My Week: Kevin Taylor of Gravytrain

Digital marketing entrepreneur and motor racing enthusiast Kevin Taylor on employment tribunals, growth spurts, and why he hates recruitment consultants. All aboard the Gravytrain...

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The biggest challenge we have at the moment is recruitment. We’ve been trying to hire four people and it’s been a nightmare. Firstly, we’re a digital marketing firm based in Hampton Hill and most people in this industry want to be based in London. Secondly, the quality of recruiters these days is awful. As soon as they get your details, they hound you constantly, all the while trying to headhunt your existing staff. But we have managed to find three new people and a fourth is starting on Monday.

The fact that we’re growing again is really exciting. It’s been a tough few years. Back in 2008, my partner Rocco and I had a big falling out with a former director and shareholder. He was the techie of the business, dealing with infrastructure and the like, but when we found out he had also been reading our emails, we had to dismiss him. He took us to a tribunal and, even though he backed out at the last minute, it ended up costing us £250,000 in legal fees. Growth stalled because we didn’t have the resources to fuel it.

Luckily, well, luckily for us, the banking crisis happened soon afterward. Lots of tech people were being let go and we managed to pick up a guy from an investment bank. He came to work for us for a year and did a brilliant job. It’s funny how big busts in one industry can end up being a result for another.

The digital marketing space is fiercely competitive, but also very social. My people are constantly going to events and conferences – and I speak at a fair few of the latter. I’m not as up for nights out as I used to be, though. I keep long hours here, getting in around 8:30 and leaving around half seven. It’s hard to tear myself away – I’m a self-confessed control freak.

I do still have time for a few hobbies, though. For the last two or three years I’ve been actively pursuing motor racing. I race in a little MX5, but the scene is quiet at the moment. The season starts in March so that's when I’ll be back in the driver’s seat. Till then, I’m training for a 24- hour race taking place in October. I just like to be doing stuff all the time. I can’t sit still for a minute.

Maybe it’s my need for speed that has landed me in such a fast-moving sector. I used to be a recruitment consultant, funnily enough (given my earlier recruiter rage). But I liked to create things so I got into website building. That business then evolved into Gravytrain.

In digital marketing, things are changing constantly and there’s always something new to learn or a new Google tweak. I love it. 12 years ago there was no LinkedIn, no Facebook, no Twitter. We’ve had to adapt and change to move with the times. And you never know what’s around the corner. In recruitment you know exactly what’s around the corner – you’ve got to get another deal in…

Find out more about Gravytrain

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