What I've Learnt: Nick Richardson, Founder & CEO, The Insights People

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

Nick Richardson set up The Insights People - the marketing intelligence agency focusing on the kids, parents and family sectors - in 2017.

The organisation is now a leader in those areas, and works with some of the world's largest brands and agencies to provide invaluable insights into the kids’ ecosystem, helping clients make decisions on advertising, content, licensing, marketing, product and sales.

Around the world, it surveys 362,100 children and 176,800 parents every year on their attitudes, behaviours, and consumption. Richardson is an established expert for the sector, writing and speaking extensively on children's insights.

He shared the lessons he's learnt...


Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

An early morning scan of news sites, LinkedIn and Twitter and sharing key articles across the business.

What's been your luckiest break?

There have been many! But one that sticks out for me is the recommendation to enter Venturefest’s Innovation Showcase competition - run by Business Growth Hub - the week before entries closed.

It was great advice, as just a few weeks later, I was pitching to a judging panel, which included entrepreneur Adam Kara, an expert in growing SaaS subscription businesses. Just 48 hours later, Adam and I had agreed a deal for him to invest in our business.

What's your best failure?

We launched our US office in 2018 as we looked to establish the business in the US. We had three false starts, as everyone we tried just didn’t work out for a multitude of reasons.

In 2019, we made the decision to close the US office, and instead focus on running all global operations from Manchester, which has proven to be the right decision - with the US now accounting for 35% of our revenue. Failures can present opportunities though, and I'm a true believer that if you fail, fail fast, learn, improve and go again - that’s exactly the mantra everyone in the business is encouraged to live by.

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?

Without doubt, it’s investing so much time with our core management team, from developing them as individuals to getting them to work so well as a team. They have helped create our unique culture.

Every day as a team we learn so much from each other. Ultimately, this has led to a highly talented and motivated team of individuals, who collaborate in a way which I've never seen before. They have been responsible for scaling the business, and it has happened so quickly - we're essentially doubling in size every nine months.

And by being such great examples to the new people joining the company, it promotes an ethos that opportunities within our business are limitless.

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

'Beyond Entrepreneurship' by James C. Collins and William C. Lazier. This book was given to me by a former business associate, whom I worked with in Nigeria, and in many ways illustrates how timing is so important.

I began reading it on a summer holiday in August 2017, having enrolled on an Executive MBA at the University of Bolton to start in the September. Reading this made me develop a vision for the business, and gave me the confidence and conviction to go for it.

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Focus on what you love, ignore the haters, and never be scared to roll the dice.

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

I have worked with some great leaders - notable mentions should go to Steve Woollven (Millers Oils), Simon White (Momentum WW) and Glenn Ensor (PennWell), but the single biggest influence would be my late father. He worked in sales and marketing, and from a young age he created a drive and interest in that area of business for me, which meant that I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

From a work perspective, his communication and decision-making skills were always impressive, and that had a far greater effect on me than I ever could have realised. I recognise this more than ever now, and wish he had been here to see what we have created.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

Manchester music supremo Dave Haslam married my wife, Jenny, and I in 2019!

How will the COVID crisis change work for the better?

Greater flexibility for the working day, working week and working environment, as well as a greater appreciation and celebration of our colleagues, clients and partners as individuals.

What does success look like to you?

Seeing others grow, develop, and create amazing solutions and having time to enjoy life.

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