Nadeem Azam giving a presentation to entrepreneurs at London's Excel Centre

My Incubator Ventures is a business incubator offering advice and knowledge to the online business community. They recently invited our CEO to be interviewed by them to talk about Azam Marketing and provide tips to enterpreneurs on how to succeed in the cut-and-thrust world of business.

The conversation was conducted as a live Twitter interview. As the necessary relevant ‘at’ and ‘hashtag’ to each response meant the replies had to be even shorter than Twitter’s 140 character limit, the interview we are publishing below is as conducted with My Incubator Ventures along with some additional words from Nadeem to more fully answer some of the questions posed.

Thanks for joining us today Nadeem Azam. For those that don’t know could you just explain to us what it is you do?

Hi! Thanks for having me. I run a digital marketing and design agency which helps businesses get more customers.

What inspired you to start up your business?

I was working as a print journalist and predicted the net would dominate the landscape in the future. So, after a year of research and preparatory work, I started Azam in 1997.

Most people were negative about my decision to jump from print to digital, saying the internet was very niche and would not have much of a future, but I proved them wrong. I had spent an enormous amount of time researching the nascent internet, whereas my critics were, I presume, basing their opinions on their own unwillingness to move with the times and take risks.

What makes your business unique and differentiates you from your competitors?

As probably the oldest established digital agency in the UK our unparalleled expertise means we are much more likely to hit the bullseye. I am obsessed with the concept of “over-delivering” for clients and that enables us to produce spectacular results.

What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how have you met that challenge?

There have been numerous challenges from a complete lack of start-up finance to recruiting talented staff with rare technical skills but I am blessed that God has rewarded me for my persistence.

What would you say is your proudest business moment so far?

My biggest delight is when our clients regularly tell me they are thrilled with the results we’ve produced for their businesses.

How many hours a day do you work on average?

It averages at about 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. Estée Lauder said “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”

What does success look like to you?

In a service-sector business, client satisfaction is my number one goal. My staff get tired of me saying “The Customer is King!”

How has your business evolved since its launch in 1997?

In digital, unless you are willing to turn aspects of your business upside down every couple of years you will probably not thrive. The reason we still prosper after 19 years is because I obsessively study industry trends and stay 12 steps ahead of others.

Where do you envision your company in 5 or 10 years?

We have got massive plans, which we are currently working on behind the scenes. For instance, I intend to use my journalism background to launch an innovative digital publishing business. There is a relative dearth of quality written material on the web.

Finally what advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to start up a business?

I mentor several entrepreneurs and always advise them to constantly study top-line metrics and react accordingly (my nose is stuck in Excel spreadsheets half the day long to scrutinise figures, spot challenges and trends, and consider strategies to improve operations).

One of the biggest reasons I see for business folk not succeeding is they – understandably – veer towards spending too much of their time on the tasks they enjoy doing, rather than what is necessary to do to genuinely satisfy their customers and to grow.

You may find previous radio, television, print and web interviews with Nadeem in this blog and elsewhere online, such as this one in South Korea’s renowed OhMyNews International.