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Pete Heslop
Pete Heslop

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Podcast: Directors growing up

In recognition of our fourth birthday as a business, we’ve recorded a special run of podcasts looking at what has inspired us along the way, the lessons we have learnt, and to bring some focus to what’s next for us as a company.

The first instalment of these podcasts is entitled ‘Directors Growing Up’.

If you don’t have time to watch our video podcast or listen along, then have a read of the key talking points below:

Steadfast Collective’s beginnings

Our original idea for Steadfast was to create a creative place where we could build web applications for ourselves and for our clients. Pete started out as a PHP-developer contracting our for other agencies and clients. Two years later, we then hired, got our first office and grew the business from there.

Web application studio

Our first office: Canute Road, Southampton

Where we are now: our fourth year in business

Steadfast Collective is now based in an office on the outskirts of the New Forest in Ower, with a great team. We’ve just taken on our first designer and we’re now in a position where we are working on client work a good chunk of the time, spending the rest of our time working on our own internal products that are close to our hearts, which we build, grow and market.

Podcast: Directors growing up

Three lessons we have learnt over the past year:

  1. Design is important The last 12 months have been a bit of a whirlwind. We’ve grown the team and taken on a lot of new processes to accommodate that growth. A key lesson in the process has been understanding the importance of design. As a group of developers, design hadn’t been something we were particularly excelling in and we came to recognise the importance of having our own designer in house. Having a designer allows us to increase the value of our work offering and having a designer sat alongside developers has been key.

We’ve been really proud of the work we have been releasing both for clients and internally – telling our own story in a creative and visual way.

  1. Always be networking

This is a lesson that came up a lot through our podcast series ‘Three Lessons Learnt’, mentioned by several of the business owners that we interviewed. At Steadfast, nearly all of our work comes from referrals so networking and getting ourselves out there is key. Online networking through Linkedin, Twitter and other social media both for ourselves and by our staff has been helpful. We have come to realise that our staff need to be having meaningful conversations to help make the brand known so that not all sales come through one person. Networking, whether to gain business or expand your contact list, allows you to bounce ideas off other people outside of your immediate sphere.

When networking, we have learnt to always make it easy for the other person – arrange an easy meeting place or go to them. Further down the line, you never know what could become of that relationship.

  1. Leadership should be calming and inspiring for your team

It’s important as a company that your employees feel safe and secure in what they are doing. Empowering leadership is based around having trust in your team and conveying that sense of trust by giving them the responsibility to get things done. If you are leading a team or business, you need to be able to instil a sense of calm and authority to your team. Through trusting your team and giving them opportunities, you propel them to stepping up, going above and beyond to excel in new areas.

Sprints should be short, not constant. Running at 120% all the time is tiring and causes burn out so only pull the fire alarm on a project if it is a real emergency.

Web applications Southampton

What will the next year look like for us?

The next 12 months are all about stabilising the growth we’ve seen in our team and learning how to work together to consistently develop the best standard of work, without losing the creative edge.

Creating a stable place of process gives us space and flexibility – we know we are going to be hitting deadlines, so we have the flexibility to work on our own products.

We’re excited to continue working on one of our main products, Tap, which we have recently invested time into, re-building the back end.

Tap: Managed WordPress Hosting

As a team, we’re going to be out and about a lot over the next year. We are going to Laravel Live, WXG7 and lots of other events, so follow along with us on Twitter to see where we are heading to next and arrange to meet us along the way.

Thanks for listening/reading along. We hope you have enjoyed finding out more about our back story as a company and our hopes for the future. We would love to get to know you, so get in touch and meet us for a coffee.

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