Press Release: Wednesday 6 February 2019
Reading-based music agency Live & Love Music has received a £5,000 business grant from online accounting software company Intuit QuickBooks—and plans to double revenues over the next 12 months.
Live & Love Music, an agency that secures live music bookings for various events and venues, received the cash boost via a Facebook competition underscored by QuickBooks’ “BACKING YOU” slogan. Entrants were invited to outline how they would invest the money in their business; the winner was chosen based on the originality and creativity of the submission.
Danielle Knights, founder, owner and artist coordinator at Live & Love Music, said: “My entry was two-pronged in that I wrote a poem about QuickBooks and outlined in detail what I would use the money for. I thought it was worth taking the time to put together a meaningful entry that stood out. I feel the poem certainly helped with the creativity side of things.”
Knights explained that the cash boost would enable her to implement a marketing campaign that has always proved beyond the sole trader’s resources in the past. She has identified search engine optimisation (SEO), social media advertisements, professional images, and a show reel as primary promotional activities, in addition to showcasing the business at events.
Live & Love Music officially launched in its current guise in 2012 but traded as a smaller ad hoc events business for four years before that. The company offers various music entertainment packages for a diverse client base. Its musicians, who are hired on a freelance basis, are predominantly under 40 years old, but they perform to audiences of all ages and backgrounds at pubs, bars, restaurants, weddings, parties, shopping centres, and other venues besides.
Knights said: “We’ve just experienced our busiest Christmas period yet with eight New Year’s Eve bookings and several other fantastic festive events. We’re receiving a lot of repeat bookings from our pub clients, which is great, and we already have a few weddings booked in for this year. January and February are always our quietest months. With our new marketing plan funded by the business grant, we expect things to really take off from April. We hope to spend 2019 climbing up Google rankings and gaining more corporate and private events, whilst retaining our current customers. We want to double revenues by this time next year.”
Alicia Skubick, UK Marketing Director at Intuit QuickBooks said: “Danielle’s passion and commitment towards her business really stood out for us. It’s this personal drive to succeed that’s so important in small companies, we know that starting out can be challenging, which is why it’s important to seek out your own personal champions, the people and support that can back you and give you the boost you need.”
Skubick continues; “Our job at QuickBooks is to make managing finances easy so owners can get back to what’s important; running and growing their business. This latest BACKING YOU initiative is just one of the ways that we’ve continued to champion small businesses and the self- employed, empowering them to succeed.”
Business support and advice, as well as funding, can be the lifeblood for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help manage cash flow, and Knights urged fellow Reading entrepreneurs to look for similar business grant opportunities. She said: “[Grants] are so important as small businesses don’t always have the capital to experiment with marketing and other growth strategies. They can be hard to obtain—but it’s worth the effort. My biggest piece of advice to other business owners is to keep working hard, strive to become the best in their sector, offer clear USPs [unique selling points], and success will naturally follow.”
Live & Love Music received an earlier publicity boost in the spring of 2012 when Theo Paphitis, best known from BBC television series Dragons’ Den, selected the enterprise among winners of his Small Business Sunday competition on social media platform, Twitter. Each week, Paphitis rewards small businesses that tweet him and describe their business in one post, including the all-important hashtag, #SBS. Every Monday night at 8pm, he reviews entries and chooses his favourite six who are then retweeted to his 500,000 followers.
Knights said: “I was so excited to win, as I had entered a few times without luck. My Twitter feed went crazy after Theo chose me and I was so happy he saw something in my business worth sharing. I’ve connected with all sorts of small businesses since my win and it feels like a real network where you can share your news and ask for advice without judgement. You receive a real array of answers from different entrepreneurs’ experiences, which really helps. I would encourage others to enter SBS. It’s a fantastic opportunity to boost a company on social media, become part of a supportive business community, network, attend the [annual] SBS event—and meet Theo.”