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Specialising in design for thought leadership and visual content, NWC Design was established three years ago by Non Wood. The company carries out design projects for industry-leading global organisations including research reports, infographics, E-books and videos.

Non worked in design agencies in the North West for over 10 years, becoming creative director at a visual content agency in Manchester at the age of 30. However, becoming dissatisfied with the quality of clients, service levels, a lack of staff empathy and the intense nature of the business, Non left her role to set up her own company. She said: “The culture made it very difficult for me to see how starting a family could fit my career. I didn’t think I should have to choose so I left mainstream agency life in 2015 and set up on my own, working freelance for a couple of select clients.” Her daughter was born in 2016 and with the support of her husband and the flexibility of her clients, Non worked on her business, forming a limited company in 2018 and taking on her first employee a year later. Her business is based on values of integrity, happiness and balance, putting people before profit.

Skills gap

Having set up her business, Non was aware that she lacked a range of business skills. With the aim of rectifying this, she joined the Business Growth Programme (BGP) in September 2019. Non was keen to fully understand the mechanics of her business herself so that she could produce accurate plans and forecasts for the future of the business.

Designs on expansion

Non attended a range of workshops including `Effective pitching’, `Lead generation, `Closing sales’, `Pricing’, `Financial accounting’ and `Sourcing and preserving funding in an economic downturn’. Non also benefited from one-to-one sessions on finance with BGP delivery partner Chris Sharkey.

Increased growth and turnover

Since joining the BGP, NWC Design has experienced a 62% increase in turnover over the last financial year and has projected continued high growth. After taking on her first employee in May 2019, a second staff member has since joined the company in April this year. BGP advice has also led to the creation of a new website, social media channels and financial forecasting and tracking tools. Growth funding options are also being explored.

Non commented: “The financial workshops have had a profound impact on my confidence in working with the business finances. The ability to track, forecast and plan based on real data (and understanding this myself rather than relying on outside help) has been incredibly influential; it has given me the confidence to take the business to the next level and formed the basis of my decision to make a second hire.” Non is also considering workplace student experiences in the future.

Expert business support

The Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Entrepreneurs, SMEs and pre-start businesses registered or trading in Cheshire and Warrington, meeting the eligibility criteria, can apply for support. Help is available from our team of Business Engagement Managers and access is also available to facilities at the University of Chester’s Thornton Science ParkRiverside Innovation Centre and the NoWFOOD Centre.

If you are a business seeking access to facilities and expert growth support, contact the University of Chester’s Business Growth Team by emailing businessgrowth@chester.ac.uk.