At Burscough-based creative audio-visual company, Redolution, managing director Alison Grady, her husband Damian and their business partner, Richie, create films for clients ranging from Lancashire-based Partington’s Holiday Parks, to national car leasing firm Select Car Leasing.
These films, developed together with a wider team of associates, will be used across TV, social media, email campaigns and digital to measurably improve their clients’ profile and reputation and sales.
In short, business is looking good.
Yet, as a company that had, before the pandemic, made adverts for the big screen, the future could just as easily not have looked so bright.
Alison explains: “We have certainly had an interesting time since the pandemic began.
“As Covid took hold, we could see straight away the implications for us as a business: demand for big-screen adverts would disappear as cinemas closed, and lockdown would make filming with actors and crew impossible.”
With challenges afoot, the three directors quickly planned a new future for Redolution.
Alison continues: “We reinvented ourselves: Redolution 2.0 we called it. When all the filming had to stop, we pivoted, survived and now we’re growing again.”
It all sounds so easy. And yet how do you change tack overnight, and have the resolve, clarity and confidence to make such a change successful?
Alison credits her participation in the Lancashire Forum, a leadership development programme from Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) with helping her to build the vision and purpose she needed to steer the business towards a new phase of growth.
As part of Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, the four-month programme mixes sessions with business experts and world-class academics with peer learning to support the leaders of Lancashire-based SMEs who want to build businesses that focus on both profit and purpose.
Alison says: “To put it simply, we were better able to navigate covid because of the Lancashire Forum. It made us look completely differently at our business.”
Clarity through simplicity
One of the most transformational things that Alison took from the Forum was the Business Model Canvas: a tool to create a business plan on a single page.
Alison says: “I’d never heard of the Canvas before but now, I’m obsessed. It’s wonderfully simple and allows us to present our business plan visually, making it so easy to review and amend.
“As Covid hit, we immediately turned to the plan to review where the risks and the opportunities lay. We could see straight away that, by switching to create animations, we could continue to make films that clients could use across all their channels, without any need for studios, crew or actors, and that’s exactly what we did.”
More financial security
Another change that Alison introduced as a result of the Forum proved to be a godsend when the pandemic began.
At an early session on business finances, Alison saw that, by invoicing clients for fifty per cent of costs upfront, she could transform Redolution’s cash flow and financial security.
She says: “I had never been comfortable with figures, but the business fundamentals was a revelation for me. I went from feeling afraid of finances to being interested in them.
“It spurred me on to implement the new payment policy which instantly took so much pressure off us. Before covid, it allowed us to focus on the quality of work for clients, rather than stressing about payment. During the pandemic, that cash was a buffer that gave us the financial security to invest our time in refocussing the business.”
A valued support network
Alison remains in touch with many of her fellow Forum delegates, who come from a wide range of different industries across the county.
She says: “The calibre of the other delegates was outstanding and the peer-to-peer problem-solving sessions were so valuable. We’d share a problem and others would give their advice from first-hand experience. You’d pay a lot of money for that kind of support and coaching!
“It’s very easy to have your head down in your own business but the peer-support network, and sessions with academics and business leaders, make you consider what’s going on in the wider world and how you can use it to your advantage.”
The confidence to implement change
Some of the biggest benefits of the Forum are the hardest to quantify. Alison says: “I felt more confident than ever as a businessperson through taking part in the Lancashire Forum. Some of the themes we covered in the sessions were familiar to me and it made me realise that I know this and I can do it: I had a really strong feeling of affirmation.
“It gave me the self-belief I needed to be the change-maker, enabling Damian and Richie to focus on being creative.”
Join the next cohort
TheLancashire Forum is designed to help owner-managers, MDs and senior decision makers of SMEs to grow their businesses. It is fully funded and available to businesses which are eligible under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) criteria.
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