“Does it pass the Antony’s mum test?”
This is a question you’ll hear often at EKM – an e-commerce website builder based in Preston.
The impressive offices, complete with their Google HQ-style slide, houses around 80 employees, and is run by Burnley-born owner Antony Chesworth. The business, with the aim of becoming the world’s best ecommerce platform, offers a quick, easy and stress-free way to build an online business – something even Antony’s technophobe mum could follow.
During an inspiring talk at the Lancashire Forum’s latest meeting, Antony talked about the dangers of striving for perfection – which he said is an excuse not to get something done. He instead advised the attendees to be prepared to fail and learn quickly.
He also said that regardless of what you sell, if you have a website you’re in the fashion industry. You have to keep up to date with trends and styles to stay modern and relevant – or people won’t buy from your site.
He said: “You need to keep the hunger. A few years ago I lost my hunger and took my eye off the ball. The point of your business shouldn’t be to make money, it should be to help people – and the money will come.
“Persistence is the key to success. I don’t believe in natural talent. The talented people are the ones that carried on practicing when everyone else had gone home.
“You can have anything you want if you want it enough. Saying ‘Antony you can’t have that’ is like that huge button saying ‘do not press’ to me. It became my goal to prove people wrong.”
Antony said the innovators from history – the Thomas Edisons and Steve Jobs of the world – did not create ‘revolutionary’ products, but instead continued to make tweaks on technology that was already out there. They made gradual increments.
“You don’t just wake up with massive weight loss or an incredible business, it takes time and perseverance,” said Antony.
At EKM, the word ‘staff’ is banned – with every member instead seen as a valuable part of the team.
Antony said: “Staff are on Downton Abbey. Get rid of the mood hoovers and recruit people with the right attitude. You can teach people new skills.
“You have to make people love what they do and choose to work for you. If you want your team to be world class give them a world class environment. You also need to share your passion. If you’re not telling people about your passion how will anyone else know?”