Welcome to the latest instalment of our Business Success blog series. Last month we interviewed Marcus Thornley about his revolutionary digital product development studio, Play Consult. Today, we’re speaking with Ann-Marie Rossiter, Head of Marketing at HeadBox about her quest to simplify the way businesses can book inspiring event spaces.
What’s the story of Headbox, in a nutshell?
Our CEO was previously CEO at a research consultancy and often needed to book out-of-the-ordinary spaces for his clients, such as Nokia and Coca-Cola for co-creation sessions. He was shocked by how difficult it was to find, book and pay for spaces without what felt like endless calls emails and intermediaries. He felt that there must be a quicker, more simple way to book venues for any work related event by leveraging technology, and so the idea for HeadBox marketplace was born.
Since then, we’ve launched two more products HeadBox Business (HeadBox for companies and organisations) and STACK (HeadBox for Host venues), which means that we are now a SaaS (software as a service) enabled marketplace. Our vision is to reinvent the global events industry through technology. We believe that technology is key to solving our customers’ problems, which is why we’ve continued to build digital products that streamline the venue booking process for both our Hosts and Guests.
What’s been your proudest career moment so far?
There’s been plenty of amazing moments in my HeadBox career. Being part of a startup from the very beginning means that I’ve been very fortunate to see the business grow to what it is now. On a weekly basis something happens that makes you incredibly proud. My proudest moments definitely include onboarding our first HeadBox Business client and then our first STACK client. It’s really rewarding to see your early adopters start using a product which has been in development for so long, especially when you’ve been part of the process since the inception of the idea. Early this year we were listed at number 23 in startups.co.uk Startups 100, which was another standout achievement. We were previously listed at number 75 in 2016 and number 49 in 2017, so making such a big jump into the top 30 of such a prestigious list was incredibly exciting. I was also very proud to launch our Social Mission in March this year, to help provide Space to people who don’t have it, in collaboration with St Mungo’s, a leading homelessness charity in the UK.
Tea or coffee?
Definitely more of a tea drinker.
Who is your business role model/idol and why?
I’ve met lots of very inspiring business leaders over the last few years, but one that stands out is Pip Jameson from The Dots. Aside from the fact that The Dots is doing incredibly well, she’s a huge advocate for female business leaders and a very genuine and honest individual. Her personality shines through in everything that she does and I think that’s a great trait to have as a successful leader.
What’s your top tip for a productive working day?
Start each day with a clear plan on what you want to achieve. This way every day becomes focused rather than a daunting week-long list of things to do. Using digital task software like Asana is a great way for me to manage my to-do list but also keep on top of my what my team are doing in our weekly 1-2-1’s. I also think that holding regular team meetings so everyone is up to date on the focus for the upcoming week and aware of how they need to support each other, is key in boosting productivity. We drive a variety of projects at the same time in my team across the business, which requires input from everyone. Having these regular touch points allows us to work collaboratively and deliver on time. As a company we also have weekly standups with the whole team to make sure what everyone knows what is happening between departments, which is very important for a growing business.
Which everyday item can you not live without?
As much as I would like to say otherwise, probably my phone! My team is constantly producing digital content so I like to know how that is performing across all channels, as well as reading the comments we get from our clients. The HeadBox team are constantly in touch with each other about a variety of things, and my team know I’ll almost always pick up the phone!
What advice would you give to an aspiring startup company?
Plan ahead and review regularly. You have to change tactic from time to time but getting into that rhythm early on is really important. There’s no success blueprint when you are trying to disrupt an industry, so having the confidence to say that something isn’t working and kick-starting plan B is really important. I also think you need to ensure that you have regular touch points with the whole business. Startups grow incredibly fast and teams expand quickly so it’s important that everyone understands what other parts of the business are working on and how everyone is contributing to the bigger picture.
How do you switch off?
This is something I’m trying to get better at! I walk to and from work which gives me an hour each day to listen to a podcast or music to clear my head before and after a hectic day in the office.
I also try to travel as much as I can to explore new places, which I think is the ultimate way to relax and love checking out the new restaurants or venues we uncover for HeadBox, of course!
What will the future bring for headbox?
Now that would be telling but what we can say is watch this space.
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