Julian Sheldrake, director of Q Office Furniture, tells BQ about his business and how last year’s Stansted Airport Meet the Buyer event led to a new contract.
Hosted by Stansted Airport, the business procurement and networking event is now in its 8th successful year, having generated millions of pounds worth of sales by bringing buyers and suppliers together.
Last year’s event saw a record-breaking 45 buyers meet over 200 suppliers, generating upwards of £5m in new deals, a target which this year’s event wishes to surpass.
With buyers including the likes of Essex County Council, BEUMER Group, National Express, the NHS, the University of Essex, VolkerFitzpatrick and London Stansted Airport, it is an excellent opportunity for SMEs to get their name out there.
One of the success stories from 2017’s event was Hoddeston-based Q Office Furniture, which manufactures, supplies, delivers, and installs furniture for offices and educational facilities.
Director Julian Sheldrake explained: “Although we supply both large and small businesses we have found the larger companies with the professional buyers appreciate the attention to detail and the commitment we provide them quite refreshing.
“Supply is not always about price, we strive to provide quality products at competitive prices and build long-term relationships with our clients.
“I have always been a little cynical about meet the buyers as many larger companies already have incumbent suppliers and pay lip service to the concept of the event, however, on this occasion I have been proved wrong.”
Q Office Furniture was founded in July 2009 by two industry professionals - Julian Sheldrake, director; and Gary Phillips, general manager – who combined their skills to launch their own business.
“Events like these give us a platform to make the larger companies aware of our business and the services we provide.
“It also enables us to network and meet other attendees to investigate possible business opportunity outside of those offered by the larger company exhibitors.”
It can often be daunting for SMEs to break bread with the big boys of industry, but getting your brand known is the first step to success, as Julian explained.
“Many buyers at these events are disinterested and have heard it all before,” Julian continued.
“To leave a lasting impression you must provide or say something memorable that keeps your company above all others in their minds.
“We created a marketing flyer with a difference, fun to play with and informative. This flyer, we believe, may have assisted us on the day with a follow-up call.
After a lot of hard work, Q Office Furniture was able to secure its first order, which is set to be delivered and installed in September.
“It’s the long-term relationship we are looking for as the investment in time and money to secure that first order does not cover the cost,” Julian explained.
“We envisage that in five years’ time we will remain small but efficient with a greater turnover and profit which will be generated through keen buying, fast and efficient service and the supply of quality products with low service requirements.”
This year’s Stansted Meet the Buyer event will be held on Thursday 1st November at the Raddison Blu London Stansted Airport Hotel.
London Stansted Meet the Buyers is organised and managed by The BE Group and Kinetics on behalf of London Stansted Airport.
To book tickets or find out more information, please visit http://www.stanstedmtb.co.uk/
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