Invest NI helps Lestas Consulting to explore new markets

Feb 13, 2012

Lestas Consulting Ltd, a management consultancy in Coleraine, is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to explore business opportunities in international markets.

The company is now reaching out internationally for business by means of a fully interactive website developed with support from Invest NI.

Invest NI’s assistance to Lestas Consulting to develop its IT export-focused technology was announced by Des Gartland, Manager of Invest NI’s North West Regional Office. The business was founded by husband and wife team Nicholas and Michelle Lestas in 2000.

Mr Gartland said: “Our support for Lestas Consulting is a further example of our focus on encouraging and assisting companies offering expert professional service to develop business in markets outside Northern Ireland by means of innovative technologies.

“We realised that Lestas Consulting was a successful service-led company which was ‘thinking outside of the box’ about new business opportunities and was keen to explore new markets and find new ways of promoting its expertise to potential clients. The company’s website was designed specifically to enable it to sell its range of services outside Northern Ireland.

“Underpinning our support for this ambitious and progressive company is a recognition that the professional services sector in Northern Ireland, if structured and positioned correctly, can sell expertise and knowledge virtually anywhere in the world. Our IT experts worked alongside management to develop a system that would enable the company to reach out for new business abroad.”

Mrs Lestas said: “While we had developed extensive business and management consultancy work, mainly in Northern Ireland, over the past 11 years we recognised that we had to look to external markets for faster growth. This led us to contact Invest NI for help, advice and assistance in developing technology that would enable us to reach international business opportunities.

“We saw an opportunity to provide the type of consultancy support that had proved successful in Northern Ireland to SMEs across Europe. Our main problem was to determine how we could develop, service and maintain regular contact with clients there, while at the same time maintaining control of our small business.

“The Invest NI’s solution was to develop a fully interactive website that enables us to work with clients in a private forum, in real time, no matter where they are in the world.

“The technology also enables us to surmount another potential problem, payment. We are able to charge clients online and ensure that we are paid before we start work. This means we don’t worry about being paid and our cashflow is far more positive.

“The new site, www.lestasconsulting.com, is now so successful that we have recorded over a 300 per cent increase of traffic to it and it has been increasing steadily month on month.  

“We have also been able to develop an ‘open forum’ section that promotes business discussions amongst our clients and this is linked to the ever-expanding social media revolution, thus driving more traffic to the site.

“For our clients, it’s like having a team of in-house consultants available at any time. They can also interact with each other through the open forum and discuss issues of mutual business collaboration. This facility has been well used over the last few months.”

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