Welcome to our founder lessons series.
This week, Dan Reeves reveals how he co-founded a digital marketing agency for small & medium-sized businesses.
Tell us about Dandy Marketing
Dandy Marketing provides digital marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses across the globe. Our specialities include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC), Content Marketing and Paid Social. Our approach is to provide to the point, honest marketing advice and support that gets results.
Why and how did you start Dandy Marketing?
I worked in the digital marketing industry for over 5 years, working in-house for some big UK brands and with some big agencies. When dealing with these agencies, I often found myself thinking “I could do this better”. So I guess the thought of running a digital agency was always in the back of my mind. I just never summoned enough courage to do it.
I was lucky enough to start a new role, and gain a friend that had the same ideas, passion and approach to marketing. One day in our canteen we just decided to go for it and Dandy was born over chicken nuggets and chips.
As we were often in the same meetings, we saw the good and the bad side of agencies. We started because we saw a better way of doing things, especially for smaller businesses. So, we focus on results and transparency, providing the best value for money service can.
What has been your biggest success factors?
It seems everyone is starting a consultancy or marketing agency these days. Combine that with the thousands of digital marketing agencies out there already, and you’ve got a pretty crowded market.
I think our biggest factor has come down to our approach, and if I may say so, just being genuinely good people to work with.
We are completely transparent with what’s working, what’s not. The work we have carried out, and the impact it has had. We also go the extra mile for clients, for example, we picked up a new client, and ended up completely redoing her website for free.
Some may see that as stupid, and a missed opportunity but that’s our approach. We have already gained that “missed revenue” back from the referrals the client has given us.
Another factor that has contributed to our success so far is consistent effort. I know now I wouldn’t have been able to do this on my own. I’m very grateful that we have a team and culture with the same mindset and morals.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced launching and running the company?
As they are only two of us running the day to day operations it was quite a challenge juggling all these new tasks we had to perform.
Not only do we have to deliver for clients, well, we actually need to get clients. There’s also the boring business/accountancy stuff, which I hate doing, and thankfully my co-founder has picked up.
We went from being in-house marketers to business development managers, HR, account managers and accountants!
All of these were new to us, so it was a bit of a learning curve, some of which we are still trying to nail down.
We knew we needed help on the accountancy side so we signed up with a digital accountancy firm. The software and support they provide have been a huge help.
Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?
These 3 will forever be a key part of any successful business. I think for me and the industry I work in I’d have to say, team.
The biggest part of my role is ensuring we are delivering results for clients. The better the team, the better you can do that. The market will then come to you!
Plus, it’s always good to have a team you can thrive in and enjoy working with. As an entrepreneur, having that support network is invaluable.
Final words for those chasing the startup dream
Self-doubt is normal but you can overcome it by just starting. Doesn’t matter how small. Just start.
Consistent effort is the path to mastery so once you start, don’t be afraid of new things, keep going. Create momentum and you will feel unstoppable.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, look for Facebook groups, old bosses/colleagues. People will be more than happy to share their advice.