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17 things we’ve learned in 17 years of business | Celebrating EKM’s 17th Birthday

In honour of EKM’s 17th Birthday, we’ve spoken to some of the team who have been with the business since the early days and have seen it grow into a success, having helped over 80,000 people do what they love and sell online.

We’ll be asking for a few lessons learned since joining the business to hopefully pass on to other aspiring businesses.

Mark Gilbertson | Joined the team in 2008

Mark is our Partnerships Manager and joined in 2008. He has worked in pretty much every department over the years but his skills are best placed helping EKM grow its partnership and further business opportunities. A few business lessons he learned over the years are:

1. Accept change and be adaptable

Always change and adapt: We learnt that always doing the same thing was damaging. Not changing and adapting our business was hurting us and it’s something that we now live by – we will always evolve.

2. Failure is a lesson in itself

Failure can teach us a lot and it has. We always learn from things that didn’t quite work out the way we thought and adapt to always make it better next time.

3. Not every project will make it

We have had a lot of projects at EKM over the years and not all of them make it. In the past, we had development projects in the works for months and months to then only be scrapped. This is why we now work by the SCRUM method and prioritise projects and requests.

4. Be proactive (when you can) and reactive

Things can happen that change our industry overnight. Once there was a change with PCI compliance and even the Developers had to chip in and call our customers to let them know about the changes and make sure their shops were secure.

Dorinda Slater | Joined the team in 2008

Dorinda first began working on our sales team calling up businesses via local directories such as Yell and Thomson Local. She then moved from the Sales Team to the Customer Care Team where she handles cancellations and overdue payments.

“I have seen how the company has grown over the years and feel proud to be part of its success.”

5. Every business starts somewhere

When Dorinda joined the team at EKM there were only 10 team members and they were all in an office in Darwen. Back then there were only two staff members handling inbound calls. We have now grown into a team of over 80 in our new offices in Preston. Every business has to start somewhere but with dedication and hard work, anything is possible.

Antony Chesworth | Founded EKM in 2002

Antony is the owner and founder of EKM and started the business back in 2002 from his bedroom. He had previously worked as a porter in a local hospital and from spending time with people at the end of their lives he kept hearing the same thing: “make sure you spend life doing something you love”.

EKM is an online e-commerce platform that lets anyone create their own successful online shop to enable them to spend life doing something they love.

6. Antony signed up EKM’s first 100 customers

In the early days it was just Antony building up the business and wearing every hat – from selling and accounts to billing and marketing. EKM’s first 100 customers were signed up by Antony himself.

7. Never take your eye off the ball

When EKM grew the most, we neglected ourselves and our customers – we became complacent. This is one of the biggest lessons learnt here at EKM. You can not stay in one place; you have to be constantly on the move, improving upon things all the time.

8. Values are important

We had to bring the values into the business and codify them because it was easy for new people to forget. Our values are RISE: do the RIGHT thing, make a positive IMPACT, keep it SIMPLE and always EVOLVE.

We change and adapt to not only the needs of our customers but also our Team. These values are the ‘rules’ we live by here at EKM and help to make every person accountable.

Alison Chesworth | Joined the team in 2010

Alison previously worked in Marketing and joined the EKM team in 2010. She also ran her own business for several years prior to joining the Team.

9. Getting the right people

We believe that if you have the right people in your team, the business will always grow. Positive attitudes always get better results than negative know-it-alls.

10. Treat your team well and they’ll always be happy to work

Show gratitude to your team and customers. Build relationships. You never know where connections can come from and don’t be scared to talk about your business.

11. Customers are your main priority

Without customers, you don’t have a business so you should always be working and improving for your customers. Giving them a better experience will help build their trust and loyalty whilst making recommending your business easy for them.

12. Reflect on your achievements

Always, always set ambitious goals and make sure to write them down. You’ll be able to look back on your goals and see how far you’ve actually come and what you’ve been able to achieve.

Eve Bolan | Joined the team in 2015

Eve joined EKM as a member of our Customer Support Team and after a few weeks of answering similar questions from customers, she wrote a crib sheet to provide answers to the most popular questions. This then became the first ever Site Review and is part of the reason that Eve is now our Support Guide Writer.

13. Teamwork makes the dreamwork

Sometimes we all have to pitch in and help to get a job done and that’s a fantastic experience as you can end up doing something out of the norm from your daily role. This is why you’ll see my name on our Support Guides, but you may occasionally see it on tickets and Site Reviews too.

14. There’s no such thing as a daft question

Here at EKM, some of the Team have degrees and some don’t but we all have something to contribute. Working here I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as a daft question – there’s always plenty of people available to help teach you something new (and occasionally, I teach other people new things too!) The same can be said for the people around you and your support network.

Simon Lomax | Joined the team in 2013

Simon has been a Developer in the Engineering Team for 6 years. He currently focuses on the development of EKM’s application programming interface (API) within the Shop Platform Squad.

15. Small incremental changes are best

Here at EKM, we will be constantly making small incremental changes to the platform, the website, the app and so on and there are many benefits for it. It ties into the methodology we have in the Engineering Team in that what we release is updated little and often.



Amy Prescott | Joined the team in 2019

Amy has just recently joined our Evolution Team as an Evo Designer. She helps customers improve their website with small changes.

16. Never stop learning

Learning is a big part of evolving and this is something every business owner should practice. Continually learning is something we practice here at EKM in many ways.

17. Always do the right thing

Sometimes it can be hard to do the right thing, it can be difficult or hard to understand another’s point of view but it’s imperative as a person and a business that you try to do the right thing.


Happy Birthday, EKM!

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