Jean Freeman is the founder and managing director of Sharp aX, a computer systems and business development company, based in Berkhamsted.
Jean is intensely proud of the business that has been built on the foundation of a loyal and dedicated team of people.
Sharp aX has a direct focus on ERP software development and business to business SME support for the wholesale and distribution industries.
As managing director, Jean understands the importance of a motivated, engaged and loyal team, essential to drive the company forward.
“We have no answer phone!! We prefer to speak and listen to our customers.”
People are clearly happy to stay with the business. So, in terms of good management, what is Jean getting right?
“I think the key factor is ensuring everyone here has a voice. Our Monday morning meetings illustrate this. Whether it is head of quality control or our web manager, key people in our business with different skill sets are encouraged to share their ideas. They do and they feel involved”
From the sales team out on the road, the communication is about responding to what the customers are telling them. “If one of our sales team says ‘if we had this feature we could get this order’ we will then look at ways to make this happen. We develop our software on demand – from our customer base feedback.”
Seemingly, clear and timely communication is just as important within the team as it is with the hard-won customer base. Jean elaborates: “If a customer rings our premises from 7am with an issue, they will get a response and receive help. The very fact that they have spoken to someone who understands the severity of their problem is hugely important to them.”
She adds: “Our business is very much based on trust and showing customers that they matter. If you allow customer requests to sit amongst 100 other emails, you are not doing a good job.”
The team at Sharp aX is now 28 strong. In terms of recruitment, Jean says the company is well known and respected in the industry. This makes attracting new talent relatively easy. The company also has a track record of helping local college leavers and graduates get their careers off the ground.
Recognition and support
It has been a good year for Sharp aX, winning two international certifications (ISO 90001 and ISO27001), 5 Star Trustpilot and our customer base is thriving.
As for the relationship with the Chamber of Commerce and how it has benefited the business, Jean is fulsome in her support.
“The Chamber is really proactive. If they haven’t heard from us for a while they call and ask: ‘what’s happening’.”
The local connections the Chamber offers through its’ meetings and events is appreciated too.
“We met a local independent broker Ashbourne Insurance through the Chamber and were able to save hundreds of pounds on business and personal insurance costs. Another Chamber member Wagada, a local digital marketing company helped us rethink our marketing strategy and we are delighted with the results. We must also not forget the great service from our other Chamber members : Hillier Hopkins and SA Law.”
As Jean explains, these companies follow the same good business principles as Sharp aX – that is a personal approach, listening to customers needs and delivering precisely what is required
Posted: 14th October 2022