Ian Rae is very experienced in AV, lighting and smart technology. He runs MODO which is a successful specialist contractor bringing lifestyle technology to homes and businesses across the UK. He offers the highest quality audio & visual entertainment experience which is delivered through a tailored service.

Ian had been reflecting on some new build and renovation AV, lighting and smart technology projects that he had come across. From experience he knew that they had sometimes resulted in both disappointment to the customer and also a poor result for the design and construction team. These disappointments were often caused by a poor understanding of the true client requirements and a lack of coordination of all those involved in the project.

Ian had a vision to fill this gap in the market and was looking for help to make a profitable business out of this identified need. He approached David Eaton of SME Strategies as he knew David was well connected in the London/East Anglian SME construction sector and was experienced in building businesses and mentoring.

The project

  • Strategy on a page
    The business was summarised on one sheet of A4 (‘Strategy on a page’) to ensure we understood the key elements of the business and their inter-relationships. From this a project outline was agreed to get the new business established.
  • Testing the market
    The first step was to test that a market existed for Ian’s vision and to do some research and brainstorming around it. Meetings were held with potential users of Ian’s consultancy to develop the customer profile and the ideal customer was identified in detail. An analysis of the competition was undertaken.
  • Clarifying the offering
    This led on to establishing that Ian’s AV, lighting and smart home technology services would revolve around the four key phases of a project: Pre-planning, Design, Project Management, Commissioning & Operational use. The name of the new consultancy was agreed as MODO Solutions.
  • Financial plan
    A financial plan was drafted looking at the pricing model of the new consultancy to demonstrate that the business was financially viable.
  • Brand statement
    A brand statement was then put together with the Why, How and What of the business. The ‘How’ containing the USP and the ‘What’ containing the key messages to be projected through the website. A draft website outline was prepared in full. This was tested and feedback obtained from potential users.
  • Colour & photos
    The colour palette of the site and stationery was given careful thought to present the business attractively and also to link it visually with Ian’s existing AV contracting website. Specialist colour advice was taken about this. Careful thought was given to the photos used on the website to complement the message of the site.
  • Web developer
    The choice of the website developer was very important. It needed to be a cost effective firm who were competent in both the technical aspects of websites and in the marketing messages projected by them. The site needed to be updateable by the client. WordPress was considered the right platform. Jay Downing of ProWP was chosen to build the website owing to his track record and proactive ‘can do’ approach, technical skills and his great value for money.
  • Blogs, testimonials & case studies
    Ian started writing blogs to demonstrate his expertise. Testimonials from Ian’s previous clients were obtained and some case studies written. A free download guide was put together. The site will be compliant with the GDPR. The quality and relevance of the download guide enhances his credibility.
  • Marketing strategy
    The marketing strategy was then developed. The target audience of the business is architects, M&E consultants, developers, main contractors, electrical contractors as well as private/commercial clients. The business would be marketed initially through the contacts that Ian and David have but backed up by a website and social media. A list of key contacts was prepared. Preliminary contact had already been made with some of them.
  • Driving the project
    The regular weekly meetings (via phone calls or face to face) gave the project the necessary impetus to drive it forward.
  • The launch
    Once the website was up and running and bugs tweaked the business was ready to be launched. This was done through a social media campaign to the target audience primarily focused around LinkedIn but also using Twitter. Key contacts were approached directly and a meeting with each was set up. The initial launch was followed up with regular blog and news posts through the website and social media to build awareness. Some of the key contacts were invited to forward the LinkedIn posts to their network.

The outcome

MODO Solutions is now up and running as a new AV, lighting and smart technology consultancy. A clear marketing strategy has been identified using social media and one to one connections promoting Ian’s expertise which will grow through blogs and testimonials. Ian is linked into networking opportunities to promote his skills. Strategic alliances are being made which provides ‘win win’ to both parties. A high quality but relatively inexpensive website supports the new business. The next phase of the project is the full implementation of the marketing strategy.


“Sometimes in life you will know what you want when you see it and you have a very real passion to find it. However, too much passion can often get in the way and can stop you from the very thread you need to make a start. David listened to my passion for audio-visual, lighting and smart building technology and focused on my vision to add value to such projects. He translated my enthusiasm very skilfully into a pragmatic and sensible business opportunity meeting a proven need. We worked as a team and this allowed us to map out the new business with the necessary components of branding, marketing, sales, finances, operations, website and social media. We turned the early ideas into a plan with milestones along the way.

David’s sensitive but sharp approach to each issue enabled our very different skills to work in harmony with each other to create a fully collaborative decision-making process. In MODO Solutions we have created a professional business with strategic objectives and a platform to achieve them. I am looking forward to what David and I will achieve next as we use the relevant strong network of connections that David has to move the business forward. He brings professionalism, creative flair and a real commitment to his clients to achieve objectives. Outside of our formal meetings, David’s friendly presence at the end of a phone is an invaluable source of welcome advice and support.”

Ian Rae, Director, MODO Solutions

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