Earlier this year we meet up with an old friend, Josh Gutteridge. Josh is currently MD of Regency Creative. A web design and brand agency based in London. We had the privilege to interview him to get an understanding of how he achieved success throughout his entrepreneurial career. He’s also kindly provided some very useful advice and tips for those who are thinking of becoming entrepreneurs or those starting out, not just for those wanting to go into design but for entrepreneurs across the board. So read below and tell us what you think. Has any of this advice given a better insight into entrepreneurship. And if you’ve got your own advice please share below in the comments, social media or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So let’s get into the interview. The interview took place at the Regency Creative office and this how we got into it:
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
A: Regency was established just under 2 years ago now, we specialise in branding and web solutions. We also offer a lot of other services as well. But I suppose Regency Creative is more about giving the client a consultative approach, 80% of our clients meet us at their initial start phase and once the initial plans are actioned, we then work on growing them as a result we also grow. It’s really satisfying to see these clients grow into established businesses and becoming known worldwide. We’ve worked with brands that have now become recognised worldwide. It’s something we thoroughly enjoy to be able to part of as well as getting the work done, obviously.
Q: What made you move to London?
A: I think London has got a reputation for being a hub for being unique and creating innovate design. I think that just to be in the centre of it, in East London specifically being surrounded by the Google Campus, Old Street, Silicon roundabouts these are places are well known in the creative industry and we’re round some really big companies here as well. It provides the right atmosphere, environment and mindset to be really creative. It’s great to be around that vibe and experience. Designing alongside these people and I suppose being the hub of British design and being able to take that British design out of London and the UK. So establishing the company in London was a good move to be on track with those trends.
Q: You ran a business in Leicester previously. How long did you run that business for?
A: 8 years, I set the company up when I was 15, still in school. I didn’t go to university and worked really hard to build clients in and around Leicester/Leicestershire, a few in Derby and Nottingham. Through those we got a few referrals, and by the end of the 8 years we’d established a web design brand that was quite successful. (Me: it goes to show you don’t always need a degree or qualifications to good stuff and be successful) Exactly, well I was quite academic so it wasn’t that I didn’t get the grades to continue in school, but I just wanted to prove that traditional education isn’t always the way to be successful I suppose. I never view myself as a successful person, I always viewed myself going forward and what I’m going to do next. I don’t look back at what I’ve done but I can say what I’ve done compared to some of my peers at school, I’m probably further up the career ladder. So if you do leave school, then theres every opportunity to make yourself successful.
Q: So you sold you previous business in Leicester. Why did you sell it?
A: I could not have taken the business any further really, it got to a point where I put everything into the business. I done all I could in that business and it needed someone to come in with more management experience to come in and take it to the next level, which is the reason why I sold it.
Q: What made you start again and in a different location?
A: I knew the mistakes I made in SkyteMedia which couldn’t be immediately rectified without someone stepping in, so Regency was an opportunity, after having freelanced, ran a company and worked under an agency during the handover process, realising the common pressure points or mistakes that these different environments made and to create an agency that took it all back to basics and started from scratch and got the basic things right.
I wanted to prove that traditional education isn’t always the way to be successful
Q: What pitfalls would tell others wanting to set up a business in this industry to avoid?
A: I think the biggest mistake I made is to try and do everything yourself. And for 8 years while I was in SkyteMedia I really struggled, I was working crazy hours of the morning everyday and I always thought my ideas were the best, which they still are (laughs) and I didn’t fully understand what it means to scale a company. And I think you can sit down and plan it out in your mind when you start out a company and how you’re going to scale it, manage it and grow it organically. I think that would have benefitted me and I would probably be in a different position than I am today. Other pitfalls are, for example cleaning the studio, do I spend an hour cleaning or do I spend an hour working and pay someone to clean the studio, it’s exactly the same thing and what I’ve adapted. Pay others to get on with it and I can get on with what I’m good at. My staff will get on with what they are good at and it scales naturally from that. I would also encourage, to always make sure everything is really clear in contract, making sure your on the same page, misunderstanding is by far the biggest ball ache in business. Treat your clients as friends is a good one, to have that ongoing friendship and laid back approach with them is really good.
Q: What tips would you give to start ups?
A: All of those points above, but also not to be so obsessive about what other people are doing. People always get obsessed with what the competition are doing, whether you’re doing better than them and actually if you sit back and brainstorm your own ideas, you’ll be different to them to go out there and present your idea and get interest from a lot of people. And your competition will be doing what the rest of the competition are doing. So don’t be afraid to go out there and do something different, don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Q: What makes you unique from your competition?
A: I don’t actually believe in USPs, I don’t believe any company or industry has a particular USP that is useful to them. For example, I might be able to get work done within 4 weeks another agency can do the same thing; if I offer money back guarantee another agency can do the same. I think it’s really about you being unique but through your personality. I think sitting in a meeting with clients, especially multi million pound worth clients your personality is the thing that needs to carry you forward, clients will be sitting there with multiple proposals and everyones professing to have a USP but there could be another proposal that offers exactly the same thing. Just make your business and yourself really personable.