Getting to Know You: Sukhi Dehal, Founder & Managing Partner, 383 Project

Sukhi Dehal

We spoke to Sukhi about what the inspiration was to form 383 Project and why you should always follow your gut 

What do you currently do?

I’m the co-founder here at 383 Project, a digital experience studio. We work with clients to help them get fit for the future, which typically means we help them navigate the huge changes going on with their customers, their competitors and modern technology. We use tools and methodologies normally found in the start-up world to help create the best digital products, services and experiences for their customers.

We understand how vital it is for those who design, make and market digital experiences to have a platform for sharing and learning too, which is why we developed our community event, Canvas Conference. Now in its 7th year, it’s our flagship event which brings our growing network of clients and friends the insider stories behind some of the world’s most interesting companies.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

The inspiration behind the business has always remained ‘do good work, have fun’. We wanted to create great work that meant something to both our own people and those we’re doing the work for. I’ve always disliked the typical ‘agency model’, so when we started out 10 years ago, we focussed on doing really good work in a non-traditional way. Fast-forward 10 years and the proposition may have developed with the advancements and shifts in customer needs, but our focus on our people has always remained unchanged.

What defines your way of doing business?

I think our way of doing business is defined by our instincts for doing what is right and fair. I started out as a designer and never held ‘management’ experience. Both John (383’s other co-founder) and I started off the same but I naturally took on the role of managing, finance, opps, legals etc.. We’ve made mistakes over the years but have learnt from them. From day one, we’ve always gone with our gut on what feels right and fair, and this has played an important part in helping us to continuously deliver the best results we can for our customers.

Who do you admire?

I admire many people, but a book I’m reading currently, ‘Own the day, own your life’ by Aubrey Marcus – founder and CEO of lifestyle brand Onnit – has really impacted me. I always have huge admiration for people who are humble, honest and take ownership over their actions.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

Loads! And if someone says otherwise then they’re not being truthful to themselves. There’s been big decisions that I’ve made too quickly, I’m someone that needs to sleep on it and consider wider context. I tend to always go with my gut though. Whenever I’ve gone against it, I’ve been wrong.

Bad decisions are good too, you learn from bad decisions and they make you stronger. Ultimately, all my decisions have shaped my future and led me to where I am today (cliché I know) and I wouldn’t change anything, I have a great business and a really talented group of people I work with.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

I’d tell them 3 things:

1) Always trust your gut – gut decisions are usually right 99 per cent of the time. And that other 1 per cent is a learning curve.

2) Always take time out for yourself – running a business is stressful at the best of times. Look after your health (body & mind) because if you’re not on top of it, it’ll affect a lot more than just your business.

3) Don’t lose sight of the mission, and stick to it – don’t let outside factors lead you astray. Make a plan and stick to it. Things happen, changes are needed but have a vision as a north-star and keep it at the front of all decision making.

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