In Reviews We Trust

Ep. 12: The Powerful Impact of Mentorship and Focus: Nathan Lomax

August 18, 2022 Callum Mckeefery Season 1 Episode 12
In Reviews We Trust
Ep. 12: The Powerful Impact of Mentorship and Focus: Nathan Lomax
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode Callum McKeefery, CEO of talks to Nathan Lomax, Director and Co-founder of Quickfire Digital

They discuss the value of mentorship at all stages of business, personal growth and development,  the importance of specialising and focussing on expertise over generalism, the value of a hospitality background and the challenges of sourcing the right employees to support growth.

Episode links:

Nathan Lomax

Callum McKeefery:

Show notes:
Quickfire Digital
PAASE Digital
Blend Commerce
We Make

The High Performance Podcast
The Diary of a CEO
Working hard, hardly working (Grace Beverley)

High Performance: Lessons from the Best on Becoming Your Best
Fanatical prospecting
Radical Candor 
Leading (Alex Ferguson) is a leading online review platform. Its used by over 8,200+ fast growing brands. To find out more please go to:
Find us on LinkedIn

Ep. 12 - Nathan Lomax - Quickfire Digital


Callum: So on today's podcast, I have Nathan Lomax, Nathan is the co-founder and director of Quickfire Digital, and he's a leading growth in innovation eCommerce specialist, sounds a mouthful. His agency focuses on Shopify and Shopify plus sites. He's an actual thought leader in the market. He's won numerous awards and recently hooked up the rising star award in the European eCommerce agency awards.

 Nathan, thanks for being on. 

Nathan: Thanks for having me. Good to see you. I don't think my head can get any bigger after that intro, but uh, good to see my friend and thanks for having me. 

Callum: No problem. No problem. So how did you come to found Quickfire? 

Nathan: So the story goes in 2012, I left school and, uh, I started by going traveling in my opinion, university is great, but it's not for everybody. Decided I didn't want to go. I traveled the world. , I did well. I went to Russia. , did the Trans-Siberian Railway through to Mongolia and into [00:01:00] China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji. Came home six months later and about two months before I came home, I was running outta money. And my sister, texted me, just said I had a tax rebate of 2000 pounds. Now my sister's severely dyslexic. Uh, but I took it on face value. Was amazing 2000 pounds, mom and dad, can I borrow 2000 and I will obviously give it back when this tax rebate comes through.

Sure enough, she's misread the number and it's 200 pounds. but I've already spent the two grand. And so, , I've got back and I've thought crams, not only do I owe them 1800 quid, but I've got to, um, I've gotta start doing something. I decided that. We're in Fiji, my flight got delayed. and so I started just on LinkedIn and I was just messaging people.

I'd been doing a bit of work experience in the world wide web, but found a mentor just before I'd left the holiday. And I decided I'd like to try and pursue this full time. So we started building sites. Grew the business for, for three or four years. And at the time I was having the most fantastic life traveling one around the world, eating in nice restaurants, doing all the things that an 18, 19, 20 year [00:02:00] old would love to do.

but at the same time, I didn't have this agency. I'd always dreamt of, it was me and a remote team out in India. Great did the job, but it just didn't fill me with this pride when I came in and I saw an open plan office full of people. And what I saw was the stereotypical agency with the slides and the bean bags, et cetera I didn't have.

So sure enough. in 2017, I'd saved up a bit of money. And the decision was, do I put a deposit on a house or do I rebrand? What was Rebranded to what is Quickfire Digital today. , two days later, took on two other co-founders, which I think is an interesting piece there around insecurity. If you are 18, 19 20, they always say, if you want to go faster, go alone. If you want to go further, go together. Uh, and so decided to go together and become a co-founder.

So, 2017, uh, Quickfire Digital was born on the 1st of June, so we just celebrated five years. Uh, and the business has gone from strength to strength. In the middle of that you've got a global pandemic, something nobody saw coming, but actually was remarkably one of the best [00:03:00] things to ever happen to our agency.

Just before that, we had the big conversation in the agency around the proposition. What it was that we did and what we stood for and how we were gonna kick onto the next level. And we decided we were gonna focus on one of two segments. Uh, one was hospitality and tourism, and one was eCommerce . And for whatever reason, someone was looking down on me in that day and decided that eCommerce was the route we were gonna take.

And sure enough, we doubled down on Shopify. We've just got our Shopify plus partnership. We go, we're going through the kind of hoops to, to get onboarded. , we've won some fantastic Shopify brands to continue to win some fantastic Shopify brands. And the journey just continues to scale and scale and scale far beyond our wildest expectations.

We're now just passed around 1.2 in revenue, 25 staff, hugely proud of what we've created. And now we do come in and get that one fuzzy feeling. When I look around and see the open plan office with the cookies on the side and croissants and the strobe lights and all that good stuff. I finally feel like I've created the agency.

I've always [00:04:00] dreamt of. 


Callum: Awesome. . So what did your parents do 

Nathan: so they had hotels, so they had two hotels, uh, and the challenge and a learning for all of us really in today's world is that, their hotel at the moment, so they've got one right now, which is very much the higher end of the market. and then when you think about positioning, et cetera, you need to stand for something. And this other hotel, while it was going for 25 years as time progressed, it stood for nothing. It was neither high end nor was it the Travelodge.

It was somewhere finally in between. And actually that kind of mier in the middle, kind of not great, not rubbish. there just wasn't a space for it and sure enough, the business continued to borrow, continued to, to try and improve, but it just, it just was done. And so sure enough, my dad closed the doors and, uh, that led to immense amounts of stress and, and follow up health concerns and all sorts.

But looking back, it was the right thing to do. They're focused and that's another lesson, for any entrepreneur listening, is around focus rather than trying to do 2, 3, 4 businesses [00:05:00] inside hustles, et cetera, just do one thing and do it really well, and become known for it. Right. Become a bit of a name in that space and become a specialist.

Callum: Yeah.

Nathan: So much today is around generalists and, oh, I can do a bit of that, a bit of that and bit of that, but nothing brilliantly, just focus on doing something excellent. And the rest will follow.

Callum: Weirdly. When you was talking on the intro, I wrote the word "focus down", cuz it was something I wanted to talk to you about, which was, you know, how do you, you stay focused, but I'm gonna come onto that in a minute.

Did you ever work in the hotel? 

Nathan: Yes. So from the ages of four, I used to work every Christmas. Now, when you are four or five years old and you are front of house and you've got a little bow tie on and you're going over to someone on Christmas day. Yeah. They were so confused why I wasn't celebrating Christmas.

And I was like, oh, we have our Christmas on the 27th, like Father Christmas, doesn't have enough room on his sleigh, so he comes back for us. And that's the, the, the lie I'd been spun by my parents. I'm still not forgiven them, but sure enough. I think it's really [00:06:00] important that. When you're 4, 5, 6, 7, I've always had a really strong work ethic.

I've loved working. I've loved earning money. I've loved feeling independent. The challenge was, as soon you get to 12, 13, it's not this cute little boy anymore. It's just another worker. And all of a sudden the tips dry up, it's not quite as romantic and actually it's bloody hard work. And anyone that works Christmas these days, I mean, even still my parents, we, we still have Christmas on the 27th even now.

Callum: I have a weird theory. So yeah, it's not that weird, I suppose, but I love. Employing people who previously worked in the hospitality industry,, in digital, it's one of our little things that we've always done. It's worked out really well for us. 

Nathan: Why is that because of service or?

Callum: It's because of the hustle they managers in hospitality, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels.

If a problem arises, they have to deal with it. And they have to find an answer very, very quickly under a lot of pressure. And I've had great [00:07:00] success with employing people from those industries and training them to work in a digital environment. our COO previously owned a restaurant our country manager in Australia.

 Previously worked in a night club and was a manager of a bar. I previously, my, my family previously owned a night club and a bar. , and I've worked in, in that industry for years. And I don't know why, but for me it works out really, really well, really, really well. The guy who ran our partnerships in, , Australia, he came from a hospitality industry as well.

Nathan: I love that. Maybe you need to change our recruitment strategy at the moment.

We're trying to find people that have been in agencies for numbers of years, sort of I'm just gonna go to local hotel and post them. 

Callum: Honestly, it's really weirdly worked for us. Bizarre, but worked for, for somehow, like literally, probably my best hire of all time. One of the best hires at REVIEWS he came in that his past job was bar manager and I'm like, [00:08:00] now he runs Australia.

You know, he runs that, that the sales team over there and he's done a great job. yeah. So it it's definitely helped. Definitely worked for us. Might work for other people listening. So there's a loads to unpack. in, in that intro, you talked about a mentor. Do you still have a mentor now?

Nathan: Yes. One of the biggest things I've always said on any talk I've ever done is any importance of mentorship. There's a model called the plus equals minus model, which is around surrounding yourself with people further on the journey than you. So let's take the agency example. I surround myself with people that run agencies of 5 million and upwards, which is where we're trying to get to.

I surround myself with equals, people at the same level of us in terms of between 800 and 1.5 say just somewhere in that region. And then earlier I do a lot of mentoring and non-exec work myself for people starting out in the journey and from each bucket or batch of people you can learn. So, so much we've then got non execs and specialists within either strategy [00:09:00] or operations or finance or an FD, a chairman, those kind of things.

We've got a brilliant, growth consultants we work with, uh, called Spencer and Pete from Cactus. Uh, and yeah, we, if anything, can, we've been guilty of having too many cooks. I love seeking external advice and validation and, and saying, yeah, okay, we think we're gonna do this, or what do you think of this?

Or can you support here and actually great, until it becomes conflicting and that's a cha you've got paid for mentors. And then I've got a kind of non advisory board of personal mentors that are agency friends and colleagues and yeah. Uh, successful entrepreneurs in their own right. Both male and female that I've come across and said, yeah, actually I value their input and I will take them for lunch once a quarter or once a, every half year and just chat and say, look, this is very honestly where we are.

These are our challenges. What did you do when you came across this and how would you solve it. 

I mean, what about yourself? Did you guys have mentors on the reviews journey? 

Callum: No. No. Um, . [00:10:00] It's, that's what I was gonna say. I'm looking at it from two different ways. but I, I always ask about this mentorship because I kind of didn't have that. I didn't have really a direct mentor. There was people who I followed and I probably talked to at events that I, you know, I sought.

 I kind of went, I went to the events to find these people and I went to the events to spoke to them. But they're not, they wouldn't be in a formal capacity, my mentors, I never had a formal mentor. 

Nathan: I mean, if you turn it on your head, do you think that with a mentor in hindsight? Yeah. Could you have gone faster or overcome certain obstacles that were put in your way if you had someone in your corner?

Callum: Yeah, I think, I think there is definitely an element of that. I think we could have done, done things differently. Tom, our COO, we kind of mentor each other and he's, you know, an experienced founder and this isn't wasn't my first rodeo. so I'd had previous startup experience. [00:11:00] and literally when I started.

I I'm a bit older than yourself, probably. And I, when I started out, you know, my left university in 1990, I think I started buying domain names 1999. And there was nobody to mentor you at that stage. You know, you'd go to somebody who's in business and go, right. I'm out there. I'm buying domain names. I'm setting up websites.

I'm doing this. They'd go "Why?". Do you know what I mean? Yeah. Why I don't don't see anything in it. So I kind of never had a mentor just because we were kind of trying to set the pace. it's something that now, you know, we're, we're, I'm actively looking at and I'm actively thinking, well, I don't think it's ever too late to have a mentor or have a coach...

Nathan: And they change as well, right. That's the other thing is just cuz you're a mentor. Well, the mentor I had when I was 18 and went traveling, put me load of life advice, but actually at some point they've taken you as far as they can on the journey and they hand over to someone else. And actually you might [00:12:00] start with a mentor, stop the mentor, go back to a mentor.

yeah. I think if you are looking to set up a business today, I certainly would say having a mentor, the, the challenge you've got now is there's a lot of business coaches, advisors, et cetera, that see it as a bit of a revenue making opportunity and actually the best mentors I've had likely the ones I've not paid for.

The ones who have done it outta the goodness of their heart and because they believe in the model of reciprocity and that's a topic I'm always really keen to talk about around paying it forwards and supporting others and just doing the right thing and knowing it will come back at a later time in its droves.

Callum: , yeah, I, I am looking, I think actively,, I think they do do help and if you can speak to somebody who's been there, done it been successful. You probably just make less mistakes. You probably see...

Nathan: It's the accountability as well, right? That someone to, when you are your own boss, unless you're super, super disciplined, you'll be like, oh, I'll get round to that. I'll get round to that. Or I'll do that. Or I'll add that to my list, etcetera. And you don't get it done. So [00:13:00] someone to hold a little finger in the back be be like, no, no, you said you're gonna do this by this date. Where is it? I think is super important. 

Callum: Yeah, that's definitely. You know, we, we have people, I have people here within the company who do that to me. So I don't need... 

Nathan: Yeah, I mean, there's also the personal training aspect, right? That actually, as a leader, you need to learn and you need to develop and your style of management or your style of, approach to business needs to evolve as the business evolves and therefore surrounding yourself, they become infectious in their attitudes and behaviors. And before, you know it, you're starting to behave, like someone that works in a bigger business.

I think that's really important. So don't just necessarily look at a mentor as what they say. They deliver, look at the value, add around their networks and the doors they can open or perhaps their experience and the stories they can tell, or perhaps the, the challenges they've overcome. There's so much to a mentor, mentee relationship to one pick.

Callum: Yeah. So talking about the learning, you know, what, how do [00:14:00] you learn? Do you learn from podcasts, newsletters? Books, Audible and things like that?

Nathan: Yeah. I mean a whole, a whole range. A lot of it is around conversations. So I learn a lot around, there's a model, taught by another mentor of mine called Spencer Gallagher around 50 meaningful conversations every month, right? So a lot of it is around having good conversations with other like-minded souls. , I do a lot of reading as much as I can at the moment. I'm. Trying to learn as much as possible around peak performance. And so we just had a session with a lovely chap called Gavin Drake, from Mindspan. We had the whole team go through that session and I really enjoyed learning about what makes the brain tick and how you can essentially create productivity hacks.

I think Jake Humphreys had just created a fantastic book with Damon Hughes, I think is called around a High Performance Podcast. And they've got a High Performance Book and that's really interesting to see how elite sports people and elite athletes, uh, essentially apply a high performance mindset.


Callum: , a lot of what athletes use, you know, a lot of the athletes, the books around what [00:15:00] make great men great managers. Like if you look at the Alex Ferguson book is, is rated as a fantastic business book. I think a lot of the athlete books translate really easily into business.

Nathan: a hundred percent definitely. 

And then podcast, you've got the, The Diary of a CEO. I really enjoy Steven Bartlett's material. , Grace Beverley, I find quite inspirational. She's done a, a lot of good stuff and has her own podcast. She runs a brand called TALA who are a client of ours. We're incredibly proud to work with them.

Uh, yeah, there's some fantastic podcasts out there more and more so in the world of eCommerce. and so there's the Replatforming Podcast and there's all sorts of great content out there, that's well worth listening to, I think in reading, I'm one of those people that has the most amazing, normally the most amazing backdrop of books that act as wallpaper as much as anything else.

But I love when I go on holiday, I do get a chance to read and I'm enjoying reading where I can, the trouble is, is that it becomes very hard to switch off because you're constantly trying to learn and improve and develop. And, there's one at the [00:16:00] moment around, the creation of marketing funnels. I think it's called Hack The Funnel or something like that, or Hack The Funnel.

Yeah. Yeah. There's, there's various books out there around, building pipelines and...

Callum: Yeah.

Nathan: Prospecting and Radical Prospecting is another one I've just bought, or Fanatical it's called Fanatical Prospecting actually. so yeah, there's some classic...

Callum: Radical Candor. Have you done that?

Nathan: Radical Candor? That's the other one. Yeah. Yeah. And again, it's all these books I get really infused about, I get halfway through, life takes over. I then stop and then I'd never come back. And so one thing I'm trying to do is when I'm reading, I'm having real focus time. And the other week I read something stupid, like 300 pages in a weekend and just got through it.

And I just, yeah, I just had to just focus on it, get it done, and then I could go to something else. But if I take my head out of it, I find it very hard to get back in. 

Callum: Yeah, no, I agree. I agree. I try and do a lot of listening. A lot of, instead of reading books, cuz I just don't have time, you know, with my I've got [00:17:00] three kids, one of them's disabled and I just don't have time to pick up a book and physically read it.

So I'll literally stick in my headphones, Audible, and go for a run or take Hudson for a walk.

Nathan: One thing you mentioned there about your son, I'd love to talk more about the Santa's Grotto you did. Those was super inspirational. I absolutely love that. Could you just, I appreciate the, the listeners might have heard a bit about this before, but for those that are from my audience that haven't heard it, perhaps you could just tell us a little bit more about that.

Callum: So the Grotto was crazy idea I had. I was reading about a water park that was created in Florida for children with disabilities. And I've read about this water park and I was like, that's amazing. Oh my God, you know, the kids there are gonna have a great time. , my son, , he likes the pool. He wouldn't be able to go to a water park because of the access and everything else, so I thought, wow, that's a brilliant thing and at Christmas during COVID,, I had my uncle [00:18:00] dress up as Santa and he came to my house and did the visit with, with Hudson. And it was beautiful. It was very peaceful. We was able to control the lighting, control the sound, and he had an amazing time, very difficult for a kid with special needs to enjoy something like that.

Because they get stimulated and, and lighting upsets them sounds upset them. So I thought, how can I do what this guy did with this waterpark for other kids? So I came up with the Santa's Grotto which I could control the lighting, control the sound and make it really accessible. I could train all the, the elves I, you know, could be doing sign language.

My Santa can do sign language. They'd all, they all, we knew everything about every person who was coming in, so we could customize the environment we could customize the gifts. So some kids who had autism got fidgety sort of stuff, some kids who had, , eyesight difficulties, we could make sure that we had braille books, and other sensory [00:19:00] toys, sound toys. We could really make the experience really special. But the biggest takeaway was that yes, we could make it special for the, for that child, but we didn't realize how big an impact we could have on the parents and the siblings. That was what, what was amazing that so many siblings and parents came and they enjoyed it so much because they were able to enjoy something so normal for most children. , for instance, you know, we had one family that they'd never been to see Santa because the kids who were able bodied, they'd never been to see Santa because their, their disabled sister couldn't go. So they didn't go. So we was able to make it special for the whole family.

It took a lot of work. We, we paid for everything, did everything and it was an amazing, amazing. We started off for 200 people. That's what we thought we were gonna do it for. Oh, we'd do it for 200 people done. In the end we ended up doing it for just over [00:20:00] 1,400 people and we had people driving 80 miles to come and see us.

, so I'm already planning, , Santa's Grotto 2022. , and I'm now looking to work out how to do it from what I from my learnings were last year. How to do it bigger and better.

We did it for these 1400 families to have a great time. but yeah, it was, very emotional killed me, to be honest, I did it for 30 days, eight to eight, and, , I'd literally sit in the car and cry at the end of the day because , you know, the emotions throughout the day, , it get to you, but you had to be strong and, you know, you really feel for these kids, you really feel for the families and you really feel for the siblings.

 But I will do it again. , I want more people to do it in their own town.

So if you're listening to this, hit me up and I'll kind of help you and try and get one set up in other towns. Cuz yeah, the more people we can hit the better, but yeah, it [00:21:00] was a really good experience. Loved it. Loved it. You, you do stuff for?

Nathan: Yeah, I'm trying to set up a, a, a charity called engage with autism, which is around getting autistic people into the world of agencies. I believe that there's many agencies that would benefit from those, with autism working in their organization, the challenges, Essentially the time it needs to get something like that off the ground. 

And I'm hugely passionate about it. I just, uh, I either need to give it proper devotion and do it properly or, or park it and, and put it on ice until I can do it properly. 

Callum: That's the difficulty. It, it is the difficulty time is the difficulty with all of this. Yeah. yeah, like I literally had to block out.

I was dressed as an elf for Santa for the whole of December, you know, I didn't work, and probably suffered because of that. But I literally dressed as an elf with a bucket trying in, in the street trying to raise money for, for the charity, but also trying to make it really [00:22:00] special for the kids.

So it took a, took a load outta me, to be honest, but really, really pleased that we did it. 

 Getting back to Quickfire, what was the process for you to get Shopify Plus?

Nathan: We, started running a series of events. Yeah. And we ended up having the head of Shopify EMEA, Shamona, absolutely amazingly inspirational lady, on a couple of webinars that we did. And we started doing white papers and Shopify were contributing and we were delivering great quality sites and winning nice clients and setting Shopify series of referrals and there's a whole scoring criteria that goes into it. And essentially, eventually we were shortlisted I was just like, this is really important. This is really important to us, essentially. , we believe Shopify is the future and we'll continue to be the future of eCommerce. And we love the roadmap that it's kind of going on, but at the same time, we want to double down with our expertise on Shopify, with access to the training, with everything else. So it's really important that Shopify came on that journey with us and [00:23:00] for months and months and months, they're like it's closed program's not open. I was like, well, open it, find a way. And then finally, yeah, we got the, we got the go ahead. And, and now we're proudly, Shopify Plus partner, one of 31 in the whole of the UK and that's continuing to strengthen our credentials and our proposition and opening up more doors to more and more impressive brands.

And the kind of domino effect goes from there. 

Callum: Yeah, definitely. I think. It's definitely a badge of honor for you guys. You know, you look at all the other Shopify, I think, you know, it shows that you're producing real quality work. I like what Shopify have done with the Shopify plus program for agencies. Yeah. Where they kept the quality, the bar of quality, very high. They've done a great program.

Do you partner with anybody else in the ecosystem? Like Klaviyo and...

Nathan: Yeah, very much so. We're super strong with our app partners for a number of reasons. One is the value add that we can offer to our clients. So when you're listening out and you're hearing their pain points at a granular level, it is our job within the world of eCommerce to listen to our client's problems and fix what I [00:24:00] call the bleeding neck. So a client has a problem right now. What's the problem. The problem is, social proof. They haven't got good enough social proof. They're getting poor conversion rate as a result. And not enough people are feeling the authenticity or trust to part with a serious amount of money.

How do we overcome that? We introduced it to someone like and off we go. Great. Okay. What about loyalty? Okay. They now need loyalty. Can they talk to a LoyaltyLion or someone similar? Great. They now need something else. Who can they talk to? And so for us, understanding and having knowledge of the ecosystem is super important while we don't necessarily like we don't do SEO, PPC, social, et cetera.

So we can introduce to these third parties, like Klaviyo or something like that, but we're not running email campaigns. We're just saying email will be part of your strategy. Klaviyo is the go-to solution in the world of eCommerce. Let's put the two together, let's hook it up. Let's get you sending a list. Let's make sure that you've got some kind of sequences built, et cetera, and flows.

But at the same time, we are not a Klaviyo specialist. We don't run email campaigns for clients, et cetera. We [00:25:00] purely just connect the dots. 

Callum: Yeah, no, it makes sense. It makes sense. So you're, I mean, I'm seeing all these Klaviyo partnerships popping up. So what you are doing is really collecting Klaviyo into the account and maybe yeah.

Helping set it up and recommending the solution, but then you're saying, well, if you need more, go to...

Nathan: We'll then say, go to Blend Commerce, go to PAASE Digital, go to someone that's a specialist and will look after you and I love Phill and the team at PAASE. I love Adam and Bob and the team at Blend and yeah, those guys and girls can essentially take it from there for us. It's like, okay, see a hurdle, help client overcome it, but it doesn't always have to be you the one that's overcoming it. So...

Callum: That's what I like that I do like that, that you're not trying to do all of it, you know? And I think that's the problem we just see with too many agencies really trying...

Nathan: What's the full service model, right? I fundamentally believe the full service model is [00:26:00] broken. You can't do everything for everyone unless you've got an agency of a 100, 150 people. How can you sit there and justify that you are the best at SEO, PPC, social, web, design, UX, et cetera.

Cause it just can't happen. And then if you do do that all, and you've got one person per role, what, when that person's sick or on holiday or poached or whatever, uh, again, you've got your, you you're settling and I hate it when retailers and any business owner, but particularly when I talk to retailers around, don't settle for, for mediocre and be like, oh, it's convenient.

It's easy for me to have everything under one roof. So I'm gonna do that might be easy, but it's not the best solution possible. The best solution is to have specialists. 

It's like you get your SEO person, your PPC person, your social person it's then your job as conductor of the orchestra to make them all talk to hold regular meetings, to hold everyone to account, to set targets and benchmarks, to help you get there, they then become the facilitators to help you achieve what you're trying to achieve, so global objective, we want to take our [00:27:00] conversion rate from 4 to 5% in the next 12 months. Great. How are you gonna do that? What part is SEO partner gonna play? What part is PPC partner gonna play? What part is this person over here gonna play? How do we make sure everyone's pulling their weight and essentially delivering value to the brand?

Callum: Yeah. I love that analogy. Really great. Absolutely brilliant. So what's some challenges that you currently have in the business? 

Nathan: How long we got, um, now the challenges at the moment is around, more and more resources. So as the agency grows, so we constantly need, yeah. We're constantly needing more people, and a certain type of person.

Callum: How do you think the market is at the minute for recruiting? 

Nathan: Difficult. I think that the, I was on the Radio 4 talking about this the other day. The challenge I see is that everyone's come out of COVID. Come back with a different balance of what work life balance looks like. And, so they believe that they are entitled to two days a week at home, and they believe they're entitled to four days in five days and they believe they're entitled to more holiday and, and then private [00:28:00] medical care and everything else.

And on the large, we do a lot of that stuff, right. The, the team here get two days working from home, if they'd like to have flexi time where they can go and get a haircut or get their nails done, or, go take the car to the garage or whatever it's gonna be like, yeah. We try and make the package as competitive as possible, but there comes a point where you just need good quality, solid, reliable people, to do the job. And so finding good people is a challenge.

the other challenges remain around once you become in the Shopify plus ecosystem. You're now one of 31 in the UK. . But now you've gotta compete again. So you've niche down to become a Shopify agency. You've niche down to become specialists in certain sub sectors. You've niche down in terms of price point or type of client, or for us around, kind of scale, hungry DTC brands, you niche your niche and niche and niche.

But now you're playing against one of 31 who are all at the top of their. And so now you're like, how do I niche down again? What makes you choose me over someone like a, We Make, or a Velstar or a Strawberry or a Swanky, any of these lovely agencies. And just to confirm like the ecosystem there is [00:29:00] seriously strong. I'm talking to, I was talking to Dan at Swanky earlier. looking at France's super, super bloke. I mean, speak to peers that we make lovely guy, like a really nice community that we've got in the plus ecosystem. Yeah. But at the same time, sometimes you're coming up against them, right? And you've gotta show why you are better than them or why you are the right fit for the client.

I think that's the big thing. It's not always about being best. It's about being the right fit. So it's okay. Yes, we are the right fit for you based on X, Y, and Z, based on our experience, based on our resource availability, based on our price point based on this and that. And the last thing you wanna do is be fighting on price.

Callum: I it's such a competitive space. The agency space. And what you guys are doing just seems like you've got a really good strategy for differentiating yourself based on proposition, which not enough agencies really do. You don't wanna compete on price. You wanna be competing on the quality of your work.

And I've always, you know, said that as long as you, you know, as reviews we do kind of compete on price, but that's only [00:30:00] because some of our competitors massively overcharge for something which they shouldn't be, you know they are, uh, sort of not gouging the market, but they're they're mispricing or, or they're overcharging their current customer base based on the, amount of... 

Nathan: And the thing is, if you guys have identified that as a challenge or, or essentially a pain point in the market, then absolutely lead on price and, and be more competitive and everything else.

Callum: Yeah, we don't, we don't discount from our pricing strategy, but like most of our competitors, we do publish our pricing that we've tried to be really transparent in that way, build trust by being open and, and, and transparent.

So when you're talking about events, what's a good event that you've been to recently that you'd recommend? Have you been, you know?

Nathan: Yeah. I've been to a few... 

Callum: For listeners to go and see. You know, is it those small, small events or have you been to any bigger events recently? That...

Nathan: I mean, I've been to IRX, it was okay. I've we've got some really exciting events in the pipeline, which will share with you all in due course. for me in the eCommerce [00:31:00] space, eCom Collab Club run by Adam Pierce, and Bob Gardner is absolute superb. 

. there's a couple of app partners doing a kind of VIP drinks tomorrow night down in London, which we've been invited to and I'm excited for that. 

Callum: Nathan. Honestly, thank you so much for being on today's podcast. you're seriously amazing guy and you've done a great job today. . You can follow Nathan on Twitter and LinkedIn. I'll drop all the links in below, and I'll also drop some of the websites that we've mentioned in today's chat. Nathan. Thanks a lot, 

Nathan: Mate, thanks for your time. Lovely. See you. Take care. 

Callum: Cheers. 


Callum: Thank you for listening today. In reviews we trust is a bi-weekly podcast where I hope to be bringing you advice and insights from brands that are taking the e-commerce world by storm.