By Caroline Elliot

I ran a session for the Radio Independents Group recently which looked at how and when you should grow your business.   It was fascinating to hear about the different challenges facing the companies – from bigger companies who felt it was too much work given their limited time to think about future strategy, to two people running a business who wanted to be part of something bigger.

Phil Critchlow, Founder and Director of TBI Media was one of the speakers. He founded TBI 10 years ago and it has grown to a multi-million pound enterprise.   He told the group how he had started working out of the garden shed – very useful as few overheads – but when he employed more staff he had to take the leap and rent office space with technical facilities.    His tip for starting up was when you begin your enterprise make sure everything goes through the company.

“Do not let anyone employ you as an individual or the company will wither on the vine.   Also, register the business for VAT, even if you are not achieving the threshold, it makes you seem more of a player.”

Liz Barclay, broadcaster and specialist in small businesses, was also on the panel – she talked about the importance of the right agreements, whether they are partnerships with other organisations, financial arrangements or between the directors of the company.

It was a fun evening with many talking about the challenges facing small businesses . The key advice from the experts was:

  • Know your market and keep networking
  • Keep overheads low initially and think carefully about what you really need – staff, premises, equipment and don’t overstretch yourself until you are more confident the business will come in.
  • People work for people – so be good to your staff and they are more likely to stay loyal to you
  • Think creatively about problems
  • Think ahead, make sure you have a strategy
  • Be open to partnerships, and if you are going into a partnership make sure you have complementary skills and that you have a written agreement
  • Be adaptable

It seems this is all good advice for Quattrain too! And interestingly the next RIG Leaders Forum is about partnerships…

Caroline Elliot