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Kyle Holmes

Kyle Holmes of Black Nova Designs shares their amazing September!

September is almost over – what did this month bring for Black Nova Designs?

Today we’re talking to Kyle Holmes who is managing director. Black Nova Designs is an IT company specialising in website design and hosting, Wi-Fi and networking and PC and laptop repair that’s based in Calne, Wiltshire.

How was your summer as we go into autumn? Any highlights for you or your business?
We had a great summer with plenty of new website enquiries and lots of customers choosing to start their website hosting with us or move their existing site to our servers. We decided to invest in our hosting capability last year and it’s really paying off now - we’re secure, reliable and affordable with UK-based support, so it’s a no-brainer really! We know that as our lives become ever more digital, the demand for websites and therefore hosting will only increase, and that's why we’ve positioned ourselves ready to help. 

We’ve also been busy with the trade stand out at events, including lots of equestrian events. We’ve poured a lot of energy and money into networking in the equestrian and rural space over the years and it’s paying off now. We get so many enquiries for work from the sector and our profile is growing. We’re sponsoring the ‘event horse of the year’ category at the prestigious Horse & Hound awards this year which is huge, and we can't wait to go along and see lots of our customers… and hopefully meet more! 

What happened for your business in September?
This month marks five years since we moved the business from our home office to our premises in Calne and that’s a huge milestone! I’m so proud of how much the business has grown in that time and how many customers we’ve helped along the way. We will have to have a little office celebration to mark that anniversary. For the rest of the month, we’ll be enjoying being able to focus on work without the distraction of the summer holidays!

It was ‘back to school’ month or ‘start of university’ month. Was this relevant to you personally or professionally?
I didn’t enjoy school that much, but I knew what grades I needed to chase down my first dream - joining the RAF. I was accepted and started my training but sadly was medically discharged due to possible epilepsy and couldn’t continue. Without that structure of school or the military, and with my dreams in tatters, I was a lost soul for quite a while. I wanted to work in tech but without certain qualifications or years of work experience I couldn’t secure any interviews - even though I knew my stuff!  but thankfully (with lots of hard work and a dash of luck) it’s all come good. I hope my story helps people see that there isn’t just one path to success and to consider people even if they don’t have the right qualifications. If you enjoy school and get the grades you want to go on to university then that’s great, but workplace learning is just as important. I’ve learnt so much since running my own business that school could never have taught me,   

Having said that, I still enjoy the ‘back to school’ vibes in September and the feeling of new beginnings. Plus, as people get the chance to really focus on work again after the summer holidays our  enquiries pick back up, so that’s another bonus to this time of year. 

September is also known as ‘organic’ month. When it comes to your business, what do you do to be ‘more green’?
I’m well aware that IT has a big impact on the environment. We use the internet multiple times every day without thinking about the carbon footprint! All those emails, videos, images, files, WhatsApp messages and Google searches require data to be processed, and while it might not feel as relevant to climate change as filling up a car, using plastic or flying on an aeroplane, it is a problem. Data centres consume vast amounts of energy both to run servers, but also to cool them, as they degenerate huge amounts of heat. As our lives are ever more reliant on digital technologies, the need for data centres keeps growing. Danielle and I  know how amazing IT can be to connect people and run businesses, but this can’t be at the expense of the natural world. 

We launched our Going Green initiative last year which saw us move our website hosting to servers powered entirely by sustainable energy. We also adopt one coral every month via Coral Guardian using a percentage of our monthly hosting profit. Coral Guardian uses the funds raised to protect and restore coral ecosystems and works with local coastal and island communities to improve knowledge of the importance of healthy coral reefs. Finally, we also work with a company called Green Machine to help recycle old IT hardware. IF you have an old laptop, PC or phone and you’d like to ensure it doesn’t end up in landfill, you can drop it off at our offices during business hours. 

World Gratitude Day took place this month. What are you grateful for in your business?
I’m so grateful for our fantastic staff. Danielle and I have an incredibly busy life juggling kids, networking and running the business, and it just wouldn't be possible if we had to micromanage the office all day, every day. We’re so lucky to have staff who do a great job and who we trust to come to us if they need our help and make decisions on our behalf when we’re not there. It frees us up to recharge our batteries when we need to and to plan for the future of Black Nova Designs which is really important.

What are your hopes for business for the rest of this year? 
My wife Danielle is a finalist in this year’s Techies in the Leading Woman in Technology category, so we have everything crossed that she wins! The ceremony is taking place in Chippenham on the 12th of October, and we can’t wait. These awards are a great initiative that aim to shine a spotlight on the people and projects doing amazing things in technology so it’s going to be an interesting night! 

As we go into Q4 of 2023 we have targets for hosting and web design to hit, so the whole team will be working hard to make sure we succeed. We also have lots of new websites to unveil to the world which is always nice - and it tends to inspire more people to get in touch about website projects. 

We are dealing with a lot of messages around ‘bad’ news such as the rising cost of living and interest rates rising. How are you keeping positive?
I know it’s hard to do when money is tight, but with IT, prevention is normally cheaper than cure! Having up to date antivirus software is so much cheaper than losing business through a hack or data breach. Updating hardware to more energy efficient versions will save you money too, and if they allow staff to work quickly and without downtime from crashes, that’s going to improve their efficiency. It all adds up, but as I said, I do appreciate people might struggle with up-front costs now. 

And finally, September 30 is International Podcast Day. Do you listen to podcasts or do you have one of your own? 
I enjoy listening to Diary of CEO by Steven Bartlett when I get the chance to. His approach, which is to share stories from so many different people, whether they are in the world of health, sport, business and the media, makes this such a versatile podcast to listen to. And he lets the listener decide what they think about it all, which is a refreshing approach. 

I’m also starting to get into the Tech Savvy TECHTalks podcast which interviews leaders in space, robotics, AI and loads of other areas of technology. It can be heavy going but it’s so interesting and relevant to our sector too. We don’t have a Black Nova Designs podcast at the moment, but maybe one day! Watch this space… 

 

For more information visit https://blacknovadesigns.co.uk

Black Nova Designs

Black Nova Designs

Black Nova Designs is a professional, affordable, I.T. company.

Redman Road, Porte Marsh Ind Est , Calne, Wiltshire, SN11 9PL

Fiona Scott Media Consultancy Swindon

Scott Media

Scott Media is run by a UK-based journalist with more than 20 years' experience in the media - print, radio and television.

6 Gold View, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN5 8GZ

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