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Case studies | Aug 1

How Aquatrust secured new markets with an innovative change in process

Case studies | Aug 1

Since the adoption of digital monitoring technology, Aquatrust has expanded into new markets with stellar efficiency and increased turnover by 30%.

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The third module of the Help to Grow: Management Course focuses on how to win new markets. Dr David Andrews, who delivers the course at Leeds Business School, states that for any business to grow, its products or services need to create value for a new customer base and deliver that value (i.e., get paid). And with the economic landscape becoming increasingly precarious, expanding into new markets is at the top of the agenda.

But identifying new markets can often be challenging for an SME who has only one product or service as new value seems impossible to create. Help to Grow: Management Course alumnus and Aquatrust Sales Director Paul Kenny realised the company needed to innovate in order to grow.

Founded in 2003, Aquatrust specialises in water treatment, hygiene, and the control of legionnaires’ disease via services including temperature checks, risk assessments, and close systems analysis. It serves a variety of sectors including property, education, and healthcare. But the proposition was both labour intensive and increasingly expensive; it involved engineers visiting each customer site to carry out these services manually and the rising fuel costs and carbon emissions to do so. If they could work out how to deliver the same level of service, regulatory compliance, and peace of mind remotely then this would be a game changer for the company, the industry and the environment.

‘Aquatrust has grown from a single man in a van to a team of 40 with a national customer base, but to take us to the next level we needed to understand the end-to-end process of digitising our services.’

Paul Kelly
Sales Director, Aquatrust

While on the Help to Grow: Management Course, Paul was introduced to several different tools such as the Business Model Canvas, the Ansoff Matrix and Porter’s Five Forces Model.

Using these tools gave Paul the confidence to go ahead and develop the new product but also the frameworks to work through with his colleagues back in the office. The business decided to take the plunge and invest in a digital monitoring system to enable remote temperature checking.

Paul explains that ‘the current economic landscape forced our business to adapt and innovate to attract new customers and retain existing positions in the market.’ 

‘Introducing our new sensor technology has allowed us to not only digitally transform the business, but to reduce our travel times to clients, improve our carbon footprint and increase productivity amongst our fleet of engineers.’

Paul Kelly
Sales Director, Aquatrust

For just one of Aquatrust’s thousands of clients, the team found that switching to remote water monitoring saved them on average 161,502 litres of water a year – which is around £1,615 a year in cost savings.

The new service delivery model will allow Aquatrust to serve more customers across the whole UK without investing in more staff. It has also diversified the roles available to staff within the business. Working with his Help to Grow: Management mentor, Paul realised that employee engagement would be a really critical part of this new launch. They announced the changes at an internal annual staff conference, generating excitement about the future of the company and the opportunities for existing staff.

Paul concludes: ‘The Help to Grow: Management Course has given me the confidence to develop and lead our go to market strategy but also to transform Aquatrust’s service model. Working alongside my mentor, I was able to create an innovative approach that differentiates Aquatrust from its competitors, securing the business’ future and facilitating significant further growth.’

Since completing the course, Aquatrust has forecast its turnover to increase by 30% from £1.9m in 2022 to £2.5m this year, with ambitions to grow the business into a nationwide water treatment and hygiene consultancy. 

Expanding into new markets is usually high on the priority list of any growing company. But it is important to remember that new products do not always secure new customers. Sometimes increased efficiency can allow for the extra leg room to expand operations without additional cost.

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