Why did you launch Hanson Wade?
We set out to build a business that we would love working in, surrounded by inspiring people. We believe in the power of connecting the right people to create opportunity. This is at the heart of what we do for our customers, and is also very important inside our own business.
Can you tell us how it started?
We launched Hanson Wade in November 2008 when the economy was in a nose dive. Although the timing wasn’t ideal from a market perspective, the early stages of launching a business are always going to be tough. In some ways our timing was good, it meant that we passed some dark recessionary months wrapped in our own bubble of start up frenzy. This taught us to focus on the things that we can control and not to lose too much energy worrying about those things we couldn’t. To this day, this remains an important part of our thinking.
On day one, the Hanson Wade staff list consisted of three siblings; Miles Harley, Joanna Beattie and me. We had all worked in B2B media for many years and across several continents. We also had complementary skillsets. However, it was never our intention to run a family business so we set about finding great people to join us.
We were joined early in 2009 by Tom Richardson and later that year by Darren Francis. This formed the foundations of the team we have today. In the first year we managed to fit 14 desks into an office intended for 6 people… you had to check with colleagues before you pushed your chair back!
How does Hanson Wade work?
We are fortunate to have a broad range of talents within Hanson Wade, however, at our heart we are researchers. Our research is always with a very specific and very practical bent. We are drawn to areas of business that are on the cusp of great opportunity. Our skill lies in uncovering hidden pockets of experience within different businesses and making sense of the pattern that emerges when you join the dots. We do this in a variety of different ways for our customers and offer a range of information products. All of our products are aimed at helping our customers to identify opportunity at an early stage.
What have been your favourite moments?
There have been some very exciting moments in terms of growth milestones for the business and we love to celebrate when we hit one. It was certainly great fun being placed at number 21 in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100. I also thrive on the times when we quietly achieve what people say can’t be done. In fact, saying something can’t be done is somewhat of a red rag to a bull for us.
Most importantly it is always terrific to see young people join the business, work hard and succeed. We are lucky to have many examples of this. My favourite moments are when people start to really master their craft and this triggers a real love for what they do. It’s a really special and sometimes quite complex art to find the greatest opportunities for our customers. But also incredibly rewarding and quite addictive once you “get it”.
And how do you see Hanson Wade evolving in the future?
We love nurturing and developing our brands. We hugely value the warm relationships that have been developed with customers and this is the foundation of our most rewarding work. The future will see us place a lot of emphasis here.
Having said that, we will always thrive on bringing clarity and insight to the foggy landscape of new opportunity. We will continue to do this as we grow. It can be tempting to shy away from new and risky areas, but breaking new ground is firmly in our DNA. We are passionate about pushing into new areas and finding the next big thing.
Finally, its all about the people. Its always about the people. So continuing to find the right people to grow our team is critical.
We have grown from a tiny start up, to a small player, to a mid-sized company. We are very focused on our long term journey as a business and we are mindful that we still have a lot to do. Thankfully, there is opportunity everywhere. It is our job to be good enough to bring it to life in ways that benefits our customers, our team and the future of Hanson Wade.