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The Birmingham signage company behind the iconic digital media eyes at New Street Station has worked with Friend Partnership since late 2014, and Friend’s impact on the business has been substantial, according to Sean Morrough, MD of Concept Group.
“As a rapidly growing business we realised we needed to find an accountancy team that could add value, business acumen and guidance in wider areas such as financial advice and management information. We asked our bank manager to suggest a firm that could help, and he put us in touch with Friend.
“We met with Denise Friend in late 2014 and immediately got on; they are entrepreneurs as well as accountants and understand about running a business; we needed a mentor and Denise has provided this. They understood the challenges we were facing and saw the potential in our business – we had grown from £1.5m to £8m in just three years.
“Friend helped us with the transition through the growth period and have been ‘the arm around the shoulders’ that we needed during this exciting but challenging time. They have supported us with processes and systems and always have an eye on the margins – so much so that we had a record year last year with a seven figure net profit.”
Sean Morrough established Concept Sign & Display as a traditional signage company in 1998. In 2004, the company became one of the first to design and install digital signage. Business partner Dave Neale joined the business in 2010, marking the start of the company’s fast growth. Sean and Dave built their leadership team in 2016, and this was swiftly followed by a brand refresh and a new website, that together helped to position the business as very well placed to continue its powerful growth trajectory.
Today, Concept Group is firmly established as one of Europe’s leading visual communication experts, providing distinctive sign and large format LED solutions through the use of traditional, bespoke & digital signage. The business works with major outdoor media operators, such as City Outdoor and JC Deceaux, as well as the shopping centre specialists Hammerson, and commercial and industrial developers such as Prologis.
One of Concept’s most visible projects in Birmingham is the ‘digital media eyes’ at New Street Station. Part of the £600 million redevelopment of the station, these innovative, elliptical advertising displays, that are almost 30 metres wide, were commissioned by Network Rail and are the first of their kind of the UK’s ‘out of home’ advertising market to use large format, curved LED display solutions.
“Concept was originally a traditional signage company and this remains a significant part of our business, but digital is very important and the biggest growth sector,” says Sean.
“Turnkey is our USP – we are able to act as principal designer and contractor and have all the necessary expertise in-house – and this is leading to some fantastic opportunities in the UK, Europe, and also the Middle East.”
Friend’s Head of Tax Simon Littlejohns is also a key member of Friend’s team working with Concept and advises Sean and Dave on their personal tax planning matters. Additionally, tasks that are the foundation of the day-to-day running of the business are also part of the Friend remit, from credit control and cash flow management, to payroll matters.
“The best bit about our support from Friend is the relationship and personal contact we have with Denise,” Sean adds. “She is always available and has ensured we have a real grip on where we sit with things. When the day-to-day gets a bit tricky, Denise always helps us to understand our options – she’s been a big source of comfort and a great mentor.
“Concept has a fantastic team, is a very solid business and, with the excellent support from Denise and the team, we are able to plan for the next stage of our growth with confidence.”
For more information visit: http://www.conceptsigns.co.uk/