Small businesses in Australia continue to push the boundaries of our ‘glocal’ economy. The ShortPress Small Talk series profiles a diverse range of small businesses to find out what they do and what makes them tick.
Nothing But Web is a Melbourne-based website development and marketing company. We sat down to talk to the company’s founder and senior digital strategist, Alastair Coleman.
ShortPress: Describe your small business in less than 50 words.
Nothing But Web: Nothing But Web are a diverse team of Melbourne-based, professional creatives who partner with both small and large companies to grow their businesses by delivering engaging websites and online marketing campaigns.
What inspires you as a business owner?
NBW: I’m inspired and constantly motivated by having the opportunity to grow a company both vertically and horizontally. It’s also so rewarding to be able to focus as a team on the continuous improvement of the business, and to of course exceed the expectations of our clients.
What does a typical day for you look like?
NBW: Getting up early for breakfast with my family. Meditation on the 40-minute train ride. Coffee on the go, then answering client emails from 8-9am. I then focus the main part of my day on new business opportunities, not forgetting to stop and get outside for a walk around lunchtime. Toward the end of the day, I like to focus on our internal business development and then when I jump back on the train home, I do a quick check of the emails and then focus on educational reading.
What have your biggest challenges been so far and how have you overcome them?
NBW: Our industry is crowded and often we are competing with cheaper, overseas-based suppliers. We have developed a process that helps new clients understand the value that we bring to their business, covering technical expertise and customer service. Education, effort and follow-up are key to the process and help give us a point of difference.
Secondly, as the owner of a small business, my challenge was finding and hiring that first member of my team. I was so used to doing all the work, so learning to let go and trust someone else to take responsibility was not easy. It has taken time, and not every hire is the right one, but I have learned that trust and letting go are key to progress and scale.
What about your biggest learnings?
NBW: You cannot do everything yourself. In our complex, multi-skilled industry, one simply cannot know or be great at doing everything. You need to have a niche and be the best at it – employ others to do the rest.
If you could start over again, would you do anything differently?
NBW: Yes. I would plan to scale the business from day one, and focus on growing the business instead of doing all the work.
What advice would you give to budding small business owners?
NBW: Decide if you want to be a bigger company or not, then base all of your decisions around that. I would also recommend they spend a good portion of each day focussing on business development, and create a solid structure for each day. Plan instead of react.
Who are the business leaders you look up to and why?
NBW: Gary Vaynerchuk – I believe is hard working, takes large risks, has big goals and always has time to teach others.
Richard Branson – He seems to be very happy, in control, always moving forward and demonstrates you can be big and diverse in business.
Where to now for your business?
NBW: Clients are becoming more aware of the power of online marketing and how important the tech space is for consumer engagement, retention and referral. We are leveraging our knowledge in this space to stay local and grow the team so that we can continue to meet client needs and establish ourselves as a leader in this space.