We are proud and excited to celebrate our work anniversary today! But before we launch into the festivities (oh and there will be festivities!), I wanted to make time to indulge in a little reflection.
As I normally struggle to remember what I had for dinner, the morning after, attempting to recall all our wins, losses, near misses, great decisions and the many howlers that outweigh them, will be difficult, and for those who have reached the second paragraph, will be delighted to read, I’m sure. It’s going to be short, snappy and a note for prosperity and NOT for blowing smoke up one’s own rear!
I LOVE New Year’s day, many don’t, but I bloody LOVE it. It’s possibly my favourite day of the year. A full 12 months sat expectantly ahead of you, just waiting for you to grab hold and steer it kicking and screaming in the direction you want it to go. So with a feisty determination to make this year a pivotal one for Cloud Ten, I started to do something that I had failed to do in the first 3 years of our corporation. Plan. For those who know me, will know that I’m naturally methodical, structured, like things done just so, and for those ‘fortunate’ enough to work/live with me, will tell you I have the faintest hint of OCD! So ‘why’ had it taken me three years, (the hardest of my working career I hasten to add) to take pen to paper and start planning what I wanted the business to achieve within the year ahead. I have managed to attribute many excuses to the ‘why’ but they are all exactly that, just excuses and they were only preventing me from doing what I needed to do.
I wrote our first business plan (yeah I know, three years in!). I set business objectives linked to financial forecasts, a marketing strategy for the next 12 months and a funky PowerPoint in which to share the vision with my enthusiastic team. Oh, and to throw in a little more change, I felt we needed to overhaul our branding and website. We were three years young at the time and had already promoted ourselves with three different identities across two websites! I know, add confused to my list of howlers which I mentioned previously.
With the planning grew confidence, purpose, direction, and the small, manageable steps of how we would get there. Our new (and current) logo was simple, it took on the renewed energy and confidence from understanding who we were, what we represented and what we would be by the end of the following year.
We had remained rudderless for three years, without the basic elements of a business which guide and control its focus. We (more like I), continued to probe and preach to clients of the importance of having a mission, a set of values and aims, but where were ours. Bloody hypocrite. So we set to work, establishing what we are, what makes us tick and why we believe we’re unique. We now have a series of values which adorn our office walls and echo our positive, can-do, fun-loving, democratic culture.
I’m not one for analysing CV’s, reviewing work histories, chosen education paths or cross-examining previous performance. If we can see cultural alignment, commitment, ambition and an unshackled creative mind, you’ll do just fine here at Cloud Ten. In the last 6 months, we have found and welcomed 6 new colleagues to our studio (oh that’s new too), and it is without doubt, it is because of this assembled tribe of fabulous people and the cultural glue that we have between us, which has established the perfect foundation to springboard into our next 12 months.
We are not short of ideas. Time, however, restricts us all. So we are focusing our time wisely. We have written our own marketing plan for 2018 and have our first campaign ready for launch in the first week of January, (have you?), a set of new targets and a focus on finding and welcoming new team-members to enjoy our crazy little studio. We are already exploring new business avenues and working collaborations which will open up new markets, which I hope to share next year, and there is always the ambition of opening that studio in Barcelona, Copenhagen or Bristol, (if you ask Ruth). I will come back to you on our progress in 365 days.
Finally, it wouldn’t be reflective time, without offering thanks to everyone who makes Cloud Ten happen. All my fabulous team, our wonderful clients, our partners who we continue to collaborate with and my poor family who allow me to spend so much time doing what makes me happy.