About Straight Talk
Straight Talk Consulting was created out of the bad experiences the founders faced with consultants and agencies.
We simply couldn’t understand why we were not able to find people who could provide straight forward advice on what the business needed, at what stage it needed it and why it was needed.
In our experience, consultants were great at telling you what was needed, but wouldn’t do the work themselves. They simply blamed us when things didn’t go exactly to plan, just before saying “You didn’t implement what I said correctly.” Which of course, we followed with “Well, why dont you show me?”
Agencies were very good at doing exactly what was asked of them. Without digging deeper, to find out if what was being asked of them was actually of any benefit to the business. We also found that whilst support was great to start, once the contract was signed, they couldn’t be bothered.
In our experience, the reporting was very poor. With a lot of ‘smoke and mirrors’ around the work being done.
We both really enjoy growing and developing businesses. So we decided “Enough is enough” and Straight Talk was formed.
I started my first business when I was at university. I was heavily involved with health and fitness, so I created an e-commerce business selling supplements. This eventually evolved into creating my own branded supplements that were sold through the online store. Through a combination of my own mistakes, university and not having the necessary skills, the business failed. But I did know, I wouldn’t spend my life working for someone else.
After University, I wanted to take a job as a Project Manager, at a large company. My logic was “projects are like mini businesses.” This would allow me to gain experience managing large teams from different backgrounds.
I was able to get myself a job at Jacobs Engineering. A company of over 60,000 employees. During my time there, I worked on projects for the Ministry of Justice, DEFRA and Manchester Airport Group. The largest project I worked on was MAN-TP, a $1 billion redevelopment of Manchester Airport.
Whilst working at Jacobs, I was still heavily involved in health and fitness. I started my second business. Which was an app for personal trainers. This is where I met my future co-founder at Straight Talk, Ben Lickley. I was put in touch with his company to build the app & things quickly started to evolve.
The app business started well. I was able to build a strong team with 30 personal trainers, who quickly joined the app. Unfortunately or should I say “fortunately” I was about to learn a very important lesson. Different businesses need different amounts of starter capital. Most app businesses need A LOT. We simply did not have the cash to continue development and get the product to where it needed to be. The result was another failed business.
Ben and I had kept in touch and ultimately decided that Affordable Web Design was a venture we could work on together. Our concept was, we could sit between high priced development and low cost website builders by using modern WordPress themes. We were able to create basic but unique websites within a week, for only a few hundred dollars.
As the business began to gain traction, we frequently found that clients would come back to ask us & ask “Now that I have a website, how do I grow my business?” A number of these clients began paying us to help guide them in growing and scaling their businesses.
With our previous endeavours, Ben and myself both had bad experiences with consultants and marketing agencies. We found that they either took no responsibility for failure and blamed the client. Or they did what was asked of them. Knowing full well it was not to the clients benefit before using the excuse “Well, it’s what you asked for.”
We never wanted to be in either of these categories. We agreed to advize clients, like it was our own business. If they didn’t like it… that was ok, but we would still tell them.
From that point, Straight Talk was born.
I started my first business at age 16, building mobile applications. I started delivering apps for local businesses, before ultimately becoming involved with startups and local government.
As the business continued to grow, we started building apps for fortune 500 and multi national companies.
The business was acquired and I successfully exited.
I knew that I wanted to start a new business and agreed to start Affordable Web Design with Dan. The company that would eventually become, Straight Talk.
Our aim was to create an offering that we wished we could have used, when we first started our previous businesses.