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A Decade In Simpatico

Written by Simpatico PR

Posted on 2020-06-24

Ten year’s ago as I watched then Chancellor George Osbourne announce his post-election emergency Budget, I read an email from my accountant confirming Simpatico PR had been incorporated.

Did the world really need another PR agency? To be honest I didn’t worry too much if it did or it didn’t. Or if it would ever come to anything. I wanted to launch one with content creation and proactivity at its heart and a strong journalistic ethos because it felt right.

I think the amazing people I have been lucky enough to work with at Simpatico PR over the last decade delivering great ideas and exposure for our clients, helped prove that putting content creation at the heart of PR wasn’t such a bad idea.

A massive thanks to everyone who embraced the challenge.

The agency’s ten-year anniversary has made me wonder whether I’d recommend a similar adventure to others who are considering creating a new agency and whether I have actually learned anything on the way.

I think the answer to both is yes.

Because I have got as much wrong as I have right (but have tried to learn from each mistake) and because I probably won’t get another opportunity until 2030, here are a few thoughts ten years on:

· Agency is about service. Your service must be rooted in a sense of purpose. And that purpose or point of difference must be authentic. The proof for me is that time and again I have found that if you pitch with conviction, your audience will come with you.

· Don’t be a slave to business plans. Get as much advice as you can about running a business, but short snippets of wisdom can be as important as in-depth off-the-shelf guides. A rough plan in your head coupled know-how is enough until you get bigger. But even then, be prepared to rip it up.

· Stay as close to the coalface as you can – remember how you add value and what customers are buying.

· There is good growth and bad growth. Do not get wedded to meaningless income targets and aimlessly chasing growth. You can end up feeding the machine for the sake of it. So long as you turn a profit and do good work, you can decide yourself what success looks like. Positive growth has been about more than money – it’s been about rewarding work. The happy by-product of that, tends to be more growth anyway.

· Trust your gut instinct above all else and that sometimes means ignoring well-meant opinions from those around you. Niggling doubts are there for a reason.

· But be prepared to take risks – every day is a risk even when you’re PAYE. So as a business owner, calculate the odds and make decisions. Don’t waste time regretting bad ones.

· Run the business around what inspires you, what motivates you and what you can do well – outsource anything you are not expert in or hate doing. Like bookkeeping and IT.

· Brilliant clients are those with ambition and something to say and are those people who are not only lovely to be around but understand the value of communications to business. Find them and run at the challenges with them. The best work has always happened with the best client teams.

· Working with the right team will influence success or failure 100%. So, recruitment should always inform or define your next steps. Don’t compromise.

· Don’t go dark – stay visible even if you don’t feel like it. Any business in the media, PR and marketing world should practice what it preaches.

· Good things will happen when you feel good. Recognise your own working pattern – don’t force yourself to follow the always-on entrepreneur work ethic – it’s so 20th century. If Elon Musk’s style works for you by all means, go for it. For everyone else, I’d say invest in your mental health and take time out.

· If you can imagine it happening, there is a very good chance it will.

Running any business is a journey and 2020 has delivered one of the biggest challenges in the last ten-years with Simpatico PR. But it is also providing an amazing opportunity to re-think, re-purpose and embrace change.

It has been a good decade full of work I’m proud of and people I’m very grateful to have met. I’m imagining the next decade will be just as rewarding. But it will be different.

In the spirit of collaboration, if anyone out there would like advice on how to avoid some of the mistakes I made or would simply like a sounding board, I’m happy to help.

Do you have a project you would like to talk over with us?

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