It really does feel like 5 minutes ago that I was writing a review of 2016 and now, here we are, almost at the end of 2017 and it’s really lovely to reflect on the year and note down some of our achievements, best moments and what we’re looking forward to in 2018.
This is actually a really lovely exercise to do for your personal life as well. We do this as a family, looking back over photos and remembering adventures we had right at the beginning of the year. We always say ‘wow, didn’t we do a lot’ and I think this is really important as we are all so busy that sometimes we forget about the fun of day-to-day life! 😉
We are lucky enough to have very blurred lines between our business relationship and our friendship – we are best mates that do business together! How cool is that? So, we have had a few personal highlights together that we’ll share in our review of the year too.
But first, business!
At the beginning of the year a regular client of ours, Oxford Vehicle Leasing, asked Claire to work in their offices once a week. This is quite unusual for us, we usually work remotely and have monthly meetings face-to-face but Claire saw this as a good opportunity to really get to know the business. Every Tuesday for this year, Claire has driven through the countryside to Brightwell Baldwin and works on various marketing tasks for the client. From web content to social media strategy and acting as a central marketing contact for other agencies, Claire’s weekly visits have really paid off all round with her being thought of as part of the team (she’s even off on their Christmas ‘do’) and a really deep knowledge of the business being gained.
Lisa has also developed a slightly different way of working this year, mentoring a wide range of clients and having monthly meetings with them to discuss marketing progress and objectives for the weeks ahead. This has proven to be a really popular way of working for owner managed businesses as it allows them to do the day-to-day marketing work but with Lisa to be accountable and to drive their progress, results have been impressive. From local photographers to vending machine specialists, all of these clients have seen a large increase in enquiries and bookings from Google. HR specialists, bookkeepers, business coaches, interior designers, accountants, property developers and osteopaths and have all seen an improvement in their online profiles and we’ve just signed up to work with a fitness instructor to work in this way from 2018.
We are currently working with over 20 clients on a regular basis! One of our main achievements is to end another year with over ten clients who we have been working with for three years or more and three of these we’ve been with for almost our entire eight years in business! When we sat back and thought about this it really hit home that we’ve created some solid, long lasting relationships with our clients and we are proud to be such an integral part of the teams of Vets4Pets, Teva, OVL Ltd, Q1Care Ltd, Sylvia Baldock Ltd, A B Walker and Sons, Hourbike, Sellwood Wealth Management, Companion Care Vets Basingstoke and Lavender and Stone Beauty Rooms.
A huge thank you to these clients for their continued loyalty.
We love our one-off training sessions too – we’ve run more 1-2-1 and group sessions in 2017 than ever before. From Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook ads, Instagram, SEO and general marketing brainstorms, we love to deliver training and will continue to focus on this as an offering in 2018.
We run the training from our respective home offices – this has proven to be really popular, one group who came to us from The Circle Gallery in Sunninghill said of the home based training, “Thanks for hosting in your gorgeous home. We all agree so much nicer than a bland training room!” Lisa even had to extend her dining table in November to accommodate her biggest group ever! Every month our group workshops are fully booked, often with a small waitlist and we are now taking bookings into February 2018!
We were approached in November by http://adviza.org.uk to be a preferred training supplier for social media. The project aims to raise awareness about the importance of workforce development for SMEs across Buckinghamshire AND to ascertain training needs before brokering the most appropriate provision. Funding received by the European Social Fund and Skills Funding Agency enables this project to happen. Qualifying businesses get a £150 voucher to spend on training with a preferred supplier. We have already run one session on Facebook marketing and have two more bookings in December. If you think you might qualify for a training voucher, email firstname.lastname@example.org
We love being able to get involved in projects like this and it’s thanks to our names being well known in the local area that this has happened! Networking has been integral to our success and Lisa is still an active member of the WIBN, who offer an amazing support network and recommend our services time and again.
We genuinely LOVE our work. We often say how lucky we are to work for the nicest people and that we get to work together too – what a bonus! We couldn’t do what we do without our amazing support team – Millie Rust Clarke, Maxine Ashman and Helen Cook – who work with us on client support and provide some holiday cover so we can rest up when we are away – THANK YOU ladies.
We treated Millie and Maxine (Helen lives overseas now so couldn’t come) to a gorgeous lunch at the Ivy Garden in Marlow – our first ‘team’ Christmas do! It was lovely.
We’re not shy about shouting about our friendship – in fact one of our clients recently christened us the Ant and Dec of the marketing world! Which we love!!
We’ve had lots of fun together outside of work this year. From “Going Ape” with our families and woodland dog walks (Lisa’s dog Milly even came to stay with me for 2 weeks in the summer!) to going glam for Royal Ascot and having the best evening at the Crystal Maze. We also had a wonderful ‘away day’ at Nirvana Spa, a chance to relax of course but as we swam lengths in the outdoor pool in the sunshine we made a business decision that has proven to be really successful. It’s going to become an annual treat and this way of making business decisions surely can’t be beaten?
We are big advocates of flexible working and are proof that a business can be a success even if it is not run exclusively 9-5. We both work around our families – even though our children are older now (we have 4 boys between us ranging from 14 to 10) we still love the fact that we are at home working when they get home and we support working parents everywhere and actually think having a family gives you a ‘super efficiency’ power!!
We’d also like to give our lovely husbands a shout-out who are always there for us and fully supportive of what we do (and don’t mind if we are tucked away in our offices some evenings, working hard)! We’re looking forward to our annual One To Three event with our husbands and we’re off to the Escape Rooms in Reading in January!
All in all it really has been a fantastic year!
Our aim for 2018 – to keep going as we are! We deliver a brilliant service to our clients, we enjoy what we do, we get to work together and this is flexible working at its best.
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to everyone who has supported us.
Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!