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Outsource Digital: Ryan Pickford

Office automation company lets customers deal directly with one person for all their business solutions.

Monique Verduyn

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Ryan-Pickford

In 2004, Ryan Pickford launched a document solutions business with a difference because, he says, it was clear that the days of box dropping were over.

Having worked for office automation companies for several years, he had built up a healthy network of clients and decided it was time to start making more money. He put his entrepreneurial skills to the test and landed his first national deal – for 30 machines – at a tidy profit.

“I’d worked with the client for a number of years while I was employed, so I knocked on their door, did a site analysis and calculated their existing costs. I restructured their print flows and saved them a large amount of money just by improving efficiencies.”

Pickford stresses the importance of building and nurturing contacts. “Cold calling does not work anymore in a world that is as interconnected as ours,” he says.

He’s differentiated Outsource Digital’s offering in one key way. “Our main business is document solutions, but we give greater value to our clients by focusing on turnkey solutions that take all their office needs into account, such as telecoms and surveillance. That means they get one bill and only have to deal with one service provider.”

From a small business, Outsource Digital is now the number one reseller of Toshiba in the country, counts a number of listed corporates among its clients, and employs more than 90 people. In 2011, the company grew by 200%, acquiring lots of government business during the year.

A major milestone for the business and the brand was a TV campaign comprising multiple 30-second ads that ran during the Cricket World Cup in February and was reflighted in November. “It gave us added credibility with our existing clients and boosted the morale and pride of our employees and partners. With new and potential clients it was a powerful sales tool and now forms part of our presentation packs.”

Vital stats

Player: Ryan Pickford

Company: Outsource Digital

Launched: 2004

Contact: +27 (0)11 466 8510

outsourcedigital.co.za

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

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