The MD of Ph.Creative turns his phone off for a few hours a day to spend time with his newborn son - but won't stop expanding his business internationally.
Role and company:
Managing Director, Ph.Creative
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace?
Ph.Creative offers a fully integrated service, developing bespoke, results-driven, inbound marketing campaigns across a range of sectors. We make it our business to understand clients as well as they understand themselves, in order to build a targeted campaign, focused on the individual needs and goals of the company.
What's the big vision for your business?
The agency has grown significantly over the past year, with a number of high profile client wins and new appointments to the team. Moving forward, we hope to build on this success by consolidating our position as a leading internet marketing agency in the UK and extending our reach internationally.
Current level of international business and future aspirations:
We’re currently developing a campaign for the US Tax and Financial Services Group, to raise awareness of US tax laws among American citizens living overseas. It’s a great business opportunity for us to lead on such a high profile campaign, and I hope that this will mark the start of Ph.Creative expanding its services internationally.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:
In the early days I hired a "big gun" to help bring in business, but unfortunately this was a mistake that cost us time, money and – certainly in my case - sanity. We ended up over-stretched and over-reliant on someone who ultimately didn’t deliver and added very little value to the business. But every setback is a lesson learned, and we’re now extremely thorough when it comes to recruiting new staff – to join the Ph.Creative team, people need to be the very best around and have a proven track record.
What makes you mad in business today?
That feeling when you're talking to someone and you can tell they’re not paying attention, and you’re completely wasting your time. You can see it in their eyes - I call it the "vacant vigilant view".
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?
There are certainly some fundamental changes afoot, the first of which will be a genuine integration of online marketing and digital television - this will further increase the use of video marketing on all levels. Despite its current proliferation, I also believe social media will become even more integrated into our daily lives. At the moment, Google's Author Rank is being played down but I genuinely think this is the start of a serious race for individual social value, which could easily become more influential than commercial brands.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?
In my opinion, there's plenty of money out there for digital and creative businesses, they just have to really want it and be prepared to work for it. We've had many private and public sector investment organisations knocking on our door this year with some very tempting propositions. All it takes is a solid plan, a team that can deliver and a strong leader capable of inspiring confidence.
How would others describe your leadership style?
I hope they’d agree that I try to take a collaborative approach to leadership and foster an environment where everyone feels able to contribute and share ideas. In return, I expect a high level of commitment, both to the business and to our clients.
What’s your biggest personal extravagance?
Thanks to the recent birth of our first baby, Harrison, my greatest extravagance is turning off my phone and closing my laptop for a couple of hours in the evening for bath, bottle and bed time. Although it still feels alien to me, having that regular quality time with him without any distractions is so important.
You've got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK's independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:
The biggest and most fundamental improvement he needs to make is a major change in personnel and policy at the top. I'm convinced that if more experienced business people were involved in key government decision making processes, we'd soon turn the economy around. I'd also like to see a significant improvement in business broadband across all major cities, a lower fuel tax and a complete eradication of corporation tax for small business. In too many cases, corporation tax is the final straw which breaks the spirit of many entrepreneurs.