SoPublishing is an ambitious, independent publishing group founded by two pioneering journalists on a mission to bring online media bang-up-to-date in Gloucestershire. The group’s flagship online magazine, SoGlos, covers arts, events and leisure in the county – whilst SoGlosWeddings focuses on the bridal industry.
Challenges & Opportunities
SoGlos has proven a great success in Gloucestershire since launching in 2007, with the founding duo expanding to a team of six full-time staff and a network of contributing freelancers. To take advantage of opportunities in the market, the company faced the challenge of recruiting and increasing the size of its sales team. The group also understood the importance of managing a larger team – while growing the business organically to fulfil the market potential.
SoPublishing most recently exploited the opportunity to expand beyond Gloucestershire and soft-launched SoBristol and SoBristolWeddings in March 2016. This expansion along with local growth required additional team members, but the company didn’t want to put out standard job adverts. Rather than disappear in the busy job market, they wanted their recruitment to be as innovative and exciting as their publications.
Solutions For Growth
“Whilst there are many business support groups and organisations around, from the offset we could see that The Growth Hub looked like a really innovative, new concept. Something that resonated with us and our vision.” explained James Fyrne, SoPublishing group publisher. “We called to introduce ourselves and find out more.”
“The first person we spoke to was Mike Simmonds, a Business Guide who has remained our point of contact throughout. From the first meeting, he was great at homing in on areas that he thought that he could potentially help us, particularly around recruitment.”
Mike worked with SoPublishing to draw up a recruitment strategy with a strong focus on attracting the right calibre of candidate. “We talked about trying to break the mould of just putting out a job advert and interviewing people, but to challenge candidates, get potential team members involved in the business and have them interacting with us beyond a one-to-one interview. We wanted to make it enjoyable and testing at the same time – so that we found the very best candidates.”
As well as a tailored interview strategy, SoPublishing worked with The Growth Hub to develop a more focused careers page on the group’s website – which contained information about the culture and personality of SoPublishing. Quirks, perks and benefits were identified and communicated – to help the business stand out in the fight for top talent.
Since working with The Growth Hub, SoPublishing have recruited two full-time staff and are aiming to recruit between two to four people in the coming year as a result of successful business growth in Gloucestershire.
“Mike has helped us beyond just recruitment, we’ve also unveiled a new Advertising Hub and separated out the Editorial Hub. We now also have three physical offices at our HQ on Imperial Square in Cheltenham, which allows us to concentrate on multiple business streams more effectively.”
“Our success in Gloucestershire has opened up other nearby markets, so we’re focusing on our Bristol launch at the moment to begin mimicking the success that we’ve had in our home county. We’re planning on expanding further still in 2017, and The Growth Hub is helping us to identify potential additional funding for that expansion.”
Alongside new business processes and markets, SoPublishing is attending frequent Masterclasses, Advice Clinics and Events at The Growth Hub – expanding its team’s knowledge and skills to cope with a rapidly growing organisation. As well as learning opportunities on-site, The Growth Hub is also looking into ways to help SoPublishing finance external senior management training.