Getting to know you: Stephen Alexander, MD First Internet

What do you currently do?
I am the managing director of new media agency First Internet, which I started over 13 years ago.  
Things have certainly changed through the years. When we first started search engine optimisation I was able to implement the SEO for all our clients at home on a Sunday afternoon!  Times have certainly moved on since then and we now have a whole department dedicated to SEO alone. 
In that time we’ve grown into a full service marketing agency, offering everything from website design and social media marketing to design for print.
What is your inspiration in Business?
Early on in my career my boss once said something that has stuck with me ever since. He said: “I don’t pay the wages; the clients pay all our wages!” A service business like ours can only prosper if we provide an unbeatable service to clients. 
It’s a sentiment I pass onto all my employees and one that informs everything we do at First Internet.  
Who do you admire?
Winston Churchill.
He was a magnificent leader and had the fantastic ability to say something inspirational and humorous at the same time.  
One of my favourites (and most heeded!) is: “The first quality that is needed is audacity.”
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
I would have started Google instead of First Internet!  I started First Internet at a similar time to Google and while successful, we’re not quite in the same league as Google.  Not just yet anyway! 
What defines your way of doing business?
Letting employees develop in their own way (within reason of course).  I’m happy to give advice and guidance to the people who work for me, but I don’t believe in trying to make them ‘perfect’ or mould them into something they’ll never be.  It’s unrealistic and more often than not stops them reaching their own potential.  
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Be positive, do it now and do it with confidence. 
To quote Winston Churchill once again: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
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