Founders: Nick Bell, 31
Head Office: Victoria
Nick Bell was running an online business when he began looking for help from a search marketing expert. He didn’t like what he saw.
“I contacted several Australian-based web marketing firms in the hope of finding one that would deliver results. Not one of them offered any sort of guarantee however they were quite happy to take my hard earned dollars.”
Bell decided to fill the gap himself and set up a new business from his one-bedroom Melbourne apartment. At the centre of the business was a simple promise: Bell guaranteed he would get clients on page one of Google within 90 days.
Six year on, Web Marketing Experts is turning over $2.7 million and has posted annual average growth of 52.68% in the past three years.
Like most entrepreneurs running fast growth businesses, Bell’s key challenge has been dealing with how much he has had to do himself and knowing when to let go.
His company’s biggest problems came in 2010 and 2011, when he says he gave some key staff too much autonomy, only to see revenue drop by 32%.
“To rebuild, I moved out onto the floor with all the staff, dramatically improved company processes and gave all team members strict yet achievable KPIs, and as a result the company doubled its revenue in five months.”
The company now has three international offices in Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand and one of Bell’s priorities in the year ahead will be sending Australian staff over to train his international employees.
Before that though, Bell has to deal with that other entrepreneur’s curse – space.
“We are quickly outgrowing our current office, so we plan on moving in 2013 to a larger office with excellent facilities for the staff and dedicated training rooms.”
And despite a few knocks on the door, Bell is determined to keep the company privately-owned.
“At this stage of the business, I'm looking to grow and expand, so an exit plan hasn't come into the picture. I have had a lot of outside interest, but there is a certain amount of pride in keeping the business like a close-knit family.”