As part of a series highlighting the 11 businesses entered in this year's Westpac Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, Sophie Preece talks to Matt and Lynne Broughan, from Liquid Action. ...
Rocketing to success was all about timing and ingenuity for Marlborough irrigation company Liquid Action.
Matt and Lynne Broughan launched their company in 2011, following on the coat-tails of new national water metering regulations.
"There was basically an opening in the market for testing and supplying new water meters and we decided to lead the charge," said Matt Broughan. With 20 years in the local irrigation sector under his belt, he worked closely with the Marlborough District Council to design and build an instrument that could cost effectively test the flow of water in an irrigation pipe, He put experience with "a heck of a lot of pipe work", his training as a fitter welder, and extensive research into the technology involved, to create something that was given the necessary Blue Tick accreditation and readily accepted by the council.
It wasn't long before the new design earned a nickname.
"Because it was a piece of pipe sitting on a trailer sticking it up in the air, we thought we might as well put some fins and a stainless steel cone on it and call it The Rocket," said Broughan.
The Rocket symbolises the business's ingenuity, sense of humour, and also its recognition of the need to be noticed.
Alongside the sharp green-on-black branding of Liquid Action, The Rocket attracted a lot of interest at the A&P shows they wheeled it out to, with kids dragging their parents back to look.
Within a short time, Liquid Action had cornered 30 to 40 per cent of the compliance market in Marlborough, and has been growing ever since, with seven staff now on board, including the Broughans.
It also provides service work and irrigation equipment, including technology-based "next generation" products for well monitoring, and is seeing constant growth in those areas as well.
"Our initial budgets were nowhere near where we have gone," said Broughan. "It's been a bit overwhelming at times, the support we've been given by clients and friends who jumped on board and said ‘we'll run with you'. It has far exceeded our expectations, to be honest." Other companies have followed suit with water meter testing, but Liquid Action has a secure, strong and loyal client base, including "bigger players" like the global wine companies Constellation and Pernod Ricard.
With the region's wine industry looking forward to good times and expansion, the prospects look good for even more growth.
The winners of the awards will be announced at the gala dinner on November 15.
- The Marlborough Express