Learn how we helped a popular Tech City startup to prioritise and plan for accelerated growth.
Night Zookeeper (NZK) is a children’s education and entertainment company. They offer computer software, activity days run in schools, a fan club and a number of other product lines. Their products are aimed at children aged between five and eleven years old. NZK are part of the Silicon Roundabout / Tech City scene and have achieved some significant early successes, including:
- Securing a place in the prestigious Wayra Academy, which is an international tech start-up scheme backed by Telefonica.
- Receiving excellent product feedback. Some of this feedback was recorded in the media, for example in The Guardian and on Awesome Kids Apps.
- Winning numerous awards – Smarta100, Startup Weekend, Learning Without Frontiers, Tech Pitch and UnLtd’s Big Venture Challenge.
- Signing a six-figure investment deal with a consortium of angel investors.
Even with these successes under their belts, the team at NZK felt there was still the potential to work harder, smarter and achieve more.
I had lots of different ideas in my head about where I wanted to take the company. However, I needed to prioritise those ideas, provide the team with a plan, and be able to explain to investors and publishers exactly where we were headed. However, the day-to-day craziness of NZK was making it hard to find the time and headspace to do this properly. That’s where Hooke & Co. came in.
We began by taking Josh through our Business Growth Health Check exercise. In addition we talked about the costs that NZK was running, revenue and the overall profitability of the company. We discussed the company’s assets and liabilities, and what kind of balance sheet position this created. We talked about the challenges that Josh felt he had, and potential areas for improvement.
Via our Small Business Growth Strategy service we prioritised the many growth ideas that Josh felt were worthy of investing time and money into. We used a Weighted Prioritisation Matrix to prioritise in a very objective way, and be confident that when all things are considered we have optimised our decisions and maximised our chances of success. We reviewed the results and picked five ideas to take forwards.
The next step was planning. We placed the activities onto a waterfall style plan in the correct order, estimated durations, identified risks and issues, and calculated costs.
We decided to drop one idea and pursue the remaining four. These four ideas became workstreams, or mini-projects. The workstreams were a mixture of conservative business activities that we were confident would create a reliable source of income, and some higher risk / higher reward activities.
Our penultimate step was to start executing the workstreams. We brought the whole team together to share the work that we had done to date. We assigned leaders for each of the four workstreams. With plans in place Josh was able to delegate more responsibility to members of his team. This improved the company’s efficiency, gave team members more autonomy and introduced them to some project best practices.
Some people might think that seeking external help is a sign of weakness. I don’t see it that way. If you can make the company more successful by getting some external help, then you should do it. Hooke & Co. has really helped us to focus on the most important things at a crucial time. The meetings that Francis ran with me were very effective. I feel confident about where we’re headed, which is great when I’m speaking to investors, and I know my team are fully supportive too. I’d highly recommend speaking to Francis and the guys at Hooke & Co. Business Strategy