Leeds-based digital agency Flaunt Digital has gone from starting up with no funding to working with the New York Times, CEO Lee Fuller explains how he did it and where he plans to go from here.
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
We’re an integrated digital marketing agency based in the heart of Leeds. We have four directors – Lee, Chris, Jamie & Chris – all bringing big agency experience to the business from within different roles, alongside a team of experts covering all key digital channels and platforms. We offer a wide range of services from website development and paid search to content marketing and video production.
What did you do before you started this business?
Before I started Flaunt Digital, I worked at several award-winning digital agencies across Yorkshire. Myself and Jamie (our CTO) also built and sold a content marketing software company.
What inspired you to start up?
We wanted to do things better, bringing the best results-driven service to clients, while remaining transparent with everything we do.
How would you describe your business to your grandma?
We help businesses become more visible online by building them websites or getting them noticed by the right people.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
We are a tight knit agency and try to communicate any issues as best we can with everyone. The board has a lot of experience and has access to a wide network of people within the industry which helps a lot.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
We didn’t take on finance to kick off, we operated from savings and did freelance and consultancy work to fund the early stages of the company. We are currently still without financial backing and are proud of the fact that we are independent and have got to where we are through hard work, and making sure that the work we deliver is to the best possible standard.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
There are several things that we have achieved so far which I am really proud of:
· Going back to the last question, I am really proud that we are where we are with no external finance or funding
· A pivotal moment for us was winning The New York Times as a client, still a big deal to us
· Going into our third year with continued growth
How do you differentiate your business from others?
When we set up we all had a lot of experience in big agencies so we have tried to build the business avoiding what we deemed as negatives from our agency experience. Things like breaking down the walls between internal departments, transparency with clients at every stage of the relationship from the first interaction and all the way through our working relationship.
We also try to approach each client in an integrated way, so if we take on a PPC client the technical development team will work alongside our PPC team to make sure things like tracking and landing page experience are all optimal. This in our opinion makes us truly integrated; our clients’ success is our primary goal and without that we won’t get anywhere, so having walls between departments would hinder that aim.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
It is quite a rollercoaster of emotions, especially in the fast-paced industry we operate in. It is a mixture of exhilaration, satisfaction, terror and stress. I like the accountability though and also having the ability to steer the business and create an environment where people are happy to work is something I take a lot of pleasure from.
Where do you see your business in five years' time?
I would like to see us remaining at the forefront of technology in the techniques and work we deploy for clients. We are pushing to continue to grow so I would certainly like to see our headcount increase over that time, as well as our turnover.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Alexis Ohanian (Co-founder or Reddit) describes an entrepreneur as "Has ideas, does them." I often think of that quote as I believe it to be an accurate description of an entrepreneur. My advice would be, ‘do’. Don’t let anyone influence you to the point that it stops you from going out and doing; think about your idea and execute it. If you work hard and execute you will get there.
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement