What do you currently do?
I’m the MD and founder of Squiders, a specialist independent web design studio. As well as being involved in running and growing the business, I take a ‘hands on’ approach on all client work and act as the lead designer of the agency.
What is your inspiration in business?
I strive to make the web a more user-friendly and accessible space, with all the web-design projects I work on. I aspire to set principals that inspire others, and I’m prepared to give a lot of my time in order to promote these. It’s important for me to always remember that firstly I am a designer, and this is the main reason for me starting my business, which is where my inspiration lies as a creative web designer.
Who do you admire?
In the web industry we are fortunate enough to have a few very vocal role models, who are so generous with their time. On the business side, Mike Monteiro and Paul Boag have had big influences on the direction I have taken, and Jeffrey Zeldman and Brendan Dawes have inspired me both technically and creatively and led me to where I am today, Founder and MD of my own business
Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
A few things! At the beginning I tried to save money on staff, opting to recruit junior level employees. I still firmly believe in this principle, as everyone deserves to learn and grow, but it proved costly during the early years of growth as I found it very hard to find the time to give new employees the attention they needed without taking too much focus away from the business. These days, although recruiting young talent is important, I try to focus my recruitment to people who are not only more creative than me, but are also smarter. That way I know that my business is providing the best possible service it can with the whole team working on it.
I also struggled to share my thoughts with other members of the team. It took quite some time to work out a system that meant information was passed through the communication channels to lead the team to work efficiently and without confusion.
What defines your way of doing business?
Honesty and integrity are very important to me in business. I have a genuine passion for helping our clients to grow their businesses using design, and at Squiders we only measure with real data, not intuition, nor guessing just cold hard numbers!
I get the most satisfaction when I see a clients’ sales and enquiries grow because of the work we have done for them. It is the most simple of business models, but if our clients succeed then so do we!
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Find the right balance between work and lifestyle. It’s far too easy to allow your business to become what defines you and to not devote time to what’s important outside of the office – maintaining a great work life balance is what is important. Also, to always keep in mind the reasons you started the business in the first place; those core principles will serve you well throughout the business career.