How one man left a job he loved to fo­cus on his fu­ture

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Front Page -

Like mon­sters un­der the bed, fears aren’ t real when you are start­ing up yourown­firm, sayspeter­craven, owner of a video pro­duc­tion com­pany

Peter Craven had a well­paid job he loved but he gave it all up to start his own busi­ness.while most peo­ple wouldn’t dream of walk­ing away from such sta­bil­ity, Peter is now the cre­ative di­rec­tor of Blue Sky Video Mar­ket­ing and is rel­ish­ing the chal­lenge that comes with be­ing his own boss.

The com­pany, based in Belfast city cen­tre, spe­cialises in help­ing com­pa­nies use video in their mar­ket­ing cam­paigns.

Peter (44) has drawn upon his two decades of work­ing in mar­ket­ing and his pas­sion for video to launch the busi­ness, which pro­vides ser­vices to other com­pa­nies.

“Es­sen­tially, we are a mar­ket­ing agency that spe­cialises in video, rather than just be­ing your typ­i­cal pro­duc­tion com­pany,” he says.

“I spent about 20 years work­ing in mar­ket­ing roles and videos have be­come in­creas­ingly a part of the mar­ket­ing process.

“How­ever, fre­quently the videos didn’t fit into the over­all mar­ket­ing cam­paign, the video was the be­gin­ning and end of the process whereas we work with com­pa­nies to es­tab­lish what it is they want to achieve and make sure the video is part of an over­all strat­egy.

“We fo­cus on in­te­grat­ing video into the on­go­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan.”

Blue Sky Video Mar­ket­ing not only helps com­pa­nies de­velop video mar­ket­ing strate­gies and pro­duce videos, it also pro­vides train­ing in how to put to­gether a pro­fes­sional video.

Peter ex­plains: “It’s sim­ply not pos­si­ble or nec­es­sary to out­source a lot of videos. They can do that them­selves and we help them build the ca­pa­bil­ity to do that. For ex­am­ple, if they are do­ing a prod­uct launch at a show, they might want a video to put on so­cial me­dia show­ing their stand and telling peo­ple where they are and to come and see them. That can be done very sim­ply by your­self, it isn’t nec­es­sary to get out a pro­duc­tion com­pany that has to set up a lot of equip­ment and then might spend three days edit­ing the video.

“You need the video quickly, but at the same time if you want to mar­ket a high-end item on a global scale, do­ing a quick video in your car and up­load­ing it onto the in­ter­net isn’t go­ing to work, ei­ther.

“If I have some­one who has spent four years in R&D and they are try­ing to se­cure £1m in­vest­ment, I’m not go­ing to ad­vise them to do a selfie video in their car. It’s about know­ing the mes­sage is, who your au­di­ence is and how best to con­nect with them and that’s where we come in.”

Peter grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Ul­ster with a hu­man­i­ties de­gree be­fore go­ing on to com­plete a Mas­ter’s in Euro­pean Busi­ness, in which mar­ket­ing was a mod­ule.

His most re­cent po­si­tion be­fore set­ting up Blue Sky Video Mar­ket­ing was as head of mar­ket­ing and sales sup­port at CDE Global, a man­u­fac­turer of quarry and min­ing equip­ment. He left in June last year, a day short of a decade at the busi­ness.

He started on the Ul­ster Bank En­tre­pre­neur pro­gramme in Fe­bru­ary last year while he was work­ing out his no­tice at CDE Global, and Blue Sky Video Mar­ket­ing has been up and run­ning for al­most 18 months.

“Usu­ally when you start up a busi­ness it is be­cause of some big life event, there’s been a re­dun­dancy or some­thing has hap­pened in their per­sonal or pro­fes­sional life, but that didn’t hap­pen with me... Of course, there was that safety net of be­ing paid ev­ery month and then all of a sud­den it’s gone.

“But when you break it down to ‘What’s the worst that can hap­pen?’, I thought no-one was go­ing to die, I re­alised I could try it and give it ev­ery­thing I had and if it didn’t work out I knew I was still em­ploy­able. At the very worst I would have blown some sav­ings but at least I would be able to go on and do some­thing else know­ing I had given it a go.”

Peter says the Ul­ster Bank pro­gramme has been cru­cial in help­ing him over­come any fears about set­ting up his own busi­ness.

“You’re work­ing with a lot of other peo­ple who have the same mind­set,” he says. “Some­times you think ‘Am I mad?’ but when you’re in a room full of other en­trepreneurs it makes you feel a lot less mad. One of the things that stood out to me was a talk by some­one who told us that when you are born you are only afraid of two things: fall­ing and loud noise. Ev­ery­thing else is mon­sters un­der the bed. If a child wakes up and can’t go back to sleep be­cause they think there’s mon­sters un­der the bed, you show them un­der the bed and they re­alise there are no mon­sters and go back to sleep. Once you re­alise the fears are cre­ated by your­self, you re­alise there is noth­ing you should be afraid of.”

Peter has spent the ma­jor­ity of this year cre­at­ing a strong port­fo­lio which he can use to build his cus­tomer base. He cur­rently has three peo­ple work­ing at the com­pany and plans to in­crease this by an­other four in the com­ing year.

So, does he re­gret his de­ci­sion to leave his job at CDE Global?

“I loved it there but I can’t see my­self ever work­ing for some­one again,” he says.

I can man­u­fac­ture and de­liver and there is a value at­tached to it

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