IN GOOD COMPANY
ITV decided to produce a series showing how an experienced ‘Mentor’ could help a business develop. ‘In Good Company’ featured four businesses, across the UK and in various industries. Firebird Events was one of these companies – selected as the business had grown very rapidly and was struggling to keep up with its workload.
Since its formation in 2000, Firebird Events had almost doubled it’s turnover annually and The Directors were feeling the pressure. Mentor Simon Woodroffe from 'Yo Sushi!' set about to assist restructuring the business and help Directors to focus on the way forward.
‘Firebird is becoming a victim of its own success. It is increasingly in demand across the country and the three Directors are struggling to keep up with the company workload. They, and the business, are at breaking point.’
A half hour series was dedicated to the company.
Firebird Events Ltd was established in June 2000 by Andy Hobbs, Paul Griffiths and Ian Gatfield who wanted to translate their years of experience and enthusiasm within the industry into a new business offering unseen standards of excellence and value.
Within a short period of time Firebird Events, offering a comprehensive range of event management services, became one of the leading corporate Event Management companies in the UK. The Directors were concerned that continual growth may lead to the business loosing its ‘personal touch’ - it's very essence. The Directors wished to continue growing the business whilst maintaining its very high standards.
The Directors set themselves a tough target – to continue this growth for the next five years whilst maintaining the company’s attention to detail and super-high levels of service…
Calling in the experts
In order to help Firebird Events take this crucial next step and to assist in other areas of the business, the three directors have turned to a man who knows all about event management and growing a young company.
After a successful career designing and producing rock concerts, Simon Woodroffe decided to cash in his life savings and open his first YO! Sushi bar in 1997. The innovative Japanese restaurant, dominated by a sushi conveyor belt, soon caught the public’s imagination and immediate expansion followed. The company now has 15 restaurants in England as well as two new venues in Greece and Dubai.
A non-executive director, Simon retains a 22% stake in the business while concentrating on a number of spin-offs of the YO! brand. He is frequently in demand as a motivational public speaker and recently performed his one-man show “How I got my YO!” at the Edinburgh Festival.
Also at hand is an Adviser from ‘Investors in People’. Investors in People’s expertise in work-life balance, leadership and recruitment will also help when trying to reduce the directors’ hours, hiring new employees and defining roles.
Simon is impressed by the directors’ energy, passion and commitment to their business, but thinks that a number of changes have to be made if they are going to expand successfully. Working with the Investors in People Adviser and having spoken to Andy, Paul and Ian he believes that the company requires more focused leadership and that the director’s roles are not properly defined. This lack of clarity jeopardises their future success.
Simon Woodroffe, amongst other recommendations, suggested three extremely beneficial improvements: a dedicated company Chairperson who could promote the long term aims of the business, regular Directors Meetings to discuss longer term targets and recruitment of high-end staff to maintain the quality Firebird brand.
Years on and Paul, Andy and Ian have found themselves a winning formula; the company’s turnover has quadrupled in the last 2 years to its current level and its recent clients include many of the largest corporations in Europe.
Directors, and importantly, the company's staff, have a huge amount of personal pride in the business and always go that extra mile to make sure that they deliver an event to remember. Services are increasingly in demand across the UK and mainland Europe and a growth in the company’s direct services, assuring value for money, has ensured that Firebird is withstanding the current climate. As a whole, business continues to grow and the future is looking extremely exciting.