Grace Gibbons is the founder/creative director of Bounce Video, a film and marketing company based in Oxford. Grace trained at the BBC then spent over 10 years working on award-winning television documentary series. She now uses her experience of emotive storytelling to help businesses communicate the essence of what they do.
I never intended to be an entrepreneur! I’d had a successful career in television but was struggling with the work/life balance and long periods of filming away from home. I loved what I did and had a lot of skills so decided to set up my own company so I could do more local work.
Learning through your own mistakes!
I was always confident in my film-making abilities from my TV work. I’d never made a corporate online video before but the first one I made was a huge success so after that I decided to push forward with the business.
Perseverance – You may have to contact 25 companies just to get that partnership meeting so keep going and remember it’s a numbers game!
Communication – so much comes down to first impressions. Find a way to make people remember you. Make them laugh, be light, wear colourful, different clothes, whatever it is, let your personality come out.
Being able to delegate – seek out support, partnerships and get people to help you!
Having creative control of my work and being able to trust my own judgement when making decisions – that feels empowering. I also love getting great feedback from a client and finding out your video has helped them get more funding, enquiries or sales.
I’m really inspired by one of my clients, Ruskin Mill Trust. They are a charity that help young people with complex needs overcome barriers to learning through a work and craft based programme. I spent a week travelling the country and filming at 8 of their centres. It was one of the most fun and fulfilling weeks of my life. I was so inspired by meeting the staff and students and hearing their stories.
I’ve often thought about asking if I could come and do a week’s volunteering there!
I wish I’d employed a search engine optimisation (SEO) focussed design company to create my website from the outset. When I first started, I was told that SEO companies made false promises and shouldn’t be trusted. I’ve since discovered that was bad advice and there some brilliant reputable companies out there. The inbound marketing leads that you get from being high in the google listings are invaluable for a company like Bounce. I’m now working with a great SEO company and am starting to see the results…but I wish I’d done it sooner!
Because my company is a service as opposed to product, there haven’t been many start-up costs so I’ve had no funding. I’ve done some services exchange arrangements: e.g. making videos in return for website development work.
The market for video production is fairly saturated so it was hard to get started in that sense but there is plenty of work around. I’ve found there’s a good community of support for entrepreneurs which I’ve made use of.
The FAB Accelerator is great programme for entrepreneurs. The Big Gig is also a different form of networking where a group of entrepreneurs get together to help one business solve an innovation challenge. I’ve made great relationships through that monthly meeting. I’ve also had the opportunity to present my innovation challenge to group. I got a lot of really useful feedback but there was one particular game changing bit of advice, which lead to a radical change in thinking around my unique selling point and overall marketing strategy.
Seek out mentors and networking support from day one. If you don’t have a business background (like me), I would recommend an accelerator programme otherwise you’ll end up learning through your mistakes!