Case Study: Scream Management
AWARD winning businesswoman Tracey Bell has made Blackpool based Scream Management a towering success but now she’s gone back to school learn how to develop the company further.
Scream was founded in 1998 when Tracey spotted a gap in the market. Although Blackpool was widely regarded as the UK’s entertainment capital the nearest casting agencies were in Manchester. So she decided to do something about it.
In the intervening seven years Scream has built up a wonderful reputation as one of the leading agencies in the North of England. Clients include major film and television companies, advertising agencies, casting directors and sound studios. Scream now has an extensive portfolio of artists, which range from children and teenagers, to adults and OAP’s. They have worked on West End shows and Hollywood blockbusters.
But when the chance came for Tracey to take part in a revolutionary new partnership between business and education she jumped at it. Lancaster University’s LEAD programme — a first for the UK — has been developed to help dynamic companies like Scream take advantage of some of the best business brains in the country.
For Tracey the appeal of LEAD was simple. Her aim was to find an effective way of building on the success of Scream.
“I wanted to be able to put a strategy in place for growing my business. We know through experience that the demand exists — it’s a case of being able to tap into that demand in a sensible way and grow the business,” says Tracey, who plans to expand Scream by opening two new acting schools in Preston and Manchester this year.
“Before LEAD one of my problems was that I took the weight of the entire business on my shoulders. I was the original Jack-of-all-trades, master of none. One of the key things I have learned to do through this programme is to take a step back and give my staff much more responsibility for day-to-day decision making."
“Early in the process, one of the tutors, Keith Grint, said something which really struck a chord with me — ‘Successful businesses create leaders.’
“So what I have tried to do is to let my managers manage. It sounds simple but when you are used to running every aspect of a business it was harder to put into practice. But I have made some headway and this has allowed me to try to develop the business from a more strategic point of view, rather than becoming bogged down in the everyday issues that crop up."
“I have enjoyed the change and my staff are a lot happier too because they are able to take decisions and not wait for my say so.”
LEAD isn’t simply a case of taking business owners and managers back to the classroom. What makes it unique is the fact they also benefit direct support, coaching and business consultancy so that they are able to apply what they learn directly to their own situation. LEAD is run by the Institute of Entrepreneurship, part of Lancaster University Management School, one of the UK's leading business schools.
One of the other spin offs of taking part in the programme for Tracey has been the chance to talk to other people who are facing similar problems.
“Running a business can be quite a lonely task,” she says. “To be in the company of people who understand the issues and pressures you face daily is comforting and at times rewarding, because they can give you tips on how to handle certain things that crop up. I have found the entire process extremely stimulating. You get to work with a life coach and a mentor and it is free.”