12th September 2014
Welcome to the third instalment of the Inspiring the Inspirers project – a visual design project that examines the nature of inspiration, and how it affects different people in their daily lives.
I have been working with Steve Brennan on a unique design for the last few months. Steve runs Bespoke | Web Specialists, a web agency in Preston in the north-west of England. The agency started 13 years ago and Steve has now grown it to an established company with 13 full-time permanent staff. The company was a finalist for Creative Business of the Year at the 2014 BIBAs (Be Inspired Business Awards). He is truly an entrepreneur at heart, having run businesses from the school playground before the internet was even a twinkle in a modem’s eye.
I wanted to work with Steve to find out what inspires the spirit of entrepreneurship in him. I started off asking about the origins of his business.
“I had always wanted to own my own business.”
“I was working as a print designer, and when the web came into being, it felt like an opportunity. I had always wanted to own my own business – even as a kid I had little enterprises on the go, selling football programmes and making short-run magazines.”
I asked what guidance Steve would he give to someone just starting out in business now.
“Talk to loads of people that have already done what you want to do, and listen very intently to them.”
“The landscape is very different now in this industry – and every industry I guess – but my fundamental advice would be the same,” says Brennan. “Talk to loads of people that have already done what you want to do, and listen very intently to them. Take ingredients from each of them to make your own unique business recipe. There is a certain element of being prepared to take risks I guess, but you have to ensure that you know enough to be comfortable taking them. Above all, don’t let any opportunities slip by – you never know what they might lead to.”
“I’m a big believer that the founders of Factory Records had the right approach – they made up their own rules and succeeded. I definitely see them as inspirational.”
Steve believes that risk is absolutely necessary in the life of an entrepreneur – in fact, he knows that merely being an entrepreneur is a risk in itself. When it comes to taking chances, knowledge is key – a measure of risk diluted with a gallon of research.
“The world needs more entrepreneurs because… it’s fun and exciting…most of the time!”
Armed with knowledge of Steve’s background and business history, I set about producing a set of designs that would mean something to him. He is a quiet and unassuming man, with the genuine air of someone who wants to push his business to deliver ever-better results for his clients. How would he react to a set of designs which attempt to capture the essence of his entrepreneurial spirit?
The final design we agreed upon, after exploring several different concepts, was the “Tunnel Vision” design.
Image Credit: Andrew Sutherland CC-BY-SA 2.0
Steve said “That sums up a lot in a simple phrase, keeping the focus, and also keeping positive – it’s a phrase I use a lot at work.”
“I’m going to hang this in reception in the office – I think it will help to show clients (and staff!) that we are serious about staying focussed on delivery”.
Personally, I love the boldness and the simplicity of the design – it is striking and immediately grabs your attention. I’m hoping to see this in the reception of Bespoke soon, ready to inspire the troops!
Just remember to say thank you to Steve for the inspiration!