Founders: Gary Ng, 35
Head Office: New South Wales
It’s 1999 and Gary Ng is living on SPAM sandwiches and 2 Minute Noodles. His web design firm is still in its start-up phase and to make ends meet Ng has become an internet services reseller. It’s a crowded market and Ng needs a point of difference. So he puts up posters around universities and bus shelters promising a 24-hour customer support, with just one catch – Ng will be the man on call.
“Manned solely from my bedroom, my “hotline” regularly got calls between the hours of 3am and 5am, from people who had just seen my poster while waiting for the bus,” Ng says. “But those late night chats were worth it because they worked. The money from our reseller program boosted E-Web’s cashflow to the point where I could invest more into other marketing initiatives.”
Today E-Web has moved beyond design to offer all web-marketing services, including SEO and content services. The business turns over almost $8 million, and has posted average annual growth of 49.99% over the past three years.
Ng’s spirit of experimentation is still very much with him. In the last few years the company has moved to a radical organisational model, where managers have been removed and the business broken down into small business units, each responsible for their own pool of revenue. The system is designed to make the business more nimble and faster to adapt to make changes.
“The results of our new flattened company structure have been very encouraging to date. We’ve empowered all of our people to make bigger decisions, take faster actions, and better use their talents. The outcomes have increased morale and increased revenue company-wide.”
Ng’s main piece of advice is to create an authentic vision. But he also says it’s crucial not to take yourself too seriously.
“One section of our open-plan office is styled like a Tiki Island, with papier mache tiki statues, a bamboo pavilion, and parrots and tropical flowers hanging from the ceiling. Another area is straight out of Super Mario World, while another is decorated like a Las Vegas casino. Our COO came back from holiday last year to find that some of the staff had pulled a birthday prank: his office was filled from floor to ceiling with 14,000 helium balloons.”