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Original article written and published by Daily Echo – Darren Slade
AN ENTREPRENEUR who started his business at the age of 16 has seen it grow into a £1million operation – without ever borrowing money.
Adam Smith had just left school when he spent £5 on registering a domain name to launch a business building websites.
The business, Damteq, focused on working with entrepreneurial people keen to see their businesses grow.
Today, it provides web design, search engine optimisation and marketing.
At the age of 29, Mr Smith has a team of 14 and says that is on course to rise to 25 by the end of 2020. He expects turnover to rise to £2m-£3m in the next two to three years and for the business to outgrow its current Fareham base.
He started the company in 2006, before the smartphone revolutionised the way people use the internet. Today, 60-80 per cent of web traffic is via mobile devices.
“I was 16 at the time. I had just left school and didn’t really know what to do with my life,” he said.
“I knew friends who were building websites and things like that and thought ‘What if I started a business that focused on customers?’ and the business grew.
“We’ve never had a loan, never had business support or anything like that and we’re really set to continue growth.”
In the company’s early days, Mr Smith offered to build his driving instructor’s website in return for some free lessons.
In 2015, he ended up buying the driving school when his former instructor retired.
He said his knowledge of business and marketing had been instinctive. “I genuinely think I just kind of got it. I understood the flaws in some businesses,” he said.
“My parents were a huge influence. They both worked so hard for the family. They came from a normal background, normal jobs.
“I was noticing that there was a huge trend in marketing and web companies setting up around 2006. They were all focused on websites,” he added.
But he said the key to the business’s success had been its work advising companies that want to grow. “We become partners with the companies we work with. We work with around 600 companies at the moment,” he said.
Many of the company’s clients specialise in health and construction. “We’re working with some clients that are genuinely going to transform lives,” he added.
Mr Smith said the internet had made it possible for many more people to be entrepreneurs. “You can genuinely achieve anything you want. You’ve got to put your mind to it,” he said.
“With the internet, you can start a business tomorrow, but it’s about being realistic in the expectations of the business.”