DataTek Ltd: Our Start-Up Story
Formed back in 2011, DataTek Ltd are IT specialists, helping thousands of businesses across the UK and the EU to get the most out of their technology budget. Stocking thousands of refurbished tech products, DataTek’s unique combination of exclusive market knowledge and world class logistics capabilities ensures that their clients get the best deal on their IT purchases.
Founder and company director, Gregg Ivers, has decades of experience in the IT sector. He set up DataTek to use his in-depth knowledge of the market to give more people access to the best deals and products.
DataTek have been clients of ours for many years. And, we recently caught up with Managing Director, Gregg, to hear more about DataTek’s journey from start-up newbies to accomplished industry leaders. We began by asking about how the business started, and how Gregg was able to grow - and sustain - the client base in the early days.
‘As a business owner, you never truly switch off.’
‘In terms of our marketing strategies and how we grew our client base initially, we utilised the Facebook-style social media platforms within our industry,’ Gregg said. ‘Until recently, we’d done absolutely no marketing at all. So, initially, it was about working really hard on personal relationships with customers and suppliers. We’ve come a long way from starting the business with £500 and working out of a front room for two years!’
As you might expect, starting a business has had both positive and negative effects on Gregg’s personal life.
‘One big positive was the flexibility,’ he explains, not to mention the ‘financial rewards when things are going right.’
‘I think the negative impact is that you never truly switch off as a business owner,’ he admits. ‘There is always one more deal to be done! But that flexibility, as I mentioned, is great. I never miss my children’s sports days or dance performances.’
‘Our first major challenge was growing cash within the business.’
Like most people, Gregg’s main motivation as a businessman is to look after his family. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons he started the business in the first place.
‘I wanted to be a decision maker and be in charge of my own destiny,’ he says. ‘The biggest fear I had when we started DataTek was not being able to provide for my family. We actually found out that my wife was pregnant within seven days of us setting up! So, the first major challenge we had was growing the cash within the business.’
This is a familiar concern for many new entrepreneurs, particularly those who are using large chunks of their own savings to finance their start-up, or if they’re relying on the start-up’s success to pay the bills. To find out more about the many ways to finance a start-up business, click here.
‘We want DataTek to be a friendly place to work.’
So, what does success look like to Gregg - both on a personal level and as a business owner?
‘From a personal point of view, success to me is not having to worry about money,’ he said. ‘I’ve spent the best part of my adult life struggling financially. So, owning a successful business has helped to remove that worry.’
And, from a business perspective?
‘I suppose, as a business, success is defined by achieving our targets, no matter how big or small they are. We tend to promote from within. So, for instance, it’s good when people succeed in a completely different area of the business than when they joined the company.’
‘Company culture is really important to us as a business,’ he continues. ‘We want DataTek to be a friendly and easy going place to come and work. In terms of keeping the team focused and productive, we try and make sure that everyone is suitably rewarded and we have realistic targets to grow the business.’
‘As a business leader, you need to look after good staff,’ he warns. ‘In my opinion, you need to be adaptable, have a good attention to detail and, crucially, have the ability to listen.’
‘Keep overheads low & pay people on time.’
Finally, if Gregg had one piece of advice for a new entrepreneur who’s starting their own business, what would it be?
‘My advice,’ he says, ‘keep your overheads low and pay people on time. That applies to your staff, your customers and your suppliers. In my opinion, when any of those fall by the wayside you’re in trouble.’ He also recommends a nice glass of wine after a particularly stressful day, but we couldn’t possibly endorse that advice…