35. Design Experts
Founders: Tim Gentle, Kylie Gentle
Industry: Sales and marketing
Someone who milks cows for a living might seem like an unusual candidate to start a marketing company, but Design Experts co-founder Tim Gentle says his farming experience is what set the idea in motion.
“Having moved from the city to the country to become a farmer, I soon recognised a clear gap in the eMarketing skill and knowledge of businesses in regional areas,” Gentle says.
“As eMarketing was my former skills set, I did a couple of websites on the side for extra money whilst continuing to work on the farm.”
“I would rise predawn to milk, seek new business by day and then change from suit and tie to gumboots for evening milking... I milked cows for the first 12 months of the business.”
Gentle’s mission is to educate regional businesses about the potential of the internet and eMarketing, which is achieved through training and education, website design and development, email marketing and social media, SEO, web and mobile applications, and CRM tools.
Founded in Victoria in 2008, Design Experts has offices in the Victorian towns of Echuca and Bendigo. It now employs nine staff and raked in revenue of $587,440 last financial year.
In addition to managing some 490 website solutions since its inception, the company has delivered more than 350 workshops to small businesses.
Gentle says the main challenge for Design Experts is staying up-to-date with the internet’s growth by keeping on top of the ever-changing trends.
“To keep our customers dynamic, we must always be ahead of the trend... Staff retention in regional areas also often presented challenges,” he says.
“Design Experts works closely with our staff to ensure they want to stay in regional Victoria and not head to the big smoke.”
With regard to future plans, Gentle says the company hopes to be recognised as a leader in eMarketing education.
“One day, [we hope to] virtually run the entire organisation so that through the use of cloud technology, there is no need for Design Experts to be physically located anywhere; we want to build an intranet-style environment to collaborate staff, contractors, agents and clients,” he says.