Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nick Refuses to Rest on Laurels

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nick Refuses to Rest on Laurels

Article excerpt

Byline: By Guy Anderson

Directorships of two multi-million pound companies, a major industry award and a background as a dotcom millionaire are notable achievements for any executive. For one who has only recently celebrated his 21st birthday they are all the more remarkable as Guy Anderson discovered

Nick Bell is not one to rest on his laurels. The former pupil of Newcastle's Royal Grammar School has ambitions to become the North's youngest plc chairman. He is looking to list Zero Plus ( his audio visual enterprise which installs plasma displays from nightclubs to railway stations ( on the Alternative Investment Market within the next two years.

"Thinking big is the key. A lot of people are scared to go after big deals when they start but for me it has paid off," he said.

Nick's route from bedroom to the boardroom began six years ago at his parent's farmhouse in Alnwick. Teenfront ( his magazine website ( was snapped up for almost pounds 1m while he was completing his GCSEs. The 16-year-old had become a dotcom millionaire in less than two years.

"It was quite surreal but in that environment making almost a million pounds at 16 was not that unusual," said Nick, who turned 21 in December.

"The business was still run from my bedroom and I was still going to school but it was worth a million. If I'd wanted a bricks and mortar business at the age of 14, I wouldn't have got very far. They would have laughed me out of boardrooms, but the internet is a great leveller."

When the dotcom bubble burst in 2000, Nick was able to stay in the business and is very level-headed towards any e-business.

"I do not buy into the dotcom philosophy of burning money. You only spend money if you make money, and just because you are online, it does not mean the economic rules do not apply."

Unforgettable experiences for him in his business career to date, however, have included sitting in a London boardroom as a teenager, surrounded by venture capitalists.

"A lot of the questions they asked went over my head," he recalls.

"At that stage, business plans had previously involved notes on scraps of paper. …

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