Elizabeth Gooch always knew she would work for herself. At 26 and while working in financial services, she identified a way to increase productivity in the sector by introducing it to production management techniques previously only seen in manufacturing.The idea was to develop software that pulled together data, in real time, to allow all departments of a company to monitor the production process. You’d like to think that when a natural entrepreneur stumbles on a great idea offering practical benefits to a sector they’re experienced in, then making it happen would be fairly straight forward: but that wasn’t the case.
Finding investment, or even a bank account, was difficult. But it didn’t put Gooch off.
Undeterred she started to sell her idea. This effectively meant knocking on doors in the City. She got a brochure produced, sent out mail shots, and, “I basically hounded people on the phone until they gave me appointments!”
“In many respects, it was good for me,” she says retrospectively. “If you don’t have money, it gives you a much harder, entrepreneurial edge, and a discipline which has stayed with us.”
After three months, she sold her first assignment to the Bank of Tokyo, and from there sales kept coming. “People hadn’t heard of production management before, so we had to educate them, in effect making a market, which really elongates the sales time.”
A key aspect of the company’s success has been the decision to guarantee results. Clients only pay once they’ve seen the results, a strategy which helped tempt big customers to give it a go.
First year turnover was £600,000 and soon grew to £2m, but Gooch acknowledges she ran the company as a lifestyle business, until she met now-chairman, Rodney Baker-Bates
It was Baker-Bates who saw the business’s potential to expand. The strategy was to stop diversifying and focus on its core offering. Since then, Eg has increased revenues 20% year-on-year.
In order to generate funds for further growth, Gooch decided to float the company on AIM in June 2005.
With turnover now at £5.6m, and two new international offices in Denmark and South Africa – Gooch’s long terms plans are truly global.
She has plans for offices in the Netherlands, India and the USA but insists the success is down to her passion to succeed. “It’s good to run your business like your life depends on it,” she smiles.