Name: Ben Bradshaw
Ben Bradshaw’s business journey had an unconventional start. In 2006, Bradshaw launched SponsoredLinX, a search engine marketing company, but his motivation for the business came when he noticed a niche in the market when he struggled to generate leads online for his corporate entertainment business.
Before discovering his passion for online marketing, Bradshaw was a well-known magician. In 2005, he appeared on Australian TV and broke two Guinness World Records, one for the fastest time escaping from a straitjacket underwater, and the other for the fastest time escaping from a regulated, supposedly “inescapable” Posey straitjacket.
Bradshaw, a man of many talents, continues to practise magic, but since 2006 his focus has shifted to growing SponsoredLinX and developing new technologies and services. Since it began, SponsoredLinX has grown rapidly. It currently has around 80 staff and by the end of the year Bradshaw expects he’ll be employing over 100 people. The business is looking at an annual turnover of $7 million this year, up from last year’s $3.8 million.
SmartCompany talked to Bradshaw about business development, designing a “copy-paste” business model and how to create a little bit of business magic.
Bradshaw says his day starts “slowly”, but for someone who thinks he doesn’t do much in the mornings, he manages to get a lot done.
“I start the day quite slow and probably don’t get to work till about 10-11am.
“I’ve got another company as well which does iPhone apps, and in the mornings I’ll have to get on the phone and see what they’re doing before I go into the office,” he says.
Bradshaw spends most of his day working on “innovative things”, designing new and exciting technology to either complement SponsoredLinX, or operate separately.
When he arrives in the mornings, Bradshaw says he “goes between departments” to ensure regular communication across all areas of the business.
“Our middle management is quite strong now. They report daily on how their area is going. I’m a big believer that if you manage the days, the weeks take care of themselves,” he says.
Bradshaw says time is his most precious commodity and he mostly spends it on designing and innovating new products.
“The majority of my time is spent working on R&D projects. At the moment I’m working on developing proprietary software which does in-depth analysis of AdWords.
“There are always some really cool things I’m working on. I’ve usually got three to four major projects at a time. I’ve always got sister companies and new ventures on the go.”
Bradshaw creates new companies and products which often complement SponsoredLinX, but aren’t always associated with the company. He has recently been working on developing social media-based businesses and has started a social media marketing and management company known as Social Edge.
“Socialedge.com.au specialises in social media and is its own company, but we offer that service through SponsoredLinX as well. We become our own strategic partner, which has worked really well. I like to put multiple products in the air and seeing which take off.
“Sometimes we might launch a service and see a response from within the SponsoredLinX brand and so we’ll offer the service through SponsoredLinX as well,” he says.
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