Robert Tadros founded Melbourne-based digital marketing agency Impress!ve just under two years ago. Now, it is a thriving company, with annual turnover forecast at $3.5 million and a team of 17 talented employees.
Tadros’ quick rise to success boasting clients including Misha Collection, digiDIRECT, XBlades and Schiavello, left many wondering his secrets.
According to Tadros, his story isn’t so much one of glamour, rather one of perseverence.
Tadros moved from to Australia from Egypt when he was ten.
He says his drive comes from his parents who came to Australia with nothing. They instilled in Tadros a strong work ethic that to create better opportunities in life for him and his brother. By the age of 14 he got his first job working at KFC and he has not stopped working since.
Tadros launched his first startup when he was 19, an online business importing health products from the US, while he was studying at RMIT University.
He then landed his first corporate job with Sensis and eventually became one of the company’s top employees, responsible for managing a $10 million portfolio of the company’s top clients.
While working at Sensis, Tadros noticed the need for a different offering – so he quit his job and got to work on Impress!ve.
An early client was the fashion label Misha Collection. More than 20 clients later, Tadros decided to bring on the company’s first team member who is still with him today.
Tadros attributes the company’s swift success to ensuring Impress!ve was a highly specialised agency that focuses on delivering clients real world results, not just numbers on a spreadsheet.
Business News spoke to Tadros about how he grew so fast, why he’s accepting Bitcoin as payment, and his tips for being a successful entrepreneur.
How did you get started with Impress!ve?
I founded the business a bit under two years ago. I saw a real gap in the market where there was a lot of these small service agencies who thought they could do everything but they didn’t really specialise in anything; they were a jack of all trades and a master of none.
So I founded Impress!ve, I started off with just myself for the first six months. I got to the point where I was doing pretty long days, 18-22 hour days, and I got to the point where at one stage I was sleeping in a sleeping bag in my office because I had projects.
My beloved wife nearly divorced me. I basically threw everything at it, but to be honest, it’s paid dividends. At a lot of agencies out there, a lot of the bigger agencies, you’re just another number. We pride ourselves on the fact that we’re boutique.
Why do you think it grew so fast?
I’ll be honest with you, I’m not big on hiring staff. I think staff are everywhere, you can find staff very easily.
For us, I attribute the growth to talent that I’ve brought into this business; talent is very hard to find. I really go out there and try and find unicorns.
There’s a lot of people out there who claim to be digital marketers, it’s like every man and his dog these days is a digital marketer, but it’s very hard to find good talent and that’s really what I look for.
So I’ve surrounded myself with a team that are all pretty young, pretty dynamic, all on the same page. We’re very smart individuals and very entrepreneurial.
I think the culture within the business really drives the end result. For us, yes revenue is very important, it is for every business, but that’s not our focus. Our focus is to deliver good work. if we deliver good work and the client’s happy the revenue comes. It’s the end goal.
Why did you decide to embrace cryptocurrency as a form of payment? Do you have faith that it won’t just be a quick fad?
It’s definitely not going to be a fad, I think it’s here to stay. I’ve been a crypto trader for a few years now. I hadn’t thought about accepting crypto for payment until a client asked about it.
I dug a little bit deeper, had a chat to my accountants, had to jump through hoops, we went out and created our own wallet and we do now embrace the technology.
I think we’re a forward thinking agency and that’s how we position ourselves. We’re embracing the technology; blockchain I think is an amazing technology. In fact I urge small to medium businesses to embrace it as a payment method. Low fees, very safe, and a quick turnaround.
What’s your top tip for entrepreneurs?
Put in the time. I’m never going to claim that I’m the greatest business owner out there but I bloody work hard. I think if you put in the time and if you really want it, you’ll get it.
I hear a lot of stories of business owners and startups that only work 9-5 because they feel like they’re going to burn out after eight hour shifts.
If you really want it you’ll put in the time and you’ll put in the effort and you’ll get a positive outcome. For me, it’s all about planning, understanding your numbers, and putting in bloody hard work it’s not easy.
Is there anything you wish you would’ve done differently?
Absolutely. I’ve made some bad decisions along the way. I am fortunate I made them earlier in the piece because I learned from them very quickly and there was that traditional thinking of hiring ‘staff’ just to put bums on seats.
I’ve learned that ‘staff’ need to be micromanaged – they don’t have drive, they don’t have goals. I needed to change my mindset and look for ‘talent’, not look for ‘staff’.