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The nuts and bolts behind Moxels

Each month ICAEW is looking for a standout client that a member has recommended, and provides meaningful insights from within that company. The ICAEW Business Advice Service (BAS) provides professional advice for owner-run businesses, startups and SMEs. This month we show the nuts and bolts behind Moxels as well as a bit of our partnership with Pomegranate Consulting, our professional accounting firm that was able to successfully help us throughout the journey. You can see Moxels being featured in ICAEW, here, or read the full details below.

Who are Moxels? Moxels are a graphic design studio and advertising agency specialising in CGI(computer-generated imagery) and 3D visualization for the property & construction, product design, KBB(kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms) and automotive industry. Simply put, we take care of the visual content for the clients' marketing campaign. Whether they're launching a new range of products that need to be introduced to the market or creating a complex architectural building that needs presenting to the world, we take care in making our clients' products as appealing as possible.

We also heavily involve ourselves in the product's advertising concept, advising our client on the best strategy for an increased visual impact throughout their marketing campaign. All in all, if there is anything to do with creative design and advertising, we are the best option on the market for your needs. We have grown from the need to push technological barriers to a new level in an industry that is already rife with creativity and innovation.

What range of services do Moxels provide? We stay focused on stimulating the visual side of the brain. From brochure and product packaging design, automotive, product design, 3D architectural visualizations and interior design, we provide a comprehensive strategy and, especially, high quality content up to the highest technological standards and levels of photorealism available on the market today.

What's the secret of their success? Hmm. Not sure if we should give anything away in this regard :) I wish it was a secret formula... but sadly, there is no such thing. All that's needed is hard work and high levels of consistency and perseverance on all our projects, every single day... although, we still have room for improvement here. There are always ups and downs, but you need to stay focused on following the path and vision of the company. While at the same time never running out of money: cash-flow is of paramount for any business, and especially start-ups. It's all too easy to get lost in details, especially when you start small and tend to micromanage every single aspect of your business, however, try maintaining an overview of the company, at least from time to time, so you always have a broad view of what's going on as well as knowing all the tiny details. It's not as easy as it sounds! At least not for myself, and we are constantly pushing ourselves past our comfort zones so we can improve and provide a better service for our clients. As well as this, we have a very relaxed working environment and we try to emulate the habits of similar creative and innovative companies like Google or Facebook: - completely flexible working hours. - entertainment time almost daily for strengthening team cohesion and company culture. - dedicated personal time for each team member to explore his or her creative and technical skills. - complete freedom in using our computer hardware, whether we talk about personal projects or having fun on the Internet. - and free sweets :p We have come to the conclusion that freedom and low stress levels in the workspace increase productivity and promote happiness in our office. In fact, as the likes of Google know, creative people are at their absolute best when they have no constraints: artists shine when they have no concerns other that what they're passionate about. And for us being at our best and being passionate about what we do is why our clients choose us.

As well as the culture of Moxels, what makes Moxels stand apart from other CGI studios is the adoption of a pioneering technology developed by Nvidia and supported by a few software developing companies, like Chaos Group, that we work with in bringing this technology into the mainstream business advertising environment.

That technology is based on GPU(graphics processing unit) rendering and allows us to visualize our client's final designs in real time, with feedback being instant both for us and our clients, allowing our team members the time they need to focus on the creative process rather than getting lost in technicalities. Two years ago, when we started, there were few people who used this technology, and most were hobbyists, individuals passionate about it (like myself), but the overwhelming majority of studios couldn't even consider implementing it due to the hardware challenges and high costs it brought. But despite all that, we started the company purely based on this technological backbone. It was a risk because no-one knew if this technology would take off or not, but I strongly believed that it would likely be the next generation tool for designers, so we became one of the first studios to fully implement this and base our workflow exclusively on this technology. There were two possible outcomes: either a complete failure or complete success. There was no middle ground!

Now, with GPU power, our team members are able to do the job of two people that are using the 'old' and mainstream technology. Of course, there were teething problems in the beginning with this technology as it was still in the developing stages and to a certain extent it still is, hence the reluctance of other studios to take the plunge and adopt it. However, a few years later, other studios have started to pick up on this technology - it is now definitely, a thing of the future, and Moxels have already been using this technology from the start, partly possible, and worth mentioning, because of the thriving British business environment, recognised worldwide as a technological and creative hub for the past decade.

What social media do you use? As you have guessed, we use everything that's worth being used and we try to avoid those which don't bring us much ROI(return on investment). So we have stuck with the following: - Facebook, mostly for keeping in touch with other related CGI artists, and staying up to date with the news in the industry. Aside from this, for a B2B(business to business) company model, we have found that Facebook does not perform well in reaching our target clients, so it isn't used as a sales tool, merely a way to showcase our portfolio to other CGI artists in the industry. There are other similar platforms to help you reach out to people in your trade, but as a B2B company, that is not our main focus. The main focus is reaching out to companies in need of promoting and advertising their products, and for that, we use other marketing tools. - Twitter: very good in reaching out directly to people at the top of the decisional chain in a business that you target, and also very good at staying up-to-date with sector news and other CGI artists. - LinkedIn: great for creating and sustaining professional relationships with both current and potential clients and people in our industries. We use other social media platforms, but we don't really commit much time to them as it doesn't provide much ROI in using all others, given our business2business model.

Now, a very important thing that's worth mentioning here for our readers, is how we automatically manage a big part of our business. Because we spend a great deal of time in coming up with creative ideas, we need to make sure we are 'distracted' as little as possible by administrative tasks, so we have automated all of our finances, sales, marketing and project management process: - Finances: Xero. It is, quite possibly, the best accounting tool available on the market today, helping your business in dealing with payments, sending invoices, set transfers, draft quotes, managing payrolls and calculating taxes and spendings, etc... all the while automatically synchronising with your online banking and accounts, having full integration with the sales tool we use, and allowing full online collaboration with your accountant on your finances. We have tried other accounting tools but they simply haven't delivered to the level of Xero. We must thank our accountants, Pomegranate Consulting, also based in Manchester, for helping us implement this automatic accounting workflow, and for advising us throughout the process about the best financial steps for us to take. So, part of what we are now is due to their business strategy and financial advice contributions. - Sales: Insightly. A great online platform that harnesses your sales through different automated operations in your leads and client database, sets automatic reminders and jobs, has embedded emails for enhanced client communication tracking. All are integrated with Xero, the accounting platform, keeping track of all client sales, expenditures, invoices and everything inbetween. - Project Management: ProofHub. This online platform really is the backbone of our entire project management workflow, allowing us to effectively collaborate with clients and team members within the company. From project tracking to online image proofing, it has all the tools a manager, designer and a client need in order to effectively collaborate on a variety of projects.

We also use a range of other web products like WordPress for web-hosting and SEO(search engine optimisation), Google Analytics for tracking website activity, and myriad sources for reaching out to new clients, on a national and worldwide scale. We use The Cloud quite a lot as well. The only applications we don't keep in the cloud are the actual software(s) we work with on the technical aspects of the projects.

Future plans... I'll keep it short here. - We want to continue pushing ourselves on improving our efficiency through experimenting with different tools and apps and introducing new ones where needed. - Grow the company and gain at least one new team member - Get our hands on the new upcoming generation of Nvidia graphics cards this summer. We have always used the latest Nvidia technology and this year will be no different. - Research and Develop innovative ways to deliver great advertising experiences, so we'll probably 'dip our toes' into the world of 3D printing and Oculus Rift virtual reality if we find them to be viable business avenues.

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