Role and company:CEO of Fast Web Media
Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):Revenue £2,016,124 ebitda £175,702
Growth forecast for the next three years:4.2m 2014, 5.3m 2015 (we don’t forecast more than 24 months ahead).
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace?FWM is the only search and digital marketing agency in the UK with expertise drawn directly from developing one of the world’s leading search engines.
What’s the big vision for your business?Over the last twelve months, Fast Web Media has gone through a transition, dividing into two separate components. Firstly, we continue to be a digital agency delivering marketing services to large global brands. This arm of the business forms the foundation on which we have built our client portfolio and credentials. More recently, we launched our Innovation Factory, producing software and digital solutions to benefit our agency-side clients and to complement our wider business model. This has given us an opportunity to redefine ourselves as both an agency and brand owner, with our own profit centres.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:In our capacity as a digital agency, we continue to work with customers across the world with operations in Holland, Italy, Germany, Canada and the USA.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:Our biggest setback was not being able to monetise our Football website, 4thegame.com enough, which was the Premier league’s official website before they developed their own. I learnt not to ‘push water uphill’ and sold the site to Sportech PLC, restructuring my company around the skill sets that made the website the second biggest sports site next to BBC sport.
What makes you mad in business today?Meetings about meetings, I just don’t get it; a waste of time….and giving bankers bonuses instead of the sack or jail terms.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?The biggest change in business is the pace of change itself, but specifically within the Marketing industry we will see brands and companies themselves becoming media owners and cutting out the middle men i.e. Media buyers etc.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?For most entrepreneurs the easiest and quickest way to get the funding they need is to seek out individual financiers who want to invest in the future. We can no longer rely on the banks to fund innovation; we have to be willing to go out and find the money pots ourselves.
How would others describe your leadership style?Well I have been described as democratic, but that was before I did employee reviews! I know others will have seen me in both autocratic and Laissez-faire mode. My style undoubtedly differs depending on the people and the situation.
Your biggest personal extravagance?Good restaurants and fine wine.
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper.I don’t think I would need the full two minutes with him, I think he’s totally out of touch with the reality of todays business world anyway. I’d possibly suggest some banking reforms and restructuring so they start working for us rather than themselves. I personally believe being an entrepreneur is about doing it on your own steam, without having to rely on Government funding anyway… By Shané Schutte
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