Small Business Person of the Week: Richard Dodgson - Founder, Timebased

'Events can increase footfall and drive social media'

“I set up Timebased in 1996 after I moved to London from Manchester, where I’d done lots of theatre and performance art at university. Before setting up the business, I was organising lots of theatrical events in non-theatrical spaces such as nightclubs and galleries, but it was getting harder and harder to get funding for the projects, so I decided to take my experience in creative events and use it as the basis for a business.

“I spent the first year working with other events businesses, helping them with creative ideas they could take to clients; then I realised I didn’t need to work in that way – that I could go to the clients direct.

“Our first big win was the first-ever GQ Man of the Year Awards event, which I’m proud to say we’re still organising 17 years’ later.

“These days we have an incredibly broad range of clients from sectors such as media, retail, telecoms and leisure. That breadth has been an important protection – in our whole history, we’ve only had one year, 2007-08 when revenues were down. We now employ 17 permanent staff and our sales will be around £3.5m this year.

“People have really come to recognise the value of events in marketing and even driving footfall into stores. Social media, too, has become crucial to businesses and events are a way to drive content for that. We often incorporate real-time feeds from Twitter into our events so people can see the reactions the event is getting.”