The community spotlight is a new regular feature for the Nimvelo Community. Every month, we’ll be profiling a different business so you get the best insight from the front lines of the UK business landscape. For our first ever spotlight post we spoke with Ed Leake from Midas Media to discuss the challenges he’s faced in growing his business and some honest advice for other entrepreneurs out there.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came about starting your business?
I’m Ed Leake, the Managing Director of Midas Media. We’re a digital marketing agency who operate from the heart of the country, Melton Mowbray to be precise – home of the pork pie!
I started my business simply because I found the corporate life insufferable. The culture and mismanagement that I was subjected to over many years was claustrophobic – I knew I could do things better. I wanted to create a career that I loved and perhaps more importantly, a working environment that people loved to be a part of. Not just another J.O.B.
What products and services does your business offer?
Midas Media craft and execute unique marketing strategies that ultimately convert website visitors in to paying customers and generate a handsome revenue for our clients.
We use an array of expertise to do this, but primarily our projects focus on Content Marketing, Social Media and Paid Search.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different and that’s why I love my job. This is true not only of running an SME, but also the nature of the modern marketing industry. Everything moves so fast. Everything changes. You can’t be complacent, you can’t even rest at times, and I love the pace and freshness of it all!
My day typically boils down to one of four key areas:
- The financial performance of my business; are we generating leads? are we keeping clients happy? are we invoicing and getting paid?are my projections accurate and on target etc.
- Team mentoring and development, making sure people are happy and equipped to do their job.
- Problem solving – I make sure the ‘proverbial’ stuff rolls up hill at Midas, not down as would happen in most office environments. A portion of my time is dedicated to handling operational issues and resolving them.
- Innovation and strategy, because in my industry everything changes. Therefore one of my key focuses is to keep abreast of everything and educate myself daily.
Good employees are your lifeblood, bad ones are you downfall. Invest in the good people, quickly get rid of the problematic ones.
What has been your biggest challenge since starting the business?
Smooth, low pressure growth. If there is such as thing? The company started out in my home office for a few years (with remote staff). From my ‘back bedroom’ I generated a 6 figure turnover. I was always mindful if I were to exceed my £250,000 target I’d need to venture outside! Midas now resides in a rather plush, modern office with a team of eight and growing. Running a marketing agency demands considerable risk taking, it requires long hours and in reality less time for yourself, friends and family than you’d perhaps like. Controlling growth is just part of that puzzle. It’s all too easy to get carried away and blow your budget on an office and staff, only for projects to fail later down the line. I was always and still am, very prudent.
A few rules I live by to avoid growing pains:
- I always have 4 months liquidity in the bank
- I have no debt – ever
- I keep ‘facility’ expenses to under 10% of turnover
- I aim for 65% efficiency (utilisation) in all projects
Remember that business is built on mutually beneficial relationships.
What advice would you give to other business leaders for growing their business?
From my experience there are so many different things that can make or break a business.
Even those with great ideas won’t flourish if the owner doesn’t unburden themselves from work that shouldn’t be on their desk.
Here are a few key but brief pointers (I could write a book on each one):
- Outsource and/or delegate everything you don’t want to do – the faster you can get admin tasks off your desk, the faster you can look after and grow the business.
- Good employees are your lifeblood, bad ones are you downfall. Invest in the good people, quickly get rid of the problematic ones.
- Always look after the customers that look after you. Keep good customers sweet (in a non-sociopathic kind of way, of course).
- If a customer ever takes advantage of your generosity, they’re no longer a good customer.
- Don’t be fooled by all the get rich quick gurus out there, focus on what works for you.
- If you find yourself complaining or being negative, you need to stop! Then make the changes that allow you to be positive.
- Books on tactical business elements are much more actionable than theoretical stuff. Looking to empower people? Well, make some money first…!
And last but by no means least: remember that business is built on mutually beneficial relationships. Not bullying and desperation. Don’t cash grab, instead sell honestly, sell what you believe is the right thing and look after those that look after you.
How did you hear about Nimvelo? How has it changed the way you communicate?
I was a client back in the day when you were called ‘Sipcentric’. I did the usual; Googled around and talked to a few companies. You guys (and girls) seemed affable, and what with you being based in the Midlands too, I took the plunge! IP telephony has enabled us to scale our business phone system easily and at an attractive price. I love the fact we can literally plug a phone it to ‘the Internet’ and make/receive calls. Furthermore the option of ordering business phone numbers and extensions in a few clicks, and with call recording, makes it a no-brainer for small businesses. Touch wood, your service has practically been uninterrupted for the past few years too.
Share your story
Are you a business owner with valuable insight to share with our community, consisting of hundreds of UK businesses just like yours? Email our Community Manager, Sabrina on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an interview.