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Colin Harrison - BU entrepreneur to MD of his own digital marketing agency

From an early entrepreneurial ‘side-hustle’ selling bikes online while studying for his degree, Colin Harrison has gone on to become Managing Director of his own digital marketing agency.

Colin graduated from BU in 2004 with a BSc (Hons) in Hospitality Business Development, and first embarked on a career in the restaurant trade before making the move online. Today he runs Nivo Digital, which provides website design and digital marketing services including SEO, PPC and social media campaigns for a host of clients in the UK and abroad.

Colin was initially attracted to study at BU by the university’s location and specialism in business development in the hospitality sector. The university experience gave Colin a further taste of the working world. He said: “While studying I was working as a head chef at a local restaurant. When it came to my placement year, I was able to focus my attention on this and I spent the year supporting the business to open a new restaurant. It was a great experience which gave me the opportunity to get involved in everything from menu design, training and profit and loss management to staff recruitment.”

Throughout his studies Colin also developed his flair for enterprise – riding the growth of online selling sites to flip mountain bikes and then sell clothing. He said: “I learnt early on that branding and marketing has a key role to play in achieving maximum profit. This was also true of the restaurant trade, where the dining experience is as important as the food and drinks on offer, and led me naturally into marketing which is something I thrive on today.”

Colin’s focus at Nivo is to help people become successful online by assisting them in the design of websites and by supporting their digital marketing. He said: “In the current economic climate more people will be turning their passions and ideas into either side hustles or their main business. Recessions are often a launching pad for new, creative ideas, and we want to help people turn their ideas into reality and get their products or services out to market.”

From understanding the importance of customer service to the intricacies of profit and loss, Colin has been able to apply much of his university course to his career in both hospitality and business development. However, one project stands out for other reasons. He said: “I remember at university in 2003 we worked on a project where we had to forecast what the hospitality and travel industry would look like in 2020. No-one had any idea how significant this year would be and the impact on the industry is being felt hard. While you can use your skills and insights to analyse and predict trends to some extent, this year has proved that sometimes you just have to be agile and prepared to adjust when required. Creativity is more powerful than knowledge, just as resilience is to discipline in the world of business”.