A Manchester-based agency that works with some of the city’s biggest festivals and events – including Manchester Pride – has set its sights on international expansion following support from GC Business Growth Hub’s Greater Connected and Amplify programmes.
Mustard Media, which provides a range of services for festivals in the UK and Europe, has already expanded its team as a result of a growing new business pipeline. It’s also on track to meet its ambitious growth target of 150% increased turnover year-on-year, thanks in part to the skills and expert advice received.
As part of Amplify, Mustard’s directors were given the opportunity to connect with other Manchester-based businesses on a best practice trip to Copenhagen, where they learnt how some of Europe’s most successful companies have scaled and achieved sustainable growth. In addition, they received a tailored programme of business mentoring from one of Amplify’s board advisors, FJ Rutjes.
Mustard Media’s collaboration with a specialist board advisor has been instrumental in helping it to develop a bespoke business growth plan based on its niche offering in the festival and events market. Commenting on the business support the company has received, which is part-funded by the Local Growth Fund, Oli Hackett, Creative Director of Mustard Media, said:
“Before Amplify, we were a business that was trying to be all things to all clients. In fact, a lot of the new business we were taking on was not really within the sectors we were passionate about. The Amplify programme has really given us what we’ve needed to develop our so-called ‘mission, motto and mantra’. As a result, we’ve focused our offering, productised it, and are now delivering it in a sector that we are truly passionate about.
“The advice we were given as part of the programme was easy to digest and meant that we could act on our learnings quickly. Nine months on and we’re already starting to reap the rewards, having taken on three new staff members and plans to take on four more just to keep up with the demands of our new business pipeline. Our ambition of international expansion certainly seems possible, especially following our recent work on Annie Mac’s Lost and Found festival in Malta.”
The business has also been able to productise its offering into two core services which it calls the ‘Event Growth Hack’ and the ‘Event Marketing Roadmap’. With these two new services in place, Mustard Media are now able to offer more bespoke packages which are also aligned with their passion for events and festivals – all while remaining profitable. Ed Norris, Commercial Director at Mustard Media, said:
“The Amplify program has been extremely useful for us to refine our company strategy at a critical point of our growth. It enabled us to focus on our experience and expertise in the festivals market and develop two innovative products that translate into the entire events space, the Event Growth Hack and the Event Marketing Roadmap. We’ve already seen them pick up real traction within the marketplace, as they can be implemented in any location, for any audience, and translated into any language.”
Before taking part in the Amplify programme, Mustard also took up a place on the Greater Connected programme, which is fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Providing businesses with two-and-a-half days of learning spread over six weeks, this is another specialist scheme developed by the Hub to coach business leaders on how to achieve strong, sustainable growth.
As a Greater Connected alumnus, Mustard Media will also remain connected to fellow leaders after the programme ends, meaning continued invitations to events and skill-shares, as well as ongoing partnership opportunities.
Rob Masterson, Managing Director at Mustard Media, said:
“Taking part in the Amplify and Greater Connected programmes was a no-brainer as far as our business’ future and growth were concerned. Amplify in particular has given us the knowledge and tools we’ve needed to reshape our internal systems and processes so that we can fully align with our growth plan. This year we’re already on track to hit our goal of a 150% increase in turnover, which the programme has played a huge part in helping us to define and achieve.”
Amplify is currently looking to recruit Manchester-based companies for its next programme which will start on 9th October. To be eligible for the Amplify, companies should be based in one of the ten Greater Manchester local authorities, employ more than 10 people and be in the digital, creative, or tech sectors.
For more information on how to apply for a future cohort, visit amplify.businessgrowthhub.com.