Founder and Managing Director, David Maran, started out working in agencies across the UK and over the last 10 years he’s gained experience in roles such as Technical Lead and Head of Development that have successfully prepared him for starting his own digital agency, MP Digital.
David talks about the challenges and successes of running a digital agency and offers some tips to any developers wanting to progress in their careers or, to take the leap and start up on their own.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
It was a natural process of finding a gap in the market that needed improving. The progression into a specialist of leisure booking systems was very organic but stemmed from my own experience in development, user experience design, project management and sales. This meant that I was prepared to work on projects larger than themselves and provide a fantastic service.
What has been your biggest challenge or setback during your career?
Managing expectations, more so of myself and staff. The team grew and brought on large clients very quickly, so we had to keep ourselves grounded which is sometimes very difficult to do, especially seeing how well the company has grown! COVID has brought on a fair few challenges affecting our business model but we’ve been able to stay reactive and have learnt to adapt accordingly.
What is an important initiative that you feel passionate about in your role?
I wanted to create a company that enhances other companies, helps them to progress and become bigger and better. This is quite easy to see within the leisure industry, as success online generally increases throughput into a leisure centre/business. You can monitor how a business has grown or how a booking system has managed x amount of bookings. The initiative is to focus on the user experience of booking systems and websites that will in turn support the business using the system. It sounds simple, but this is where the market has been lacking.
What is it that gives you the drive and determination to succeed?
Our clients; You could say everyone says that! I make sure to speak with most of our clients on a weekly basis to find out how they are doing and how things are going, especially in the current COVID climate. From a personal perspective, I want to help people to progress whether they be a new staff member or a new clients. I believe success all round will provide success for the business.
What tips would you give to those starting their careers?
Focus on the things you CAN change rather than the things you can’t. As a business owner, I hear plenty of negative stories and news from the industry, which is enough to drive you into a rut. Take in this information, compartmentalise it and use the relevant information to drive you forward. Take everything with a pinch of salt.
Another tip – Over your career you will have built up contacts – make sure you keep these safe! They will become valuable assets when you launch your own business.
What is your advice to people who are wanting to start a business?
If you have the ambition to run your own business, then do it. You could keeping thinking about it and putting it off until you find a ‘better’ moment, but if you wait for the perfect time it will never happen.
What advice do you have for people aiming for leadership positions?
Many people say don’t become friends with your employee’s – that’s a load of rubbish. While I believe there are boundaries on what your staff and yourself should share, it’s also important to be their friend, help them through the tough times and celebrate their successes.
What’s the best part of your job?
I have always loved to see projects from the initial conversations and brief to the final delivery and impressing clients. Running a business allows you to do exactly that and have pride in what your team has produced.
What’s the worst part of your job?
It never stops, but that may also be the type of person I am. I can’t switch off and would rather solve a problem straight away than wait.
To what do you attribute your success?
- The experiences I gained over the past 15 years in industry.
- Networking and the connections I have built up that allows me to know a lot of people in the industry.
- Wanting to impress and deliver something above and beyond average.
What does the future look like for your business?
The future is interesting; I would lie if I didn’t say it looked scary and exciting at the same time. We are launching a booking system into the market in 2021 that takes what we have learnt over the past 3 years and puts it into a package that is more affordable for smaller independent leisure and hospitality companies. It will balancing the playing between large and small leisure companies.
What would you say to your teenage self?
It’s cliché but it would be that ‘everything happens for a reason’. Take it on the chin and learn from it. It’s how people adapt and progress that makes the difference.
MP Digital is a web development agency based in Nottingham, England, made up of a strong team of specialists who produce bespoke online solutions, specifically for the leisure industry. Working with big brands and companies such as Namco, Warburtons and Clip ’n Climb, MP Digital develop tailored websites and booking systems that focus on improving the overall user experience and customer service.
- MP Digital’s booking systems have a conversion rate of over 20% compared to other systems that average around 5%.
- MP Digital’s booking systems has processed over 6 million booking over the past 2 years.
- At peak, MP Digital’s booking systems have successfully dealt with over 30,000 people a day, booking online across multiple continents.