Telling the truth about SME life today

My five secrets to growing and running a successful business

Of course, no job is perfect and we all have the odd “bad day at the office!”, but finding the right route for you will inspire, motivate and engage you for as many years as you continue to love it.

For me, it was always going to be a job that enabled me to explore my passion for technology, creativity and science, and I feel very lucky that I have been able to not only make a career, but a business out of my greatest interests in life.

(1) Make good friends

u2028In business there is no such thing as too many contacts, and in Milton Keynes we are fortunate enough to have networking opportunities that would allow you to have breakfast, lunch or a beer with local professionals most days if you wanted. 

We has supported many of these over the years, including the likes of Midsummer Breakfast, MK Sporting Lunch, City Breakfast, Concrete Cattleman, and we even used to run our own informal networking called Third Thirsty Thursday , which basically involved enjoying a drink and a catch up with friends, colleagues and clients once a month.

Engaging with community organisations and supporting local charities is also very important to the success and growth of any business. I am very proud to be vice president of MK Community Foundation and a regular sponsor and supporter of Willen Hospice. The friends and colleagues I have made through local business and community engagement has undoubtedly helped to raise our profile and support our ongoing success.

(2) Embrace changeu2028

In the world of technology, change is a daily occurrence and there is a constant need to keep up-to-date and ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest innovations and advancements.

Our flexibility and willingness to embrace change is what has enabled us to diversify from the digital design and development agency that we started life as in 1995, to what is now a full service offering.

(3) Never give up

u2028Running a business isnt easy, but then nothing worthwhile ever is. Be prepared to meet more than a few challenges along the way, and dont forget to lean on those lovely friends youve made for advice and support.

We’ve weathered a few storms in its time, including the Dot Com Crash in our early days and the more recent adverse economic climate. However, we’ve continued to grow. Perhaps we are just lucky, but I dont believe so. 

The digital arena has never been more exciting, with the fusion of really useful handheld devices and significantly better data transfer rates, coupled with the hugely popular uptake of social media, creating a world of possibilities just waiting to be explored. 

(4) Celebrate success

In todays business environment, when competition is fierce and the economic climate is often unpredictable, it’s easy to get absorbed in the day-to-day running of your organisation. 

Taking a step back to look at what we have achieved is not self-indulgent or egocentric but a chance to shift the focus away from profit alone as a measure of success and concentrate on what unique qualities your company has that makes it stand out from the crowd.

(5) Have fun

u2028I’ve always believed it is vital that staff invest in the company and its success, and I understand that this can only be achieved if the company invests in them through events, training, support and regular, structured dialogue.

From our inception, we’ve had a strong work hard, play hard ethic. An efficient and profitable business most often emerges from a positive working environment, where employees feel rewarded and appreciated, not just for the time and ideas that they commit to the business, but also for their unique personalities and skills.

This has successfully fostered a culture where our team members are not only prepared to commit more time than they are obliged to, but also they genuinely care about our company’s successes and failures, often working longer hours in order to finish projects.

Nicholas Mann is founder and managing director of Interdirect



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