When I tell people the story of how Belton started – it really helps to paint a picture about who we are and why our company is so genuinely grounded.
Amy and I were working and studying – Amy is an artist by training and I was training to be a pilot. We thought the time we were spending apart was becoming pretty ridiculous, and I was frustrated with the prospect of having to move from Auckland to gain employment, once my study finished.
Following high school I trained to be a computer technician and had a couple of jobs in the industry. We were typical; just into our twenties, full of fun, no savings or kids when I hatched the idea that we should start our own business.
I remember the moment as clear as mud. We were driving down Gavin Street in Grandma’s 1980-something Honda City when I turned to Amy and said “We should start an IT company“. Full of support as Amy was, with plenty of finance experience having worked for a major bank while studying, she knew the financial side of the business was going to need her guidance. I was the ideas guy – Amy had business acumen and a sensible side to her.
Within a few weeks I had my portable gas bbq cooker case, which carried my warehouse stationery receipt book, orange-handled screwdriver and a random selection of screws and cables, and the Honda City was ready with a new Warrant.
To start my business I simply put an ad in the East and Bays Courier. PC REPAIR Services – Call Jason – with the home phone number. Then we waited. One morning around 11am I was still in bed when Amy’s DAD ran into the room with the portable phone. “JASON – WAKE UP. Some joker’s on the phone asking about PC REPAIRS!“
I jumped into action and talked the client through the idea of how the service was going to work. I didn’t really know – but it got me the service call and away I went. I was very nervous. Tee Shirt – Shorts and not a clue as to how to be a “business owner”. I remember Amy giving me a big hug before I left and letting me know I was going to do us proud!
Before you know it – our business was turning over $300 a week. BOOM.
We continued advertising and spent the next 2 years researching our new industry – building business processes and understanding what it was to provide excellent service to our clients. Amy had been taught exemplary customer service skills and was quick to coach me in how to make our clients king.
Typically – our clients were home users and businesses with 1 computer.
I was ready for growth. Serious growth. I jumped onto Trade Me and looked up businesses for sale. I spotted a company for sale for $60,000. It was a perfectly-aligned business. The problem was – I didn’t have $60,000. Amy and I did the math and realised we had a grand total of $7000 in the bank. That was everything. Not just our business money – but all our personal savings as well.
Within weeks the phone started to ring. Not fantastic ring ring – but it rang. In the database of clients were a lot of people who had engaged with this company once and we had a lot of contact details. Amy – being awesome – decided to create a direct letter mail-out. We posted that to every single mailing address we had, and within 12 months had a business which was generating $250,000 a year in sales.
Before long Thomas joined us as our first employee. Then Keith. Fast forward to 2008, and I was on the hunt for another opportunity which led to the acquisition of IT Nexus (thus the name), all paid for with money the company was making. Brad, Rhys, and Ben Bolton joined our team as part of that deal. 2008 was also the first year we hit $1 Million in turnover.
We have come a long way, tripping over the same problems and walking the same path as most business owners; that’s why we understand you – your unique needs and problems.
You – our clients – made us the success we are today. And we both Thank You.
Jason and Amy Agnew.