Jag Panesar, the Founder of Saltaire-based digital agency Xpand explains why his grandad was his inspiration to starting his business.
What do you currently do?
I am the founder of Saltaire-based digital marketing agency, Xpand. Aside from creating a positive workplace culture and ensuring that colleagues feel able to thrive, I ensure projects and retainers are delivered to a standard which gets clients the results they deserve and want.
Like other business owners, I love to be involved with the actual doing side of the business, so I often find myself involved in developing digital marketing strategies, and providing input on designing and developing websites, branding, SEO, PPC (getting to the top of Google) and last but not least, social media marketing.
I’m also a people person, so you can guarantee that I’ll be grabbing any opportunity to arrange a zoom or call with someone, whether it be a client or an associate. It’s something I feel is important in our line of work as casual conversations often provide great insight and you can discover things about people which they may not have thought were relevant.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
My family. My grandad came to the UK in the 1960s with a young family and very little money. He was an honest man and worked very hard to support his family. He brought up his four sons as hard working, loyal people that set up a number of businesses together.
I grew up watching these businesses grow and I always knew I wanted to set up my own business from scratch and achieve what they had.
He passed away in 2010 and left behind a happy family who ran several successful businesses. He had created the foundation for his sons to employ hundreds of people; people that had mortgages to pay, children to feed and families to provide for.
He had made his mark on the world.
My grandfather’s achievements inspired me to start my own business. I wanted to make my mark on the world, just as he had, by helping businesses grow so they could, in turn, employ more people and contribute to the economy.
What defines your way of doing business?
I firmly believe that business should be, and is about relationships. Whether it’s a relationship with your clients, suppliers, team members or anyone else, people buy from people. If you employ a team with shared values, that’s what makes you stand out, especially in a business to business service organisation like ours.
With the right people and strong processes in place, you can’t go far wrong.
What do you admire?
Honesty and hard work. And, I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who possess those qualities.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have collaborated a lot earlier. I was too proud to get help from people when I initially set up and hindered a lot of my progress. Collaboration has been a key part in our growth and it has opened up doors which I never imagined possible. As they say, together we are stronger.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Collaborate. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Be prepared to make mistakes, they’re going to happen, just make sure you learn from them. Reward and recognise your employees as they are the key to a successful future. Don’t be afraid to say no. Define your values early on so that you can remain true to yourself throughout your entrepreneurial journey.