Wow. It’s not often that I am lost for words. I’m known for being confident, quick, decisive, and possibly sometimes over-the-top.. And yet, when they said “..and the winner is… FieldHouse Associates!” – I had no idea what to do. I was absolutely stunned. I hadn’t been expecting it at all. Genuinely. The competition was too strong, too established, truly made too much value-add impact on deals. I knew this. I respect those guys. No way could this little company I had founded be playing at the same level, and win ‘Service Provider of the Year’ at the Investor Allstars Awards. No PR agency had ever won. No small, entrepreneur-led business had ever won. And yet I had to pull myself together and get up on that stage – dragging as many of my team as I could with me – because we had won, and and I had to go up there and accept an extraordinarily prestigious award during an awards ceremony that I have been sitting in on, as a spectator, for more years than I can remember. It was amazing. There are no other words. It was – without question – the high-point of my career thus far. So a huge thank you to the judges, and to the whole venture capital community, for welcoming FieldHouse, and me, into your exclusive fold – and recognising that, even in some small way, we have made a difference, had an impact. It’s more than I ever expected – and I am forever grateful, and indeed honoured.
Weeks later, I am still in awe of it. The number of kind, supportive, wonderful congratulatory messages has been out of this world. I look at the award itself and feel unbelievably proud. The team has been rewarded, perhaps I could even say recognised, for many years of hard work. Incoming, referred new business – always a unique strength of ours – has doubled; old contacts have come out of the woodwork wanting to work with us again; and current clients are feeling happy and justified that they are working with the right agency. On top of that, a few days later we were announced as Finalists for ‘Growth Business Enabler of the Year’ in the Startups Awards. It’s all a little overwhelming, but super exciting! It’s all a win-win! Yay!
However as we all know it’s not the full story. For every success there’s also failure. For every happy award win, there is a client who we could never satisfy however hard we tried, and have lost. Pulling together our fantastic team has meant making many mistakes with people, dealing with tricky HR situations – and learning how to hire slowly and fire fast. Running, and growing, a business is not an easy ride. I am faced with decisions I am, quite frankly, not qualified to make, every single day of the week. The ‘full story” is hard, it’s challenging, it’s never-ending – it’s real entrepreneurial life.
Consequently, when I bang on now about how FieldHouse is doing really well, and what we are doing next, you will know I am doing it with humility and a full understanding that it’s all a risk and no one has any idea what will work and what won’t. All we can do is work stonkingly hard, learn from our experiences, and keep moving forwards. (Indeed it’s this very understanding that gives us such a strong insight into understanding and helping high growth businesses!).
So, what’s next for FieldHouse? Well, we are growing like mad. This summer we have hired four new team members in London, all totally bought into our philosophy and keen to become part of this exciting community. I am so pleased that we are now also big enough to take on ‘work experience’ and ‘intern’ staff – it’s something I couldn’t believe in more strongly. (Indeed, I suspect that I would never have got my foot in the career ladder without being given such opportunities? If you’re interested, one day try Googling ‘Movies, Games and Videos’ and see where I started out. We all have to begin somewhere…!)
However, the real news is that we have taken a an exciting, bold – and yet extraordinarily natural – step, and have opened an office in Cambridge! Naturally, working in tech and investment, we have always had a number of clients based in or around Cambridge – and we’ve been delighted to be involved with SVC2UK and Women4Technology events in Cambridge for some time. Over the years, all these clients and advocates have been clear with me that they felt exceptionally lucky to have found FieldHouse, as their prior experience had been with expensive, purposeless, London PR agencies who charged a fortune, delivered very little, and didn’t understand any of the subtleties about having come out of the Cambridge network. It was obvious that there was a gap we needed to fill. Tech businesses, launched as part of the ‘Cambridge network’, need to work with an agency that both understands where they’ve come from, and has the ability to help take them where they need to go. So we’re going to deliver it for them! Now with a Cambridge tech and growth business comms expert in place – in the form of ex-BBC journalist Debbie Mayhew – the new FieldHouse Associates Cambridge office is all set to go.
As per winning the Investor Allstars award though, the real success of our new Cambridge office won’t come through via new business referrals, event invitations, or any kind of PR fluff. The real ‘success’ moment will come when Cambridge-based investors and entrepreneurs truly welcome FieldHouse Cambridge into their fold, and recognise the impact we can have on their businesses, and so realise the value of working with us.
I’m not interested in column inches of coverage. I never have been. I leave that to the ‘PR people’. (In truth, I’m not a standard ‘PR’ person!!) What I’m interested in, however, is having an impact on the companies we are working with – and through our expertise and knowledge, helping businesses get to the next level they are trying to achieve.
And so I come full circle… I never expected that we would win at the Investor Allstars Awards, but I should have. I should have recognised that, even though we are small and not a big ‘corporate’ – the impact we have, due to the philosophy we work to, and the razor sharp focus we have, is huge – and the goals we work towards are no less valuable than any law firm, accountancy firm, or corporate finance firm.
If you hire FieldHouse Associates, you are more likely to achieve your goals. Fact. And that’s the biggest “win” for me. Wow.
Thank you to all our supporters, as ever,