The Entrepreneur Exchange has nurtured more than 100 new or recently started businesses over the past 12 months, but one of the more unusual requests was from a local indie band with a detailed business plan.
The Heebie Jeebies first got together in 2008 when friends Thom Barnett, Del Hoyle and Owen Adams met on the Fine Arts course at Sheffield Hallam University.
One of the first things they did was to draw up a structured business plan detailing investment required and projected earnings from the venture.
For two and a half years, they played regular gigs locally and worked during the day to keep the band’s finances going, but still had no sign of a recording contract.
Earlier this year they asked for the Entrepreneur Exchange’s support and were put in touch with a long-established music professional who was able to advise them on their goal of securing a recording contract.
Jim Lawson of the Entrepreneur Exchange suggested that the band link up with Nigel Humberstone, whose own Sheffield-based band, In The Nursery, has been recording and performing for more than two decades. Nigel gave the band some one-to-one mentoring, including guidance on carrying out cost-effective marketing and also provided them with a list of industry contacts.
Within weeks of meeting Nigel, the band had been able to use the contacts to help set up their first headline tour, with 30 dates throughout the UK. They also raised their profile through music industry websites and a Sheffield-based entertainment magazine, as well as modelling for an up-and-coming fashion photographer who provided them with stylish promotional images.
Nigel says: “Having worked actively within the music business and witnessing the many changes of recent years, I knew I could pass on invaluable ‘real life’ support and advice that would benefit The Heebie Jeebies’ career.
“They have a real passion for what they do and helping people like them is what being involved with the Entrepreneur Exchange is all about.”
Thom Barnett, the band’s drummer, says: “Our meeting with Nigel was very beneficial. For me it was particularly helpful on a psychological level – he reassured me that I needed to be a bit more patient in waiting for the band to start making a profit.
“We told him who we were working with for recording and mastering and he confirmed that they were among the best in Sheffield, so we were doing all the right things. Although we’re still looking for a record company, I’m confident we will find one soon. We have recently released a single and we’re halfway through our first album.”
Jim Lawson of the Entrepreneur Exchange says: “Although this was an unusual request, we were able to find just the right person in musician Nigel Humberstone to advise the band, which demonstrates the strength of our network.”
Now, with the backing of the Entrepreneur Exchange, the band is going from strength to strength, with regular gigs at venues such as Sheffield’s Club 60 and a growing following both locally and nationally.