Building And Leading A Content-Centric Business, With Angela Wilbraham
How does one build a content-centric business and stay relevant more than 20 years later? We’re not talking about an industry behemoth here. We’re talking about a relatively small agency that must have been doing something right for it to thrive through the turmoil of the past two decades. Angela Wilbraham believes that the secret lies in being aware of how things are shifting and being open to change. That is how she took the A-Team Group to success on top of success amidst all the changes in the content marketing industry. Angela may have played a huge part in making sure her company successfully faces every hurdle, but she doesn’t take all the credit for herself. Instead, she shows us just how important her team was in everything they have achieved so far. After all, if you’re leading an A-Team, you’re missing out if you’re not maximizing everything they have to offer. Join this conversation and learn how Angela makes all of this possible.
Check out the full series of "Career Sessions, Career Lessons" podcasts here or visit pathwise.io/podcast/. A full written transcript of this episode is also available at https://pathwise.io/podcast/angela-wilbraham
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Building And Leading A Content-Centric Business, With Angela Wilbraham
Founder And CEO Of A-Team Group
PathWise is dedicated to helping you live the career you deserve, providing career coaching, content, courses, and community. Basic membership is free, so visit PathWise.io online and join now. On this episode, my guest is Angela Wilbraham, who is the CEO of A-Team Group, a firm she founded in 2001. A-Team Group delivers distinguished content to the financial services industry based on in-depth domain expertise and regulatory technology, data management, and trading technology.
The firm is run by experienced business journalists who thrive on taking complex business and technology topics and turning them into compelling content assets. They publish a range of blogs, industry guides, webinars, and white papers. They also host regular industry events in London and New York. Prior to starting A-Team Group, Angela was an editor with Waters Information Services. She and her family live in England. Angela, welcome. Thanks for joining me.
Thanks for having me here.
Give our audience an overall sense of A-Team Group and what it is that you do.
A-Team Group is a content marketing agency. We've been around for 22 years now. Our focus is very much on financial technology. We look at how technology and data help banks and asset management firms to trade, then do everything that's required to back up those trades in the mid and back office.
You started this 22 years ago, what led you to found it back in 2001?
Originally, I had been a journalist in financial technology. In this very sector, I was writing about market data for a company called Waters back then. I had a lot of fun, met a lot of people, and had a good network. Our company then got bought by another company. Things changed and the team changed, so I left and did a little consulting.
It was my business partner, Andrew Delaney, who said, “Why don't you turn this into a business?” I had no idea what I was doing but I was like, “That sounds like a great idea. Let's do that.” I got a few early consulting projects through the connections I had as a journalist, where you're talking to senior management level at a lot of the vendors who supply the data and technology. That was the start of it. Before long, we were looking at it saying, "We do journalism, why don't we start a publication?" That's how we ended up on the content side of things.
What were those early days like for you? What were some of the early struggles that invariably come with starting a business?
It's a real mix. Some of it was so much fun and you're all enthused because you're out on your own. You're getting some deals and delivering, but there were definitely challenges. My number one challenge was probably confidence on the business side. I had confidence in going and talking about the market, what was happening in the trends, and knowing who was who. I was fine with all of those things.
I’m pulling together the content for projects, but then the actual I've got a business here and I've got to think about where the next project is coming from, where the money is coming from, I need some support over here, and how we are going to raise the invoices, and all the real basic things that I didn't know to start with, that took some time. It took a while to build that confidence that I can do all these things as well and figure it out. That was probably the earliest challenge I had.
How much did you know what you were getting yourself into when you started back then?
I didn't have a clue. I was very fortunate that I had some good people around me who helped. Some of my early mistakes centered around not being able to say no to people. If we were invited to come in and pitch on a project, we would talk about a certain level of projects. They go, “Could you do this as well?” I’m like, “We could do that,” then I would walk away going, “How am I going to do that?”
We had one or two projects probably in the first five years that were beyond our scale and our size. They were too big for us to be able to deliver on or to fit the quote that we had given. That was a lesson. We did learn quite fast that we can't do that. We have to be more upfront about what we're capable of and not capable of. Since then, that has been a lot easier.We need to be more upfront about what we're capable of and what we’re not capable of. Click To Tweet
How long does it take you to feel you have a viable and sustainable business?
Very early on, it felt sustainable because there was money coming in. We found new projects and it worked, but it didn't mean I didn't worry about where the next projects were coming from. In terms of it turning from some ad hoc consulting that kept me going and maybe kept a couple of my early people going, to turning into a more solid business that had proper revenue attached and a growing team. I would say, it’s maybe seven years or so to make that switch. A lot of that was my own mindset about what I might be capable of doing. It took that long to build the confidence to do it.
That would have been around the time of the financial crisis back in 2008.
It was slightly earlier, then it swiftly came along, so that was a challenge.
How did you get through that?
I remember there are lots of people in our industry. I remember being at Sibos at the time that the whole thing collapsed. Lots of people were walking out the door, and panels were being half-filled. The scale of it was pretty shocking. The impact on us is we did have to make some changes because there was a lot of fear and restricted budgets. What we did was very much in the marketing space, and marketing budgets get cut.
It's one of those early things that was impacted. We did have to lay off a couple of people. We just launched a magazine at the time. Being former journalists, we were so excited. It's this glossy print magazine that we had done. It was called A-Team IQ. We thought that was very clever and it looked great. We got some amazing interviews. When you've got something and you put someone on the cover, you get even more access to people, but it costs money. It was a lot of effort with no clear revenue attached. It was more of a marketing and an access thing, so we had to cut that. There were a few things like that that we had to adapt but we managed to get through that, thankfully.
I’m sure the pandemic was another challenging period since the whole event part of your business pretty much got put on hold during that time.
Absolutely. Events are over 50% of our revenues. Right as it was starting to fall apart, we had a data management summit planned for London. It was the middle or near the end of March. We were watching it and reassuring clients, “We're still going to be there. We're still going to hold it,” then we realized two weeks before the event that there was no way this event can go ahead. We had to cancel it but we had sponsors who had paid a lot of money. We lost a lot of money. We didn't get any money back from the venues. Some of them were good and they did let us hold over and use some of the credit later, but there was lots of that negotiating.
That first month probably was pretty scary looking because you didn't know what was going to happen. How do you adapt? How do you change things, particularly when half your revenue is tied to being physically in a room with lots of other people? My team was incredible. Very quickly, we're like, “We still need to deliver on this event.” Within a week of saying we were canceling it, my event producer, Lorna, who's amazing, had already scheduled online recordings. We were like, “We're going to make this virtual.” We don't know how, and we ended up with a web page with all the recordings of these panel sessions that we've done.
We figured out other packages for the sponsors. My salesperson, Joe, who is also amazing, pulled all that together and negotiated with all of the clients that we had. We got a lot of feedback that we kept them informed and we delivered something even in that circumstance. We didn't lose revenue from that, and then we had to adapt. Jerry-Ann was also amazing in figuring out the tech end of how you pull all that together. That was fantastic.
We then had to adapt because it wasn't ending anytime soon. We worked with our tech partners and created an online virtual events platform. That now is an asset that we have and we still use it for all our webinars. We run 2 or 3 webinars sometimes a week. We have various audiences and sponsors coming in, and broadcasting it live. We have online voting polls and all of those kinds of things. That was something that was a positive that came out of it. It was quite hard work to get that developed, then the risk of, “We have to go live. Is it going to work when you have your next set of virtual events?” It’s challenging but a lot of fun in the end.
We had PPP loans for small businesses in the US. Did the UK government offer anything similar for small businesses?
After a good few weeks of panicking about what was going to happen, the government did come up with some creative ideas. They did have loans. It was interest-free loans. We didn't take that. Fortunately, we didn't need to. They also had a scheme where certain employees could be put on furlough. That was it. If you didn't need so much of your staff, they would pay 80% of their salary for you for a few months. It gave a little breathing space in a couple of areas. That was incredible. I was very impressed when they did that, but we're paying for it now.
What's the state of the business now? Do you feel like you've recovered back to a free-COVID level or are you still working to get back there?
In many ways, it's a lot stronger. I think the pandemic turned things around for us. It brought us together as a team even more so. We had to be thorough about all of our products, processes, and everything that we were doing. It helped us on the cashflow front because when you're paying for live events, there are so many costs. It's such a huge investment, and when you suddenly go virtual, you're not charging the same level. At the same time, your risk is so much lower.
It helped us to rebuild and then to examine some new areas. We've launched an ESG publication and brand, which we then put an event to and some awards. It gave us a little bit of freedom in a way. Once we figured it out and we stopped panicking, we were able to come up with something new. I feel like we've come out of that stronger. We're now back to live events. That's what has changed.
Lots of people are working from home, so it’s getting the right day for your event, and then on the day, how many people are going to come? When they're in the office, they want to be in the office, and they want to be at home on other days. That's a little trickier to navigate now than it was before. People saw events as valuable and a great thing to be at, but also a little bit of a jolly and a way to get out of the office. Now that's not the case, so it’s figuring that out. It's all about the strength of the content and the speakers. How you entice them to come and attend your event is key.
It's very true of the whole event space. It has offered new opportunities, many more virtual events, and the freedom that comes with that. One of my other guests formed a business around this. He had been in the ticket resale business. When this started and there were no events going on, he pivoted into running online events for companies and entertainment acts. It has created a new opportunity for him. At the same time, the in-person events are a bit of a minefield right now in terms of knowing what to expect.
That's interesting that he started a new area of his business because we've looked at that as well. We have a sponsorship model, so it's the vendors who pay and support the events. We bring the audience in. The sponsors still want face-to-face interactions. Our role that I see very much is connecting people.
It's connecting the practitioners on the bank side who want to meet with other practitioners and understand where they are, versus their peers, but they also want to meet with providers of technology and data. The vendors or the ones who pay us want to meet all those people who are buying systems. That role is a lot harder when you move to a virtual model. We now are exploring online training as to how you bring in revenues from both sides when you're not face-to-face.
It seems like certificate programs are mushrooming. Is that something that you're considering offering in terms of some of the domain areas like data management and trading tech?
We've launched a few courses to see how it has gone. We've worked with partners or practitioners who are out in the market and have hands-on current knowledge. They've worked with us on the program. We've got one in ESG. It's an ESG Foundation course. We've got one around market abuse regulation because that's such a huge area, and one that there's a lot of fear around the banks.
We're also doing quarterly updates on regulatory change with an EU policy expert. There are a few things in the running there. We've looked at the certifications. I think that's what people are looking for in their career development. There's a lot of investment in their time and how they develop themselves. We are looking at both the CPD and accreditation route. We've got a few things going there. We haven't done it yet but it's probably where we'll go.
What's the shape and size of the organization now?
We are still a relatively SME enterprise. We're quite a small organization. We're probably fifteen people in our core team, then we work with a marketing partner who does a lot of our social media engagement and some of the tech backend and website stuff. We have a tech partner who build our websites and built the virtual events platform, then we have a whole load of freelancers depending on what we're doing. It's a very lovely team of people.
Before we started, you talked about spending most of your time managing the actual business. When you think about the management of it or the leadership of it, what type of leadership style do you try to adopt?
I went into this business not having learned much about business, but you learn over time all these different leadership styles. For me, participative leadership is the one I favor. The team is so important in how we all work together. It's all about collaboration. I don't have all the answers to things. A lot of my different team members are the ones who are face-on in the industry, having the conversations that need to be had. They will then come back to me and we share things.Participative leadership is the best leadership style. It's all about collaboration. Click To Tweet
We debate what's the best way to do this or that. I see my role as making sure it all runs as smoothly as it possibly can. I help to facilitate that. If I can see my salesperson getting hung up because they don't have this information or this isn't on hand, how can I create a system or a platform or a piece of information that's going to help them do that better? I then work with some other team members to help deliver that.
It's all about connecting the dots and trying to look at efficiency, processes, and systems. Is it working together? It’s very much that operational side. I spend my time doing a lot of that. I also have quite a clear system that I love. I'm very much into goal-setting and mindset work. I invest quite a lot of time sitting back and looking at what our goals are. What are we achieving? What's the gap between where we are now? If we want to get here, what's holding us back and how do you fix that bit? It's that mix of looking at the big picture and then going, “I need to then figure out this process, operation, team, or whatever it is that needs addressing.” I tend to shift between those two roles.
How does that translate into the type of culture that you want to create and the type of people that you look to bring into the organization? When you're only fifteen, every person matters.
It's very important. I want to say enthusiasm. That's my number one thing. When people are enthusiastic, you can get so much more done because they are driven. They want to do it and they can see there's a real purpose, a goal, and a reason to do something. They'll throw their energy into it. Being energetic and enthusiastic is key. Also, that collaborative side. We don't always get it right, but it’s how people work together and support each other. If someone needs something, here we are. We're helping each other because we have this shared goal and vision.When people are enthusiastic, you can get so much more done because they are driven. Click To Tweet
It’s working with the team and trying to nurture that. We're all open. I have had feedback from the team that may feel comfortable saying something if something isn't working or something we just did was poor or whatever. The focus is all about acknowledging that, and then figuring out how you make it better next time. It's always how you make it better. I never want anyone to be afraid to say if something isn't working or we've made a mistake or anything like that. It's an open-sharing type of culture that I like to think we have.
You talked about goal-setting a minute ago. Is that something that you do in the background on your own, and thinking about what you're doing as the leader of the organization? Is it more of a participatory process like when you were describing other aspects of what you do with the others?
Initially, it's very much a solitary thing, so I sit back. I have an annual goals day for my business, and I have a separate one personally. In my business, I sit there and look at, “What have we achieved?” Reflecting on what you've done is always a great place to start. What could we be? Where could we go? What makes sense? What might fit naturally or where might we have to develop to grow something? Working through our different areas and looking at opportunities.
I tend to do a lot of that initially myself, then I go to my business partner Andrew. We will often get together throughout the year, at least once a quarter or sometimes more. We sit there and we brainstorm ideas and come up with things. That always fills us both with enthusiasm and drive. The next stage is how you communicate that to the team. Some of it can be iterative like explaining, “In this area, we want to move in this direction or we want to shift a little bit,” or it could be more of like online training, “We want to develop in this space. Here's what we're going to do.” We communicate that to everyone.
We do weekly team calls with everyone on Zoom and everyone will either share some of the strategic stuff or talk operationally about things. We also do a team get-together. We did our first one post-COVID. It has taken us a little while but we have people in America and we have people over in the UK, so getting everyone together can be challenging sometimes. That's where we all brainstorm together and go, “How can we develop in this space or grow that area of the business?” Those can be insightful and great when you've got everyone throwing ideas out. It’s a mix I guess.
You mentioned mindset a minute ago as well. Where does that come in? Is this like Carol Dweck’s growth mindset, fixed mindset, or more on mindset generally?
I use that with my kids. It's important to always think about having that growth mindset. That’s key. I feel like everyone's mindset in our team, particularly mine and Andrew's. If we're leading things, has to be switched on. It has to be focused in the right way because you can show up. You can be scared, intimidated, or worried about things that are going on. If you come with the mindset of enthusiasm or belief in yourself and that you can do this, the solutions you come up with for any given challenge on any given day are going to be quite different.
You have to pay attention to that. It doesn't mean that every day you're going to feel amazing and going and crushing it because that isn't real life. When you can recognize those days when you're not quite on top of it, you save those decisions. You wait until you're in a better place to make them. To me, that's probably the number one thing that is important in business.
The Dweck work, I first came into contact with maybe a year or so ago. It is a very foundational way of thinking about not just work but life. We all operate somewhere between growth and fixed mindset. As you say, some days we're probably more of the one way and more of the other way. At least. it gets you to operate with a completely different point of view in mind, which I found helpful.
I love all that. Awareness is probably the number one thing. You can learn all these strategies but recognizing in the moment how you're feeling, whether you are more in the fixed mindset or the growth mindset, and how you can shift from one side to the other are key.
You talked earlier about how you spend your time. Is there an overall target mix that you try to achieve across the different types of things you could be doing?
Yes and no. I work four days a week. I take Fridays off. That’s very precious to me. I do have a weekly rhythm that I go through. Monday is very much focused on what I want to achieve this week. That ties back to my goal days and making sure that I'm in line with what I want to be doing, and not necessarily fully all about responding to things that are happening. It's trying to step back, being more strategic, and making sure I'm aware of what my priorities are. I look at the 2 to 3 chunky things I want to achieve in that week, then how it's going to flow out and how that's going to look.
We do our team call on a Monday afternoon. That's looking at all the products, making sure everything is on track and where the gaps are. Do we need to put more attention over here or there? Monday is quite that strategic view of things. Also, responding to people and making sure I caught up with whatever is going on on any given day. Tuesday is more of a sales focus. We do sales call. I look at what the pipeline looks like and make sure the materials are there. We talk about certain clients. That's mixed in with stuff that's going on, just responding and making sure we're on top of things.
Wednesday is more of a marketing day because I have my call with my marketing agency that we worked through. To get up to speed with that, I'm looking at where we're at, where are our results, and what strategies are working or not working. Thursday tends to be my race to get everything else done. It's my last day in the office so I get lots of little things off my list knock off. That's the general pattern that I've fallen into. I love it that way. It works for me.
You've described a very regimented weekly schedule. I sense that your style in general is to be very buttoned up on all of those things.
I love systems and organization. I love being clear about what we want to do. There are times when if I feel particularly driven about doing something over here, I'll ignore the rest and I'll focus on that because my energy is going that way. That's where I'm going to get the best results. Sometimes I'll mess with it if I feel so inclined, but I like the regular pattern to things.
At least, it gives you some consistency in terms of those different areas that you mentioned like focusing on the team on Mondays, the sales focus on Tuesdays, and the marketing focus on Wednesdays. You hit the different aspects of your business systematically when you do it that way.
You're not going to miss anything, hopefully.
I'm sure things pop up, particularly around events and issues that will happen when you've got time around events. Otherwise, I would imagine that you can keep that rhythm reasonably well, given the nature of the business.
It does work well as long as I keep up on Slack, which is what we use to communicate. It's busier than others but pretty much everything is in hand. We’re having a great team now. We've had years where we haven't had enough people or we haven't had someone handling something. I was jumping in and doing a lot of those things, which I don't feel the need to do so much anymore. I can afford to be more organized about where I spend my time.
You've been an observer of the financial services industry for a long time. How do you think it has changed since you started doing this twenty-odd years ago?
The technology has changed hugely and we've watched that happen. That has been fascinating, especially in financial services where there is a budget and inclination. You get to see a lot of very cool developments happening first. That has been amazing. It's a little bit tighter. It’s a weird world but there are so many more regulations now. We're so much more cautious than we were 25 years ago when I was writing about it.
Maybe it lost a little bit of fun that way, but it has grown up a lot. Those would be my general observations with it, but there's always a shifting focus. For a good number of years, we had method two. Now we have a lot of market abuse. We have AI coming in that’s impacting and making people question how things are going to work. Crypto and digital assets are threatening the traditional financial model. There are lots of interesting areas that we're looking at.
I'm sure it’s fun. You have a team that loves being at the heart of some of those leading-edge changes that are going on across the different technology aspects of financial services. To your point, there has been tremendous change over the last twenty years from a technology perspective.
That’s one of the things we do invest in. For example, some of my team were in New York. We have these great advisory boards in each of our different areas. They are practitioners who are senior managers, who are experienced, and are the coal face. They're dealing with all of these issues and trying to walk their way through it. We host these lunches, and they share so much valuable information about where they're going.
I know my team considers themselves incredibly fortunate to have this information shared with them about what the issues are, what cool tech solutions are coming down the pipe, who the movers and shakers in the industry are, and where the exciting good stuff is happening. We get a lot of insight that way that then feeds into our events, webinars, handbooks, and all of those things we deliver.
It amazes me that there are a lot of content-oriented businesses and research businesses that seem to take more of an arm's length approach to the industry than you're describing. It does seem like it's a missed opportunity if you don't have the advisory board construct where people can speak off the record a bit more freely. They'll tell you what's going on. Not the formal public answer. You get a much deeper insight into the true state of things than you do if you try and keep that arm's length arrangement.
I think it's essential to do so. We come up with agendas for our events and we can see what's going on. We write a lot of content about trends in the industry or who has bought whom or those questions. We come up with an agenda, but then we host these advisory board lunches. It’s the insight that you get from them because it is people who are hands-on, day in and day out doing this work. It's all about the nuances. It's these things that you can't pick up by reading about it. You have to be face-to-face and talk to people.
Our agenda then shifts and you emphasize different elements. Suddenly, you come up with an amazing agenda. You then attract good speakers. That's then how you attract the audience. To me, doing a surface-level thing will get you so far, but you need to get those nuances to make it the powerful event or piece of content that it needs to be.
I was first introduced to the A-Team Group. I think Andrew was probably the first one I met through the lens of data. It became an on-the-ground view of how the industry was doing things. It is something that you put an emphasis on. For me, that was always a differentiator. I would sing your praises to other people who hadn't heard of you at that point.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
I’m encouraging them to get plugged in because it struck me from those early days when I got to know you.
It’s always lovely to hear that.
We talked a little bit about how the industry has changed. How do you think you've changed over the last twenty years of running this business?
Massively, I would say. Probably, number one is confidence. At the start, I was looking and going, “Should I be running a business? I don't know how to run a business,” and all those kinds of things. Now I’m feeling very comfortable with where I'm at and know what I need to do to make this business a success year on year. Every year, you start again and you have to start selling and all of that.
I also love personal development. I do a lot of work on that. That has helped me find quite a calm way to approach business. Whereas in the early days, I was more frantic. I have to do everything. I have to go to every meeting. I have found a way to manage it. I feel like I have a great work-life balance and I still run a business. I do a lot with my kids. I'm at home. I have time for myself and my friends. The balance is probably the number one thing that I finally got to a good place in the past five years or so.
What strengths do you feel have helped you to be successful over the years?
Probably the number one thing is adaptability. One of the strengths we have is because we are relatively small, it's being able to see when something is changing in the industry or with our clients, and being able to shift and go, “We're so attached to that. We loved our magazine. It was great. That's not going to work in this current climate. We cancel that, move online, and do this.”
With the whole pandemic, live events are not going to work. “What do we do? Let's put all our energy into shifting it online and building our own platform so we have control.” Smaller things like we used to be very much about publishing, then we realized advertising suddenly wasn't coming in. Content marketing is what companies need next, where the budgets are going on, how do you use high-value content to market yourself, build awareness, generate quality leads, and those kinds of things. It's constantly trying to figure out what people want, how we are going to help connect them, and then what that means for us operationally. How do you make that shift and change all of those things?
It can be painful sometimes. It’s letting go of the attachment you had to things that were working before like, “Why aren't they working now?” It’s the pain of sitting there through the night before our first virtual event, figuring out whether all the tech elements had been going back and forth with the developers on that platform, and horrible things like that. When you look back on it, you're like, “That was amazing. Look how we got through that.” The more you do it, the more your confidence builds. You feel like you could take another challenge that might come your way and adapt and shift to something that's going to work better.
You mentioned development a minute ago. What are the areas that you're focused on developing right now?
Personally, in order to have balance in life, you have to look at your mindset but you also have to look at your body. Exercise and nutrition are something I spend a lot of time on. Meditation is amazing and can help you to manage the stresses of running a business and everything else. I like to explore those different things and I spend a lot of time on that.In order to have balance in life, you have to look at your mindset, but you also have to look at your body. Click To Tweet
I personally would love to develop more of a business around that like how we could coach other people to incorporate that, particularly business owners and potentially female business owners. That's the space I know and understand. Could I help other younger entrepreneurs to incorporate that earlier than I did, and that helps them build their businesses? It’s those ideas around that that I get quite excited about.
It's good that you've got those things that you get excited about. What else do you do to recharge to keep yourself energized?
I just came back from a ski trip. That was awesome. I love that with the kids. Doing lots of things with the kids. They've been off for the Easter. We did an escape, some golfing, and other fun activities. I also love exercise, yoga, going out, and walks. I live near the Brecon Beacons, so there are lots of walks around here. Doing a bit of river swimming on the weekend, music, singing, and those things. That's what I love to do.
You talked about Carol Dweck earlier. What other books, speakers, entrepreneurs, or whatever have influenced the way that you think about how you run your business or even how you live your life?
There are so many. I spend a lot of time reading personal development books and listening to podcasts. I struggle to think of who they are sometimes. You got your big players like Tony Robbins or Brendon Burchard and those people. I've done a few of Tony Robbin’s events which are crazy but pretty insightful. There was a person called Chris Nelson who has written a book called Wake Up and SOAR. I did a workshop in London with him. He was the calmest man I had ever seen.
He runs a yoga and breathing practice somewhere in India or something. He traveled over to London and he exuded this calm. I look at that and I think about it probably weekly and go, “I'm not there yet. How do I get to that?” There are those kinds of things, and a lot of people on the health side, particularly a guy called Ari Whitten, who runs a thing called The Energy Blueprint. He is all into the science of mitochondria, how you fuel the human body to have energy and to do everything else that you want to do. It’s a whole mix of people.
What's ahead for A-Team Group?
The way that we look at things is we have a model that's working well now. We have certain domain areas. We're in data management, reg tech, and trading tech. We moved into ESG, so the environmental, social, and governance side of things. It’s the data and tech end of that. A lot of our focus was on that and how you build a new event, create a handbook in that space, and build the editorial practice around it. That was a big focus.
We look at where we might have new market segments. One that we're playing with a bit now is digital assets because that comes out of the trading tech space. We think is going to be huge. We're waiting for the regulation to come down the line that's going to then impact how institutions handle digital assets. Once that starts to get going, that's where we think there's an opportunity. We're hosting a briefing in London and New York later this year, then we might do some more around that next year. There are a couple of other areas that we're looking at that are very topic-based that fit around us but expand us out to new audiences.
The other way is what you can do to the model. How do you expand that? The online training has been something I've spent quite a lot of time on over the past six months or so. We may look at more detailed research. In the early days, I put together a report about the reference data industry and looked at all the key players, how you evaluate them, and that kind of thing. That might be an area we get into. I'm playing with a few ideas that we'll look at over time.
When you look back on your career, what do you wish somebody had told you when you were back in your earlier days?
It sounds very corny but to believe in yourself and know that you will figure out ways to address things if you give yourself the space and the calm to do it. Surrounding yourself with great people who will inspire you, help you, and give you ideas. You get energy from other people. You bounce ideas off of them. That's important. Keep an eye on your cashflow. In the early days, I wasn't on top of that at all. Now I'm in my cashflow spreadsheet pretty much every day.Just believe in yourself. Know that you will figure out ways to address things if you give yourself the space and the calm to do it. Click To Tweet
I've had a couple of near misses a good few years ago of things that open your eyes that you have to be on top of that. It's no good to say, “I'm all about the business. I get in this industry and someone else will do the finance.” You have to be on top of it because otherwise you're at risk, and having a system as well. It's putting a system in place where you know what you're delivering, where your clients are, and who your contacts are, and having it all tied together so that you can manage all your projects. All the team knows that you're on the same page, and all the materials are in the right place. I'm a big fan of organizational systems like that. Those things are key and something I wish I had learned earlier.
Any other career lessons that you want our audience to take away?
The awareness and listening to your clients. You got to be aware of what's happening in your market and how things are shifting and be open to change. Don't cling to something just because it worked before because if things are shifting, you are going to get left behind. You have to keep being open to the idea of change.
That adaptability point that you brought up earlier in the conversation is important. I appreciate your time. It's good getting to know you a little bit better. We've crossed paths a little bit in my interactions with the A-Team Group. We probably dealt more with Andrew over the years and this is great. It's good to hear the on-the-ground perspective of an entrepreneur running a content-focused business. You've been doing it successfully for quite some time now.
Thank you very much. It has been great talking to you. I love what you're doing with your show.
Thanks. I appreciate that and have a good rest of your day.
I would like to thank Angela for joining me to talk about her entrepreneurial journey, founding and leading the A-Team Group. If you're ready to take control of your career, visit PathWise.io. If you would like more regular career insights, you can become a PathWise member. It's free. You can also sign up on the website for our newsletter, and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Thanks and have a great day.
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About Angela Wilbraham
Angela Wilbraham is the CEO of A-Team Group, a firm she founded in 2001. A-Team Group delivers distinguished content to the financial services industry based on in-depth domain expertise in Regulatory Technology, Data Management and Trading Technology. The firm is run by experienced business journalists who thrive on taking complex business and technology topics and turning them into compelling content assets. They publish a range of blogs, industry guides, webinars, white papers, and they also host regular industry events in London and New York. Prior to starting A-Team Group, Angela was an editor with Waters Information Services.