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Tell us how you got started in the digital / creative / tech space?

I fell into a marketing role at the Halifax Building Society as it then was many years ago. I did a couple of years and then got my first agency role in a small design consultancy and never looked back – I’ve worked in agencies of all shapes and sizes ever since, from a 2-man start-up to the global network of McCann.

In 1999 I started playing in what was then a new channel (or is it a discipline?) called digital and loved every minute. New challenges, opportunities, ever changing technologies, new markets and a move to developing actual product as opposed to purely promoting stuff, which felt like a real game changer.


What’s your current role and what do you enjoy most about it?

I left my last full-time role as MD of Branded3, one of the UK’s leading Search agencies, in July 2015 to start my own strategy consulting business working with creative companies on their growth plans as well as directly with end-clients on their own digital strategies.

I must admit, my current work with agency owners and management teams is where I get my biggest buzz – I love agencies and the dynamics within them; strategy and proposition development; people and personalities; the challenges of managing people, clients, projects, time and budgets; new business and business development; and helping agency owners successfully navigate all these things.


Anything that can be done to support and raise the profile, quality and size of the sector in the North, the better.


Why the North?

I’m a Yorkshireman and have lived around the North for most of my life. I have been around long enough to see some big spending client take their marketing budgets to so-called ‘major’ London agencies, and unnecessarily so in my opinion – anything that can be done to support and raise the profile, quality and size of the sector in the North, the better.


What’s one big thing you’ve learned about what it takes to grow a business?

Make sure you have clarity on what it is you do (and therefore don't do), and then remain focused on that. It is very easy to get distracted by the next shiny new piece of tech or the fact that your favourite client has asked if you can help with X when all you really do is Y. You see the short-term revenue but not the consequences of the distraction of moving away from your core strength.


What’s the piece of advice you find yourself giving most often?

To be honest this comes back to the focus point above. Regardless of everything that is going on day to day in a business, there should always be one or two things that preside over the day-to-day, in order to remove any confusion or doubt about efforts ought to be concentrated.


Best book you’ve read in the last year and why?

Jim Collins - Good to Great. The most practical business book I’ve ever read, and not just in the last year. Pretty much everyone I’ve recommended it to say they’ve taken things from it straight way and implemented in their own businesses, and they’ve all taken something different – praise indeed!


One album and / or podcast we all need to have in our lives?

I’m a huge fan of Radio4’s ‘Desert Island Discs’. Primarily because you can learn so many things about business from non-business situations and non-business people, and the stories interlaced with the music choices are wonderful. The first podcast episode is from 1956 so there’s plenty to go at!


Most looking forward to about Greater Connected?

Dead easy this one – helping the owner of a digital, creative or tech company grow their business.


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