When Anthony O’Brien launched Profici, a full-service marketing agency based in Liverpool, just under a year ago, he had two core goals: to create a company culture that enticed experts at the very top of their game to come and work with him, thereby creating valuable opportunities for North West professionals, and to help his clients in building good, sustainable businesses.
Anthony, who is a former athlete turned entrepreneur, had previously founded Beneficial Marketing, a successful marketing business which he ran for five years. However, when he was returning to work after his honeymoon, he realised that sales at his company had dipped slightly while he’d been away, as he was the person responsible for going out and bringing in new business.
This sparked the idea that as Liverpool has such a great pool of talent, Anthony could bring the right people together to build a business that was less dependent on his skills. He said: “You’re only as good as your employees! When I was launching Profici, I was on a mission to find the best talent I could, with the magic number of 50 experts in mind. My plan was that when I had the right people on board, I’d roll Profici out nationwide as a franchise.”
It took Anthony 18 months to find all of the leaders in their field who he wanted to work with, and to put the systems in place to launch Profici (which takes its name from the Latin word: Proficio, meaning to assist, to advance and to make progress). In October 2018, Profici was launched, offering businesses the option of working with a full service marketing agency with a strong digital offering and a far broader range of experts on hand than your average agency.
Anthony explained: “At Profici, we’re honest, we’re reliable and we do a very good job. The people we have on board are all specialists in their field, and we have the right people for the job. For example, we’ve got six different photographers, so whether a client needs food photography, music photography or architectural shots, we’ll use exactly the right professional to get the best possible result.”
Given his background in athletics (Anthony was a sprinter in his youth and has retained a keen interest in the importance of physical fitness) it’s not surprising that he sees parallels between the world of sport and business, saying: “I’m a great believer in building a team of people who are much better than you are. I look at it like building a football team – finding the best people and putting them in the right positions and bringing out the very best in your team.”
In just under a year, Profici’s turnover and employee numbers have quadrupled (with the firm now employing six members of staff and 60 freelancers) and for Anthony, who is planning to roll out the business nationwide with franchise opportunities from December, this is just the beginning.
The entrepreneur is excited to grow his business, which offers a range of services including marketing, digital marketing, website design, SEO, advertising, photography, branding and social media management, and is keen to ensure that more national brands are using North West talent.
Anthony says that one of the best things about building the business has been creating so many opportunities for the local freelancers who work with Profici. He is also relishing working with a growing list of clients, saying: “I don’t claim to be an expert in anything, but one thing I do seem to be good at is sitting down with clients and identifying solutions to their problems. I love sitting down with a client and presenting ideas that they never would have thought of. For me, that’s always an incredible moment.”
The entrepreneur says that Profici’s growth has exceeded his expectations and that he’s looking forward to the next chapter – having a national presence while continuing to support the North West talent pool that he credits with playing a big role in his company’s success.