Boom! Four strategies for creative businesses

Four business strategies creative business owners need to put in place now..

We’re in the middle of a super charged period of growth in the UK creative industries. From tech and gaming to design and the arts – never has the UK seen such a surge in its creative output.

Jobs have increased in the creative industries three times faster than the rest of the UK; £10m every hour is generated for the UK economy. But this creative boom brings its own challenges.

Fast growth businesses often struggle to scale with new business demands; competition gets fierce and while this is healthy, it can result in an adrenalin fuelled existence for business owners that is hard to sustain.

More staff means bigger offices and dynamic, flexible work spaces are in increasingly short supply with premium price tags. The regeneration in the last few years of East London and ‘Silicon roundabout’ boasts a proliferation of start-up tech and creative service companies.

The knock on effect is evident. A 46% increase in Shoreditch house prices in the last three years outstripping the capital’s 20% average. Additionally, private residential tenants in some previously more affordable boroughs can expect to pay an eye watering 73% of their salaries in rent.

These wider consequences can lead to barriers for growth when it comes to overheads and staffing costs which can rise exponentially as fast as your business grows leading to a tough commercial cycle. Maintaining a long term, highly strategic focus on your business is key to long term commercial and sustainable growth.

Our experience shows that creative businesses that put communications at the heart of how they operate do better and are less likely to experience extreme highs and lows. We work with fast growth, bold creative business owners, ensuring their communications drives business development, boosts brand reputation and enables them to attract and retain the best staff.
Our four-point checklist for creative business owners is designed to help businesses ride the crest of the wave instead of paddling frantically behind it:

1. Employ the best. Then work to keep them
Attrition/retention and succession strategies are often the preserve of the recruitment or HR function. Not in a creative business. Culture is often what attracts and sells you to the best people out there. If talented people don’t know about you how can they want to work with you?
Consider how you attract people, how much you have to pay in recruitment advertising and how diverse your team is. Audit your staff, review how long they stay with you, make sure you have robust development and succession plans in place and celebrate your people and their achievements to the outside world.

2. Retain competitive advantage. Define what you want to be known for
Defining what makes your business stand out is probably what you communicate through new business pitches, but how do you use this to promote and market the company? Developing a clear and authentic story is vital. Learning how to convey the story as a thought leader and embed it in your company culture is critical to future success.

3. Make your business development work harder/fully integrated
Business development is the lifeblood to a service led creative business, the constant cycle of pitching can be relentless, exhilarating, costly and thrilling sometimes all at once. Outbound new business development strategies that are not aligned with communications and marketing strategies are not as effective as they could be. They are intrinsically linked and businesses that really operate this way generate better quality, qualified leads.

4. Insight to impact
Communications in the form of press releases is no longer the currency of external promotion. With national journalists receiving upwards of 2000 press releases every day getting noticed can require a different approach. We generate interesting and compelling insight based on research and planning that makes a statement and commands attention.