Role and company:Co-founder of media agency the7stars
Growth forecast for the next three years:100 per cent. For the last three years we have grown our business by 20-30 per cent PA, so doubling the business by 2017 feels very achievable.
In fewer than 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace?Most of our competitors are bigger agencies, and almost all are owned by the major global advertising groups. Our independence isn’t just about our ownership – it is also the spirit that we cultivate throughout the agency.
What’s the big vision for your business?To be recognised as the UK’s best media agency – famous for creating exceptional campaigns for our clients.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:Every unsuccessful new business pitch feels like a setback, but it’s important not to take things personally. Learning from mistakes is only half the solution. The real challenge is making the next pitch better.
What makes you mad in business today?There is a lack of honesty in a lot of agencies and it creates an environment of distrust between clients and agencies. We go out of our way to give open and honest advice but it’s difficult not to get tarred by the industry brush.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?We are seeing a long term trend whereby advertiser budgets are migrating from traditional to digital media channels. This requires wholesale change – it means we need to rethink personnel, structure, technologies, suppliers – basically everything!
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow?If not, what can be done to improve things? It hasn’t been a barrier to our growth.
How would others describe your leadership style? An unpredictable mixture of open, collaborative, and fun – but equally tough, obsessive and ambitious.
Your biggest personal extravagance?Champagne – lots of it!
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 actually think the UK is a pretty good place to be an entrepreneur. I think that socially and culturally there is more respect for entrepreneurial businesses than there is for more established companies. I’ve experienced that on a personal level, but as a business too. We are a nation who loves the challenge, energy and inherent risk of starting up – and celebrates entrepreneurial success. So I’m not sure I need two minutes with the PM. Now, give me two minutes with the marketing director of Veuve Clicquot and I will have a lot to say! By Shané Schutte
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