An Interview with Jack Mason — Group CEO of Inc & Co
Entrepreneur Jack Mason is the Group CEO of Inc & Co, Manchester’s rapidly expanding collective for digital enterprises. Jack channels his wealth of business development expertise and cutting-edge technical strategies into the collective, offering high-level corporate guidance and practical methodologies designed to promote organic growth. With a keen eye for building great teams, Jack works with numerous companies to build effective business departments, recruiting candidates that form energy-driven teams. He is a big believer in second chances and people-driven success.
Inc & Co’s primary mission is to acquire digital enterprises and support them on their journeys to reach their biggest ambitions. The collective renews its acquisitions’ operations and marketing frameworks, providing new strategies that capture the best business opportunities and accelerate return on investment. Jack welcomes companies into the group and provides them with access to Inc & Co’s multitude of shared resources, which comprise marketing, sales, HR, and financial frameworks. With these operational models to hand, Inc & Co’s acquisitions can focus on their day-to-day tasks and specialisms.
Jack has facilitated numerous acquisitions for Inc & Co that span across a range of industries. Inc & Co’s acquisitions include digital agencies such as Neon and Brass, the mobile app development company Cuhu, data preference management specialists Wood For Trees and MyLife Digital, the on-demand laundry service Laundrapp, and sport brand agencies Skylab and Insight Analysis.
Jack has led his colleagues at Inc & Co to achieve impressive accomplishments during their first year as a collaborative collective. Just twelve months in, Inc & Co has already generated an impressive £10 million turnover and an 11% month-on-month increase in income. As the number of businesses seeking Inc & Co’s support grows, Jack continues to develop Inc & Co’s customised services so that each acquisition can achieve its strategically positioned goals.
Jack is also an advocate of mental health in the workplace. You can find all of his tips on healthy working environments and avoiding burnout on his blog.
Where did the idea for Inc & Co come from?
Inc & Co was the combination of being in the right place at the right time and being surrounded by people that I thought, ‘we have the right people’ to start something special.
We found a gap in the market where we could support fellow companies with their HR, marketing and operations, and allow them to focus on what they’re good at. We now have over 170 staff, across 9 companies. An on-demand development agency, data analytics company, marketing agency and even an on-demand laundry platform.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start the day by looking after me — breakfast, the gym and then into the office to start my day on Zoom. I’m normally in a meeting, across the 9 companies it can be quite hectic, so I need to plan my day for sure. I follow a methodology called Getting Things Done, which focuses on being productive in your personal and business life, and it’s an absolute godsend. I’m normally on calls till around 7pm getting updates from each of the businesses and I end the day feeling like I’ve made a difference.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I don’t, but I have a fantastic amount of highly talented team members across the country that do. One thing I have realised over the years, is that you can never do it all yourself. I find the people who can make the magic happen, put them all in the same room and watch the place ignite — it’s amazing when you find those people that just work well together.
What’s one trend that excites you?
A deepfake is a way of replacing a real video, say a movie, with another person’s face. A number of people online have done this for the likes of Donald Trump, or Boris Johnson, for a laugh. I’m following this with great intrigue at the moment, as I can really see this taking off. Imagine receiving a video clip of a scene in your favourite movie for your birthday as your favorite actor or actress. You could charge a couple of quid for that, and it would be fun to watch.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Delegating, if I can’t do it, or I don’t have the time, I rely on using my experienced team to get things done. A lot of the time leaders struggle to delegate but you have to let go of your ego a little bit and realise that if someone else can do it, they may do it slightly differently, or take a bit longer but it will get done. Delegating will make your business more resilient and it means that you can be away for a week or so, and the business still works. It’s not a nice feeling when it happens, I can tell you, but it makes good business sense.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Ask why, why are we doing that, or why something was done a particular way. As a leader it’s my job to challenge the status quo in our industry and I always ask why. You can learn a lot about your team when you ask why they did something a particular way. You can help them understand it too, and it also means we don’t have a company of robots just following orders from above. I want all our team to have autonomy to make their own decisions, and not just do something because I said so.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had loads, and am not afraid of admitting that. A failure I had recently was quickly agreeing a budget with a colleague when I didn’t have all the information I needed to make an informed decision. On reflection, I spoke to the colleague involved and told her how I felt. She understood and we both agreed that I should ask more questions before making a rash decision and that she will get to understand what I need to make an informed decision.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Sell deepfake videos of your favourite movie clips, but with your friends in the video. Give it to them for their birthday and post on social media. Moonpig would sell them…
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We all use Slack, it’s a modern day amazement of how teams can communicate across the globe. We use it across all our 9 companies, with hundreds of teams. If we didn’t have this tool I don’t think our companies could grow as much as they have. I would end up being stuck going through my emails all day or on the phone. We all love how quick it is to get things done, and how sharing files and data is effortless.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“ Start With Why “ by Simon Sinek
This a great book if you are starting out, or even if you are looking at where you want to go in life. It looks at the ‘why’ for your motivations for getting out of bed. It helps define your purpose — you can use it for your business and personal life.
What is your favorite quote?
“The person who says he can, and the person who says he cannot are both correct”
- Surround yourself with talented people and don’t be afraid to delegate to utilise their skillsets.
- Always ask ‘why?’
- Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes and always ensure you learn from them.