Having worked both in-house at various agencies and at another new business agency some time ago, Adam Whittaker, managing director of Manifest, grew increasingly frustrated by the smoke and mirrors employed by many out-of-house business development firms and opted to set up his own agency – using reliable tech and common sense to trim all the unnecessary ‘added value’ offered by competitors to provide a core product that gets results.

We caught up with Adam to learn more about Manifest’s growth to date, its potential for the future and how Workspace has given the agency a platform to become a million-pound revenue generating company from its Kennington Park base.

For confidentiality reasons, Adam was unable to disclose any of the brands Manifest has worked with of late, but he confirmed that they work with “about 40 marketing communications, digital, advertising, PR and other associated businesses within the commercial creative industries”.

“Our role is to help them to identify their story, simplify it and then tell that story to their target audience in an inspirational and engaging manner,” said Adam. “We aim to foster within the decision maker we are speaking with the desire to meet our client to discover whether they are a good fit for their next project or pitch.”

Manifest is now in its third year as a Workspace customer and Adam admits he and his team “love it”. “The thing that first enticed us was, I am loathed to admit, the cost! But as soon as I started to talk to the negotiators and met the team I knew that there was something different about the company.

With Workspace, all the lease terms were evidently clear and after I signed on the dotted line, that was that; hooked. We are now in our second Workspace office and would find it hard to work with another landlord now.”

Adam Whittaker, Manifest

Adam and his team are currently based in Chester House, part of the Kennington Park Business Centre and appear to be thriving south of the river.

“From day one, having a dedicated office has always been fundamental. We flirted with the idea of having people working remotely, but sales people are like wolves; they hunt better in packs!

“The ‘buzz’ that a sales team generates is self-fulfilling and the best salespeople thrive off it and do not want to work remotely.

“We wanted a light and airy 1,000 sq ft office within easy reach of Waterloo because most of our team live within easy reach of the train station. Kennington Park ticked all the boxes, although I have to admit that before coming here I was a little wary.

“It looked further out than it actually is, but it takes me just 20 minutes to get to clients on Tottenham Court Road door-to-door.”
 

Adam said his team were enthused by the general feeling of “working in a modern campus”.


“The gym and showers were a real added benefit to my team and the break-out areas, free communal meeting spaces, café and the bookable meeting room next to our office just make our day-to-day working lives that much easier.”

The Manifest Team

Adam admitted recent developments in technology have changed the face of business development, with a focus more towards social, email and other tech innovations that he believes have “replaced the more mundane and traditional method of picking up the telephone”.

“The fact this is changing is great because prospects are now getting fewer telephone calls! So, although more difficult to get hold of, our conversion rates have actually doubled since we started!”

“We do, of course, use traceable emails, reverse DNS and LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for research purposes, to humanise our approaches,” Adam admitted.

“You’d be astonished to see how open the social profiles of many senior professionals are and what you can quickly learn about their personal interests; this can then be used to focus on case studies which you know will interest them on a personal level.”

However, despite the growing trend for business development occurring online and through social channels, Adam insists there will always be a requirement for dedicated office space for Manifest, due to the way it creates “a community and generates creativity”.

“When people talk about the virtual office being the future because technology means we no longer need a physical location, I always smile to myself and think ‘so who makes all this great technology then and do they have virtual offices? No!’

“Just look at the money Apple, Google and Facebook spend on physical offices. It’s because they know how important it is to be a team and you can’t be a team without a home ground.”

And where does Adam foresee his Manifest team being in a three-to-five years’ time? “Hopefully in a 5,000 square foot office in Chester House!” Adam insists.

“We have grown to just shy of a million pounds per year in terms of fee income and now employ 15 staff and have huge aspirations.

“Workspace give me the peace of mind to be able to expand in the knowledge that we can move office whenever we like, irrespective of the lease, so long as we stay in the family and take on a larger unit. That’s very reassuring.”

Thanks to The Workspace Advantage, Manifest is genuine proof that there really are No Limits to what your business can achieve in London.

To discover more about our No Limits initiative, click here.