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Digital & Technology

Creative Scale-Up helps Anattic pivot to bounce back from Brexit and Covid challenges

After a drop in turnover in 2019, Anattic received support to turn around their business and get back to growth

Established in 2015, video production house Anattic are based in Ancoats and create commercials, music videos and documentaries for clients around the world, including Mastercard and Amazon Notion Live.

Anattic had enjoyed year-on-year growth until 2019 when a change in market conditions caused by uncertainty around Brexit led to a drop in turnover of 50%.

However, through working with advisers from GC Business Growth Hub and taking part in the Creative Scale-Up programme, founder James Copson has managed to turn things around dramatically in the last 12 months.

James talks to us about how the Hub’s support has helped and what his plans are for continuing Anattic’s growth. 

Opportunities can come out of your biggest challenges

After experiencing year-on-year growth until 2019, we’d found ourselves stuck at a certain level as a business, trying to improve our reel and get bigger clients with larger scale projects.

We’ve worked all around the world, including China and Australia and have done projects with people like F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, and we always go the extra mile to deliver great work. However, because of the budget constraints we were often working with, that came at the expense of our profits.

With uncertainty around Brexit in 2019 causing a drop in our turnover because of the impact it was having on clients, we were at a crossroads before hearing about the Creative Scale-Up programme.

We’d been working with GC Business Growth Hub for a few years and scaling up was definitely a priority, so they recommended this programme as a way to achieve that. Having created the launch event video, we were intrigued to find out more about the programme and following a discussion with a Hub advisor, we found out we were eligible to apply.

Of course, Brexit having been an issue in 2019 was quickly followed by Covid-19 in 2020, so that was another challenge to deal with and meant we had to rethink our short-term goals. Creative Scale-Up came at the right time to help me focus on steering Anattic through this pandemic, whilst also looking at ways to future-proof the business and ultimately get back into growth.

Getting the right help is essential, especially right now

We started on the programme early last year, just before the pandemic really hit, so we had one or two in-person sessions before lockdown and then everything went digital. Personally, I found it more difficult at first because having real life interaction is ideal, but they adapted it to the digital platform really well and there were some great sessions.

Each person from the Hub that I’ve been in contact with has been really supportive and responsive through this strange and difficult time, keeping in touch with the latest government information and general updates and always being there to speak to and offer advice. They have pulled it all together really well in difficult circumstances.

I had several advisory sessions with the Hub’s specialist team who give sector specific support to Digital, Creative and Tech industry businesses, and they helped me to look at the business in a new way, targeting different markets and sectors. It can be really helpful having the perspective of someone from outside your business who is also an expert in the industry.

The workshops were also really helpful, as I went into it really eager to learn more about areas like finance, PR and marketing, which were all covered in modules. I didn’t have much knowledge of PR so learning how to really focus on our brand has helped hugely as I’ve been repositioning us in the market.

We’re growing and looking to expand at home and abroad

The impact of Creative Scale-Up and the support I received from the Hub advisors has been enormous. Thanks to the advice on employment, recruitment and training, I’ve been able to take on a new member of staff.

As well as assisting with the video production projects, they’re working on account management and business development, two areas that will be so crucial as we continue to target new sectors and markets on our growth trajectory.

We’re now pivoting the business and working with bigger clients, including streaming live music events with Mastercard. The knowledge I’ve gained from the programme has been invaluable, even if we’re not ready to put some of it into practice yet. It’s implanted them in my head and given me resources that I can call up on later when we get to that stage.

Despite the pandemic we are doing really well at the moment and the business is scaling up. We had a busy end to 2020 and start to 2021, so we’re aiming to keep that momentum going and get some press releases out for a few projects we’re working on thanks to the PR training I received.

We’re also working on getting our name out across Manchester. We get a lot of work outside of the city, but we need to ‘sort out our back yard’ and make more contacts here.

In an ideal world we’d be looking to take on another staff member this year to be responsible for reaching out and keeping in touch with clients and another long-term goal is to have our own production studio and possibly even set up an office in another country to help us reach new markets.

Creative Scale-Up is designed to empower creative businesses in the Greater Manchester region to realise their full growth potential and gain investment to take their business to the next level.

The Creative Scale-Up Programme is fully funded by the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and has been created to further develop what is already a thriving industry, helping creative organisations based in the Greater Manchester region attract investment to grow their business sustainably.

Creative Scale-Up is open to a variety of Greater Manchester region businesses operating in the creative industry, including but not limited to; gaming, film, music, publishing, art and design.

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