Gareth Bain is the Founder and CEO of Got Legs Digital, the first ethical growth marketing automation agency in London. He has a proven track record and over 14 years working with FTSE 250 organizations and start-ups in the property, finance, and tech sectors. Before forming his own agency Gareth worked for American Express, MoneyGram, and Blackstone Group to name a few. He holds a BA Honours Degree in Brand and Strategic Leadership and a Diploma in Public Relations & Communications.
Gareth wants to make a lasting impact in the world. He started Got Legs Digital to help businesses ‘Get Legs’ and grow and at the same time donate prosthetic legs to those in need throughout Africa. In his spare time, Gareth likes to travel the world and experience new countries, cultures, and cuisines.
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Let’s learn a little about you and really get to experience what makes us tick – starting at our beginnings. Where did your story begin?
Gareth Bain: It all started a few years back when I was in my office, and I would receive phone call after phone call of ‘cowboy’ marketing agencies promising me that they were the solution to my problem. They were trying to sell outdated tricks and tactics and wanted to charge a fortune. I thought to myself ‘How many business owners are being taken advantage of by these cowboys and falling for these tricks?’ At that time, I felt a moral obligation to change the industry, but I just didn’t know how. This set the wheels in motion for building Got Legs Digital, the first ethical growth marketing agency in London.
As a child, I was brought up with the ethos that if you do good things for people, they will do good things for you. As Zig Zigler said, “You will have everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want.” So, I formed Got Legs Digital with a commercial and a philanthropic side to the business. The commercial side helps businesses to ‘Get Legs’, to viral and get footfall into their stores. We educate businesses about what is needed for their business and show them exactly what needs to be done. We are transparent and open with all our clients. We help to upskill and educate the businesses that we work with so that they can make better marketing decisions.
The philanthropic side of the business looks at helping amputee survivors living in Africa to reclaim their independence. We donate a percentage of our company’s profits to providing prosthetic legs to people in need. We give them a leg up and make a long-lasting impact in their life. Unlike other businesses we do not have KPIs but rather KLIs (Key Lives Impacted).
Since starting Got Legs Digital, we have grown from strength to strength. We have won awards, worked with some amazing companies, and donated over 137 prosthetic legs. We are trying to influence the Marketing industry to make it more ethical, but it is going to take time.
Was there somebody in your life that inspired you to take that specific journey with your business?
Gareth Bain: This is going to sound a little cliched, but it is the truth. The two people who inspired me the most to start this journey were my wife and my mother. The two most amazing women in my life presented me with very different motivations for starting my business. Let’s first start with my mother. In the build-up to starting my own business and while I was still in full-term employment my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I am originally from South Africa, where my mother lives but I had been living in the UK for over 7 years. I knew that this was very serious and created a sense of urgency for me to start my business so that I would have the opportunity to spend more time with her while we all worked remotely.
She was a big driving force for me and very supportive of everything I did. I now wanted to do something for her and be there for her in her time of need. Her diagnosis ignited the passion to start my journey.
The next big inspiration is my wife. She is incredibly supportive of what I am doing and, in her words, “I want to support you in living and fulfilling your dream”. I have always wanted to start a business, but it has never been the right time. I had recently gotten engaged and was soon to be married so I knew that there was no time like the present. If I was going to make a go at starting a business, it had to be now, and I had to give it my all.
My wife was extremely supportive in the build-up and was my rock when times got hard. I knew that after we got married, we would want to start a family and I would need to ensure that I could provide for my family. She gave me the confidence I needed to start what is now a very successful and growing agency.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Gareth Bain: One of the other areas of business that I am passionate about is coaching. I work with a number of start-ups and scale-up businesses and there are a few common challenges that I see on a regular basis.
First is not fully understanding their target audience. Spending time truly understanding the pain points of your target audience is so important. Next is Positioning. Have they identified an area of the market that they want to focus on? These days there is a lot of competition, so it is very important to position a business. Lastly conducting competitor analysis. Understanding your competitors helps you find gaps in a market.
As an entrepreneur, I would say a common mistake I see is not continuing to invest in themselves. When they start a journey, they are in learning mode and focusing on self-development. However, as their business starts to take off and they get busier, they forget to continue with self-development. Surrounding yourself with the right people is also very important. If you are the smartest person in the room, you need to change rooms.
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Gareth Bain: Absolutely! As a digital marketing and growth agency, we specialize in all things digital. When the pandemic hit, I think a lot of businesses realized that they needed digital transformation and made the shift. It is sad to say but the pandemic definitely expedited the digital transformation process which has in some way created new opportunities for businesses.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Gareth Bain: As I mentioned earlier, the reason why I started this business was that I wanted to make the marketing sector more ethical. I believe that a lot of businesses are being taken advantage of by cowboy marketing agencies and I wanted to try and influence the industry. I also wanted to set up a business that was purpose-led rather than purely profit-led. It is up to us to make the world a better place… not just Michael Jackson.
I think what makes Got Legs Digital stand out from our competitors is the focus on doing good in the world and being open and transparent with our customers. Businesses know that when they work with us, they are helping communities in need and making an impact on the lives of others. For a lot of businesses, this is very important.
Take this as an example – There are two agencies that do similar work and charge similar rates; however, one agency changes the lives of others every month and makes an impact in the world and the other one doesn’t. Who would you like to work with?
Delegating is part of being a great leader, but what have you found helpful to get your managers to become valiant leaders as well?
Gareth Bain: In terms of delegating and empowering my workforce, I found that creating SOPs within the business has been life-changing. Getting the team to document what they do and create little videos about how things need to be done has allowed us to delegate and scale very quickly. This frees up our management team for more strategic tasks. I then implemented a Red, Blue, and Black system to manage their time. I asked the team to document every 30 mins of their day for two months. Then I asked them to break their tasks into Red – admin, Blue – income generation, and Black – strategy.
Based on the role I refocused the business and the team priorities so that they could focus the majority of their time doing the most important things in the business. So for example our sales team now spends 85% of their day on income generation, 10% on strategy, and 5% on admin.
How important do you think it is for a leader to be mindful of his own brand?
Gareth Bain: I think it is very important. Having a good personal brand helps your business brand to grow. People are more inclined to do business with a person rather than a business and if they know your personal brand then it is an easy transition. I encourage my employees to build personal brands because it is not only the responsibility of the CEO and Marketing department to build a business. Having a strong employee brand is also very important. Building your own brand helps build trust, positions you as an expert in your field,
and opens opportunities that would not necessarily be presented to a business. If I had to choose whether to have a great personal brand or $1millon, I would choose the personal brand.
How would you define “leadership”?
Gareth Bain: For me, leadership is leading from the front and setting an example. I often describe leadership as being the captain of a ship. A good leader needs to know where we are, where we want to be and how we need to get there. He has this clear viewpoint from the bridge of the ship but is also surrounded by experts to help the ship arrive at its destination safely.
The people in the engine room and below deck do not see what the captain sees but are the driving force behind where the ships need to be. It is important for the captain to communicate regularly with the team below to keep them moving in the right direction. The captain also needs to know what resources he needs to get from point A to point B.
For me, leadership is trying to bring the best out of everyone in your team. Giving them the opportunity to prove their worth to you and creating those opportunities to make them enjoy what they do. A leader inspires!
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Gareth Bain: Going to University and studying for 3 – 5 years is the biggest con ever… depending on your industry. Obviously, doctors, lawyers and other professional services need a qualification. However, to be an entrepreneur all you need is a passion and a belief.
It has never been easier to start and run a business. The pandemic saw an increase of 14% of new businesses starting compared to the industry average of 6%. There is so much information out there now that is free to help get you started. Instead of spending money on university why not take that money, find a person/business that you aspire to be and ask them if they can be your mentor?
If you are young, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by starting a business. If it fails, just start another one and learn from your mistakes or you can get a job. As the saying goes – Fortune favours the brave.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Gareth Bain: I would have to say that I have two little quotes that resonate with me.
First is the compound effect – doing small incremental actions every day towards the desired outcome or a result. It’s not the big things that happen in life, it is doing the right thing consistently day in and day out that gets you where you want to be.
The second is the breaking down FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is just a limiting belief set by ourselves. When I fear something, I try to understand my why and then work to overcome my fear as it is only my limiting belief and is not actually real.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Gareth Bain for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Gareth Bain or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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