For this expert interview, we were lucky enough to be joined by Nick Moore. He started out in the music industry – from owning a record label to founding the UK’s first music video streaming site.
Nick now advises the rising stars of the business world, as a professional business mentor and non-executive board director for several companies, including TopLine, and his advice has been indispensable to our B2B PR agency.
We met Nick six years ago, through a government scheme that paired small businesses with mentors. He immediately stood out to us as an expert at building, scaling, and selling businesses, and we were thrilled that he was willing to advise us.
Nick is particularly interested in HR, and we agree that a great working culture leads to great work. Happily, our people strategy is paying off, as we’ve been recognised as the UK’s sixth best small business to work for.
We sat down with Nick to discuss what he has learned in his career, his growth strategy for companies, and what he expects for the future of business.
Your business career started in music, how did you first get into it, and what was the industry like at that time?
I started at university when I was elected VP for Communications & Social Affairs of the Students’ Union and put on early shows by Blur, The Manic Street Preachers, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, and The Verve. I then moved to London in the early ‘90s, where I ran the Splash Club and later started the Barfly Club, both of which were key venues for the emergence of Brit Pop and Brit Rock. They featured shows by Oasis, Travis, Stereophonics, Placebo, Muse, Coldplay, Elbow, and others. It was definitely one of the most exciting times for British guitar music.
How have you transposed the skills gained in this industry, and applied them to other kinds of businesses?
The music business is all about building teams of people to collaborate on projects. For a team to work together effectively, you need to start with clearly communicated objectives. Everyone needs to know what part they play in working toward those objectives. A compelling objective, an effective strategy and clear communication are the keys to success, no matter what business you’re in.
Tell us about your first experience in selling a business, what did you learn from the experience? Anything you wouldn’t do again?
When I first sold some of my businesses, I continued to participate in running them. I mistakenly thought this meant that I would stay in control, but the reality is that whoever holds the purse strings has most of the control. Although I thought I was entering partnerships, they ended up not operating quite like that.
You offer business advice across a range of sectors. What would you say is fundamental to the success of a company?
The first step in any growth strategy is having a clear vision of where you want to go, and a strategy of how to get there. Next, stay on top of the finances. Know where sales are coming from, and what funds are required to achieve your goals. Finally, hire and motivate a talented team who share the vision and understand their roles in achieving it.
Finally, HR and people strategy is one of your specialist areas. How has the way businesses regard and use HR changed over your career, and how do you think it will change in the future?
Technology has revolutionised HR. Now there are countless tools available for communicating company policies and holiday allowances, and that sort of thing, so employees know their rights and the company’s processes. However, the biggest shift has been greater respect for employee welfare and making employees feel valued.
Since the cost of hiring and onboarding employees continues to increase, attracting and retaining good team members is critical. Fundamentally, this means keeping them happy. Several studies have demonstrated the benefits that a happy and motivated workforce have on a company’s productivity and profitability.
Technology also lets businesses offer employees greater flexibility in working from home, and other work-life benefits. Following several recent trials of shorter work weeks, including by Microsoft Japan, which show a significant increase in productivity, I think we may also see a reduction in the working week.
If you’re interested in learning how digital PR can fit into your company’s growth strategy, contact TopLine Comms today.