Australian-born entrepreneur and business owner, Tom Harris took the bold step of launching his firm Live Innovations, in 2010, in the middle of a recession, overcoming adversity to establish the company as a market leader in the events marketing field.
During his time as a business owner, Mr Harris has faced the challenge of economic uncertainty with the recession in 2010 and the EU Referendum in 2016, which resulted in Brexit, the implications of which are still unknown. Despite operating in times of austerity, Mr Harris has been able to survive and thrive.
How have you navigated the unstable economic climate?
“Keeping up with today’s economy requires an understanding of the instant gratification world that we live in. As a business that provides services to companies across the U.K., we need faster reaction times than ever before. Having access to more information means we need to have processes in place to handle this. With social media and live chat feeds it’s now possible to be more in touch with your customers and clients than ever before.”
What changes have you had to make?
“When we began in 2010 it was a different market, where ease of access and ease of use was not a huge concern. Our attitude was that if a client needs us, they will find a way to reach us and that job seekers would seek us out. However, the social and economic landscape is changing, and attention spans are shorter, and patience is very limited. As a business we realised that we couldn’t expect people to find us, we had to make ourselves visible. Building a business is so much more than getting a building and going to work (even if you have a great product), we need to consider how we intend to attract business. Websites need to optimised for mobile and business hours must be flexible to suit the needs of customers and clients alike.”
How has technology advances impacted your business?
“Clients and customers have a wealth of information at their fingertips due to the internet and they want to know what you’re doing. We have daily reports summarising all the customer feedback we get from texts, calls, and complaints, and we have a team in place to respond to anything – good or bad within 24 hours.”
What’s the secret to success in today’s economy?
“Focusing on branding. We have always strived to create a positive working environment for our team internally, but now
we make efforts to portray this through social media and online platforms. Whether it be a client, customer or a job seeker, it’s not enough for people to know what “service” we provide, they want to know about who we are as people and our company culture. In short how we have adapted to economic change to welcome and find a positive way to use all the additional information we have available to us, not just bury our heads in the sand. We are on a mission to take the incredible environment we have in our team and do our best to share that with the world.”
Not settling for survival in the current precarious economic climate, for Mr Harris, growth is at the forefront of his goals in 2017.
“Currently we focus primarily on events in London; however our clients want UK-wide coverage, with conservative estimates of fifteen new locations to open in major cities across the UK. The budgets have been set up, and we know what we need to do. Now it’s time to get to work and make it happen. The success of a recent campaign generated a considerable amount of interest in the service we provide and we are currently in discussion with other companies in the financial sector who want to use our services. Adding to our client portfolio will organically create growth opportunities and catapult us towards our growth goals.”
Harris’ Top Tips
- Too many companies are resistant to change and are set in their ways. Be willing to make any necessary changes, and keep moving forward.
- If your business and practices become stagnant, you are vulnerable. Embrace new techniques and strategies; keep innovating and evolving and stay ahead of the competition.
- Build a robust and diverse team with people who possess different strengths and can bring various ideas to the table.
Words By Briony Quinn