Mike Coombs and John Roberts met while playing in the same cricket team and set up TSF in Roberts’s spare room in 1990. ‘We had a bank overdraft and were working from a bedroom with everything we owned on the line,’ says Coombs. The London company started as a computer hardware reseller, dealing with such well-known names as BP, Habitat and Mothercare, but two years ago the founders decided to transform it by focusing on providing services for companies that want to set up e-business sites. ‘We realised that hardware was becoming more and more of a commodity and that we would do better focusing on providing total solutions,’ says Coombs. The company prides itself on building close relationships with its clients, some of which, according to Coombs, view TSF as ‘an extension of their own IT departments’. The sales of the company, which is an IBM Centre of Excellence, have increased 80% a year, from £926,000 in 1996 to £5.4m in 1999.
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