Getting to know you: Simon Richardson

What do you currently do?
I am the Managing Partner of ITogether. We’re a network and security specialist with a more human approach to IT.

I started the company in 2005, with a vision to provide world-class customer service in a friendly and approachable manner. From office networking, Internet access and security to cloud, backup and server hosting services, we create solutions that help our clients work easier, smarter and more securely.

We are proud to be totally independent, and have at least two and often three leading partners in each of our specialist areas.

We are lucky enough to have a talented, passionate and experienced team, both in client management and support and as a team we are committed to making sure that our solutions are always up and running, and evolving to meet our client changing needs.

In short, we bring technology and people together to create real business benefits.

What is your inspiration in business?
Definitely the people I have worked with over the years prior to and since starting ITogether. Our industry has some incredibly experienced and knowledgable characters.

We’ve recently formed a partnership with some friends of mine who run Armana. A company very similar to ITogether based in the South of England. I worked with the founders back in 1996 and they taught me practically everything I know about the industry. I have massive respect for them and it is a privilege to work with them again to grow our businesses

Who do you admire?
I’ve also brushed with some serious entrepreneurs in the past. Way back in the 1990s I worked for Netscape, a name largely forgotten now even though it was one of the first widely available internet browsers. Netscape was founded by Marc Andreessen, who went on to be a major stakeholder in Facebook and Linkedin. I’m also impressed by some of the motivational ideas companies like Facebook and Google have introduced.

Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
I should have started the company sooner than 2005, perhaps as early as 2001.

Up until then I hadn’t been so sure about that. I had set up a business before, but I had sold out in time and in the end it spectacularly failed in the dotcom crash. Looking back, I think, what was really putting me off making such a venture was the fear that, once I was outside the comfort of a large corporation, customers would be very hard to find.

This is a worry that many people thinking of setting up on their own have, and it is a worry they should immediately dispose of because it has very little bearing on reality.

What defines your way of doing business?
Our brand. It is precisely to make more of this shining light in an increasingly crowded market that the company rebranded last year from Network Integration Technologies (admittedly a bit of a mouthful) to iTogether (pronounced the same way you pronounce iTunes, in case you were wondering).

The brand name is designed to show how the company’s consultants engage fully with their clients, and to show how it offers more than just networking products, but security, storage and voice products too. Nevertheless, there is clearly no problem in getting work. iTogether already works the Arcadia Group, Media Vest and Welcome to Yorkshire, among others within the UK.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
For someone starting out in our industry for whom it is maybe their first job, but for someone who has aspirational ideas to run their own company I would suggest one piece of advice. Listen, listen, listen. Spend as much time as you can learning from inspirational colleagues and peers. Recognise their experience and be grateful for their time.

Look out for people who will spend time with you imparting their knowledge and experience. In the future you will look back on their time and input to your career with great fondness and admiration