10 November 2016

What an extraordinary night!

deaLast night we were proud to once again sponsor the Digital Entrepreneur Awards. It was an incredible evening at the Palace Hotel bringing together the greatest talent from the UK’s digital industry.

It was particularly special as not only was there a new theme this year – The Great Gatsby – with beautiful décor, dancers and showgirls. The champagne reception was held right where I would sneak off for a break when I first began playing piano in Manchester many moons ago. It was a full-circle moment that reminded me just how far we’ve come since those days.

Along that vein, the speaker for the evening was ex-Google MD Dan Cobley – a man who I got to know in UKFast’s early days. It was wonderful to catch up and share our stories. Dan is now a managing partner at Blenheim Chalcot, working on fintech brands including Clearscore, Liberis and Modulr.

During the evening, I was reminded of the extraordinary levels of hard work that it takes to get a business off the ground. It is astonishing to think how far UKFast has grown since first meeting Dan, and the hours of hard work that has gone into ensuring that growth. That’s why awards like these are so important.

Recognition is essential for any business, across every level. Any award – even those for the leadership team – is a nod to the efforts of the collective team and an opportunity to feel proud of your achievements so far. Everyone needs a pat on the back now and then to keep them motivated and know they’re valued and on the right track.

In my opinion, being shortlisted or winning an award is great news for the brand too. It leads to PR opportunities and puts a business in the spotlight. Even before the recognition, completing an award entry and having your business judged means you’ll have a better idea of how your business is developing, giving you a chance to focus on those departments or individuals that have made a real change.

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The room looked incredible at the DEAs last night, bringing the Great Gatsby to the Palace.

But recognition doesn’t have to come from external sources.

We continually reward the UKFast team for a job well done, through bi-annual awards ceremonies, bonuses, weekly superstar shoutouts, newsletter shoutouts, trips to Verbier or Las Vegas, Person of the Month, bonuses and, often, more importantly, ad-hoc rewards for a job well done or extra effort.

Some of these rewards are for the entire team – such as cinema trips, music festival or the facilities we offer – while others are for individual departments or team members. From my experience recognition stimulates positive feelings in others who will follow suit and try and better what is already being achieved.

Rewarding our team makes complete business sense. I know how hard the UKFast team works and that should never go unnoticed. On top of this, a happy team leads to happy customers and a happy team member is someone who wants to stay with us for a long period of time.

There’s nothing I love more than celebrating with the team, and I know that these occasions maintain our culture, and positive environments create great workplaces.

At the end of the day, I believe that every single member of your team should feel a strong connection with the business and feel valued for the work that they contribute.

People need to feel valued and if you deliberately distance yourself from them, you can’t expect extraordinary results. If you get involved and encourage people to challenge themselves and set goals, you’ll be amazed by what your business can achieve.

When people are growing and are passionate, they thrive. I can honestly say that seeing people grow is one of the greatest parts of being an entrepreneur.

Huge congratulations to all of the winners and finalists at the DEAs last night. Good luck to those of you who are still up for recognition this awards season!

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