Mark Elliott: A Knowledge Grab Success Story

Mark Elliott Leicester Singer Songwriter


This week we have a guest blog by the Leicester based talented Singer/Songwriter Mark Elliott, who Knowledge Grab have supported and helped to take the big step from pursuing music as a hobby, to forming a viable and successful business doing what he loves. As it is Global Entrepreneurship Week, we wanted to share a success story that gained and used some invaluable business acumen from Knowledge Grab.

“My involvement with Knowledge Grab and Mahmood began around 2 years ago when I was early on into my self-employment.  Since leaving school I’d worked a number of jobs that didn’t inspire me and after a few years made the decision to try and earn a living through music.

The Knowledge Grab workshops I attended were focused on developing businesses, mainly in the creative sector and I found it comforting being around other people in a similar situation to me, rather than ‘business’ people.  I took a great deal from the Knowledge Grab course, such as the importance of having the right attitude, knowing your motivation for doing whatever it is you might be doing and being prepared for the hard parts as well as the good times.  Whilst I think having a technical understanding of running a business is important, it doesn’t prepare you for the reality. The online Enterprise & Entrepreneurship course was ideal to fit into schedule whenever I got a bit of spare time and really put into perspective the fundamentals of running my own business.

As a musician who plays original music, the difficult part for me was the realisation that my work would be split into doing the things that I enjoyed and the things that would be necessary for survival.  During one of the Knowledge Grab workshops I was introduced to a useful and helpful framework to label the different parts of my business.  This framework is called The Boston Matrix, and is one business tool amongst many that I was shown.

The Boston Matrix

Boston Matrix Diagram

  • Cash Cows are the areas of a business that require little investment but turn good profit.
  • Stars require more investment to begin with but will be the cash cows of tomorrow.
  • Problem Children (or Question Marks) cost more than they make but may become stars at some point.
  • Dogs don’t require much investment but don’t return much either.

Whilst the business planning side of things was very helpful I felt this was the moment that really got me thinking about what it is to be a creative business, it made me realise that whilst I didn’t necessarily enjoy playing at functions and weddings for example (stars), it was exactly this that allowed me to continue working on my original music (problem child/potentially a star at some point). And whilst my guitar lessons are occasionally difficult to fit in around recording sessions and gigs they do provide me with a regular, flexible income with very little outlay for marketing etc (Cash Cow). (To learn more about the Boston Matrix and how it works, click here).

I think it’s so important to be able to think of your business objectively because it prevents making decisions based on feeling alone. So whilst I don’t spend 24 hours writing and recording and touring and doing all the other things I would love to focus all of my time on, I still get to make a living doing what I love to do. And that is without a doubt the most important thing.”

If you’re thinking of, or have recently started your own business, our Enterprise & Entrepreneurship online course could really help you to get the right foundations for a successful future. Click here to enrol now. Alternatively, contact us on to find out how we can help you.