- Dating Business Bosses Reflect On Company Journey On Birthday -
Global Personals Limited, the most successful privately-owned online dating company in Europe that owns platform WhiteLabelDating.com, has grown from humble beginnings operating out of founder Ross’s apartment to becoming one of the most successful online dating companies in the world. Now employing over 95 full time staff with annualised revenues in excess of £30million, the company has now approached its 8th birthday. Co-founder and CEO Ross Williams with Co-founder and Director of Partnerships Steve Pammenter, reflect on the company’s journey to becoming one of the fastest growing companies in the UK and what they have learnt so far...
- Don’t be afraid to take a risk
We both had established careers in other sectors and Ross and I met through the serviced office space that our previous companies were using. Setting up Global Personals was a real jump into the unknown but it has paid off ten-fold.
- Pick your staff carefully
When we are hiring for a role, we often get flooded with CV's from recruitment companies. We have a very strong, specific company culture so it’s vital to take your time and not be pressured into choosing a candidate quickly. All of management are heavily involved in the recruitment process to make sure each member of the team has the right personality - previous experience or knowledge doesn't cut it on its own.
- Don’t listen to doubters
No one would touch us when it came to investment - at the time of launch, banks saw online dating as a ‘fad that wasn’t sustainable’. We believed in our ideas so strongly that we set up the company using personal credit cards and re-mortgaging our houses - a high risk strategy that paid off quickly.
- Know your market / product
We are both ex-online daters. We encourage the whole company to use our products to fully understand the process, so that they can relate to our members- they often come up with those ‘light bulb’ ideas for improvements. Knowledge is key - have you ever heard of a vegetarian who manages a successful burger restaurant?!
- Remember that the customer pays your wages
Our members are crucial- after all, they play a huge, vital cog in the service that we offer. We have all of our customer support and web development based in our open plan, one-level HQ in Windsor. It would be cheaper to outsource, but it keeps the channels short so we can listen and improve our product as we go. Quality is key to us.
- Go with your gut instinct
Statistics and common sense may point you to an answer, yet your gut instinct tells you something different. Listen to that feeling- there have been times where we have thrown caution to the wind and done what feels right and it has paid off.
- Whatever your business model is, make it scalable
We have been able to launch in 7 countries, yet still operate from our UK HQ. This has given us a fantastic opportunity for growth that we can still closely manage. In business, always look at the bigger picture.
- Don’t underestimate how successful your company will be in the future
We have recently heavily invested in our company as we know the pay off will be right in the years ahead. The more we seem to invest, the better our business gets. Lastly, make sure you have fun! We are lucky to be able to love what we do and enjoy rewarding our hard-working team.
Launched in 2003, WhiteLabelDating.com offers a platform for brands and individuals to power their own dating sites that currently includes The Independent, FHM, Cosmopolitan, and PlentyMoreFish as users.
WhiteLabelDating.com is part of Global Personals Ltd that has received a collection of accolades including fastest growing company in the South East (UK), ranked 8th in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50, placed 19th in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA, won Digital Business Of The Year 2010 and highly ranked in The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 and the European Media Momentum Top 50, 2011. WhiteLabelDating.com has also won 'Best Software Provider' and 'Best Affiliate Program' at the 2011 industry awards, iDate.
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