Shortly after opening for business in early 2013, dBx Acoustics Ltd was honoured to be awarded Startup Business of the Year at the Oldham Business Awards. At that time we were a small but ambitious business, operated by one woman from the box room. We are now a six figure turnover company with three employees (and two more joining imminently), not counting our mascot Scooby the #dBxDog!

We are therefore delighted to have been recognised at the 2016 awards as Best Young Business, for businesses which have been trading for less than four years.

Susan, Chris and Caz attended the ceremony at Oldham’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, which was hosted by TV star John Thomson.

The dBx Team (minus Scooby) at the Oldham Business Awards

The dBx Team (minus Scooby) at the Oldham Business Awards

What was it that impressed the judges? Some extracts from our nomination are below…we hope you’ll agree with the judges that we’re a business with a bright future, looking after our clients and our team in equal measure!

Financial Performance

Between our first and second year of trading, we doubled both our turnover and profit. During the current financial year we are on course to increase turnover by a third over last year, and to double our profit. This is due to our recruitment strategy, allowing more efficient use of both admin and technical staff time, as well as the systems which we have introduced to the business to streamline our performance.

Our business model has always been based on providing ‘big consultancy’ advice at a small consultancy price. Although our overheads have naturally increased as we have grown, we are still able to be highly competitive in the marketplace. We are finding that we are attracting more, larger projects and higher profile clients as our reputation spreads. Our largest projects at the moment are the Manchester Life Silk Glass development with John Sisk & Sons, and the Cell Therapy Catapult Centre (Stevenage) with Morgan Sindall. We are also subcontracted to high profile acoustic consultancies to cover areas where they feel they lack experience or manpower.

Business Management

We have been involved in the Growth Accelerator scheme since 2013 and have a regularly reviewed and updated business plan in place, as well as an ORBIT 5 year plan which is updated annually. Thanks to Growth Accelerator’s support, our Director meets monthly with a business coach, which ensures that we are constantly reviewing our business challenges and opportunities and considering the future.

We have a recruitment strategy in place which should see the team increase to 4 within the next 12 months, and to 6 people within 5 years. As part of that, we are looking to offer students work experience and training, with a view to being able to provide full time employment when they are ready. We plan to be able to increase the level of remuneration we offer our staff to reflect their efforts in growing the business, as well as beginning to offer other benefits.

Above anything, our business plan is focused around being a place to work which is both fair, and fun. We treat both our staff and our clients with respect, but also with a smile.

Business Achievements

Since the 2013 Oldham Business Awards, we have also received a Scoot Headline Award, a National Business Leaders Award, and were named BUILD Magazine’s 2015 Acoustic Consultancy of the Year. However we prefer to see our key achievements in terms of the number of satisfied clients we are able to help; at the time of writing we have worked on over 100 projects this year alone. We have a great deal of repeat business and work from recommendations, and we survey our customers’ satisfaction monthly so that we can learn from their feedback and suggestions.

Our clients range from individuals to national building contractors, and we are proud to offer them all a professional but approachable consultancy service which is tailored to the specific needs of their project. The responsibility we have been given on high profile projects and by major building contractors, as detailed above, is a testament to the way our reputation is spreading and to our success in meeting our aspirations for our growing company.

To date we have achieved all of our objectives, from profit and turnover, through the growth of the company and our relocation into a dedicated office, through to the types of project and the client base we are working with. We are confident that with continued focus on our goals and a clear view of where we want the company to be in the future, we can maintain and build upon these successes.

We are both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified, which gives our clients confidence in our quality and environmental management. We have also found that putting these systems in place has streamlined our approach and ensures that we are continuously reviewing and improving our operations.

The diversity of projects that we work on is also a testament to our abilities and knowledge – for example, we are working with British Gas on equipment noise control, on an Archimedes screw hydropower turbine, and also on performance space at Macclesfield Buttermarket and schools all over the country.

Employment Potential and Community Impact

We expect to take on a permanent member of technical staff during 2016 as well as recruiting another student/apprentice to support the team. After this, we may be looking for apprentice assistance in the local area to push our marketing and networking to the next level, and to free our Director to focus on the business direction and, of course, supervising our technical output.

We aim to be involved with the local Community, supporting charitable events and promoting other local businesses on our social media feeds. We also aim to source locally wherever possible, whether that’s buying stationary or planning our Xmas Do!

We’re also keen to become involved with more projects locally – we have already helped local small developers to achieve planning permissions and meet building regulations, but we are looking to become involved in larger schemes and contribute to Oldham’s regeneration.