2JEvents is a UK based social enterprise that rents out spaces in schools (their clients) in the evenings, weekends and school holidays to community groups, sports clubs and individuals (their customers) for events and classes. Not only does this earn money for the school, it helps local groups to access great spaces and connect the schools with their community.
Description of scaling process
When founders, Jemma Phibbs and James Lloyd, started engaging with BENISI they were working with seven schools in Oxfordshire. They employed ‘community connectors’ to lock and unlock the schools and provide customer service when the groups attended. However, the two founders did everything else in the business, from sales to payroll, invoicing and customer service with the school. They also stepped in whenever there was a problem, or a community connector was absent. While they knew their customers intimately, to grow they needed to develop their team, and the systems to support a larger organisation. To spread beyond their immediate region, they would need other levels of supervision and management that would leave them free to concentrate on client sales and managing the organisation as a whole.
Jemma and James worked intensively with the Scaling Manager at Impact Hub King’s Cross to plan and systemise their business growth. They attended training workshops on sales, recruitment, investment, CRM systems and impact measurement. They were also introduced to an external mentor, the European President of a multi-national business that used a similar business model in a different sector, who helped them learn about leadership, sales systems and how to manage the operational side of the business as they grew.
2JEvents realised that growing their company would require them to further systemise what they did. The invoicing system was simplified. A clear checklist was set up for taking on a new school, so they were not re-inventing the wheel each time. They developed an organisational plan for each region that 2JEvents might operate in, including regional management and a customer sales team. They did a new financial forecast that included ambitious growth targets, but that would also allow the income that came from the growth to fund the salaries of new team members and drive further growth.
Having doubled the number of schools they were working with in 2015/16, 2JEvents took on their first full time administrator who handles their customer enquiries and is implementing a new CRM system within the business. They are also in the process of recruiting a new sales manager and a regional manager, as they expand into a new county. Within five years, they hope to scale nationwide, and potentially develop their business internationally thereafter.