Q1: Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans: We are a design marketing agency based within the UK. Our main office is in Scotland. We have offices in Glasgow, Uddingston and London. We are a close-knit team with unique kills and vast knowledge going back over 30 years within the creative industry. Our aim is to work with clients as partners and help to grow their business long term. We believe everyone’s needs are as bespoke and custom to their own requirements and that’s how we view both our design and marketing work. What works for one client won’t work for the next one, everyone’s unique so all work is planned as per what the client needs every time.
Q2: Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans: We have won many awards over the years for both design and web development innovation. Trained in graphic design and web development in the beginning, then through hands on experience moved into marketing seo and ppc. We are approved Google Partners and work hard on getting our clients businesses to the top end within Google rankings and giving them more exposure. Created many great brands and worked on multiple web applications to change manual paperwork systems over into fully online solutions which have saved companies £1m’s in savings by moving their business to a fully online workflow.
Q3: What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: We had worked for many print publications back in the day, and as online was making progress and starting to dent the traditional print media we moved over and started our web agency up back in 2007. We had been working on digital work for approx ten years prior to this, and we had a strong passion for good design and the web back in the early days, wasn’t very nice on the eye, so we introduced our extensive design skills to our new web experience, and our agency went on from strength to strength. We wanted to give clients a unique service which could completed everything for them inhouse by experts who know how to aim and build a brand for growth.
Q4: What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: The first would be know your competition well. We have people who come to us and think they have a unique angle on the market. But when we check and find that there is actually already high competition within their sector, they are surprised by what we can find out. So doing full research into that is so important and never just assume because you have an idea that it isn’t already out there doing well.
Next, we would say you need to put a good budget into your business marketing plan. Again, you should consider the competition out there to know what you are going to need to compete against and fight for that business online. If you are in a highly competitive marketplace then you are going to need to have a serious budget to target that sector and make any headway into getting the results you want.
Lastly, we recommend you get a professional agency to do the work you need. It can often seem appealing to go with the cheap option here to save money. But this could cost you much more money and sales over time. Your business could have a low-quality logo, which is your full brand image to any new clients, so it is so important to have that in place to set out everything that comes after it and makes your brand stand out. As you don’t want to set the wrong tone or not have the right focused message on what you do. Ye it might cost you more BUT, remember this is what will help you grow your business and set up the platform to help you take it to the next level.
Q5: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: First we would say you need to understand how important you are, and to always listen to yourself and believe in what you are doing. Even when at times it is all new to you and may seem like the great unknown. You have the vision for where you want to go, so always believe in yourself and seek the best advice from experts in different sectors.
You need to never give up, even if something isn’t working, then change it and develop yourself and your business. You may then take it in a totally different route – but you need to be flexible and fluid to move when change is needed. Keep a clear mind and don’t let others dilute your thinking into too many things, or as I like to call it, noise, you need to block this out and don’t allow it in to keep you off track with what’s important.
Always learning is a key skill and looking to educate yourself through reading books or reading online. There is vast amount of information on any topic to help you improve your skills set and reading should be key to your development. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, management style, how to interview people, building your team with different characters, help with networking and getting yourself out there all are useful to help your grow a business.
Q6: How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: Too many ha ha, well since lockdown lately has changed the world so much, with many people now working from home, this can result in business owners spending even more time on their business “out of hours”. You will find me many a time in the evening or early hours of the morning working away and getting things organised while keeping up to date on communications for staff and clients. So, I would say in the office environment I was more 9 to 5 but now it’s more 24/7! But it is important to create “me” time to allow yourself to chill and re-charge those batteries, and it is always good to have an outlet which might be the gym, swimming, running to keep your mind and body in shape.
Q7:To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: Hard work and offering clients a solution that eases their pains and helps their businesses to grow. Having a great team of experts around you is key to your success too and you should always remember you can’t do everything yourself, it will never work if you want to grow. You need to build a good team who you know looks after the clients well and in turn your job then, as the business owner is made easy if you look after the staff in your team and trying to share wins with the full team. Having a strong belief and personally in what you are doing is so important too, while if you are doing a job/business you love, then it makes life so much better, and I love design and marketing!
Q8: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: You need to cover a vast number of avenues here when you consider your marketing plan. From your sales team working on fresh leads, email campaigns to prospects and existing client bases. Pushing various local business grants to help businesses get online and selling ecommerce for both services and products. Attracting new clients via SEO and PPC routes. We always find a mix of all is best to ensure you keep a strong brand image on the marketplace and being able to stand you on good solid ground to complete for the work. Even today mail is still a good source of sales funnels and if you do something that stands out, like lumpy mail as we call it – so it gets opened and is something the person will remember then that’s even better to then keep you in mind when the time comes, they need a design, website or digital marketing. (this one is more for when we are all back working in our normal office/work environments again)
Q9: Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: We grow our company from the bottom up with no help on the money side from anyone outside. As we grow our team got bigger and developed as the size of the company expanded. And today we have grown into a design agency who has seen sales of approx £5m. We are good are building brands and seeing them grow, it is what we specialise in, it’s what we are good at, and it proves you actually don’t need thousands and thousands of pounds to get you started with your dream. Hey, it does help and can get your there faster but if you have an investment or money upfront to aid the business, then that will help you get started. It also depends on course on which type of business you want to start, as some types require very little upfront expense, while other types you do need serious money in your pockets to even consider starting.
Q10: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: The best way to gain long term success is to set goals that can be reached on both fronts. Putting a long-term plan together of what and who you would like to be like in 12, 24 months or longer needs put down into writing so you can hold yourself accountable to it, even if it is only to yourself and where you want to be!
Next you need to plan what the short-term goals are in smaller bits that when complete will help you get to those longer-term goals. A great way of thinking about it is to plan out your next four quarters of the year, what will be done within each month of these to reach your goals, and don’t just put general stuff – it needs to be actuals showing how you are going to do it and when by with in-depth answers. For example, don’t say, for March I’m going to hit more sales – you need to say the figure you are going to hit like extra sales target of £10k this month and I’m going to do it by increasing our sales team by one new rep. The more information you write down clearly outlining what is going to happen, will then keep you on track to meet the smaller goals that when completed over a longer time make you achieve the bigger long-term goals.
Another great way of thinking about this is like a normal ladder, you are at the bottom and need to reach the top of the ladder. It is impossible for you to get to the top right from the bottom without all the smaller steps you take to get up the ladder and your planning for success is no different to this, and once you understand that concept you will be well on your way to success, as you complete each smaller step as you go.
Q11: Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: The plan is to have a bigger team working on client’s businesses as that is what excites us. Providing a great marketing partner to our clients and watching them grow with us is what we are love. The tech world for us also changes fast, there is always new web developments to learn and to use on our clients’ sites. There is always new design and marketing updates to work on and introduce into our work, and strategy planning for our clients. As long as this runs through our blood then we will always be here learning and working on more creative and innovate projects in the years to come, while developing ourselves as we go to ensure we never stand still.
Q12: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: This one is easy for me, and I would say Apple. Not only because I’m a graphic design to trade and have had all the Apple models through the years, but from how they have grown from that initial machine build in a garage to being the superpower it is today is just awesome. The style put into every product and even the mac system back in the day when people on PC’s could only dream about using a real computer that wasn’t just all lines of code to work on.
The mac system then being “adopted” and the influence to create the windows system platform which was basically a mac idea and concern first. Even using a PC is rough and ugly when you use a mac its silk, smooth and just feels so much more luxury high end. It’s like driving a Ferrari to a Fiat. There is no compromise, and you could go on forever about how the ipod changed the world, and then developed into the iphone that we all have and love.
I will leave this point with one last comment, the Apple store you visit and how simple it all is and set out was then even “copied” by the other crowd. Apple is the leader and trend setter and at the moment Google is starting to give them a run for their money in a few areas, but overall Apple still gets my vote, with me always keeping a keen eye on my share price!
Q13: How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans:It is key to every successfully company out there – without a great team everything falls apart as you a one person and can’t do everything no matter how unlimited you think you are. If you want to grow and develop your business, then the sooner you realise your team is the key to that the better.
Q14: How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: There is no issue with failed ideas or concepts, it’s just that you may not have found that key one that works for you yet. There is an old saying of not putting all your eggs in the one basket and using that concept, you can try different ideas and see what works best and which ones don’t and need binned, without testing and measuring you will never know. But, if you have done your research and tried everything to make something happen maybe then it is time just to move onto the next idea/project you have.
Q15: What motivates you?
Ans: A few things motivate me, I won’t lie but money is important to me, as I see this as my passage to gain the things I want, nice house, flashy car, great long summer holidays and so on, none of that can happen without good old cash, so that’s why it’s important to me. Where the money comes from and seeing it grow does too, if it’s via an investment you have made or a business you have built up and exiting from after selling it on, then the thrill of doing it all again. Success I suppose you could call it and being a winner in whatever you do will give you the motivation to build something great and rewarding.
Q16:What are your ideals?
Ans: Making clients happy. That is our key mission statement. We never over sell our services like some people do or give out false information on what we can do for them. We truly believe in the service we offer and know it can help benefit any company in any sector to grow their brand and make it more professional and a long-term success. We have also been round the block a few times over the last 30 years so know that keeping people’s expectations is key, and always aiming to under promise and then over delivery on this to our clients is how we like to work.
Q17: How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: We do a lot of R&D and look into the marketplace and study what is happen, what markets are on the up and which are not. Planning out then what we are doing based on the answers we find out. Talking things over with the team and seeing what ideas each of us have, as this is important as different people see things differently and think in a different way so that’s why it is always good to brainstorm and play out the different outcomes that arise from these sessions.
Q18: How do you define success?
Ans: For us having a successful completion of a client’s website is the first key stage for us. Next having that ongoing relationship with the client to continue to aid them with their marketing needs and help them decide what ideas are best next for them. So then once the new site is live, with their SEO & PPC campaigns to ensure leads are coming in and the client is then converting these into sales. When you see a new client’s results via organic Google results it is great reviewing this after a set period of time and seeing how much more exposure you have given their brand.
Q19:How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: By offering a quality high end service, that gives your clients the service they need. This then means they will come back to you for more work in the future and also a great benefit of your client base once you start building it is getting your happy clients to give you referrals. Word of mouth is the best course of marketing you will ever get and even better it’s FREE! So, give your happy clients details on how they can referral someone else to use your services and this is then a great way to grow your client list and keep adding maturing it by giving your existing clients a great service.
Q20: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: The feeling that you are building something for you. You don’t answer to anyone else and are free to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. You can change what you want as you are in full control. Building that team that can perform well and then delivers a great service to our clients. Working without any red tape and just making changes for the better, because you can it’s your shout.
To a degree you could compare it to renting or owning a house – with the rent it’s like a normal job where you go in do your work and get paid for it, but with owning the house then what you pay every month goes into something that you are building for the future and it is kind of like that when you think about it like that.
Q21: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans: To be honest it was when we first secured our first like £50k contract. It was a moment when we know what we are offering is of great value and is important to the ongoing success of many businesses. I’m delighted to say that over many years that initial £50k contract turned into over £600k of business and seeing the benefit of the new online systems we put into place with great design, and web development it gave that company a complete change to moving fully online with their workflows. Seeing the money our systems actually saved them over the years too by going paperless and the success it gave both them and us for many years.
Q22: What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans: I would say both are important for different reasons. The person in a job has maybe has more security and safely in knowing they do their job and get paid each month. You could be easier classed as just a number in a large organisation and this could be seen as boring or not important through time, but to a lot of people it’s their way of life and they are happy. You also don’t have all the worries a business owner has to think about and act upon when you are just working within a job role.
On the flip side of this running your own business can be very exciting and more living life on the edge. But for doing this the ups and the downs for that matter can feel so much more. When you win and the business is a success then you gain all the rewards and benefits that come with that. But if the business isn’t doing well there could be times you have no money to take out the business while the staff still have their salary as normal so you own life can be more up and down and living in the unknown if the business is going through a sticky period etc. You only have to look at the recent lockdowns we have all seen across the world over the last 20 months, business owners on the whole have seen the worst time any of us have ever seen. Bills and invoices still need to be paid even when there is no money coming into the business. You need to file your taxes, paye and vat etc all on time as required for the business, as well as looking for sales and looking after your staff. So, there is so much more for you to manage when you are running a business. But has the saying goes without risk there is no rewards….
Q23: What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
Ans: Everyone is accountable for their actions, and everyone knows their role and what is expected from them. I hate a blame culture that you see exists in some businesses, where it is never their fault and everything that goes wrong is everyone else fault but their own. That attitude isn’t going to get you anywhere other than losing your clients and staff through bad management. Also keeping clear lines of communications is key too with your clients/staff and always giving them the good and any bad news, you need to. A lot of people shy away from this, but it is so important to keep an open dialogue going on every aspect of a client’s project or marketing campaign, and keeping everything up to date at all times.
Q24: In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Company : Domain Design Agency Ltd
Address : 272 Bath St
City : Glasgow
Country: United Kingdom
Zip : G2 4JR
Phone : 01415382411
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org