Case study

Head of Instantprint — Jon Constantine-Smith

Jon is Head of Instantprint in Sheffield. Discover how his work experience and time at university lead him to head the largest UK-based online printer

What degree did you study?

I studied Marketing at Leeds Beckett University, after a year of studying Chemistry. I think this set up my career well and helped me to be analytical and communicate effectively. It also taught me how to work in a team, especially with people different to you.

How did you get your job?

I worked in broad digital roles for eight years, starting out running an eBay and Amazon store for an online retailer. From there I worked in a couple of different industries, with the bulk of my time spent in the tech industry.

It wasn't until I joined Instantprint that my career really took off. I became a manager when I joined and then took over our creative and marketing team before being made head of Instantprint.

Describe your job in two sentences

I am responsible for the financial and operational performance of Instantprint. All departments indirectly report to me, from sales and customer service to web development.

What's a typical day like?

Every morning starts by checking sales figures from the previous day against last week, and against where we're expecting to be. Usually I have days full of meetings, which vary from operational updates to strategic catch ups. Every Monday I sit down with each of my direct reports to talk through KPIs and performance.

What is the best thing about your job?

The culture - we have a real sense of community I haven't experienced anywhere else. Regardless of the problem or department, people are always there to support you.

What are the challenges?

Our business is very dynamic with lots of change and moving parts and sometimes it can difficult to see which area really needs focus.

Another challenge is discretionary time, we very much run an open-door policy for anyone in our team, which combined with meetings can make it difficult to find free time to think about problems or strategies.

How has your university experience helped you?

My degree was in marketing and most of my career has been in digital marketing - my degree gave me the foundations I needed and helped me obtain work experience during my second and third years, which helped me secure my first job.

What are you career highlights to date?

Being made head of Instantprint was a great day, as was being told we were in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100. There are highlights every day and it's great to see people you recruited into junior roles developing into managers and heads of department, as well as personally developing by buying houses and having kids.

How has your role developed?

My role has changed significantly over the last four years - when I joined, I managed our PPC and affiliate campaigns with zero direct reports. Now I am responsible for a multi-million pound brand and a team of more than 70 people.

How do I get into e-commerce?

For eCommerce I would say the best trait you can have is being data driven and analytical - we live in a time of big data, so if you can't understand and use that data you're going to struggle.

In terms of Instantprint we hire on values and attitude rather than experience, so if you're sharp, hungry and willing to learn you've got a good chance of joining us.

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