Simon, our MD’s end of year roundup
2018 has been the most rewarding year professionally in recent memory. There have been mostly highs and a few learning curves thrown in there for good measure. But what I can say is how proud of our growing team and my co-director Sophie Metcalfe for allowing me to run with a vision for The Soapy Group and make it a reality. Planning has been the key word for 2018; setting out a goal and working hard to achieve it. As I sit writing this end of year blog and thinking of my imminent annual snow holiday, I am not worrying about what will happen while I’m away. This really pays testament to how far we have come in the last 12 months.
The Big Expand
6 months of planning, many sleepless nights and lots of overthinking has seen our company move from a small managed office suite to a larger, more permanent home for Soapy. We identified in the April of 2018 that a move would need to happen sooner rather than later. The challenge of course was to find the right place to move to. I had a clear vision of what we needed and with some help from Elliot Rich, my TAB mentor, we set it into place. Sophie Metcalfe, our Creative Director, planned the office colours and a slight re-brand. I planned the move and sourced, where possible, recycled or reclaimed office furniture. This includes our meeting room table made out of old scaffold boards and the chairs which are made from recycled plastic. The move was incident free and thanks to fabulous service suppliers went without a hitch.
Looking back I don’t think I could have imagined how much of a difference moving to our new place has been both in terms of the growth of clients but also the quality of SME’s we are now working with. There is no doubt that the vision our clients and prospetive companies get when they come see what we are all about really has been enhanced. Just having our company vision written for all to see in the meeting room cements this.
Expanding in both office and staff size happened at the same too, with the appointment of Richard Burn our Creative Marketing Assistant. Fresh out of the University of Lincoln he really has settled in to the Soapy bubble well creating a fantastic dynamic within the team. Bradley Metcalfe really has self promoted himself from Marketing Assistant to our in-house Web Designer. His experience and knowledge with additional training has seen him develop at a great pace since joining us in 2017. Our expansion doesn’t stop here though, due to the increase in our fully managed marketing clients we are now recruiting for a Project Co-ordinator to start in 2019. This role will really allow the team to focus on more defined roles while creating a bigger capacity for more clients. The quality of applicants wanting to work within a smaller agency that is not in a large town really has surprised me. The next 12 months is about steady growth through working with value adding clients. 2019 is all about ‘The Power of Five’ and how the number five can help you plan your marketing and growth in the next 12 months.
Achievement through support
On a personal level one of the biggest contributions to my development was my introduction to The Alternative Board (TAB) and my local facilitator Elliot Rich. The TAB model really works well with both monthly board meetings with my members who are also business owners and leaders, and my monthly 1-2-1’s with Elliot. Having that support and vision from someone outside the Soapy bubble really helps me see past where we are now to what we could achieve. That guidance and mentoring structure has been a large part of our expansion this year.
It slightly annoys me that our mantra has been pinched in 2018 somewhat, but that’s ok, because as other companies move on to a different ‘buzz word’ this will always remain part of what we do and how we work. Our values to create, grow, improve, build relationships, communicate and have fun are clear. After all the writing is on the wall!