Interviews

Published

Blending the art of ideas with the science of execution

3 Mins

Name:

Stephen Maher

Role and company: 

CEO of MBA

Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric): 

£5.2m

Employee numbers: 

45

Growth forecast for the next three years:

50 per cent

In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace: 

We’re a creative agency for the digitally integrated world and one of the World’s Leading Independents for two years running in Campaign magazine. We’re proven at delivering ROI for our Clients through our Brand Action™ approach. This blends the art of insightful ideas with the science of rigorous and glorious execution.

What’s the big vision for your business?

To deliver our proven Brand Action™ approach to more clients in the UK and globally.

Current level of international business and future aspirations: 

I have always worked, and currently work, with various clients on an international basis. For example, Embraer Executive Jets from Brazil, Accor Hotels, Comte Cheese and Mercedes Benz. We opened our first overseas office in Miami in April and we have great plans for more international business in the US. We’re also extending our presence in China and EMEA

Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:

Lost a major long standing client to an international agency network alignment a few years ago, despite great successes with the client in the UK market. In every business you must always keep looking forward for new opportunities as you never know when factors beyond your control could hold back the business 

What makes you mad in business today?

Not enough of a realisation amongst the UK government that the engine of growth and the key to getting the UK out of recession is home-grown independent entrepreneurial businesses.

What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?

The complete convergence of ideas and technology in all areas of business.

Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow?  If not, what can be done to improve things?

Not easily enough. We should act more like Silicon Valley.

How would others describe your leadership style?

Confident, clear and fair.

Your biggest personal extravagance?

My four children.

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 more money the banks lend with less security beyond the business itself and the more tax incentives you offer these budding businessmen and women, the more Steve Jobs and Richard Bransons we will see in the UK. By doing this, the UK economy will become more powerful and rich. Roughly £50,000 can build a British Apple. No great businesses have ever succeeded without risk. Risk nothing and you will get nothing.

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