Meet the MD: Andrew Firth, Ascensor

Meet the MD: Andrew Firth, Ascensor

In spite of his early career aspirations as a ski instructor, Andrew Firth's life has slalomed down a different course as he's the founder and managing director of digital agency Ascensor. He tells BQ more about his job.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words

I am one of the original founders and managing director of digital agency Ascensor Limited. We have a strong team of 27 employees and together we offer businesses advanced solutions online. 

I oversee the day to day operations of Ascensor and ensure that the Ascensor team is feeling happy, engaged and motivated to ensure continued company growth.

What is it the company does?

Ascensor is a digital agency based in Birstall specialising in web development, e-commerce and digital marketing. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses, ranging from start-ups to larger corporations, with their presence online.   

We take a proactive approach to helping our clients; combining creative flair with a solid understanding of web development.

Last year Ascensor also acquired a Brighouse website development firm, Refreshing Web Design, and a digital agency based in Poland which has strengthened our capacity and allowed us to focus on app development.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

Entrepreneurship has always interested me, but prior to Ascensor I studied product design with management at university. This led to a short stint in the engineering industry and soon after, a Master’s in Business Administration.

In 2001 I began working in a design and print agency specialising in website builds. Here, I met my former business partner and we created an online retail business selling novelty goods, toys and games. It was such a success that in 2007 we decided to use our e-commerce and digital experience to form Ascensor. The rest, as they say, is history!

What do you believe makes a great leader?

Respecting and appreciating your team. I put Ascensor’s year on year growth down to our dedicated team, who are committed and passionate about what they do.
We have a great working culture at Ascensor and we put a lot of emphasis on rewarding through benefits schemes and team building activities. We also invested £30,000 in a ‘break-out’ area in our Yorkshire headquarters which represents a beach and a comfy home for everyone to enjoy.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Managing growth brings with it many challenges including controlling cash-flow, maintaining quality and meeting deadlines. As we have grown we have continually needed to introduce new systems to help us to stay in control of the day to day whilst expanding our team and output.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

I try to play golf away from the office but this doesn’t happen as often as I would like. I also enjoy hiking and sampling real ale in my home county of Yorkshire; the beautiful coastline and the rolling hills and not to mention the beer– Yorkshire has it all!

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A ski instructor in the Alps.

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

Probably untidy desks at the end of the day; I think you get closure on the day by putting everything away and this set’s you up better for the following morning, and explaining this normally does the trick!

Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

We have delivered year on year growth since incorporation and this year will see our biggest leap forwards and I am confident that Ascensor will continue to expand. We’ve been able provide many job opportunities to local people and I would like to continue to be able to do so.

One of Ascensor’s main aims is to inspire the next generation of designers, developers and digital marketers and we are now into our second year of employing three marketing under-graduates from local universities with a view to helping us to nurture future marketers and sales team members. In five years I expect the business to be around forty strong, with double current sales and serve more large businesses.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

I’m a keen networker and I like connecting with people from all different kinds of industry. I would say learn from the people you meet and make the most of the opportunities that arise; these things have helped me a lot along the way.