It seems like a lifetime ago since Luke attended the official EnterprisingYou launch event in early 2020 at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester. With a room full of guests including mayor Andy Burnham, none of us, including Luke could have foreseen what 2020 has had in store for us all. Since then, a lot has changed, and we caught up with Luke to find out more about his business, what 2020 has been like from his perspective and what the future holds for Studio Potts.
Hi Luke, firstly tell me about you and Studio Potts?
Hi, I’m Luke, founder of Studio Potts; I founded my branding studio almost two years ago. Prior to setting up Studio Potts, I previously worked for branding agencies; the one commonality I witnessed over and over again was that most agencies are set up to chase the next big client. In my experience, very little support was ever offered for the average person trying to run a small business. I’ve been on sales calls with companies that have incomes into the millions, and I realised very quickly that I wanted to be the studio working with the smaller companies that make up 90% of the businesses in the UK.
That’s a great ethos, can you tell me more about you and how you got into branding?
I grew up gay and lived in a place that wasn’t the most accepting and, over time, my one outlet to feel true freedom and being myself was creativity. That lead to me studying design and, after leaving university, I started working for agencies. Over time, I began to fall in love with the psychology of design and how branding builds relationships between businesses and their customers. Going full circle – running my own business means that branding allows me to influence thinking in communities, just like the one I grew up in, and promoting positive values through branding.
You mention the place you lived; I can hear a strong North East accent there!
I moved to Manchester from a small former mining village in Durham last July, and love the city’s values - Pride, People and Place!
You were the first participant to take part in EnterprisingYou, can you tell me how having a Business Coach has helped you during the pandemic?
We’re living in a pretty messed up times, right? Having my business coach has been invaluable. Rebecca has supported me through every high and low, not just by being my sounding board but also advocating my business and understanding what kind of impact I want Studio Potts to have long-term. She listens, interprets and relays my way of thinking in such a way that it allows me to analyse the pros and cons of my decision making. It has been a unique and rewarding experience for me personally.
How have you and Studio Potts changed in 2020?
Without realising, 2020 has been about survival and less about growth as originally planned and, along with the support from Rebecca and EnterprisingYou, my personal development has been able to take a front seat which on reflection has been very productive for the business’s direction.
You mentioned that you want to support small businesses, how have you done this since we went into lockdown in March?
I changed my whole business model! I would previously do branding and design for businesses and was turning people away with smaller budgets. Since then, I have taken a concept and designed a product that will allow business owners with a smaller budget to access brand strategy, something that would usually cost a small fortune. It took me four months to develop into what is now a final product called the Brand Starter Kit, which I’m proud to say it went live last month and is already helping business across the whole of the UK. The kit will help small business owners identify their purpose, vision, mission, values, position and brand promise. I know that might sound a little complicated, but essentially it is the foundation of any good business.
The Brand Starter Kit sounds like such a fantastic product, how did EnterprisingYou support to bring it to life?
In an agency, a whole team would develop, design and deliver a product like this and it would probably take double the time – There’s only me! The Brand starter kit helps businesses gain direction and brand clarity and, as a business owner myself, I know how hard that can be. My Business Coach, Rebecca, has not only been there every step of the way, offering valuable insights, but she also helped me set goals and milestones, which has driven the kit forward and made me accountable for every decision I’ve made. Not all of them have worked, but she’s been there to pick me back up when they haven’t.
Alongside the fantastic support you’ve received from the Business Coach, what other areas have EnterprisingYou supported you?
I’ve received support from the EnterprisingYou Finance Specialist. Shahin gave me some great tips on finance which has been important during Covid-19. I’ve also completed cash flow and sales training and I am just about to start a tendering training activity, which I’m very excited for; all at no cost to me. I couldn’t believe it when I found out it was completely free!
And what does the future hold for you and Studio Potts?
My aim for the business in the future is to be ‘the alternative branding agency’ in the country. By that, I mean I want to represent people who run businesses to achieve big, whatever big is in their world, and that Studio Potts plays a fundamental part of their journey. Along with the launch of the Brand Starter Kit, I am also developing expansions to fit all types and sizes of businesses. I am also keen to become a partner for EnterprisingYou on the Training and Personal Development framework and support businesses all over Greater Manchester.
And finally, would you recommend EnterprisingYou to other business owners?
At times this year, I’ve felt like I’ve been sinking in quicksand and the EnterprisingYou team have been there to pull me out of it. I don’t know where Studio Potts would be now without the support from EnterprisingYou. As a branding studio, I know the importance of people grabbing every opportunity they can and this is one not to be missed!
To find out more about Luke, the Brand Starter Kit and Studio Potts, visit his website and follow Studio Potts on Social media. You can also contact Luke directly with the contact details below.
Website - https://www.studiopotts.co.uk/
Tel: 0161 3175666
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/luke-studiopotts/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/StudioPotts
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/studiopotts/
EnterprisingYou provide fully funded support to the self-employed and gig economy workers across Greater Manchester. If you would like to find out more about EnterprisingYou, register online, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 667 6900 to speak to one of our business coaches.
More information about the EnterprisingYou programme can be found here.