In our Autumn newsletter I wrote from the heart about the good and bad times we experience at FieldHouse Associates. 2017 was both wonderful and hugely challenging for us — a year of dichotomies. In response I received some astonishingly kind and positive feedback. Some people simply found the honesty refreshing (most business owners will only admit that times had ever been tough once they’ve sold out or moved on). Others were keen to remind me that I mustn’t compare running a PR agency to building a high-growth tech business, that we could never grow as fast as that but at the same time are a much more solid business because of it. A few even reminded me that only one in five businesses pass the two-year mark, and one in ten the five-year mark — let alone achieve the consistent growth and profit that we have. What incredible supporters we have! (Let’s face it, we’d never have made it this far without them.) I was humbled and bolstered by people’s reaction — and, to be honest, pretty surprised and flattered that so many actually bothered to read the newsletter at all!
Aside from our super fifth birthday celebrations in April, as a team we made a conscious decision to look inwards — for the first time, really — in 2017. We put our ducks in a row, formalised the business internally. We put in new HR procedures for hiring, training, job specs, and reviews. We changed our job titles to reflect the industry standard, to ensure we weren’t missing out on good people just to be different. We listened to the team about what perks and benefits really mattered to them, and we changed things accordingly. We spent money on a spanking new website, newly-designed creds, and our fabulous video. Plus, of course, we finally found a really grown-up office we could call home and where we can stay and grow. All of that was healthy and proper.
But that’s done now. Keeping our team motivated and happy will always be a top priority for us. (After all, as I always say, in the end all we are is the people we have plus some laptops…) However, 2018 is about looking outwards. Reinvigorating our growth — winning some seriously exciting new business — while of course ensuring we keep all of our current clients super happy. Our raison d’etre was always to work with people we like, on subject matter we find interesting, and with a purpose to actually have an impact on the companies we work with, and that’s what we want to do.
And do you know what, just one month into the New Year, it’s happening! We will make announcements about some of our new clients in due course, but — wow — the stuff that’s coming in is “schamazing”. I can quite literally feel the momentum behind us, the wind beneath our wings. There’s a buzz in the air. I can feel it, the Directors can feel it, and the rest of the team can feel it. It feels great! Business that we have been hoping would convert is converting; current clients want to do more with us; and quite extraordinarily cool new businesses are approaching us about working together. Wow, again.
So what’s my message? Blogs from founders are, after all, either supposed to contain deeply intellectual thoughts about their particular expertise (maybe my next one will be about communications itself?) or offer some kind of profound advice… All I can say is this: keep going. Through life’s ups and downs, there is only one thing I have always known I had to do: keep going. If you are sure that what you’re doing is right, that you are doing it in an ethical and positive manner, and that you’re doing your absolute best, then it will all work out.
(Oh, and surround yourself with the best possible people — people who are way better at what they do than you are – that helps too!)