Harnessing an early career in acting and the art of improvisation, Richard Dodgson founded his company, Timebased Events in 1996. He talks to BQ about wanting to be with Elizabeth Taylor, golf day inspiration and creative abundance.
What is it the company does?
Timebased is a creative, experience-driven events company. Our focus is on producing pivotal moments-in-time for the brands we work with, whilst also ensuring that the events we put on are sustainable, without sacrificing on quality.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words?
As the founder, I take on the responsibility of making sure the company and my employees reach and surpass their goals. However, as the chief creative officer, I work very closely with members of our creative team, transforming rough ideas and concepts into amazing events, whilst ensuring our own messages are consistent with our branding.
Give a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start; how did you move on?
I began my working life as an actor in the National Youth Theatre, where I had a stint working in Germany and discovered their interesting approach to putting on performances in non-traditional spaces such as a water park.
I attempted to emulate this in London but found it very difficult. As a result, I decided to take the knowledge and skills from my acting experience and put it towards events and in 1996, Timebased was born.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
A great leader is someone who values their team above all else. In order to be successful, you need to listen to your employees and value their opinion, sometimes more than your own.
What has been the biggest challenge in your current position?
Brexit has created hurdles in our industry. Many businesses have become reluctant to invest into events whilst there is uncertainty of their position in the UK and when they do, their budgets are much smaller. However, it’s important to understand the importance of events for long term business goals and those who are still putting them on now, will see a huge strategic value in the months and years following Brexit.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I have two ways. Firstly, I love to take the family away for a holiday, turn my emails off and enjoy my free time. Sadly though, this isn’t a weekly occurrence. So my second pleasure is golf. I find that the peace and quiet I find on a golf course doesn’t only allow me to wind down but also gives me the ability to think without being disturbed. Some of my most creative ideas come from the golf course!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Even then, I wanted to be an actor! I admired Richard Burton and wanted to be with Elizabeth Taylor.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I’m not a fan of too many back and forth or wordy emails; my inbox quickly fills up and it’s time-consuming. If it’s someone in the office, I usually just respond ‘let’s discuss’ and then we have a chat about it face to face. Or, if it’s a client or supplier, I pick up the phone and give them a call. I like the personal touch.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
I hope for Timebased to continue to grow. Our last five years saw the company scale up at an impressive rate and I believe this will only continue. Especially with the hand-picked team we have, all of whom share a common goal in the company’s success.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
No one can know everything, and sometimes unexpected hurdles can be around the corner and when they are, you need to be able to act quickly and more often than not, improvise. Owning and running a business is a balance between a solid business plan, with room for improvisation.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
I wish I had known that in the events industry, you are expected to come up with ideas for free. It’s only the execution and delivery that have value. But in the end, you can’t worry about people stealing your ideas, because what separates you from your competitors is that although they can take your idea, only you have the creativity to come up with many others.
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