"BNI is a good way to generate business," he says. "You have to find leads for 40 other members – but that means there are 40 businesses working to find leads for you."
Says Paul: "We do a lot of networking. As a result, we have never had to cold call or directly market ourselves because of the way we network.
"In addition, I'm out of the office two days a week seeing start-ups and new businesses.
"We also attend meetings with existing customers.
"The rest of the time we're in the office on strategy meetings and working out the best way forward for the sales team to make sure they have everything they need."
After working hard all week, Paul values his free time. Paul plays squash at Huddersfield sports centre and Huddersfield University sports centre.
He is also a member of Wharfeside gym at Slaithwaite. He classes himself as a "seasonal camper" and enjoys holidaying abroad – with Majorca a favourite destination..
"Mine isn't a nine-to-five job," he says. "The day can start at 6am when I'm attending BNI meetings and it can be into the evening before I finish.
"As a result, I like socialising and dining. I make sure I enjoy my weekends!"