Guest Lecture: Anthony Hartley-Denton from AHD Imaging

A guest lecture at university today, this time from AHD Imaging.

Anthony Hartley-Denton is one of the founders of AHD Imaging, an animation and architectural design studio.</p>\r\n<p>When he started he was doing freelancing architect work using AutoCAD before setting up AHD. Most of the clients he got were at the beginning were through his wife, and his first big commission was because of his connections.

He told us about how when you work in a technology based company, it costs more to keep up to date, such as his rendering farms where it is better to buy a new computer than to upgrade the old ones. And the 80-20 rule, where 80% of your company’s income is usually from 20% of your total client base.

Finally, Anthony gave us his top tips when starting up your own business as he did:

  • Keep positive about things.
  • Always aim high.
  • Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.
  • Cash is KING.
  • Don’t be apologetic about money owed.
  • Be upfront about the amount you are being paid.
  • Be prepared to fire your clients.
  • Keep in mind the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule for business- where anything in a few is vital, anything in many is trivial i.e. 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your customers/clients or 80% of complaints are from 20% or your products.
  • Keep in mind that not all clients are equal.

One key factor he did mention throughout the talk was that image was everything, and you must be willing to spend money to impress clients, such as letterheads for your company, a good company website and if your showing your portfolio, a nice leather wallet rather than a ring binder or plastic wallet.

Unlike Richard Jones’ guest lecture, I don’t think I really learn’t anything about starting up my own company that I didn’t already know or couldn’t have guessed on my own.