Radio producer

Radio producer Rachel Barton shares 10 tips for running a business

Former BBC Radio producer Rachel Barton is the founder and CEO of the production company We are grapes.

From founding indie 10 years ago to hiring 11 people today, we asked Rachel to mark the occasion by sharing 10 things she’s learned in 10 years in business.

Act with integrity.

I have been tempted to repeat this 10 times in this list, as it is by far the most important point and the backbone of Grape; creating a positive corporate culture, providing exceptional customer service, producing the best and most meaningful work possible, being generous with our peers and competitors, and a myriad of other areas. It’s about operating with integrity.

Find great people and take care of them.

Following the last point – the Grape team are exceptional and the best at what they do. As individuals they all have different strengths, but together they work towards the common goal of creating brilliant audio and visual programs that captivate audiences. I am very proud to work with them.

Be picky about your projects – exclusively create work that you are passionate about.

In Grape’s younger years, we took on projects that were okay but, shall we say, somewhat creatively disappointing. Since then, we have only offered or taken on projects for which we feel perfectly suited, for which we have significant expertise and for which we are enthusiastic and passionate.

You won’t win everything… ..and that’s okay.

On that note, we didn’t win everything we came up with. Some of the bigger ones that we didn’t have stayed with me, others that I completely forgot. But going through the process of each pitch gives us the opportunity to learn more, improve our own processes, work as a team, and use our creative flair to come up with great ideas. Even if they are not commissioned haha!

Have a clear mission statement.

In recent years, we have refined what Grape offers in the market and the areas of expertise in which we operate. From now on, we only produce audio and visual programs around music and / or intended for young audiences. This sets us apart from our competition and gives us a clear goal.

Bring positive energy.

I am aware that I am going a little David Brent here, but I totally believe that being positive, while realistic, is extremely useful in all areas of life, even in difficult times. I’m a problem solver and find that if I approach a problem with positivity it really helps solve it.

Keep learning and challenging yourself.

I think that’s why I love creating content so much – a program can never be completely perfect, something can always be improved. There are always new stories to tell, new music to defend and new artists to support. And in my role, I can always learn to be a better leader and a better business owner.

Be nimble.

To run a successful business, it is essential to be agile and react quickly to situations. I think it’s also important to be open to change and not just do things a certain way, because that’s how it’s always been done. Challenge yourself and your own processes – be your own disruptor!

Running a business is really hard work, but ultimately it is incredibly rewarding.

As a small business owner, you do everything from HR to recruiting, finance to start-up, public relations to new business. This has never been truer since I had two children in the past 4.5 years. It’s completely crazy, but I still absolutely love it.


Because at the end of the day, that’s what it is – we have a really good job and we’re incredibly lucky to be working in this industry. Bring on the next decade.

This article first appeared in eRADIO – RadioToday’s regular newsletter delivered to inboxes on a Wednesday morning. Subscribe here.

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