Meet the Second Scale Up Ashford Cohort – Space Between and Six-Two
Back in 2017, Ashford Borough Council and Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce launched Scale Up Ashford, a business programme supporting local entrepreneurs to grow their business substantially. Based on the principles of the Scale Up Institute, the programme has been delivered by Kent business coaching company New Level Results.
Founded in 2015 by three developers who wanted to reinvent the digital agency concept and develop an empowering company culture, Space Between focuses on e-Commerce development, delivering engaging websites and apps, and helping businesses understand their customers to ensure better return on investment. They have grown quickly, now employing 15 people.
Meeting up with Luke Frake, Client Services Director and co-founder, at the first Scale Up Ashford workshop, he shared his thoughts on Ashford as a business location and why he’s chosen to locate here to support his company growth.
Joining Scale Up Ashford is the next stage for Space Between, as the company wanted to learn more about growing their business and engage with like-minded entrepreneurs. This latter aspect of the programme is essential for Luke:
“I enjoy being surrounded by people who are smarter than me and learn from their experiences and ideas. It would be silly to think there’s nothing more to learn about business development.”
Since the first workshop, Luke and his team have started working with Paul, from New Level Results, to develop and strengthen their company culture, as well as push their business forward.
“We started with a manifesto about our vision for the business. We’re now moving towards something more mature.”
Another key takeaway from the sessions is the importance of accountability in the Scale Up Ashford process. The team has to show and prove they have acted on what was discussed and to reach the agreed goals, which means they don’t have any excuse to push back putting their business first.
“The great thing about Scale Up Ashford is that it makes you accountable for your own business success. As we say, the shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot, and when you’re in an agency, you put your customers first and tend to push back your own business to-dos. Thanks to the programme, we have to make sure we meet our deadlines for our own goals. This accountability is key to keep scaling up.”
In 2010, Aaron and Helen launched Six Two [link to website] in Ashford, a web development agency that engineers websites to turn visitors into customers. Since then, the company has grown to seven employees and keeps true to its culture of empowering customers with relevant and engaging websites, as well as giving them the tools to understand what they need from a web developer. During the first Scale Up Ashford workshop, we asked Aaron, CEO of Six Two, why he valued being in Ashford when it comes to business and what the town centre regeneration means for his own company.
Since then, Aaron, alongside Helen, COO, and their team have had two meetings with the Scale-Up team to target their challenges. They are now focusing on marketing and how they can deliver their message to the widest audience possible, as well as making the most of their empowering culture.
“The two big avenues to explore are marketing and culture. With marketing, we want to make sure we communicate properly on our values and how we deliver our promises, both to our customers and to our team. The second aspect we’re working on is our company culture. It is one of the key engines for our growth as we want to bring more people in, and make sure these people are adding to the overall team dynamic and to our values.”
The One-on-One sessions with the coach have allowed Aaron and Helen to put some concrete actions into place and to share some of them with the rest of their team. This allows them to involve their whole company in the process to make sure they’re on board with the next steps.
“We’re having a little get-together with our staff as part of our agreed action plan, to reaffirm our strategic direction, talk about our culture and define it with everyone. We want to involve everyone in the process.”
More on Space Between’s and Six Two’s progress in our next interview.
Scale Up Ashford is one of the key programmes put in place by Ashford Borough Council and Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce to support local businesses and ensure the local economy is thriving. For more information on the type of business support offered in Ashford, visit Ashford Borough Council’s website and the Chamber’s website, or subscribe to our business newsletter.