Aston University graduates Connor Watt and Joseph Housley are the founders of Narce Media Ltd.
Joe and Connor, tell us about yourselves…
“Me and Connor are two working class lads who have always had grand ambitions of owning our own business. During studying for our final year undergraduate business degrees at Aston University we found ourselves itching to start a business but posed with a pretty big challenge, we had no money! However, we made no excuses and figured doing something is better than nothing, so we set up a podcast. After ten podcasts we decided to change our attention onto producing media for businesses.”
Tell us more about the Narce Media…
“Narce Media is a specialist B2B video production business. We looked around at the B2B video space and realised there was a common theme, the dreary corporate style of video was boring! TV is dying and a new unstoppable wave is upon us. The overwhelming rise of digital media is here to stay, and with it comes a generation who spends significantly more time online which has undeniably changed the way we consume video. This radical shift gives businesses an immense opportunity to reach more people than ever before. Narce Media are a team who have been engrossed throughout the birth of the digital revolution, who deeply understand the value new media channels can bring and the ins and outs of producing a successful video. We are tired of the prehistoric way current B2B video is being done and we’re here to change that.
We also looked at video production businesses and how they operate and were struck with realisation that there was a fundamental flaw. Typically, a video production business will work with a client on a project by project basis, this is a very dangerous game for the client. A video is the most crucially important piece of content a business can express their brand through, and if you’re dealing with a video production business in an ad hock manner, you run a massive risk of them misunderstanding your brand and causing significant damage to it. We thought, there must be a better way… So, we developed our flexible annual subscription packages. Our packages give our clients an amount of tokens to spend on a selection of video production activities which allows them to create an infinite amount of possibilities for their videos. Our packages mean we develop long-term relationships with our clients, deeply understanding their brand, messaging and continually fine tune this understanding over time.
We’re now dealing with nationally recognised brands, moving into our own studio/office space and have been approached by investors. Since recording our first podcast nine months ago, to officially launching Narce Media a couple of months back, it has been a fantastic journey, a lot of hard work but most importantly, a lot of fun!”
What made you jump at the chance of coming on BSEEN?
“During our studies we have heard of BSEEN and the fantastic work they were doing for entrepreneurs. When we found ourselves in our final year with an unstoppable itch to start a business, we thought, we need to speak them! We approached Carolyn Keenen to join the programme who advised us there was an Aston Enterprise Competition and if we were successful in securing funding from the competition we’d be fast tracked onto the BSEEN programme. We jumped at the opportunity, entered and went all out to make our pitch memorable and impactful (even including some cheesy entrance music!). We secured seed funding for our podcast and were delighted to be fast tracked onto the programme.”
What do you think you have learnt the most from your BSEEN journey?
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
What has been your business stand out moment since being on BSEEN?
“There are lots, closing the early deals were really satisfying moments! But, it has to be speaking at the Aston – Santander resigning event. We were very honoured to be asked among four other entrepreneurs to present our business story to a small crowd including Aston University Vice Chancellor Alec Cameron and Santander’s Director of University Partnerships Matt Hutnell.”
Any advice for entrepreneurial students or graduates thinking about starting their own business?
“Just start. You don’t have to have the final idea, a new idea or come up with the next Facebook or Amazon. People find it very easy to talk themselves out of getting a business going because it feels overwhelming and difficult. The truth is, starting a business isn’t a big difficult task, it’s doing lots of little tasks consistently. There is a great Ted Talk from Stephen Duneier which I highly recommend everyone watch. He speaks of how an artist’s final masterpiece is an accumulation of millions of tiny shades of grey and in order to get the end result, you need to be patient and shade a tiny piece of grey every day. Work hard, be consistent and understand that things won’t happen overnight, but if you keep shading a little bit at a time, you’ll soon end up with a masterpiece. Make sure you seek the right advice from the right people. Just because someone is your friend, family or cares about you doesn’t mean they’re experts or understand what it takes to start a business. Resilience is key, you’ll find people doubt what you are doing but trust your gut, don’t be deterred, keep learning and stay focused.”
What are your next steps for your business?
“The future is very exciting, we are developing a back-end technology for our website which will give our clients some very cool capabilities for their videos. We are looking to hire several people in the next 6 – 12 months to deal with our fast-growing demand. We’re aiming to become the leading video production business in Birmingham in the next two years and a nationally recognised leader in our space in five!”