Meet the MD: Katrina Cliffe of KC Communications

Meet the MD: Katrina Cliffe of KC Communications

Katrina Cliffe spent her younger days dreaming of working in the army or being like pop sensation Gwen Stefani; these days she is busy working as Managing Director of marketing consultancy KC Communications. She caught up with BQ to fill us in on the highs and lows of setting up a business, plans for the future and how she stays grounded through it all.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

I am the founder and Managing Director of marketing consultancy KC Communications. My role includes developing and executing marketing strategies on behalf of our clients and overseeing the projects colleagues are working on.

Ultimately though, as KC Communications is still in the start up phase my role encompasses everything from new business development, finance, IT and general admin through to pot washer.

What is it the company does?

KC Communications are a marketing, PR and social media agency based in Huddersfield. We work with businesses across a number of industries who typically don’t have an in-house marketing resource. We act as their “marketing team” or Marketing Director undertaking all the activities that would be undertaken as if they employed someone in-house.

We develop bespoke marketing strategies and take care of the delivery of our recommendations. This includes online and offline marketing, public relations, event planning, social media and everything in between ensuring our clients receive outstanding return on investment enabling our clients to grow their businesses.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

Believing in yourself and empowering your employees and others to believe in themselves too is one of the key factors in making a great leader and ultimately makes for a successful business.

Mentoring and giving employees freedom to actually get on and do the work means they feel motivated and inspired when they do a great job and helps them to develop when things don’t go as planned. Telling people what to do and how to do it will not help grow your business and it certainly won’t make for a pleasant environment.

Aside from mentoring I enable my employees access to third party training opportunities in order to expand their knowledge and expertise and I provide them with the freedom to identify which training opportunities will most benefit their development which in turn pays dividends within the workplace.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Finding the right staff, at the right time is difficult for a start up as you can’t just appoint someone with just a plan to grow the business, you need the funds there in place. The contract has to pretty much be signed before you can commit to taking on an individual which is frustrating, however we are now in a position where we are not working at capacity which allows us much more creative freedom and flexibility to undertake other activities that promote our own business and support the professionals of tomorrow through mentoring and work experience opportunities.

Aside from that, finding an IT company that support Apple and getting the business effectively networked. That has been a major headache!

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

The past 18 months have been crazy and as such I haven’t had time to take proper time out to focus on me. It’s difficult, especially when you have a young family. However, as the team has now grown and I have a fantastic support network around me I am now starting to get myself back into the gym. It’s the perfect location to down tools, step away from technology and think back on how the day has gone and how to prepare for the days ahead. It’s a great thinking space and the repetition of the activity is mind calming.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

What didn’t I want to be! I had my sights set on lots of things, from being in the army after a stint in the army cadets to being an author as I’ve always loved the escape that comes from reading – ultimately though I wanted to be Gwen Stefani from the band No Doubt. I still do.

Any pet hates in the workplace?

Procrastination, although I can be a victim of this at times when up against numerous deadlines. It is however something I am working on fixing.

Other than that the main pet hate that has irritated me over the years is cleanliness – go wash your own dishes! Oh and negativity, we all have those problems that spring up, but face it, fix it and move on, preferably with a smile on your face. Thankfully, I’ve managed to set a precedent in the office so these issues don’t often come up.

Where do you see the company in five years time?

In 5 years’ time I expect us to have grown the team to roughly 6-8 employees and increased our client base across Yorkshire significantly. We also need larger office space as we’re just about to recruit a fourth member to the team so our current office is already starting to get a bit tight.

The majority of our current client base is understandably in Huddersfield, but we have recently started working with organisations in Birmingham, London and more recently for East Yorkshire based counter terrorism manufacturer, Heald who are based in Hornsea. It is this expansion which will be testament to our growth.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Just do it! If you think about it too much you might actually put yourself off. I did exactly that which resulted in a four-month stint commuting to Leeds before setting up on my own as I didn’t feel the time was right. However, I have been extremely lucky since founding the business – perhaps it was great timing and I was meant to do a few months sat on the M62.

Where did you start your career?
I started my career as a business administration apprentice working for the Perry’s car dealership. I admit, I found it mind numbing and just 3 months in I set out to find myself a new position which led to me working for marketing requirement agency, Moves Recruitment. It was this introduction to the industry that instilled my love of marketing and the ongoing CPD courses with the Open University Chartered Institute of Marketing that followed.