“Business support isn’t just about helping new companies to set-up, it’s also about advising them on how to grow and how to make the most of their potential,” explains growth advisor Michael Hadfield, who has recently helped Manchester-based Animation Toolkit to put a firm strategy in place for its future growth.
Set up by award-winning Producer and Director Westley Wood, the business has successfully filled a gap in the market as a global supplier of animation products. It sells a selection of armatures - jointed skeletal frames - to professional animation studios as well as students and schools, alongside software to create stop-motion and a whole range of animation tools and accessories.
With sales already growing rapidly – they are predicted to top £250,000 this year - Westley recognised that he needed a long term strategy for growth if he was to achieve his goal of turning the business into the ‘go to’ place for animation supplies within the next three years.
He approached the Business Growth Hub looking for support around planning but also wanted an advisor who ‘got his business’.
With the help of the Michael, Westley is now developing a structured plan to take the company forward, focussing on new product ranges, branding, costs and margins, sales and marketing.
One simple yet important change the Hub suggested was to introduce a new product structure which makes buying animation packages easier and more user-friendly. This year the business plans to start offering a beginner, intermediate and professional package, so that customers can buy the correct product for their level of animation skills.
Westley has over 15 years’ experience working in TV and on animated films. He is a former employee of the world famous Cosgrove Hall Films and continues to work as a full time Director and Producer on CITV, ITV’s channel for children. He also sits on the board of Manimation, an event set up by MIDAS to raise the profile of animation in Manchester.
As Michael explains: “Because of the unique products Westley sells and his contacts within the animation world, sales are growing exponentially for Animation Toolkit, and it’s great that Wes has come to us to plan how he’s going to achieve his goal of animation global domination!
Manchester has a rich heritage in animation. It’s one of the most prolific producers of children’s animation in the UK and over the next three years, with the plans Animation Toolkit have in place, we expect to see the business further established itself as a one stop shop for the UK animation industry.”
Westley adds: “I’ve really enjoyed working with Michael; it’s been a breath of fresh air to have a completely new perspective from someone outside the business. He’s helped me understand what I do and what I need to do to develop not only as a business, but as the MD of the business, too.”