Kaizen’s 10 Years
This week, we’re celebrating a remarkable milestone at Kaizen – our 10th anniversary. It’s a testament to our enduring strength and robustness.
Our journey began with a childhood dream of our CEO, Pete Reis-Campbell. With a passion for website design and SEO, he took the bold step of leaving his 9-to-5 job to found Kaizen at the age of 25.
Over the past decade, we’ve gone from Pete’s bedroom to a bustling London office, achieving recognition as one of the UK’s fastest-growing companies, by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 awards. We’ve also had the privilege of working with prestigious clients like Adidas, Monzo, and Compare the Market.
To mark our 10th anniversary, we’ve conducted an exclusive interview with our founder, Pete Reis-Campbell. Join us in celebrating by reading the full interview below.
What inspired you to create Kaizen a decade ago? What were the gaps in the industry you were trying to address back then, and how has your vision evolved since then?
Pete: I actually got my start building websites as a kid around nerdy things that I enjoyed such as video games and tv shows. Everything was self-taught and it allowed me to hone in skills in web design, content creation, and SEO, eventually landing a job in that field.
As the digital marketing landscape evolved, I recognised a growing demand for brands to generate media coverage and backlinks from top-tier publishers. Inspired by another agency’s viral content creation service, I began experimenting with similar strategies, filling an industry need for high-quality, yet more affordable content.
In 2013, I took a leap, quitting my full-time job to become independent and start an agency in Digital PR. In 5 years Kaizen grew to £1.5 million in revenue with a team of about 25. Our journey continued with expansions into technical SEO, influencer marketing, social media, and paid search, keeping pace with market demands.
Can you share some key milestones and achievements that the company has experienced over the past 10 years?
Pete: In the past ten years, Kaizen celebrated numerous achievements. It all began with the goal of surviving the first year and reaching £100,000 in revenue when there were just two of us.
Around 1.5 years in, I set the ambitious vision of building a 25-member content marketing powerhouse specialising in digital PR.
At the five-year mark, we proudly reached £1 million in revenue with 18-20 team members, signalling further growth.
The addition of a management team, including Jeremy, played a pivotal role in our journey. In 2018, we were recognised as one of the UK’s fastest-growing companies by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 awards, and our client base evolved from smaller brands to giants like Adidas, Monzo, and Compare the Market.
Today, our business is robust, sustainable, and ready for continued growth in the UK and abroad.
What were some of the most significant challenges you encountered during the company’s growth, and how did you overcome them?
Pete: Over the past decade, my journey in business has been filled with significant challenges. Initially, the focus was on survival, making enough to exceed a full-time job’s income. It was scary but rewarding.
Moving into year two, I pondered the long-term vision of the business. I aimed to build a brilliant agency focused on digital, and I believe we achieved that. As the team grew to 20-25 people, I had to relinquish control. Scaling the business and building a multi-layered team was the next challenge.
Then came COVID, which initially posed a threat as we lost clients in the travel industry. It put us below breakeven, and we had to adapt rapidly. Thankfully, new clients approached us, leading to significant growth.
In the past year, economic pressures in the UK have been another hurdle, but we not only survived but emerged stronger, emphasising the business’s sustainability. The year also marked a significant milestone as we opened our second office in Manchester, expanding our presence in the UK.
Looking ahead, we’re focusing on opportunities in Europe and the US, with the goal of establishing a physical presence in those regions. Our journey continues, and I’m excited about what the future holds.
What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned as a CEO during this 10-year journey, and is there any advice you’d give aspiring entrepreneurs or CEOs based on your experiences in building and growing the company?
Pete: The most crucial lesson I’ve learned as a CEO and business owner is that everything I’ve built reflects a hobby or interest of mine. I’ve always started with something I’m passionate about and then found ways to make it sustainable.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, the goal shouldn’t solely be about making money. It’s essential to pursue something you love, something you’d do whether you were paid or not. The fact that these passions led to job opportunities and, eventually, a business is a reflection of this principle. I didn’t wake up one day and decide to start a big company. Instead, I focused on what I loved, and the business grew from there.
Having a business in something you genuinely love, whether or not you’re getting paid for it, is what fuels your determination. It’s the motivation to persevere because you know that if you stop, you won’t get to do what you love anymore.
For the past decade, this drive has been my guiding force, and it will continue to shape my journey moving forward.
As we look ahead to the next 10 years, our biggest wish for Kaizen is to keep fostering a strong team spirit where our employees’ well-being remains a top priority. This will allow us to continue delivering top-notch work for our clients. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this fantastic journey!