Tuesday 12 March 2013
2INSPIRE BUSINESS PROFILE: Rough House Media
In this 2Inspire profile we meet Ann Wright, a journalist and BBC Producer who is the founder of Rough House Media. RoughHouse Media is a bespoke consultancy which provides specialist media advice and support to a wide range of clients including global businesses and entrepreneurs, with a particular specialism in the not-for-profit, charitable and public sector. The company provides media consultancy, video production and a range of media and presentation training courses.
1/ Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
One of the brilliant things about running a company like Rough House Media, which provides a range of services, is that there really isn’t a typical day. One day I might be scripting, filming or editing a video or podcast, the next I might be working on a media strategy for a client and the one after that I might be designing or running a training course.
And I still work for the BBC from time to time, which is great. As a producer, I specialised in major live events, so I’m called in for programmes such as the Festival of Remembrance, Royal Wedding and the Diamond Jubilee.
Fitted around working ‘in’ the business, as they say, is working ‘on’ the business – writing our blog, joining social media conversations, networking, sales and marketing plus the nitty gritty of accounts and admin.
One thing about having your own business – there is always something to do!
2/ What made you start the business and how did you get started?
My (now) husband and I are both BBC producers, and we set Rough House up in 1998 because we wanted to use our experience to help clients, particularly charity and not-for-profits, make the most of media opportunities.
We worked around our day jobs, offering a mix of media training courses and video production – one of our earliest projects was a series of football videos for Southampton FC.
In 2008 I left the BBC and began working for the company full time, and since then, we have really expanded and developed our services, so now we offer podcast production, crisis communications and management, media strategy and consultancy and presentation skills training as well.
3/ What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Particular highlights were winning my first piece of business after starting to work full-time for the company in 2008, and really increasing our production work last year, with three films for the Kennel Club (which have so far had over 120,000 YouTube views) and a series of in-depth podcasts for the Royal Society of Public Health.
But probably the greatest accomplishment has been to build a client list we can be proud of – working with organisations like the Royal Society of Chemistry, the University of St Andrews, the World Energy Council and the Civil Aviation Authority.
4/ What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Two really - firstly, to transform myself from a TV producer into a businesswoman, understanding and across all aspects of running a business.
And secondly, to keep on top of technology; the world of the media is changing constantly and as a media consultancy we need to be ahead of the curve so we are able to advise our clients.
5/What are your future plans for the business?
We want to further develop our services, using our knowledge of the industry to provide more media and public relations support for clients on a long-term basis, as well as increasing the amount of video and podcast production we do.
6/If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
It is true you learn from mistakes, and I have made a fair few. One key piece of advice I would give is to be smart about networking. Networking is an excellent way of gaining contacts and business, but you have to network where your most valuable clients are.
7/ Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
At school I went to, the girls generally were advised to work in a bank or become a hairdresser. At my university, graduates were advised to go into retail management, accountancy or the civil service. I did none of those and have had a varied, satisfying and interesting career. You don’t have to do what everyone tells you to, if you are determined enough, you achieve whatever you wish.
8/ What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
PR and media consultancy is a very crowded market, so identify your specialism and niche so you have a ‘unique selling point’ that marks you out from your competitors.
9/What or who inspires you in business and why?
I’m inspired by women who are able to build and grow their businesses but still remain true to themselves and their vision.
10/What is your favourite inspirational quote?
I’m torn between Bill Gates:"If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on public relations."
And Nelson Mandela:
“Whatever your life's work is, do it well.”
Tel: 020 8332 6200