Meet the 27 year-old co-founder of Uprise, recently named on the Forbes' 30 under 30 list in the Media, Marketing & Advertising category for the Asia region. He explains what it's like to run a fast growing company and how to avoid road blocks that slow business owners down.
When did you establish Uprise and what inspired it?
My business partner, Matt Rowe and I established Uprise in 2009. Our business was born out of transforming small businesses with limited budgets where every dollar is precious and counted. It is our mission to rid the world of ineffective digital advertising!
If a company were to ask you for advice on how to ‘grow fast’, what piece of advice would you offer?
If it’s a service business like ours, slow down. Embedding good internal processes and quality assurance checks is vital to be able to successfully grow. Without this, you will soon find gaps in your systems. If these are small gaps, then they seem inconsequential but when scaled they become large holes which can significantly affect delivery. The quality of work you deliver and client service cannot be compromised - especially in a market like New Zealand where you're only as good as your last job. Build the machine, then fuel it.
What type of company culture do you try and cultivate with your employees so they enjoy their work?
Any staff member can nominate another using our 'celebrating success room' in our internal messaging tool. Our company values are ingrained in our business and we strive to recognise and reward employees who demonstrate these. Most importantly, we’ve got a no jerk* policy (*we use a stronger word!) and know the importance of doing world-class, innovative work while enjoying the ride at the same time.
What has the journey been like to get where you are today?
We were incredibly lucky and fortunate to be able to surround ourselves with people who knew a lot more about business than we did in the early days. Our advisors helped us spot problems often before they arose and steer our course through the complicated business landscape. Selling our website design and development portfolio was one of the biggest. There have definitely been some rocky moments moving from having a small intimate team to a larger, geographically disperse one.
Digital services are in hot demand in this current market - how do you stay relevant and up-to-date to deliver the best services?
We have an innovation team that identifies new opportunities for our clients regularly. We have a rigorous process that we take our clients through to ensure anything 'new and shiny' aligns to their strategy, can clearly be measured, and stacks up against everything else they are doing.
You were featured in our Fast 50 list last year with growth of 431%. Why do you think your growth was so significant?
In 2014 we made a decision to sell part of our business that was not core to what we do and was very difficult to scale. By doing this, we threw all our energy into the highest performing services. This approach allowed us to improve efficiencies, tighten up processes, and build a reputation as the highest-performing digital optimisation agency in New Zealand.
Where would you like to take Uprise in the future?
We're serious about changing the industry. The challenges clients face here are no different around the world, the bigger opportunity lies in the larger markets where the impact and value we can provide is greater. We have world-class ambitions to take Uprise and New Zealand digital innovation to the rest of the world. We’re excited about creating a legendary workplace that becomes a mecca for exceptional talent to join us on our adventure to create groundbreaking work.
Finish this sentence: If you want your company to grow, make sure you…look after your people and build your processes to scale.
See Tim featured in the Forbes' 30 under 30 here