What an incredible journey it has been! Some of you may have read my 1st year blog where it was a turbulent learning experience with a lot of patience needed, fear and doubt due to the effects of the pandemic. I’m so pleased to share that the 2nd year has been a completely different and mainly positive experience. I honestly don’t know where 2022 is going! There are now not enough hours in the day and I’m buzzing with how far ABC has come!
To found a start-up, means a high risk of failure. 20% of businesses fail in their first year and around 60% of new businesses fail in the first 3 years. This is a sad statistic that comes across most Founders’ minds at some point of their challenging journey. Especially when the going gets super tough. I can safely say that with the support of my amazing clients and partners, this is no longer a worry of mine. The cliché of taking each day as it comes really has brought me to today.
Year 2 has been all about client and partner relations. My Dad once said it’s easy to get a licence, but it’s very hard to keep it clean. I use this analogy for a lot of things in my life, to keep working at it and give it your all for the best result; keeping it clean on the way. It’s of course not easy to win a pitch or account, but in actual fact, that’s the easier part when you look at the bigger picture and the longevity of the partnership. For me, it’s about building that relationship and providing a quick and efficient service to meet their needs. That’s what leads to client retention and respect within our small industry. To sustain and grow all partnerships is key and one of the most important things for me. Particularly as ABC includes my actual name and keeping a clean reputation in the industry is my long term goal. As far as I know, there’s only one Avvy in media I’d hate to hear that someone had a bad experience with me!
I’m now relaxed enough to know that business will come in once people are comfortable with the concept of Barter and how it works. Year 2 has resulted in a fantastic growth trajectory for ABC based on this alone. Having spent a lot of time nurturing relationships and walking through the Barter process has allowed people to feel at ease with trusting the concept and above all, working with me! Before I knew it, the referrals came through and the client count increased each month! As I constantly receive various briefs, this also allowed me to build Media Owner relationships across all 6 mediums singlehandedly. Gosh I can’t think of how many ‘new supplier/customer forms’ I’ve filled in in order to trade with Media Owners. It’s been fantastic to meet some lovely, talented people on the way and bring the right Barter business to them. Each campaign I trade and deliver gives me a huge buzz! The satisfaction I get from getting a plan over the line and creating extra value for my clients is an incredible feeling. I’ve also loved increasing my knowledge with certain Media Owner offerings as well which I didn’t have a clue about before.
With growth comes further risk! Progression is any Founder’s dream, but only they would understand the financial pressures that comes within such developments. Another hurdle to overcome has been to fund the business itself. It’s all well and good winning new biz and getting those trades in, but quite rightly, I have often needed to pre-pay campaigns to obtain payment terms in future. I’m very fortunate that I’ve had the support to manage this and ecstatic to have built financial terms with so many players in the market. This has been a huge achievement for me as it wasn’t long ago when I couldn’t even afford one pre-payment let alone build a rapport with the majority of the Media Owners. The sheer pride that I have when I say ‘prepayment is not a problem’ is indescribable as it’s taken a lot to get here. I did a Cheshire cat smile when someone said ‘Avvy, I have changed your account to 30 days’ terms as you’ve continuously paid on time or early’. These moments should also be celebrated as a year ago, these guys didn’t even know me! Cashflow is king and to ensure all’s ticking along well in the accounts has been a huge learning curve for me this year. Having been in sales all my life, I quickly had to learn about VAT returns and Corp tax bills, what a mind boggle that’s been! I have utmost respect for all you accountants out there!
At the beginning of 2022, I found myself pitching around 3 times a week through referrals and being approached via LinkedIn, media friends, or the brilliant networking agency Pimento. This was exhausting, but I had the time to do it so I kept on at it and trying to grow my network. Fortunately, 8 months later, I now find myself servicing my clients around 75% of the time with only a little time left to establish new relationships and pitches. Of course, I’d never turn down new biz and will always work till the cows come home when needed, but the sheer satisfaction of delivering different Barter campaigns on a daily basis is exhilarating. When I get asked ‘Avvy can we do this?’ I don’t even need to hesitate and say no as the possibilities of Barter are endless. Whether it’s product, service or media based, I happily deliver a media campaign working with direct clients on small briefs to those +£1 million briefs via media agencies. That’s the beauty of being a consultant and Barter agency!
Someone recently asked me what I did for a living. Without thinking, I started explaining what ABC is and what I do. To my astonishment, she replied ‘Oh so you’re a business woman. An entrepreneur.’ Slightly surprised, I just said ‘Wow, I’ve never thought of it like that, I guess I am. I’m just following my dreams and enjoying the journey!’
Thank you, thank you, thank you to each and every one of you who have believed in me, given me amazing opportunities, your time, and most of all, your faith in me. A business is only strong with the right support and network. I’m so blessed with my family who have helped with childcare whilst I’m working away and my understanding children who know ‘Mummy’s working’. Most importantly, my enduring husband who’s always been alongside me and my ambitions. Here’s to 2 years, I can’t wait to see what ABC’s future holds and to continue to grow from strength to strength!