When Jasen Jackiw starred in Channel 4’s The Money Maker he benefited from the advice of serial entrepreneur Eric Collins. Offering his expertise and investment to help turn around the fortunes of Prymo, the invisible surface repair company that Manchester-based Jasen established nine years ago. At the same time, Jasen was given a Dell Mobile Workstation to power up his operation. So we caught up with him to discover the positive changes both had contributed to his business’s growth.
In The Money Maker we saw you make dramatic changes in just three months – expanding your national business and starting an apprentice scheme. What has happened since then?
We’ve certainly accelerated. When we started filming [the episode was shot towards the end of 2020] we had 10 technicians. We’ve now got 19 on the road, so within a matter of six or seven months we’ve doubled the size of the workforce. There’s been a huge demand for our work in the North West, and we’ve managed to branch out into Birmingham and have employed people there. The other national locations will definitely come, but later into next year.
What was the most valuable advice Eric Collins gave you?
He helped me understand why the numbers are so important, and since the programme I’ve got to grip with the finances a lot more. I’ve become a lot more involved in the accounts and decisions are now being made based on the numbers as opposed to making decisions without money in mind. It’s made me realise that the business is doing even better than I originally thought. And from learning about the numbers I have been able to make them even better – for instance by negotiating discounts with long-term suppliers, which I’d never considered before.
What role does technology play in the growth of your business?
It’s massive for Prymo and I use it as much as possible. I couldn’t tell you how many gigabytes are stored in my computer or the resolution of my screen. But I’m very big on incorporating technology into the business and using technology. I’m just not your techie sort of guy. I’m probably like most business owners. I know that technology improves business, but I don’t understand the ins and outs.
Who makes the technology choices at Prymo?
That’s me. If I see something out there that can improve Prymo, I look at the numbers over the year and the cost savings that we’ll make because of how efficient the business will become. We have invested in quite an expensive CRM system since the show. But the difference that has been made in terms of incorporating accounts and raising invoices automatically adds up to a huge saving on time, which allows our people to focus on other areas of the business.
How important to you is a laptop to get the job done?
It’s very important to me that I can take a laptop with me wherever I go. My laptop is never left on the desk. It always comes home with me, and I can’t go on holiday without taking a computer. It’s not that I use it all day and every day and never switch off. But as MD I just need to be able to monitor and maintain the business.
You were given a Dell Precision 7550 Mobile Workstation to put through its paces. What features and functionality impressed you the most?
I always use dual screens. And although the Workstation is mobile, it’s got a big screen. So when I have it open on my desk along with two monitors it gives me the ability to have three large monitors – all running seamlessly. I’ll have YouTube playing on one screen, which will be showing me how to do something on Adobe Lightroom. So I’ll be rendering and editing on one screen while watching a video tutorial on the other screen. There’s a lot going on in my office when I start working, and the power within the Dell Precision system means running multiple applications is no problem. And if you use the laptop on its own, the screen is spacious enough to have two documents sitting alongside each other. It has been great. I can’t fault it.
Was there anything about its performance that surprised you?
The speed is what I really noticed. Everything uploads and downloads a lot faster.
What would your dream tech set up be for Prymo?
I’d upgrade everybody’s monitors to a better dual screen set up, and for myself I’d have a dual screen set up with two huge Dell curved monitors so when I just looked left to right, all I could see was screens. That would be awesome. Super efficient!
Was it your first experience using Dell?
The office has always used Dell. In all honesty, I can say that Dell is very much there for you. If somebody said to me you can only have one laptop, for business I would go with Dell every day.