Behind the Business with KC Communications
Bdaily goes behind the business with Katrina Cliffe, Managing Director at marketing consultancy management services provider KC Communications in Huddersfield.
What key challenges has your company recently faced?
Recruiting staff - Finding the right staff that have the relevant skills just as you need it has been one of our biggest struggles. As a young business that wants to grow timing is critical, and its not always possible to lure top talent away from already established agencies. We’ve counteracted this by offering students and post graduates work experience opportunities and through establishing strong relationships with local education providers. Generally, the level of these candidates has been exceptional and has allowed us to grow our business further whilst providing them with real insight into the industry. It’s also the perfect setup to test out potential candidates for the future.
Business Banking – From day one our business banking has been terrible… it took our bank almost 3 months to open our account. Since then there has been a number of crashes causing issues with paying suppliers or receiving payments. Not ideal for a young startup business.
What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?
The last 12 months have been a whirlwind of success for KC Communications with numerous client wins and award nominations.
KC Communications achieving an exceptional first year would be my standout moment, especially as when I founded the business the plan was to be a freelancer earning enough to contribute towards raising a young family, this was quickly surpassed and the business turned over £88k in its first year. This ultimately provided me with the opportunity to contribute positively to the local economy with employment opportunities and by having the ability to challenge much talked about skills gaps by providing young professionals with the opportunity to gain hands on work place experience opportunities with KC Communications.
More recently however, winning the contract for East Yorkshire based Heald Ltd, a manufacturer of counter terrorism products has been our biggest and highest profile account win to date. We will be working with another fantastic female business leader to support their organisation with the delivery of an international marketing strategy to support their business goals. Such a big account win has meant we have been able to recruit another account manager to the team. In turn, this has increased our capacity to take on further work as the business was at capacity and would therefore have struggled to take on new clients without this appointment.
What is your most important focus for the coming year, and what do you hope to achieve?
We’re looking to increase our turnover by 50% this year which we’re on track to achieve, along with recruiting an additional member to the team and moving to larger offices.
Our focus in order to achieve this will be to work with SME’s that whilst successful have not historically focused their strategy on marketing to really give their business the push it deserves to increase growth and revenues. Recently we’ve started working with a number of organisations like this and are already seeing positive results in a very short space of time.
I’ve also been nominated for a number of awards, including being named as a finalist in the Network She Awards so it would be great to walk away with a win in 2016.
What excites you most about your industry and business?
The industry we are in (and our clients) are constantly evolving and we have to be ahead of numerous trends every day. Added to that, we have to cut through a lot of noise on behalf of our clients so it is great when we get those results, especially when tapping into new technologies in order to do so.
Ultimately though, founding KC Communications has given me a platform and a voice to be able to address numerous concerns facing business leaders. You will often find me addressing the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce local business forums, engaging with educational establishments and working with young people to help plug skills gaps.
What do you wish you’d known when starting out?
It’s actually been quite refreshing to start up a business without having a history of running one because I have been able to try things out that I might not have tried with previous knowledge or input from others. Ultimately, I think this has been a testament to our growth because we’ve not been prepared to follow what is expected. In fact, if I knew what to expect I probably wouldn’t have even started my own business… you put a lot of hours in, speak with a lot of people and dish out lots of free advice!
What will be the “next big thing“ in your industry, and how do you plan to handle it?
Marketing is constantly evolving and sometimes old school methods continue to work the best depending upon the client and their industry / target audience. That being said, we are always investigating ways of implementing changes into our strategies and in particular video will continue to evolve and be a key part of a marketer’s tool kit as it can be used across so many platforms.
I am a huge believer in CPD, which is why (crazily!) I am in the process of completing my second Chartered Institute of Marketing diploma in Digital Marketing Metrics and Analysis. Also, I am forever encouraging my employees to take advantage of training opportunities that are both free and paid for by the business.
It is this that really adds value to what we do on behalf of our clients. They get a team of industry experts as opposed to one internal marketing resource which they have to contribute to developing themselves which is time consuming and works out to be costly in the long run.
Looking to promote your product/service to SME businesses in your region? Find out how Bdaily can help →
Enjoy the read? Get Bdaily delivered.
Sign up to receive our popular Yorkshire & The Humber morning email for free.