Heading up a creative agency
Chris Cooling was working for Broadgate Communications as a graphic designer when he decided he wanted to start his own creative agency.
“We did a lot of work with housing associations and after about eight years with the company I really wanted to spread my wings and do some more creative work,” says Chris.
So, after speaking to the managing director David Whelpton, Chris started Broadgate Creative in 2010 with his support. Now, both the comms and creative arms of the business sit together under Broadgate Creative, with Chris as creative director and a 50/50 shareholder in the business.
“With the clients I’ve gathered over the last ten years it’s now probably a 50/50 mix with the housing side of the business and the creative side,” says Chris. “It’s a funny mesh, but it does work well together.”
Heading up his own creative agency has allowed Chris to explore different design avenues, working on everything from event branding to designing websites. And it has allowed him to broaden his customer base, working with small tech businesses as well as large multinational companies.
Xero is two steps ahead and so easy to use, It’s a lot quicker to do the invoicing and send reminders when people haven’t been paid – it saves a lot of time. – Chris Cooling
A more efficient workflow for client job tracking
However, as a small firm juggling multiple projects Chris needed an easy-to-use system that would allow him to keep track of everything going on in the business.
“I became quite frustrated with the accounting and project management software we were using,” says Chris. “It didn’t have the features we needed, it was clunky and the userface wasn’t easy to use.”
Making the move to Xero happened when their accountant Chris Scott moved into the office next to theirs.
“Our previous accountant didn’t do much proactively, but Chris Scott is really motivated in all sorts of ways,” says Chris. “He introduced us to Xero and it seemed like a fresh start so we switched.”
Getting to grips with how Xero worked was a relatively pain-free process. Chris Scott took the Broadgate Creative team through it and demonstrated all the main features, which they picked up quickly.
“Xero is two steps ahead and so easy to use,” says Chris. “It’s a lot quicker to do the invoicing and send reminders when people haven’t been paid – it saves a lot of time.”
And using Xero Projects means that Chris can stay on top of how much time is being spent on each job, ensuring that clients are being billed correctly. And because Chris manages both internal and external designers, being able to enter and bill everyone’s time through Xero Projects makes life so much easier.
“The ease of adding tasks is great,” says Chris. “Because of the nature of what we do there are a lot of different tasks that come through and we like to break them down so the clients can see.”