Back in 2008 was when the Hogarth story really began. We started up the company with 14 people in an attic room near Carnaby Street. The floor sloped so badly that the chairs tended to end up in one corner, and our ‘meeting room’ was the coffee shop across the road. Back then, we had the ambition to build a £2.5 million company, but last year we exceeded £100 million. So how did we do it?
We never lost sight of the vision for the company. It’s so easy to get distracted by day-to-day activities. You need to focus on the bigger picture. Our vision was to bring savings to national and global brands through new ways of producing advertising campaigns. We opened our doors with a centralized translation model for delivering international campaigns and have regularly invented new ways of saving money ever since.
Over the last seven years we’ve learnt that whenever we stick close to that vision, that’s when we succeed, and whenever we wander off into other apparent opportunities, we tend to lose our way.
I read an article by James Caan recently where he talked about ‘hiring the best’. He’s absolutely right. People don’t buy from businesses, they buy from people. That’s why hiring and retaining the top talent should always be a priority. That top talent is attracted by the vision of the company as much as the day-to-day job and salary. They need to feel that they’re working in a business with a positive and clear view of where it’s going. With our vision, we brought together a team of people from advertising and traditional production backgrounds – all with the same mind-set as ourselves. They understood marketers and had a thirst to break the existing business moulds.
Finding and convincing early adopters to get on board is key for entrepreneurs. When you’re challenging traditional ways of doing business you need to be able to attract customers who are prepared to work in this new way. This requires your vision to not only be attractive but also tangible. Many companies have a vision but when asked to prove they can make a difference, they fall flat. We pioneered new ways of working, developed software and built new facilities to help our clients make the savings. But the key for us was being able to share operational data that proved to our clients we were having an effect on their business and, being able to share those results with potential customers.
Our core vision has never changed and if you’ve got a good idea – neither should yours. If you set out clearly what you want to achieve and how you plan to do it, then persist with that vision. It will drive your company forward and help you attract and keep the best people.
Barry jones is a founder and CEO of Hogarth Worldwide.