This week’s Small Business Star is Nicola Millington, founder of creative marketing and communications company, FP Comms. Nicola is of South American heritage, born in Middlesex, and raised in East London and South America. She cites this diversity of experience as the reason she set up FP Comms, a company that supports businesses who are determined to become the next generation of ‘conscious power brands’.

Beginnings: Getting the message across

After over 12 years of industry experience working in various marketing roles, including Head of Marketing for the UK division of a film and media company, I decided to branch out on my own. In 2011, I created FP Comms, a marketing company dedicated to inspiring people to communicate bravely and confidently. After a year laying the ground work, the company was officially started in 2012.

I believe that if your message conveys effectively and authentically what you and your business are about, you have a responsibility to communicate it. Our job is to find the right platforms, create the correct messages and connect a business with their audience. It’s a process that many of our clients initially fear, but ultimately feel liberated when they’ve delivered on a strategy and seen the results.

It all boils down to results and growth

There are thousands of marketing agencies and businesses out there. However, there’s always room for more professionals to bring their own style and expertise to the sector. I did this by researching ways in which growing businesses can access professional services in a way that grows with them even further. My approach was to look at services, business growth and profitability.

I recognised that although creativity is at the heart of what we do, results are what keep your clients coming back for more. They love the rollercoaster ride of the creative, but it’s the outcomes and targets that help their businesses to grow.

Setting our sights high

FP Comms is unique simply by being FP Comms. We care tremendously about our clients and work diligently to help them become the next big brands.

We have a rigorous selection process for our clients, which means that although we’re a small and growing company, we’ve decided that not all business is good business for us. This ensures high quality clients.

We’re looking for conscious power brands, brands that have a desire to create and deliver world-changing companies, which will endeavour to contribute positively to the global economy, regardless of sector, service or product.

Keeping one finger on the pulse

When it comes to utilising digital and PR we recognise that, although we don’t have to utilise everything we discover, being aware and up-to-date with what’s out there is imperative to the success of any business and business owner. For us it’s particularly important, as we can advise our clients too.

Getting our own message across

In terms of marketing ourselves, I host a radio show called All In My Business on an online station, East London Radio. It’s great fun, and a great way to meet fantastic people. We also do special, experiential events, like placing sheds in the middle of high streets and running marketing surgeries for free. We participate in nationwide schemes and campaigns to raise the company’s profile too.  Of course, word of mouth is powerful.

Additionally, we distribute a weekly ‘Weekend Marketing Inspiration’ newsletter, which goes out every Saturday morning. It’s proven to be really popular and has had a very positive effect on the business. Although people were sceptical at first – ‘No one sends newsletters on a Saturday morning – I knew that the weekend was a key time for business people to be scouring for inspiring ways to promote their companies. The content is inspiring, we share tips and ideas to help businesses communicate effectively and we never sell anything via this platform.

Patience really is a virtue

At the moment, and looking towards the future, FP Comms is focused on supporting businesses’ PR more effectively through our PR Flexi Service. We’re also refreshing our brand and changing some of our products and services.

When it comes to thinking of potential risks for us, lack of patience has to be one of the main concerns – everyone wants to be an overnight success. I read somewhere that it takes 15 years to be an overnight success. Real success and a strong sustainable business takes time to build. Patience is an asset.

The good outweighs the bad

This business was started through a desire to effect change, and I’ve seen that change take place time and time again with FP Comms’ clients and non-clients alike. People who read the blog or subscribe to the newsletter constantly feedback to us on how it has inspired them. For us, it’s been imperative to learn how to manage people and to also never take rejection personally.

Be true to your vision

To any start-ups out there, I’d say – commit yourself to your vision, passion and goal. The road to success isn’t easy, but if you stay focused and create your business authentically, you will succeed.

Find out more about Nicola Millington and FP Comms by visiting: www.fpcomms.co.uk

For more advice and insight from business owners, visit our Small Business Stars hub