The Entrepreneur: Neil Crespin, mcm creative group

"Act quickly and quietly and don't be afraid to hire people better than you" advises communications specialist Neil Crespin in our latest Q+A...

Founder: Neil Crespin
Company: mcm creative group
Description in one line: Events and communication agency with 16 years experience in the industry.
Turnover: £4.2m
12 month target: £5m

Describe your business model and what makes your business unique:

  • mcm genuinely puts all the creative and technical needs for our clients ‘under one roof’.
  • Transparent cost effective solutions.
  • Combines the imaginative with the important.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Buying out mcm from our parent group.

What numbers do you look at every day in your business?

I don’t. I look for creative solutions.

To what extent does your business trade internationally and what are your plans?

We manage a number of overseas projects throughout the year, engaging with local suppliers and contractors.

Describe your growth-funding path:

We have remained financially independent with no external capital investment or borrowings. We have no plans to change that.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

The internet. Our ability to travel the world’s venues from our desk, to upload content to clients remotely and the digitisation of core content.

Where would you like your business to be in three years?

£8m turnover.

Growth challenges

What is the hardest thing you have ever done in business?

Making redundancies in 2009, after the recession.

What was your biggest business mistake?

Early in the company history I originated a TV format, which I discussed with a small group of people about prior to development. One of them left and went to a competitor with the idea which then went on to be made by them and become a UK and international blockbuster LE format. Moral of the story – act quickly and quietly!

Piece of Red Tape that hampers growth most:

What’s red tape?!

What is the most common serious mistake you see entrepreneurs make?

Too many small businesses don’t focus on profit until they urgently need to. Be confident and proud of the money you make – your clients do!

How will your market look in three years?

Inevitable consolidation of smaller businesses as the merger and acquisition market really starts to focus on the creative sector. The bigger agencies will start to downsize as budgets spread more thinly across different media platforms, leaving the mid-size agencies set to grow and develop their client offerings.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a less experienced entrepreneur?

Don’t be afraid to hire people better than you.

Personal growth

Biggest luxury:

My Tesla Model S

Executive education or learn it on the job?

On the job

What would make you a better leader?

Listening more, speaking less.

Business book:

Lessons From The Top by Gavin Esler


(will not be published)