Business Development

Shoot Media’s Elliott Cranmer on Seizing Opportunities in 2021

Shoot Media’s Elliott Cranmer on Seizing Opportunities in 2021

Elliott Cranmer is the founder and CEO of ShootMedia, an award-winning video content and marketing company. He’s also one of Creative Works’ longest-standing members, having joined when we opened our doors – what feels like a lifetime ago – in December 2018.

We caught up with Elliott over Zoom to find out what his team’s been up to over what can only be described as a chaotic 12 months. Of course, we couldn’t delve into project-related talk before first acknowledging the C-word (and, of course, the B-word).

Usually, conversations around these topics lead to two things: doom and gloom. However, looking back at his own experience of growing a business in the midst of a recession, Elliott says that exciting opportunities lie ahead for those who dare to take the leap.

ShootMedia on a (pre-pandemic) studio shoot making a brand commercial for SCANDIT. Elliott says 2021 is “a time of opportunity”.

Back in 2008 I was a one-man band,” Elliott begins. 

“I’d worked on some decent-sized projects but didn’t have any employees at that point. As soon as a project came in I’d hire a production manager, we’d build a small team together and complete the project before going our separate ways. 

Around the time of the credit crunch I was working on a project for the Financial Times which involved speaking with Sir Martin Sorrell and other influential business leaders around the world about the impending financial crisis. 

All their banking friends were essentially telling them to go to a cash point and withdraw as much money as possible because the banks wouldn’t be there the following week. 

I couldn’t believe it!

Of course, the Bank of England and the others were saved at the last minute, but there was a genuine fear that everything would come crashing down. I’d been considering taking the leap from one-man band to fully fledged business but it seemed risky to say the least.

That’s when I decided to see a small business advisor. 

I got chatting to quite a conservative-seeming ex bank manager. He acknowledged that although my work involved pitching and was never 100% guaranteed, I’d built a solid client base and worked on some good projects over the years.

Naturally, I had my reservations about moving to a bigger premises and taking on staff at the  beginning of a recession. But to my surprise, he told me: ‘If you don’t seize the moment now and try something, you’ll never know whether you could’ve built a business or not.’

I went away and reflected on what he’d said…

…and realised there was something in it. Just because the economy was in a bad way, there are always opportunities out there for those who are willing to take the leap. 

So, we took a bigger room, got another desk and I found a scheme that enabled me to take on an employee. Throughout the recession, we gradually employed more staff, built the technology we needed and grew our client base.

Like in 2008, we’re in an incredibly challenging situation at the moment in terms of the economy, and we’re going to lose decades over the next couple of years. But for those who are wide eyed and open to it, this could actually be the time of most opportunity. 

Get the product right and success will find you. 

The focus tends to be on money, but that’s not necessarily the most important thing to start scaling up. Getting the product and team right are what accelerate you and make you stand out to clients.

It’s also critically important to constantly regenerate. Everything is happening faster now and the average business model’s life-cycle is significantly shorter than it used to be. 

We’ve done our SWOT analysis for the year and are redesigning and redefining our primary products to stay relevant for our clients moving forwards. 

It’s just the way it is now: you’ve got to keep turning and cycling your business model every few years. But that means there are lots of opportunities for smaller companies to fill the gaps that larger businesses are creating by being too slow off the mark!”