Grand designs on growth

Oxford Innovation's Gill Hall with Mick Wood, of MW Design.
Oxford Innovation's Gill Hall with Mick Wood, of MW Design.

Producing creative design and marketing campaigns for clients is what Mick Wood does for a living, but he faced an altogether different proposition when he turned his attention to his own business development.

When Mick launched MW Design in 2009 he was keen to locate the business in his hometown of Ashington and he was undaunted by the threat of the global economic downturn.

“The recession was biting but I knew if I could make a go of it then the business would be all the stronger in the future,” he said.

“Since then we’ve succeeded in achieving steady annual growth due largely to word-of-mouth recommendations.

“Right from the start my focus has been on the clients but I’ve probably been guilty of ignoring my own advice, which in turn has hindered my prospects of achieving step-change growth.”

Faced with the dilemma of needing to maintain his client work and spend time on his own business development, Mick turned to Oxford Innovation for support.

The provider of specialist business coaching, Oxford Innovation delivers the £1.35m Business Northumberland High Growth Programme, which is jointly funded by Arch, The Northumberland Development Company; Northumberland County Council and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The programme offers established and start-up businesses in the county free support in reaching their full growth potential.

Gill Hall, business coach with Oxford Innovation, stepped in to support Mick.

She said: “Right from the off I was really impressed with Mick’s creativity and passion for his work.

“However, it was clear Mick had fallen into the very common trap of pouring every ounce of effort into his clients’ work and largely ignoring his own business development.”

Drawing on her own experience as a chartered marketer with a 20-year career in the industry, Gill helped Mick plan MW Design’s growth strategy.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the Business Northumberland High Growth Programme and how Oxford Innovation can potentially support their business should call (01670) 528403, email or visit