FROM a one-man band operating out of a Brighton bedroom to a national agency with a difference: MATT CHAMBERS proves that doing business is not all about the bottom line.

IT’S not every day that you hear a successful business owner talk more about life outside the office than in it.

But Matt Chambers is not like many other entrepreneurs.

In an age where many digital agencies are chasing the big bucks of multinationals, sometimes at any cost, the 41-year-old head of Madison Solutions puts his emphasis on things closer to home, namely creating a happy workforce and a happy client base.

Eight years in to his journey, his hard work and unique approach is paying off - with the Peacehaven-based business growing by the day and now being recognised with awards.

Matt said: “I initially started as a one man band from my flat in Brighton.

“Having worked in IT and business communications since leaving school, when the internet came along it was only natural that I moved into that.

“What attracted me is that with creating websites I did not have to rely on servers which meant I had full control.

“So when I make a promise to a client to deliver by a certain date all of the risks were in my control.”

Born and raised in south London, Matt fell in love with Brighton as a teenager, making regular trips with friends when he should have been in school.

After working in north Sussex for a while he took the decision to move his whole life to the south coast about a decade ago.

He set up Madison Solutions in 2010.

He was also keen to make sure that he always set aside time for himself to enjoy his passions in life, such as running and restoring classic cars.

Fast forward eight years and he is now a proud business owner at the head of a family of 12 staff.

He explains: “The point of Madison is it to create a lifestyle for everyone who works in it.

“We are all a family and we look after each other.

“All of us are paid fairly, we have a reasonable lifestyle, we all want to be comfortable, but we also all like to have a life and interests outside of the day job.

“When at work the emphasis is on working for nice customers who appreciate our skills and respect everyone working within the business.”

Matt’s metaphor of a family extends to his client base too where he says he is constantly thinking of ways in which he can help them grow and work together.

His emphasis on supporting his clients means that he inspires loyalty, something he claims saves his company in the long run as it means his staff can focus on getting results rather than sales.

It also gives him more time to fulfil his passions, such as long distance running (he’s run three marathons) and restoring old cars (he’s just finished an old Jaguar and next is a pre-war Ford).

Matt has also found time to get married, relocate to Seaford and get a cat.

While the family at home is a priority his thoughts are never far from his second family at work.

Madison’s philosophy starts with recruitment - and Matt is keen to bring in talent from everywhere.

This includes working with Brighton-based Possibility People to take on those with disabilities at a time when a number of firms still remain hesitant.

Matt said: “If you say a person has a disability then you automatically have given them a disability.

“Businesses need to look past things and instead focus on the talent that individuals have.

“If someone has a talent and it fits with what you should want then take them on.”

Matt applies his mantra to managing to all staff.

Central to it is a spreadsheet which is accessed by every worker in which employees can make clear what tasks they enjoy and which they do not.

He explains: “If someone doesn’t like an area in their remit then they can drop it in to the empty column on the spreadsheet.

“Then when we next recruit somebody, we will look to bring someone in to do the jobs that no one likes doing.

“After all, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

“If people are forced to do bits of work that they hate then chances are they will do it badly. Our approach tries to eliminate that.”

Madison also has an emphasis on in-house training where Matt encourages his senior developers to pass on their skills to novices.

He explains: ‘If everyone goes out to the market place and pays the highest salaries for the best talent at that time, where does it all end?

“Everything just ends up getting more and more expensive for everyone in that industry.

“But if you train someone and pay them fairly then they are more likely to stick around and be loyal.”

Matt’s approach also extends to being fair with pay with all staff receiving a Living Wage from day one with regular reviews for this to increase.

Just a few days ago, Matt was recognised, receiving the business person of the year at the Seahaven Business Awards.

Madison was also second in the business of the year category.

Matt said: “I’m over the moon to be recognised. It’s nice to have our approach noticed.”

As for the future?

Matt said: “I would like to see the company grow so that in the next ten years the people I have brought in will be running it with a little bit of guidance from me.

“I love the thought of taking someone on straight out of school when they are nervous and shy and then seeing them grow as people.”