Luke Brynley-Jones was an early pioneer in the social web and creating on-line communities. He has started several businesses, lost a business, flipped a business, made some money and lost some money.
He now runs OST The Social and Digital Agency
This is his story:
Lesson 1 – Nobody is indispensable.
If there is someone in your business who thinks they are, and gets too greedy, get rid of them.
This is what propelled Luke into leaving employment and starting his own business!
Lesson 2 – Don’t take on other people’s responsibilities.
With a friend who worked with Sir Tim Berners-Lee in the late 1990’s, Luke started a consultancy business for companies who were investigating the new idea of connecting with customers on-line. British Airways, Christian Aid, Thomas Cooke, YMCA were among their first clients.
As is common with many small businesses they struggled to get paid by their much bigger corporate clients so decide to stop being consultants and instead create their own social network platform called eTribes.com.
Lesson 3 – Nobody owns and idea. It’s all about the implementation.
With eTribes, they raised £3 million and hired 70 developers. The site allowed people to blog, share music, photos and videos, book events, store documents and make phone calls and attracted 50,000 users.
With too many ideas and not enough implementation, eTribes eventually went bust.
Lesson 4 – A great business requires a team of friends and equals.
Luke joined Doug Richards in a business pioneering integrated mobile messaging. Investors pulled the plug in 2008 during the recession but Luke had the opportunity to work with a great team of people.
He uses the lessons learned then in building a strong team at OST Marketing.
Lesson 5 – The right price is whatever people will pay.
Luke spent a year touring with School for Start Ups with Doug Richardson and from this learned a lot about running a business, especially about pricing. He also had the opportunity to research the best of the best in the social media world and used this experience to build Our Social Times and run international conferences featuring cutting edge ideas and good practice in the social media world.
Lesson 6 – To survive the digital age, businesses need to evolve.
The conference business started to wane and at the same time, Luke had clients knocking at his door asking for help to use social media. He decided to kill off the conference business and start OST Marketing, concentrating on the B2B tech market.
Lesson 7 -Most marketers are too busy to act strategically.
The reason that the current business is doing so well is that most marketing departments are harried, pressed and under-resourced. OST Marketing has developed a blueprint and case studies that show that what they do really works.
Lesson 8 – Results are often less important than relationships.
OST Marketing lost a very big client despite delivering great results because another agency stepped in and built a relationship instead of relying on the numbers to prove their worth.