Podcast Plus

30 April 2024

Rob Lawrence, Co-Director of Podcast Plus

About the participant

Rob Lawrence is the Co-Director of Podcast Plus, a team of qualified audio producers, podcasters and certified strategic coaches in Norwich. They provide content strategy and audio production for business coaches and leaders in the personal and professional development sector.

Rob was a participant of our first Creative East cohort in Norfolk and had this to say about the programme…

Why did you sign up for Creative East?

“We took the invitation to sign up to the Creative East programme for a number of reasons. One, it was to meet local business owners. It was also to sharpen and improve our own thinking with the number of workshops that were being offered. But also, there was an emphasis in terms of looking at our business in a different way, almost from an investor’s perspective. And that’s one way we hadn’t looked at the business before. And we thought that’d be an interesting perspective as we’re on the cusp of growing and scaling our business. So, it’s an opportunity to meet some local creative businesses, and other business people, as well as some mentors and experts in particular domains, to be able to improve and grow our own business.

What were your biggest challenges or uncertainties in your business at the time?

So, our biggest uncertainties and challenges in the business at the time, which is almost a year ago now, is how to scale and grow our business. So, we reached the ceiling, in terms of capacity and resources and still honouring a number of enquiries that were coming in in terms of the business services that we offer.

So, we were looking at ways to scale and grow the business. But we’re also looking at other opportunities in terms of how that can be done. So rather than the linear thinking of just naturally. growing and scaling by doing more. We were looking at, ‘Are there other ways that we could be collaborating with others?’, ‘Are there ways that we could be partnering with others and introducing some new ideas in terms of how we run the business?’

So, from leverage and from an efficiency point of view, are there better ways that we could be running the existing business that we are running at the moment? And seeing if there are better ways of doing that.

The other thing we’re interested in looking at, as well as the partnering and collaborating with others, is potentially expanding the resources that we have within the business. So working with others, hiring others and looking at what other opportunities are available to us at this stage.

How has Creative East helped you with those challenges? 

So, Creative East has helped us with those challenges by introducing us to domain experts. So, people in marketing, people in finance, people in pitching, people in business strategy skills, processes and that kind of thing. And Creative East has also helped us with a number of guides. The mentors within the programs help us in terms of the actual road map of working with those mentors and those coaches.

So, understanding best fits, in terms of, who we need to speak to and when. So that’s helped somewhat. The workshops have been great. Lots of expertise, lots of insights, lots of new information and ideas have been gleaned out of the workshops. Which, whilst they ran over 12 weeks, I think the information and the insights that we’ve gained from those workshops, we’re going to be working with for a number of years yet.

But we’ve also had the opportunity to see our business from a different perspective. One from an outside investor’s perspective, for example, and that’s enabled us to look at our business in a different way. But also improve our pitching skills or our presentation skills, in terms of not only how we see, but how we communicate the business to others.

So, being in the room with other business owners in the local region who are also in creative businesses and digital media businesses; to see them and their journey and watch them present their business and see their business in a different way has helped us to do the same. So, it’s been a great opportunity to be able to present our business to a fresh audience and to get some valuable insights and critique; from not just the mentors but other peers as well in terms of how our business is seen by others and where we could and how we could unfold going forward.

In what way has the programme set you up for future business growth? 

Creative East has set us up for future business growth in a number of different ways. It’s introduced us to a number of mentors, coaches and experts which we didn’t have access to previously. And those experts in their own particular domains have given us some wonderful insights, ideas and strategies in terms of how to analyse and assess our business in terms of growth going forward.

So I guess in some respects, it’s helped us to improve our business decision making skills. But it’s also given us access to a network of people that we didn’t have access to before. I think one of the key outcomes for me was actually meeting other business owners in the local region. As well as those mentors and coaches who can support our business, that even though they were on our doorstep, I had no idea that they existed.

So it’s been a great opportunity to connect some of the dots, meet some new people and also gain some new information and insights as to how we could be looking at our business for growing and scaling in the future.

What would you say to other business owners considering signing up for Creative East?

What I would say to other business owners thinking of signing up to Creative East is certainly explore your options. Have a close look at the Creative East programme. I wasn’t sure if it was quite right for us at first glance, but then when I looked into the programme more deeply, I found that actually this is going to be a great, wonderful opportunity and perhaps one of those opportunities that doesn’t often come by.

Where you have access to all of these people, all of these various skills and additional information. So it may or may not be for you, but I think for most of the people that I’ve met that have been on the programme they’ve really enjoyed it, they’ve gained a lot from it, and that’s absolutely been true for us.

What was your favourite thing about the programme? 

Without a doubt, my favourite thing about the programme was meeting other people, meeting other business owners, the mentors and the coaches themselves, and also the experts who came and presented at the workshop. So having the opportunity to meet them in a relatively small environment, and I mean small as in there was a small number of people, and ask them questions and have the opportunity to have a conversation with them; not just about my business, but their own experience, hearing some of the stories and strategies that they had to share. As you know, some of the highlights that stand out in my mind, having our own mentor has been great in terms of helping us navigate the opportunities and help us to get outside of our sort of somewhat rigid thinking. So, I would say that the Creative East programme has enabled us the opportunity to shake up our own thinking as well. 

 

Thanks to Creative East, we’re able to see our business in a different light. We’ve definitely been able to look and analyse our business in a way that we hadn’t seen before. So we’ve gained a new perspective, or a number of new perspectives, on how our business looks to the outside world, to our customers and also given us some new ideas and insights as to how we can scale or grow our business into the future.

Funders

Fully funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

Delivered and managed by:

  • Anglia Ruskin University Peterborough
  • Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority
  • Innovate UK
  • New Anglia - Local Enterprise PArtnership for Norfolk and Suffolk
  • Norfolk County Council
  • Suffolk County Council
  • University of East Anglia Innovation Funding
  • University of Suffolk