LIMA Networks design, implement and support IT Infrastructure solutions and provides a fully-managed service to some of the UK’s largest public and private sector organisations.
Now one of the main providers of IT in the North West, the Salford Quays-based company has grown rapidly developing an increased presence internationally as both a service and network reseller.
LIMA’s CEO Lisa Thornton started the business from the ground up and has always had a hands-on role in driving the business forward. But as important as it is to be a success, it’s important to be of value.
As Lisa explains: “It was time for change. We’d always been a product-focussed brand, something we marketed very well in fact.
“But at the end of the day success is sustained by people. From your employees that are your brand, to the customers who talk about your product when you’re not in the room – I felt it was time to focus on being a more people-led business.”
In order to support this evolution of culture, Lisa and the senior management team at LIMA decided they needed to overhaul the structure of the business, including roles and responsibilities.
As well as recruiting key personnel with proven track records in the sector, the businesses wished to upskill its existing employees and explore new ways to maintain employee motivation and engagement.
The development of the directors, stakeholders and senior management team was a crucial part of the strategy, with additional training around effective leadership and management.
In April 2016, LIMA enrolled on the Hub’s Executive Development Programme delivered by Total Excellence Centre. The programme includes a series of in-house workshops, psychometric assessment, a review of vision and strategy, and an assessment of communications and performance management.
As Michelle Mercer, director of Total Excellence Centre explains: “When Lisa approached us, she came with a firm vision of what it was she was looking to achieve.
“So getting complete buy-in from LIMA’s directors and senior management team was a fundamental part of the plan and it was important that they were given the right skills to ensure a seamless transition.
“Since then, we have gone on to design and deliver a range of supplementary development programmes and continue to be their trusted training partner.”
Support from the Hub’s workforce development specialists also looked at the recruitment and induction process and how this could be enhanced to better support new employees and further cultivate LIMA’s internal structures.
As Dawn Duggan explains: “Together with Total Excellence Centre we’ve been able to deliver development in the key areas which has enabled Lima to develop a culture and team which will allow the business to continue to grow and expand”
Lisa adds: “We reviewed all our services and went back to the beginning, if you like. This led to a complete culture change and it has been amazing to see the dynamics shift within the business.”
“The support we’ve received from Total Excellence Centre and the Business Growth Hub has allowed us to be more reflective and provided us with a sounding board for our ideas,” says Lisa. “We’ve improved the skills of our sales team, introduced a new sales strategy and cycle, and we’re now looking at our clients and target market in much greater detail, focusing our sales pitch toward projects we feel will be more profitable.”
The strategy has paid immediate dividends with the business both retaining existing clients and attracting new ones, which has led to a 20% increase in sales. This in turn has created 20 new positions.
Other changes have seen the company move to larger premises close to Media City where they can now deliver specialist training on-site. Meanwhile Lisa has taken on a more strategic role, stepping back from what has traditionally been a more hands-on position.
“Of course we’ve created a number of other jobs too, which is great for the company and the local community because a business like ours isn’t just about creating monetary value, it’s about creating social value.”
Rob Sethna, one of the Hub’s digital and creative specialists, helped launch a new sector-led marketing strategy, while also helping to reorganise the sales and marketing team, ensuring the right people are in the right positions.
Meanwhile, LIMA’s marketing manager Jemma Munford attended the Hub’s Greater Connected Programme which provides peer-led support for businesses specifically in the digital, creative and tech sector who are ready to scale-up.