6 minute read
Shayne and Alice, founders of Mint Design. Photo / Provided
Alice Moore, founder of Christchurch-based marketing agency Mint Design, explains how her company is retaining staff and why Christchurch businesses were better prepared than others for closures and remote working.
What does the company do?
Mint Design is a digital marketing agency. We help businesses with their online presence and help them look good. People can come to us when they need to build a website, and they also work with us to help their business grow online; so we help drive traffic to their website using platforms like Google and Facebook. We have approximately 500 clients working with us nationwide as well as contracts throughout the South Pacific. We have an office here in Christchurch, where we are headquartered, and we also have an office in Auckland which we launched last year just in time for lockdown.
The business has been in growth mode since we started – it’s only been one big growth phase. We’ve been on the Deloitte Fast 500 for the technology sector for several years in a row and we grew our revenue by 56% last year and we continue to grow.
What was the motivation for launching it?
My husband is the CEO and we started Mint together. In 2010 when we started, we found that many Kiwi businesses were not yet using the web in the way they could to help their business grow and be found online by new customers and new markets. We found that many Kiwi business owners were hesitant to invest online because there were a lot of overnight businesses operating in the web space that weren’t necessarily doing it the right way and charging a lot of money. This is no longer the case now, thankfully the industry has corrected itself and become regulated by its own market, but that is why we started: to make it much more transparent and much more accessible to typical Kiwi businesses, and to demystify something that might have seen quite unheard of.
We started the business just before the 2011 earthquake, so we learned a lot of lessons pretty early in the business.
How big is your team ?
We have just over 30 employees today, and growing.
How was the company financed?
The company was entirely privately financed. We are quite proud of the fact that we have no lines of credit or overdraft. A very generous family member loved our business idea and saw a lot of potential in us and loaned us $30,000 and we kind of turned it into a $3.5 million business so it was a very good investment for them.
What is your current goal?
As we mature as a company, we now focus internally on boring things like standard operating procedures, but we still want to grow as an employer. We’re ranked in the top 4% in our engagement surveys, so we’re one of the best places to work in New Zealand; of these surveys. We want to go from 4%. 100 to 2 p. 100, which is really hard to do; getting into that 2 percent space, but it’s something we’re really passionate about. One of the next things we’re going to cover is inclusivity and making sure everyone at Mint knows it’s safe to come as they are and be who they are. We also have a focus on mental health, and I think a lot of employers would agree that the lines of responsibility of an employer with the mental health of their team has changed and that’s something we like to put a lot into of resources.
We’re in a lucky position because our digital marketing industry in general is booming and we’re in a position where we can invest in things like mental health resources. We find that investing in our team always pays off. We operate in a fairly transitional industry in terms of staff as many digital marketers are in a younger age group and they tend to move around a lot so we find we have to work hard to retain and provide a great place. work.
What is the key to good staff retention?
We have seen that over the past few years the investment we have made in our employer brand has paid off, especially this year. We did recruitment and I have never seen such conditions. We’ve found that we’ve been able to bring in some truly amazing talent and senior talent through the hard work and investment we’ve put into our employment brand over the years – it’s paying off now.
Where do you see the company in three to five years?
Within three to five years, we are aiming to reach $5 million in revenue. We believe that the bigger you get, the more average you can become, so we really want to fight against that and not become an average company.
How has working from home changed office dynamics?
We offer our team a hybrid model where they work from the office and from home. We like to have people come two days a week just so we can keep the culture going. But I think it also invites a broader conversation about culture, not just in the office now; culture is really every interaction and every project file. I know this can be a big struggle for some business owners. For us, the benefit to us as a company is the benefit to the team member. Some of our team members really like having the time to stay home and focus and not have those disruptions – it can be really beneficial.
Here in Christchurch we’ve been working from home since 2011 we all took our desktop computers home when we were evicted from offices that weren’t earthquake proof so from that perspective alone being able to work in a hybrid and just-at-home manner protects businesses from disruption. Businesses that can work from home should use this to their advantage in case there are changes in ways such as Covid to keep business moving. There is certainly a real resilient spirit here in Christchurch.
What advice do you give to others considering starting their own business?
One of the things we were told was that everything would take twice as long and cost twice as much, so be prepared for that.