This week, Tom Harris, Managing Director at Live Innovations took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down for a tell-all interview, divulging the secrets to the firm’s success and providing insight into his personal business journey.
Following on from an interview Mr. Harris of Live Innovations gave back in 2012, the entrepreneur and business owner wanted to provide a fresh perspective since the firm’s re-launch earlier this year.
About Live Innovations: http://liveinnovations.co.uk/what-we-do/
1) What were your main objectives when you relaunched Live Innovations this year?
“Live Innovations has gone through several iterations since our conception in 2010. We began working with charities to help them improve the ROI on their fundraising campaigns. Success in that field allowed us to then make inroads in the telecommunications sector helping companies crack the B2B telecoms market. In April we secured a deal with one of the UK’s fastest growing finance providers, which led to our re-launch on a large scale.”
“Our focus this year has been to bring effective face-to-face outsourcing to the finance sector, a feat that many have tried, but due to the heavily regulated nature of that industry few companies have been able to surmount that challenge. Striking a balance between high performance sales campaigns, whilst adhering to the Financial Conduct Authority guidelines and ensuring we get the best outcome possible for our clients and their customers, has been our main objective.”
2) What was behind the decision to exclusively run event marketing campaigns?
“The decision to focus on events was largely driven by client demand. In the past we have done B2B and B2C campaigns so we can tailor an approach for any client. However regulations relating to the sale of financial products required us to have a fixed location or “branch” to market products from so events seemed to be the only way we could make that happen. We are still looking for creative ways to take our clients’ products to the end consumer and I’m constantly challenging our leaders to think outside the box to give our clients the edge they need. So in short events today, who knows what the future will hold.”
3) What are your goals for the next 12 months?
“Our goals for 2017 are largely fuelled by client demand for more events country-wide. As it stands we focus primarily on events in London, however our clients want UK-wide coverage. With conservative estimates we will require at least fifteen new locations to open in major cities across the UK with a permanent events unit to achieve client projected goals. The budgets have been set up and we know what needs to be done. We have set up an internal business development opportunity to accelerate independent contractors to hit this ambitious goal. Although we have the option to outsource this work to other companies in other markets outside London, we would prefer to grow our business and provide opportunities for our own contractors to step up and take the lead. The success of a recent campaign generated a large amount of interest in the service we provide and we are currently in discussion with other companies in the financial to sector who want to increase their sales. This could lead to more diverse needs than what we currently provide and taking on more work will inevitably give us more growth opportunities.”
4) What do you believe to be your key strengths?
“I would say our key strengths at Live Innovations is our ability to break down specifically what our client needs are and then create a clear and transparent sales and marketing plan that they can trust. We bring our clients along for every step of the journey from conception, training and even execution. It’s now reaching a point where they attend events with our sales and marketing force so they can see and hear what their customers experience and think first hand.”
“Most of the clients we work with naturally have reservations about handing over their brand to an external company. When we take a client on board, representation and being “on brand” is something we take seriously. I believe it is the care we take of our clients’ brands that separates us from our competitors.”
5) What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
“Coffee… no just kidding, although that is a crucial first step for me every morning! I think it’s the business that motivates me every day. In the past we would be less fastidious on who we believed could do the job, but now we put a lot more emphasis into our recruitment process to ensure that “new hires” are right for our company culture. I believe that due to the company’s rapid growth, we have the ability to attract incredibly entrepreneurial and vivacious individuals. These guys and girls are a blast to work with and what I enjoy most is the mentoring component of my role. Now as we grow so quickly I spend lots of my time identifying stand out performers and helping them to have success in the sales and marketing field. These people will become the future leaders of our business. It’s a bit like raising children, and seeing our people, clients and campaigns grow daily is a blast.”
6) What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?
“In one word I would say control. The world is becoming more unpredictable and it is much harder to predict where the economy will be heading. This means that if the economy makes an unpredicted turn, or laws change, we can react swiftly and minimise impact on the business and ultimately the people at Live Innovations who depend on this for their livelihood. Obviously there are other perks when you’re the boss, such as nobody tells you what to do, but I can’t take too many liberties at this point, because I can’t ask everyone in my business to give their best effort if I’m slacking off.”
7) Is there one moment you can look back on this year which started the momentum you have garnered in recent months?
“Sure, earlier this year I came back from Australia. At that time, we had really been struggling with changes to regulations relating to where we could set up events. As a company we were losing money and I’m sure our clients were losing patience (I would like to add that by this point all of our competitors had abandoned the idea of representing them believing that it couldn’t be done).”
“I sat with key leaders in the company and I told them our situation and our options were either to abandon a sinking ship or push through. I personally had worked on many of the events in the past and I new there was demand for our clients’ products, we just had to change our attitude towards the problem. I left the decision in their hands and stated that I would support them with whatever project they wanted to pursue. They came back to me and told me they also believed in the events concept we had and we got to work. I worked closely with them to understand the legal framework they operated in and made sure our events were not a risk to their business and our representatives ensured these events were a hit with consumers, ensuring everyone had a positive experience. The sales started to go up, risk to clients went down and the rest is history. We have been gaining that momentum ever since.”
8) In the highly competitive direct marketing industry, what makes Live Innovations different?
“I would have to say the opportunity to work with the clients we work with. None of our competitors can say they work with FTSE 100 clientele. I think the portfolio of clients we work with really is a testament to how good our people are and their ability to get results. The fact that these huge brands have confidence in what we do gives me confidence that we are moving in the right direction. Working with clients that have such a voracious appetite for our events means there are big opportunities for enterprising individuals who want to step up and take the lead.”
Live Innovations are strong supporters of entrepreneurship and they invest a lot of time into every one of their staff and contractors, providing one-on-one mentoring, access to client and in-house workshops, educational seminars and tutorials, as well opportunities to attend business conferences. Mr. Harris spoke about his dedication to the growth of the people they work with at Live Innovations and he stated that he is confident the group of ambitious and talented people they work with are the key to the firm’s success.
Live Innovations is an event marketing company specialising in personalised marketing events, which represent their clients’ brands directly to consumers. These unique event marketing campaigns give Live Innovations the chance to connect with consumers on a face-to-face basis which often helps to establish long-lasting and personal business relationships between brand and consumer. Managing Director Tom Harris is incredibly passionate about coaching and mentoring budding entrepreneurs and he believes that the firm’s first class business development opportunities is the catalyst for their success.
Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Live Innovations, on Friday 18 November, 2016. For more information subscribe and follow http://www.pressat.co.uk/