b"S R A EY LY R AE E H TChapter 3A growing businessWhen Bob, Barry and Judy established Dixon & Haddon, The answer was yes. We realised that we could do a hell of a lot more they didnt have a vision, and there wasnt a series of goals by farming out work to other small steel fabrication shops, says Bob. or a business plan, per se.In the 70s when Dixon & Haddon was formed, the new company was competing with major established players like Mason BrothersWhat they did have was a drive to satisfy their clients, and a focus and Steel Tanks & Structures.on performance, performance, performance, and quality. The clientWe were nibbling at their heels when we first started, but all ofwasand remains to this dayking. a sudden they found that wed chopped their heels off, says Barry.Bob was known to say: Youll get as big as your customers makeBut there were no hard feelings and Dixon & Haddon went on to use you. And thats what happened.those companies to help deliver work.They priced even the smallest of jobs. Their approach was to makeEarly on, Dixon & Haddons project portfolio was filled with the small builder feel just as important as the big builder, because thewarehouses, and single-storey office buildings and workshops. former may very well grow. And they didnt turn work away, they justShopping centres followed. But the work could be varied. One of found a way to do it. It all came down to planning. their first jobs was a power station in South Auckland and they also A job well planned is a job half done. Bob is a stalwart for this piececompleted work for the Huntly Power Station. of advice, which he heard during his apprentice days. It's very true andFor one of the supermarket projects we built a shed the size of aI preach it even today. Plan it and it will happen.big single-car garage to house a computer. Youd use an iPad to do the Initially, Dixon & Haddon was an amalgamation of Barry and Bobsjob now, laughs Barry.clients. And when other factories started sprouting up at Span Farm, More and more, Dixon & Haddon was being invited to quote by major the resident steel fabricator was invited to quote.building companies. Its independence was attractive, compared with some As the business continued to grow and grow, and jobs became biggerof the big, less accessible operators. At the heart of Dixon & Haddons and bigger, they questioned whether they could handle more work. early success were strong existing relationships and the opportunity to 33"