THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
Written on the 9 January 2015 by Karen Rickert
IF you've ever dialled a 13, 1300 or 1800 number, chances are it was hosted by Fonebox Group of Companies.
While working as a sales representative at his parent's phone on-hold advertising business, Jordan Grives identified a gap in the telecommunications industry.
He established Fonebox in 2008 as an alternative to the big players in the market, eventually becoming the leading provider of corporate inbound services in Australia.
The company offers a range of inbound phone numbers, call routing, marketing tracking, call recording and an internal 24/7 Australian based call centre to answer enquiries on behalf of a business.
"There were a lot of people out there who may have been doing it, but not very well, and they didn't have a lot of the tools for routing calls efficiently or reporting on those calls," Grives says.
"Just looking at complementary services, a lot of people would think 13, 1300 or 1800 numbers as fairly simple and wouldn't realise how complicated it can be.
"So we've built a lot of different products around call routing, call reporting and, if they're missing calls, solutions to combat that."
The inbound call centre has been central to the diversification and growth strategy, and Grives says it's nice to be hiring as opposed to firing people.
On the other side of the scale, the company invests heavily into its internal software development team to constantly improve processes and automate labour-intensive operations.
Grives is the driving force behind sales and has personally secured a number of large accounts for Fonebox.
"It really is just a matter of having a good product, cutting-edge technology and being able to push and sell that product as much as you possibly can," he says.
"Even to this day I'm responsible for 90 per cent of the overall margin, turnover and clients that we bring on it's still me doing that.
"Our focus for January and February is to build a larger sales team to assist with that. If they can do 40 to 50 per cent of what I do personally, then the business will grow even faster."
At just 26 years old, Grives - like many young entrepreneurs says age was the main barrier while establishing the company.
"Having some size, scalability and good clients definitely makes it easier now," he says.
"People think that you're working out of your backyard and that you don't have any grey hair so how could you know about these products.
"It can be definitely harder to gain credibility with some of these bigger companies. Even today with awards, turnover, client lists and those kinds of things it can be difficult to overcome those objections."
Heading into 2015, the company has forecast 90 per cent growth and is set to continue its trend of doubling revenue year on year.
Grives attributes his success to persistence.
"A large number of businesses that I approach, initially don't realise the importance of inbound solutions to their business, that's where I have the opportunity to show them the benefits and immediately they can see the need and the importance of what we can offer," he says.
"As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to do that yourself. It is very hard to rely on other people to get as passionate about a product as well as you could.
"It's about just getting out there and selling to as many people as you can, and never taking your foot off the gas when it comes to attracting new clients."