I-MAGAZINE Interviews Steven Bartlett, Founder of Social Chain, Investor And BBC Dragon

Tell us about Social Chain, what is it and when did it begin?

Social chain is a social media marketing agency that helps brands understand how they harness the power of social media. At Manchester Metropolitan University, I enrolled on a Business Management course but soon quit to follow my dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. My first venture was Wallpark, where I ran student events and an online messaging board. Seeing the power of Facebook and realising the ability to reach millions was where the idea arose to then go on to found my next project. I got in touch with a friend of mine, Dom, who also shared my vision and together we set up Social Chain. 

What do you think the fundamentals of leadership are? 

The most important thing is hiring the right people and listening to them. Looking at both their strengths and weaknesses as well as identifying what they can do, and what they can’t. Listening is the key to understanding where your team can go, and how to get there. Beyond that, the most important thing is building a culture within the team to set goals, set values and stick to them. Culture is how you build a sense of togetherness which is the lifeblood of any effective team. 

What is your leadership style?

My number one priority is hiring the right people. Having the best people in the right role is what makes the business thrive. It’s important to understand that you can’t be the best in the world at everything, and not letting your ego get in the way, so finding the best people in the world at say management, finance or marketing is so key, I spoke about this with Ben Francis in one of my podcast episodes. 

Value and trust the people who you work with is also crucial to my leadership style. Listening to their needs, and understanding where their interests and skills lie. There is a really special culture in my team, on Monday we start the week together brainstorming ideas and setting goals, and celebrate the week together on Fridays.

Can you briefly describe your typical day as an entrepreneur?  

To be honest, it’s really hard to have any form of routine juggling my businesses. Sometimes we’re recording a podcast at 9am, sometimes I’m flying abroad for a talk or event at 6am. I make sure I have time to hit the gym which is often around midnight after a manic day to reset.  My health in general is always my priority, so wherever I am I make sure to hit the gym. No day is ever the same!

Do you still have the same passion for business as you did when you first started out in your career? 

I’ve just launched two new businesses and I’m an investor in dozens more. I don’t think you ever lose your passion for bringing new things to the world, seeing what problems you can fix and what gaps you can fill. I left Social Chain quite young so maybe this is just still the enthusiasm of a young man, but there’s a lot of roads to run. 

How important is PR and social media to you to your business? 

At Social Chain, and now at Flight Story, message is key and our business is about helping brands and companies interact with and get their message out to the world. Of course, PR is undoubtedly useful in pioneering a business into the public eye, and it is often disregarded. But social media also plays a central role in that, reaching audiences you would never imagine possible to connect with, to build a self-sustaining community around your brand. Producing consistent content is everything. If you can reach one audience via TikTok, another through Instagram and another via LinkedIn then you are communicating your idea to a spread of people in different age groups and locations. Keeping up to date with trends, building trust and engaging with your community is key to driving success. I also always bring up the power of invisible pr a lot. It’s the small differences that can make big changes just through each and every person you come into contact with.   

Have you launched any new businesses since leaving social Chain?

Yes, two actually. I have a company called Flight Story which helps companies connect with retail investors and shareholders, and ThirdWeb which helps creators and innovators in the blockchain space. 

The rest of this editorial will be published at a later date.