The Tickling Trout is the combined work of Jon Newlyn, his wife Sandy and business partner David Hopkins. Although they were sceptical when they joined the EC, they soon changed their minds after attending the infamous EC ’24 Hours of Marketing Madness’ event in Bolton.
The results speak for themselves, with their profits up by 440% and year on year revenues up 217%. Further to that they’ve diversified their customer base to make them less reliant on one or two big clients and in the process brought much more stability to the company.
Here’s Jon to tell you the story…
“If anyone ever tells you that alcohol is bad for you, point them in my direction! We couldn’t think of a name for our company until a group of us agreed to go to the local hostelry and not return without a name. It was deep into the night and the second bottle of Bombay Gin, that we came up with the name Tickling Trout: we give our prospects a little tickle!
“David, Sandy and I started the business, like most people do, in the conservatory. But we grew and I joined the EC. I was ‘consciously cynical’ at first; the monthly amounts were significant for us, so the process had to work or I was outta here!
“But the process did work. I attended my first national meeting in Bolton and it blew me away. My cynicism had faded and the advice, such as ‘It’s all my fault’ and ‘You can either make money or makes excuses, but you can’t do both’ resonated long and hard. But it was the 90 minutes that gave us structure although David and I work together for 60 minutes, rather than 90, in the morning. We felt that rather than flying blind we were starting to take control.
“One of Nigel’s mantras is ‘know your numbers’ and with this in mind, I saw a problem. 91% of our business was from our top ten customers with 40% from one customer who subsequently moved away. So that was the start of some deep focus: starting with upgrading to EC club status as we needed all help we could get. The 60 minute sessions were now part and parcel of the day’s activities and through this we introduced three new services, reduced our dependency on our top ten customers whilst at the same time increasing our number of customers by 69%.
And, although the EC is not a networking organisation, it was because of the EC that we were able to set up a partnership with another member to help us provide additional services and we have since become their largest partner.
“The processes we have implemented include our 60 minute sessions, although I still think we are little too strategic in our thinking; we look a little too far ahead. We segmented our database, enabling us to send out different messages to different prospects and customers. And we had the guts to sack a big customer, because of our DDWW policy.
“Are we there yet? Not yet; David and I are still ‘doers’ too much and not enough ‘marketeers’, so now we need to grow our company and offload some of the delivery.
I can empathise with Nigel because I always feel I can do something better than anyone else, but I have to let go and accept that good is good enough.”