Foundergiant: Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself and your business...
Matt Tomkin: Hey, I’m Matt Tomkin and I started Tao Digital Marketing 2 years ago now. We’re a digital marketing agency based in Bolton, UK, focused on assisting businesses to generate leads and online sales.
Our services include organic search acquisition (SEO), pay per click (PPC), website design and development, social media and overall strategy across all digital marketing channels.
Most of our clients are B2B with the aim of generating sales enquiries or sell spaces on training courses online etc. With my previous background I can resonate with business owners challenges and understand their requirements for digital marketing support.
We’ve seen some major success with our clients; the agency grew from me initially working with one business as a freelancer and gaining them some really valuable rankings on Google.
We’re now a team of 4 and continue to grow in clients and employees!
FG: What’s your background and how has it led you to starting your own business?
Matt Tomkin: I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I knew this from being young. I started my first business in online personal training when I was 19 years old, but I also had a full time job so I didn’t really have enough resource or time to dedicate to it.
At 26, my first big business was a Business Telecoms company called Comms Consult. With the success of this business I had a flash sports car on the drive and more money than I knew what to do with.
Sadly, I fell out with my business partner at the time and he bought me out, we parted ways at what became the right time.
With a passion for sports, I had started a sportswear brand on the side of the Telecoms business so I decided to go full time on this project. It actually grew way too quickly and I ran out of cash, so that ended in a bit of a disaster.
All of the above, were fundamental lessons learnt which I gained through the journey.
A big one being, you can’t run a business without positive cashflow. But also, I’ve learnt to understand the online customer journey. From searching on google, right through to conversion, the journeys customers take online need to be optimised and most importantly, measured.
This is where the idea for Tao Digital came from really. From the other businesses I had worked in and created, I had become very disheartened by the lack of communication and understanding of a business’s goals and the strategies needed to hit them. They just didn’t seem to get it!
I knew enough at the time, and was passionate to learn more, about getting good results in the search engines and with my experience I knew how to deal with the B2B business owners and marketing managers.
Tao Digital Marketing was born out of this frustration, and my passion to make a difference to other businesses.
I’d validated the need in my own head, then managed to pick up a few freelance clients who were in need of advice and help to gain more visibility online.
Then my decision was made; I needed to go for it.
Luckily, a very good friend of mine who runs a company called Thornton & Lowe, agreed to back the start of the agency. His support was fundamental, I simply couldn’t have done it without him, and he continues to be one of our largest clients. However, I now own 100% of the business again.
FG: How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Matt Tomkin: We’ve grown each year, and plan to continue this for the next few years. We’re gearing up to move offices to accommodate our expanding team of specialists, so we’re all excited about the move.
This will give employees a modern, inspiring place to work and a space we’ll be proud to bring existing and new clients.
Our five year plan is centred around having a highly skilled team, who have their own area of expertise, working collaboratively to deliver impressive results for our clients. Resulting in us turning over just over £1m in revenue per year.
We’ll continue working with highly ambitious companies, working as their digital partner, to truly maximise and grow their business online. So we can grow together.
FG: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Matt Tomkin: I think you just have to go and do it, take the leap! Start!
Surround yourself with people that will support you and make an effort to build your network and relationships. Having good relationships has been fundamental for us, with connections being there for me personally and making introductions to others to support the business growth.
Also, failure happens! So don’t beat yourself up about it, and it’s not always yours, or someone else's fault, it happens. See failure as a lesson learnt and move on.
We’re all constantly learning.