18 May 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
For this latest in our Meet the Successful Founder series we caught up with Mark Haslam, Founder of Loud Mouth Media, to hear all about his entrepreneurship journey.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
So, I’m 41 and set up Loud Mouth just short of 10 years ago. Prior to that, I worked in a number of sales jobs selling things like mobile phones, mortgages, life insurance, cars (briefly), and then finally advertising. It was the advertising job that showed me the opportunity around digital and where I felt it could go if done properly. Loud Mouth Media basically came about out of frustration. The digital/PPC market at the time was full of smoke and mirrors, people over-promising and delivering nothing but holding clients to long contracts. When I finally decided to leave my employer I hadn’t decided on what I would do. Should I go into another employment with a company that shares my vision or do it myself? After meeting with a few prospective employers, I decided to go it alone. That was 10 years ago and I haven’t looked back.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
Just from seeing other providers do it badly. There was too much mystery around digital at the time and I wanted it to be as transparent as I believed it should be. Loud Mouth Media is founded on simple marketing concepts but deploys more up-to-date data-driven methods to achieve the best results possible. It started out as initially dealing with micro local businesses but as our reputation grew so did the size of our clients, and they are at the centre of all of our decisions. We treat their budgets like our own and their results like our own successes.
How did you achieve awareness?
When we first started out it was networking and lots of it. Speaking at local events was a great starting block and it enabled us to practice what we preached. Then we began advertising, word of mouth took off and we got involved in even bigger events and it all escalated from there.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
I have never had access to much in the way of funding and any we have accessed has been a bonus, not a reason for doing what we do. I am very proud that Loud Mouth Media has always been self sufficient, has less than £10k debt and is always profitable. We have offices in Belfast, London, Dublin and Glasgow and have worked very hard to become the success that we are.
What are the key successes?
Like any business landing huge accounts is always amazing, but so is keeping the smaller ones and growing the team. Seeing the staff do things in their lives and the opportunities that my family have had because of the company’s success are all things to be proud of.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
The recruitment process is tough. Choosing the right people for the right roles is crucial, and with so many technologies and online services being created all the time I needed to build a team that’s better/smarter than me.
And of course there’s been the last 12 months. At the outset, it had a catastrophic effect on our business and around 80% of our clients paused in the space of around 10 days. So as you can imagine that was a very scary time. At that stage, we took the view that if we wanted to have a business on the other side of it all, we had to keep our clients as the focus and help them through.
Thankfully once the first few months passed, we started to see things return to normal. Then they got even better. The pandemic has been horrendous for everyone but as a business, we have come out of it better than we went in. Revenue, staff all the other vital stats are going in a positive direction. What’s more, digital has been one of the industries that has done well in the past year and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon.
What are your plans now/for the future?
With everything we have had to endure in the last 12 months, it’s more important than ever to be prepared and to have a plan in place. We have a very extensive five-year plan that includes a bigger team, more offices in more locations and more clients. In the 10 years we have been in business we have gone from strength to strength and we are striving to become the best in Europe at what we do.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Give it a go! You won’t know until you try. It will always seem like a terrifying prospect and that it isn’t the right time, but listen to those around you and decide who is making sense and then go with that. Don’t be afraid to fail.
Can you share your top 5-10 tips for entrepreneurial success?
My top tips for success would be:
– Take a risk
– Listen to advice
– Take time to think
– Hire good people
– Learn to say no
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