Glenn Edley, CEO of Spike, the strategic email agency, specialists in the email marketing arena for more than ten years. First a technician in the RNZAF, Glenn founded Spike (first SpikeIT, then Spikemail) in 2004. His aim was to provide managed email and mobile marketing, before the rest of the industry had realised its power.
What have been your life changes?
Back in the 90s and early 2000s, I had a car alarm business, which had expanded to include installing hands-free kits for Vodafone and several other large contracts. I was going out to Air New Zealand doing all their cars, I was doing Saab. Life was good. Then in 2000/2001 the Government made the decision not to instate a law ruling out the use of mobile phones while driving. Virtually overnight, my business dried up. That was life-changing for me.
How did you respond?
I had been doing some database, email and web work as well so when the car kit work dried up I started working full-time in email marketing. I thought email marketing was amazing and so sold my turn-tables to fund the start-up of Spike (then Spike IT). That bought me a new PC and a set of business cards, so off I went.
Have you had any other big life changes?
In 2005, as well as running my business, I started the NZ Sales Institute with a guy called Chris Koch and his wife. He was a man with the gift of the gab. A year later I ended up being about $150,000 down. Koch was extradited to Australia and received a 13 year prison sentence for having taken in investors for $2.1 million. That experience was an eye opener for me and I learned a lot about business and people.
How did this experience make you feel?
I was really annoyed at the time but developing the NZ Sales Institute proved to me that email marketing really worked. I was more inspired than ever to focus on managed email marketing and keep building Spike.
How did you recover from this?
I had no money, I was living at my Dad's house and operating Spike out of his basement. I rebranded SpikeIT to Spikemail and started knocking on doors. With the knowledge I had gained from NZSI, and the spare time I now had, I was able to really focus on my clients, some of whom I still have today.
How is business now?
We are now a fast growing, successful company that focuses on maximising the marketing spend of our clients. I have a great team of five working out of our own offices in West Auckland. We work with awesome clients ranging from B2B to large, national retailers. I have recently hired Simon Kirk, ex GM of SmartPage and senior account manager at INL/Fairfax Media. He has brought a whole new focus to our business which our clients are benefiting from and really appreciate.
Right now we're leading a bold sales push and getting in front of businesses who might never have heard about Spike before. I am working with business coach Mark Robotham, who has given me a real language for marketing. We have developed a framework that allows us to scale easily within New Zealand and overseas. This quarter we are focused on New Zealand and we will start looking at overseas opportunities later in the year.
What have your life experiences taught you about business?
It's still all about people. No matter what technology, or new widget you are selling, business comes down to relationships. Spike might have businesses as clients but we deal with the people and enjoy the great relationships we've developed over the years.
Next week: How do you foster a more corporate culture in your SME when there's only a few of you ? How do you make your small business look like a big business?