Amy Byram, founder of Acomm
Founder of Acomm, Amy Byram speaks to BQ about fulfilling her childhood dream of starting her own company, how she did it and what she hopes is next.
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
Acomm is a PR agency, meaning that media relations sit at the centre of what we do. However, we also do writing – blogs, award entries, websites, and so on – as well as social media.
We specialise in areas that we’re really passionate about, such as property and manufacturing, but we also love learning about new industries and helping business owners to raise the profile of the brilliant things they’re doing. Our clients include housebuilding firm SB Homes, fire fighting vehicle manufacturer Rosenbauer UK and bathroom retailer, Easy Bathrooms.
We are genuinely excited by achieving results that make a real difference to clients’ businesses.
What did you do before you started this business?
I studied business management at Queen Mary University of London, which is where I realised that numbers weren’t my bag. I shied away from the accounting modules, but thrived off the entrepreneurship, marketing and consumer psychology areas – I should’ve probably known then that I would’ve gone into PR.
But in fact, it took a few years until I went down that path, gaining management, events and hospitality experience, before heading into my first PR role. That was a few years ago, and I set up Acomm in 2017.
What inspired you to start up?
It was always in my plan to start my own firm – literally from being about 10 years old. I just needed to discover what I was passionate about, and luckily, I found it!
How would you describe your business to your grandma?
We help businesses to grow. We do it by getting them in the papers, featured on blogs, on TV/radio and online outlets. We also manage their social media channels and update their customers with blog posts.
In reality, we do much more – and it pains me a little bit to deduce PR to such a basic explanation – but it’s the simplest way of describing what we do!
Where do you get advice, support or help?
I’m lucky to be surrounded by clients in different industries. I’m definitely inspired by them – especially the ones who aren’t scared to make and see through difficult decisions.
I also follow people who have built aesthetic, influential brands – such as Michelle Kennedy (founder of mum app Peanut) and Maria Hatzistefanis (founder of beauty brands Rodial and Nip + Fab).
Finally, my colleague Olivia is very switched on, so bouncing ideas off her has been a good support over the last few months.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
We’ve never needed an injection of capital; all we really need is our laptops, a pen/notebook and our phones.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
We’re eyeing our biggest and most exciting year yet, in 2019. In preparation, I took on my first employee, Olivia, in August 2018, and we’ve recently rebranded to support our ambitions.
How do you differentiate your business from others?
We stick to our principles and deliver on quality. For example, we’re not here to just say ‘yes’ to clients. We challenge them to do things better and we’re firm on the things we don’t agree with.
Of course, we’re here to support clients with their goals, but we also have to be honest with a) what’s realistic, and b) what’s right for their business.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
I naturally don’t like restrictions or boundaries. Being my own boss means that I can work in a way that suits me; and I like the idea of being able to give employees that same creative freedom, too.
Plus, I learn so much about so many different industries, and often I get to work with very smart people – which makes every day interesting.
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
I’d love to build up an unrivalled reputation within the industries which we love to work in, with a small but strong team.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t worry too much about perfection. Nothing is ever perfect, and you can adapt – just get started.
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