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AMA: Danny Nevill, founder of Universal Web Design

AMA: Danny Nevill, founder of Universal Web Design

Danny Nevill is a serial entrepreneur, director, investor and fast car enthusiast, among other things. One of his enterprises is Universal Web Design, an award-winning web design and digital marketing agency.

Hi Dan! Could you tell us a bit about what you do?

I own and have shares in multiple companies, but for the purpose of this interview, let's focus on Universal Web Design, a digital marketing company founded in 2011.

Universal Web Design is a multi-award winning business with over 700 clients. Services span; websites, marketing, video, apps, photography, graphics and print.

Nice. How did the idea for Universal Web Design come about?

I began trading online in the form of buying and selling products from the age of 11. To expand my presence online, I built my first website aged 13. Following such activities, business owners began to ask me to create websites for them and their businesses.

Wow! What is your North Star metric and why is it so important?

Our aim is to grow to 200 team members and 10,000 clients over the next 5 years. This is a sizable challenge, although we as a team and company have the appetite to achieve such success.

Speaking of teams, how do you keep your team aligned?

As a director, it is important that people understand your vision. Your vision has to be communicated to your team and the team need to understand but also buy into your vision.

This comes through your induction process, speeches, team talks, emails, videos, guides, processes and policies.

Team members in need of attention must be attended to swiftly to keep them on track and aligned with the overall goal. Your goal as well as theirs. Hence the importance of personal goal setting in addition to the company's goals being set out.


Can you share any practical tips or processes to help people work remotely?

Working remotely comes with a number of challenges. The benefits include saving time and money on travel as well as office costs, although, what is the true cost of working from home.

The lack of collaboration, discussion, ease of communication, fluidity at work, companionship and support from colleagues, managers and directors.

Furthermore, how do those without expert-level knowledge become experts without the guiding hand from those with the knowledge? Monitoring peoples working hours, productivity and quality of work are also challenges.

Subsequently, I do see it largely as a honeymoon period until realisation sets in. There are however some benefits to systems such as Zoom, such as client meetings, this can save a lot of time.

Do you have a share or option scheme in place for your team? If so, what impact has it made?

Employees can buy shares in the company, however, most employees have not yet taken up this option, although team members do like the idea and option to be able to buy shares.

There's a lot to like about sharing equity! What would you say is the biggest mistake you've made as an entrepreneur?

Trusting people. I am a believer in trusting people and believing that people act with the best intentions.

However, in times of challenge or difficulty, such as a recession or pandemic, people's views and actions take a turn for the worst, showing their true colours. It can be a disturbing experience!

People turn animalistic mentally which can turn them into vultures. As an entrepreneur, I believe in a positive culture couple with reward and recognition. Although some people do not pick up their socks when they need to!

So, what do you look for in a candidate?

Good people skills. Someone who can get on with people. We all buy from people and businesses we know, like and trust, particularly in the services business. Hence the importance of good people skills among your team.

And what do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy weekends away for a change of scenery, filming car reviews, property and fitness.


Sounds fun! And finally, Danny, what’s your leadership style?

My leadership style is inspirational, motivational, team focussed and structured. I believe there has to be a structure for all of the cogs to turn in time and be aligned.

Fantastic. Thanks for your time Danny.

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