Sector: Tech Health and Safety
After building up a successful design business, 10 years later Danielle Croce was involved in the management buyout of her current business, Intasite. But today she has a team filled with “passionate individuals” who all care about the business.
Where do you call home?
I grew up with my family in Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough. I now live just up the road in Marton with my husband, two little girls and a rather large cat.
Tell us about your role?
I am the commercial director and co-founder of Intasite. We are a health and safety tech company which creates and facilitates site induction and contractor management software for high hazard industries. The team supports large-scale sites operating within the chemical, construction, renewables, manufacturing and ports and shipping sectors, among others. My role in the business is to develop and implement commercial strategies in line with company goals and objectives, with the aim to accelerate growth. I’m responsible for securing new clients and maintaining a constant pipeline of new business opportunities, including negotiating ongoing contracts with customers and identifying new opportunities for platform development.
How did you get to where you are today?
After leaving school with a love for art, I went to study graphic design and photography at CCAD. Following this, I had a short stint at Leeds Met Uni, until I realised I was very much a home bird and returned to Teesside University to study a degree in graphic design.
After gaining my degree, I secured my first role as a junior designer. I was very much thrown in at the deep end and had to learn quickly how to design for digital. After only three months into the role, a restructure was taking place and I had the opportunity to invest and be part of my first business, a new digital agency. At just 22, I was extremely inexperienced and didn’t know the first thing about owning a business, but I was excited by the prospect and thought “why not”? My grandma had been a business owner and she had always been an inspiration to me. With her background in business, she was eager to set me off on my journey and loaned me the money to get me started.
What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way?
Being a small business, I’ve often had to wear multiple hats to fulfil every role. Sometimes I would be designing, other times I would be managing finances or writing HR policies to recruit new staff members.
There have been many challenges along the way, such as learning to manage a team, public speaking (which I still hate) and many times without wages. Although it has been a rollercoaster of a journey, I found my biggest challenge to be fairly recently in 2020, where I was involved in the management buyout of my current business, Intasite. Unfortunately, strategies between the previous management team no longer aligned and it was time to go our separate ways. To say this was anxious, costly and uncertain time is an understatement. Although after 10 years it felt like I was starting again, we were left with a group of passionate individuals who all wanted Intasite to succeed.
Describe the moment you first got a feel for success?
I remember my first feeling for success was when I drove home from work and passed a client’s van with their new logo I had recently rebranded for them. At this point I felt I had established myself as a semi-professional designer and felt super-proud!
As time went on, I began to see my designs in restaurants, on billboards and in other public places. I then got the chance to work with some large-scale clients such as Lindt Chocolate and travelled to Geneva to work with the World Health Organisation.
In more recent years, as I got more involved with business development, I managed to win one particular contact for Telefonica O2 worth over £200k. This was definitely a champagne moment and gave a real sense of achievement, working with such a huge organisation.
Following the management buyout of Intasite, in a short period of time we have achieved unprecedented growth and recently won small business of the year award. This has made it all worthwhile, although we are not finished yet!
For me, success is about enjoying what I do and the hustle of each and every day, including the highs and also the lows.
Do you have any advice for aspiring young females?
Sometimes just starting can be the most daunting thing.
Surround yourself with positive and inspirational people – there’s always someone willing to help or happy to be a mentor.
Set goals, whether they are large or small.
Take steps to set up your business properly, iron out the finer details in the early days – you’ll be thankful later!
Be humble and willing to learn.
Grow your network and seize opportunities.
Work hard but create a balance.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
My advice to my younger self would be to not worry about making mistakes or bad decisions. In business, it’s a constant learning experience and learning is part of the process. It’s often easy to get caught up and focus on the “destination”, but always remember that the journey is the most enjoyable part.
What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?
Gratitude, determination, ambition.
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