Marketing agencies in Manchester have all started somewhere. Read about KMS Media, founded in their founder's living room whilst juggling childcare, now has a focus on a great level of service for clients and small budget advertising campaigns. This now has lead to recruitment of agency staff and the move into a bigger office after doubling of profits in the last year!
Karen Young from KMS Media talks about small start ups, working in Manchester and plans for growth and expansion in 2016.
I wouldn't say it's easy starting your own business, in fact it's all-consuming and takes over your life. However, it's exciting and most definitely very rewarding when you begin to see all your hard work finally pay off.
Following redundancy, myself and Millie decided to take the leap in 2012, it was initially a nightmare! We based ourselves in Millie's living room in Fallowfield and juggled setting up the business around arranging childcare for three children. After a couple of months we moved into our first office in the Northern Quarter and began the process of building our business. I'd say the first two years were a MASSIVE learning curve, and at times I actually thought I was losing my mind, but we could see there was a real need for smaller sized media agencies - especially in Manchester.
Building strong relationships is hugely important as is having respect for both clients and contractors alike. Working in this industry in Manchester there is a real sense of community and you can feel the willingness of people wanting you to succeed. Some people really have gone above and beyond to help us establish ourselves as a business which is heart-warming and very encouraging.
With Manchester being named "Britain's most thriving City" in the last census and the Government's pledge to "make the cities of the North a powerhouse for our economy again" it's an exciting time to be growing a business in this city. There is also a lot of help and advice available for SME's in Manchester through companies like the Business Growth Hub. We have found their mentoring and courses very beneficial and they are really supportive.
We now have a very bright young intern called Kelly Mahon from MMU. Kelly works with us once a week and is gaining experience to help with her PR and Marketing degree.
We are really focused on growing our Digital offering as an agency and feel it is vital that our clients, even those with limited budgets, have access to the transitional platforms available on digital advertising. Last year we presented to students at The Manchester College who are studying Marketing Apprenticeships and working with businesses in the industry. The presentation gave examples of how we work with traditional and digital media and how the digital market is evolving within the industry. The students found the information very beneficial and were able to make it relevant to their studies and further careers.
In April 2014 we moved into our current office in Quay Street Manchester and we have seen tremendous business growth over the past two years. Following a very successful 2015 in which we celebrated four very substantial new business wins, profits more than doubling and winning two highly prestigious MPA awards, we now have a healthy client list of around 40.
This year we are looking to capitalise on our success by moving into bigger offices in Quay Street Manchester and recruiting a digitally-focused Media Assistant in the Spring.
Our aim is to play our part in helping to boost economic growth through empowering our clients to grow their businesses. When our clients are successful in achieving their aims through the work we do with them then, in turn, we are seen to be successful and our own business base grows. We are all then contributing to our economy - the basis for the 'circle of life' in the Northern Powerhouse!
Five quick tips:
- Listen! It sounds simple but so many people fall down by not really listening therefore not understanding their clients needs and concerns.
- Release your creative flair (or genius) so comprehensively understanding what the message is that your client wants to convey so that you can come up with a tailor-made campaign using relevant media that works - every single time.
- Don't be afraid to ask for advice - there will be someone who's been in your situation. No-one starts off an expert, we're all still learning and the majority of people like to help and give guidance.
- Be there - this isn't a 9-5, it's a massive responsibility and you need to be prepared to work evenings and weekends.
- Smile! Be friendly, people like people, no-one will go that extra mile for a miserable sod so be nice and enjoy yourself.
We would like to thank KMS for this great blog and wish them all the best as their business continues to flourish!