TWO brothers who started a direct marketing firm straight after university have started an expansion they hope will see it create 100 jobs over the next couple of years.
Mark Fairlie began Newcastle-based Meridian Delta 14 years ago and with his brother Ben has built it up from a firm learning its business with two part-time staff to a £1.25m turnover firm with a workforce of 63.
The firm has just landed £125,000 investment which helped it double its staff in the last couple of months with the aim of doubling its revenues by the end of this year.
It relies on winning small business customers looking to emailshot potential customers across the UK and the extra staff means it can step up its hunt for clients.
“The recession is a fantastic opportunity for any business and the main way a business can expand in a recession is to get more customers.
“We are growing by finding more firms who want to win new customers in the most cost-effective way,” explained managing director Mark Fairlie.
“Memories of what it was like in the early 90s slowdown make companies realise that the firms which survived was those who could keep winning new customers, not those who borrowed to prop up their business.
“When I started this business I was young and very confident and didn’t really know how it all worked.
“We started off faxing people, but then in around 2000 the email really started to become common and we completely changed our business. I am more experienced now.”
He said the business works by investigating each potential client’s markets and drawing up a list of customers that they could win with some help marketing.
And after a building a clientbase of 13,000 and with the first phase of the expansion begun he hopes the firm will grow to employ 160 staff and turn over £5m by the end of 2014.
“I am 100% confident we can do this. The market is growing and we are getting a bigger share of it.
“We are already the biggest company up here doing what we do,” he said.
The company won its investment from he Finance For Business North East Growth Fund that is administered by regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.
David Thomas, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, said: “Meridian is a dynamic, ambitious business with a strong market position, and they’re clearly ready to take the commercial success they’ve enjoyed so far onto a new level.”
Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.
Managed by North East Finance, it will see £125m of investment capital injected into the region over the next five years.