Shoot the Moon are one of Manchester’s leading creative agencies, working with a raft of household names including Lakeland, Thomson Airways and Pets At Home. With a staff of 28, the agency specialises in brand and new product development, retail communications, food photography and digital and social strategy.
The business approached the Hub for help and advice to review its strategic plan and support the growth of the business, including a potential move into new premises.
The Hub suggested enrolling on the Executive Development Programme, which is designed to support senior executives and managers. Fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Regional Growth Fund, the programme matches companies with a business coach who then works with executives, either individually or as a team, to develop their leadership skills.
After an initial business diagnostic with the Hub’s executive and workforce development manager, Dawn Duggan, the company was matched with business coach Nigel Girling from Babbington Business College. He began working with agency director Phil Marshall in a series of one-to-one sessions which concentred on ways to develop the company’s long term strategy and redefine its structure.
The five key areas they covered were:
- Business planning
- Strategic planning
- Staff recruitment
- Performance management
- Quality management
As a result, Shoot the Moon has now been divided into five businesses under one parent company, each specialising in a specific discipline, from creative through to procurement, whilst retaining the flexibility to work collaboratively. The head of each team has also been given the autonomy to run their own business unit as a separate entity.
A new social strategy consultancy was also created as part of the restructuring, and the team has already attracted new clients and extended services to existing clients; while the changes have seen the business take on six new members of staff.
Another key driver was to devise a new way to retain the talent within the business and to keep everyone engaged, explains Phil. “We are very keen to make sure all our staff felt involved with the business and an integral part of its future. We want our people to stay with us, enjoy what they do and be part of our future growth,” he says.
Nigel and Phil worked together on a new scheme to further incentivise the senior team to commit to the business long term. Plans are for them to have access to equity in the respective companies and benefit long term from their influence within the agency.
The next step for the business is to expand into new premises, continues Phil, creating a new hub with testing and food development facilities and more studio space.
“Working with Nigel we looked closely at the financial implications of the move, considered finance options and chose to finance the development ourselves rather than take investment from elsewhere,” says Phil.
“This was a useful exercise and has expedited our plans much sooner than we envisaged prior to discussing with Nigel.”
And he adds: “There’s no getting away from the fact that senior people in a business often miss out on structured opportunities to develop new skills or mentoring because budgets are usually directed towards more short term needs. The Executive Development Programme can help to change this and certainly, from our point of view, has helped us to make major decisions more confidently, that will place us in a stronger position for the future.”