Spotting the enormous potential of the internet was a Mann-sized masterstroke

AWARD-winning full service agency Interdirect was born 16 years ago when the internet was in its infancy and has grown up anticipating developments in the world of digital communications.

Nicholas Mann, founder and MD of Interdirect, has seen his company grow to employ 28 people at its base in the pleasant Whitsundoles Farm, an electron’s throw over the M1 from Broughton.

Staff at Interdirect

Staff at Interdirect

Interdirect picked up the trophy for Business of the Year in the £1-£5million turnover category during the recent Milton Keynes and North Bucks Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence awards.

Nicholas said: “It is recognition of the progress we have made. We won business of the year in 1996 but in the less than £1million turnover. We have now won the £1-£5million category so it is recognition that we are still a credible business.

“It is a good rubber stamp for the work we have done and sets the scene for the future.”

Nicholas had the foresight to recognise the impact the internet would have and says there is more to come from the all encompassing web.

Although he still has a record of the first website he designed in his electronic files Mr Mann insisted it stay under digital lock and key when Business Citizen visited for a nose around and a video interview. A sign perhaps of how fast design has developed since the early days.

But Interdirect is more than websites. Software, PR, marketing and social media also form parts of the service offered to businesses. They look at technological developments from the point of view of what those mean in terms of what they can deliver for clients.

The company is probably best known in Milton Keynes as the outfit that designed the touch screens installed at thecentre:mk and a number of other shopping centres. They also create phone apps.

In the business community though, outgoing former Cranfield University student Nicholas is a champion of networking and respected for work Interdirect does in creating websites for charities and community organisations.

Nicholas said: “I would say to any business that they need to build up a referral network over several years. The fact that we are a business built on referrals and recommendations is a result of the 16 years-worth of networking I have done. It’s also about engaging with the wider community and the third sector.”

Nicholas believes at the heart of his business is a passion to do great things for customers, including listening to them for ideas they want developing.

Nicholas said: “I can see more businesses using tablet computers and moving to them being controlled by voice or movement recognition rather than touch.”

“People are also preferring to see things rather than read about them,” he claimed.

l See David Tooley’s interview with Nicholas Mann on Natalee Hazelwood’s video profile visit