09th January 2020

On business planning and managing the team with Jonny, our Managing Director.

by Jonny


We’re kicking off our 2020 team interviews with Jonny, Co-founder and our Managing Director. He’s the link between the clients, development, marketing and design teams – whose knowledge comes from working with some of the most respected brands in the world including Apple, Google, Youtube and Unilever.

Today Jonny tells us all about the new year’s plan for KOTA and shares some tips on business planning, leadership and keeping the team motivated. Read on!

How does planning for the new year look at Kota?

We ended the year on a real high, winning some big new clients and producing some of our best work. We were really excited to begin the planning of 2020.

Over the last year, we have grown the agency organically by 26%. Having invested in our own marketing strategy, we now have a clear focus on the targeting of our customer. Most of our new clients come from referrals but it’s a big step for us to target some exciting companies and brands we’d love to work with. We are confident that brands will love what we do if we can just get in front of them.

Our new Kota website launches soon and we are also launching a new digital platform for San Fransico based Martin Building (I think it’s our best work to date!).

We will continue to grow our agency this year by providing high quality digital and design to our existing and new clients.

What are the goals for 2020?

We have quite a few for 2020 but I have defined these into 5:

  • Keep a happy and engaged team.
  • Grow agency sales by 30%.
  • Attract new clients internationally.
  • Employ new talent that will enhance our offering.
  • Gain industry recognition for stand out projects.

How do you manage to keep on top of everything?

It helps to have a super organised project manager (hello Maja!) and a dependable, hard-working and talented team. For me personally, I continue to figure out what works best for me as I go. I’m confident it’s when I’m keeping fit. I’ve signed up to a half marathon (in Tel Aviv!) to keep myself focussed on something away from Kota. Cycling to the office and arriving an hour before everyone really helps me focus on my day and that means I’m more able to switch off in the evenings.

For my day-to-day, I couldn’t live without these apps to manage my workload:

  • Wunderlist – My daily to-do list for everything from work to home life.
  • Hubspot – Managing our new business and client relationships.
  • Slack – Bye-bye email. This is how we communicate internally with our team, freelancers and some clients.

Recently I have uninstalled Facebook from my phone. It was a waste of my time and I think Twitter or Instagram will be next…


Do you have any advice on good leadership?

I’ve worked under many different styles of managing and hierarchy. I like to think I’ve taken lessons from them all. For me it’s about personal relationships, removing the hierarchy, being respected and trusting your team to deliver.

  • Communication – This is number one for me. I’ve learnt that communication can be the most effective tool. Everybody is different and is driven by their own motives, so getting to know peoples personalities and passions, I believe, is a good starting point to be a good leader and get the most from people.
  • Learn from mistakes – I have a fair amount of experience now running an agency and try to learn from mistakes, that really helps. There have been a few!
  • Be positive – I’m not always the most positive person but I strive to be every day. Being around positive people will only enhance the teams desire to meet business and personal goals.

How to keep your team motivated?

We have an open and honest environment at Kota. Being approachable means our team are encouraged to highlight and spot issues before they arise.

Every 90 days we meet with the team individually to ensure they are happy. Feedback is encouraged.

Introducing work from home Wednesday’s has been a giant step forward for us. Initially brought in as a trial, it’s become a permanent fixture….look out for my blog post on this!

Lastly, we try to incorporate away days or events into our year that we can all look forward to. Last year, we went to Amsterdam which was great for the morale of the team.


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