2016: One giant leap forward
Our year in review
2016 was good for us – we learned, we grew, we moved, we moved again, we challenged ourselves and we improved.
Actually ‘good’ is slightly downplaying it; from moving into our own private space to hiring three fantastic people to join our team and working on some fantastic new projects – I’ll be honest, 2016 was one hell of a year for us!
After years of grinding it out late into the night, long working hours and coping with all the pressures that come with taking a micro-agency to the next level; we finally feel like we’ve build a business with a brand that we can be proud of.
For the majority of the year our focus was responsible and sustainable growth. What does that mean? Basically, we didn’t want to grow our team too quickly, or hire the wrong people. It was important for us to hire people who resonated with us and understood our approach to working with people. But when it came to defining what made us us, we weren’t really sure.
“We’re an SEO company though, aren’t we?” – Robin at the pub in early January 2016
“Well, we are primarily an SEO company, I suppose? But, what does it mean to be an SEO company? Is it enough to just focus on SEO anymore?”
Clearly, we needed focus. We needed to understand who we were, or rather, who or what Seed is!
So, we started a journey of discovery. We started asking ourselves how we could grow our company without losing sight of what was important to us. We questioned what we wanted the company to become, who we wanted to work with, the kind of campaigns we wanted to work on and, importantly, what we most enjoyed doing every day.
I’m not going to lie, it was a challenging and time-consuming process.
We both spent time and energy thinking about what being part of Seed meant to us and what we’d like it to mean to the people that joined us. Our minds were both opened to understanding the importance of what it means to have strong values and a unique working philosophy that led to developing an identity that ultimately defined our company culture.
Soon, we realised that defining our brand, nurturing our company culture and upholding our values wasn’t a start-to-finish process – it had to become a continuous passion project for us; something that we constantly worked on and improved as we grew, and that’s exactly what happened.
Although frustrating at times, continuously questioning what, how and why has allowed us to achieve scalable growth in a way that we’re all proud of and comfortable with.
Growing our team
So by far one of the the most enjoyable parts of 2016 was hiring our new team members. Both Robin and I loved the entire process – writing the job specs, posting the ads online, replying to applications and then, of course, the interviews!
With just Robin, Beth and myself working together at the beginning of 2016, we’ve managed to double our team within just 12-months. Hold your applause, we didn’t get away without making a bucket load of mistakes first; interviewing and hiring is hard.
Actually, Beth deserves a special mention for keeping us going throughout the whole process. Growing from just the three of us to six was a lot for us all to take on in one go, and Beth was super supportive to Robin and I through both the good and slightly more challenging times.
Basically, Beth’s amazing.
The new recruits
I’ve lost count of exactly how many interviews we had in the end, last count we were on 31. We liked so many people, and we’re incredibly thankful that so many bright, young and passionate people felt that we were good enough to work with. In the end, we only had space for 2 new people (we ended up hiring 3), so difficult decisions had to be made.
Ollie was the first to join us last year. Fresh out of Uni and raring to go, Ollie was a pleasant surprise (mainly because we forgot he was coming in for his interview), and has since got stuck in, learnt absolutely loads and quickly started to impress our clients. Ollie simply had what we were looking for; passion, grit, determination and a real drive for delivering great work.
Billy then joined us a little later in the year after yet another surprise (yes, I forgot about Billy’s interview too). Either way, it was fine – we had a chat, gave Billy a mini-project to work on, and he impressed us so much that we had to offer him a role here. Billy has bags of potential and will be a success wherever he goes in life. Same with Ollie and Tom too, actually – we’re just pleased they’re part of Seed now.
Finally, Tom joined us right at the end of the year after 2 interviews! Wow. Another character to add to the mix, Tom matches up with our values, he understands our purpose as a digital marketing agency and he’s someone that comes with 4+ years of industry experience. His reference was absolutely amazing too, so that helped.
Putting it all together for 2017
So if you’ve visited our website before you may have noticed a big change. It’s not perfect and it’s still a work-in-progress, but we’re happy that it better represents who we are as a company.
Like 2016, we’re driven to make this year big for Seed. If that means more grinding it out late into the night, long working hours and all the pressures that come with taking our agency to the next level – we’re ready and we’re up for it.
The difference is, we have a fantastic team behind us now. Our efficiency, results and quality of work have never been better, and they’ll only continue to improve as we change and grow as a team.
Change is inevitable, and we welcome it.