With Magenta celebrating its tenth year in business in 2021, it’s given me the opportunity to reflect on the past decade. In my previous blogs, I talked about the 10 people who’ve had the most impact on the business over the past ten years, the 10 things that I know now which I wish I’d known then and the inspiration behind Magenta. In my final blog I’m looking back at our ten most memorable moments.
Securing our first long-term client
Magenta’s first ever client was SitexOrbis, a vacant property management firm based in Uxbridge. I was introduced by one of my old colleagues and met them as I was leaving FM World, now Facilitate. I still remember the excitement when they signed on the dotted line (I bought a celebratory slice of cake for the journey home). But they weren’t just any first client. Having had several PR agencies in the past, marketing manager Debansu Das gently guided me into what I should be doing and how I should be doing it. This advice was instrumental in how we run our client relationships even today.
Hiring our first M person
Winning clients is exciting, but it was when we’d won enough new business to warrant hiring someone that it really hit home that I was running a business. Five months after I set the business up, our first M person walked through the door. It was the start of creating the Magenta culture that sets us apart today. But with people comes responsibility – you realise that you’re not just running the business to pay your mortgage and bills, but there are other people relying on you to make it a success.
While we started in the UK, many of our clients are global and we’ve been fortunate that they’ve often taken us with them. We started supporting clients in Australia in 2012, Canada in 2013 and the US in 2017. We’ve also done projects all over Europe. Our Toronto office services our clients in North America and we have associates all over the world. Being able to deliver global projects never ceases to excite me.
Our first team trip
In 2016 we went on our first overseas team trip – to Barcelona – following a really successful year. Since then we’ve been to Lisbon, Seville and Lyon and, financial performance allowing, we hope to enjoy a team trip every year. It’s brilliant to take everyone away together and explore a new place for a few days. People go into teams and pitch for a destination and the MD and wellbeing manager decide. I can’t wait to be able to go away with the M People again.
Winning a BAHBA
In 2016 Magenta was named Professional Services Business of the Year at the Brighton & Hove Business Awards. It was the first time we’d been publicly recognised for our work. To hear Magenta Associates read out on stage and to be presented with the award was truly exciting. Since then, we’ve been fortunate enough to win a Sussex Business Award and we’ve just been shortlisted for two CIPR PRide awards.
Resigning a client
Not all relationships work out and it’s important to know when to walk away. We’ve only had to do that very occasionally in our decade in business but the first time we did that was a very powerful moment. The client was treating our people badly, kept changing the goal posts and wasn’t investing in the partnership. We tried to make it work but when we gave notice it was the most amazing feeling – and showed our people that we will never put profit above them. The lesson here is working relationships will only be a true success if they’re built on a foundation of mutual respect and shared values.
Signing an office lease and having our own space
Although we’ve had a physical office since we started in 2011, it’s always been in serviced offices. But in July 2017 we signed a five year lease and moved into our own office. It was wonderful to be able to personalise our own workplace and create the sort of environment which epitomised our culture.
Appointing a new MD
The person who set up the business is not always the right person to take it to its next stage. In October 2019, after 8.5 years as MD, I stepped back to a chairman role and Jo Sutherland, who has been with Magenta since 2015, became our MD. In the almost two years since then, she’s taken Magenta to the next level developing the business into an integrated communications consultancy. She’s also become a mum in that time (our first Magenta baby!).
Surviving and thriving during Covid
While the pandemic was tough financially for Magenta, there were definitely upsides. As a team we became much closer – we shared our feelings and experiences in a way that we would never have done before – and we really upped our game in terms of wellbeing activities to keep us motivated. We all experienced tough times over the pandemic (fortunately not all at the same time!) and we helped each other through it. We also became much closer to our clients – like our colleagues we helped each other through a challenging year.
Our tenth birthday party
Last week we celebrated our tenth birthday with our clients, partners and friends at a bash in the City. Being able to see people face to face after so long, and raise a glass to a decade in business was brilliant fun. A small business like ours is successful thanks to lots of people – our colleagues and associates past and present, every client who has ever worked with us particularly the long-standing ones, our professional advisers and our wider networks who’ve supported us in so many ways over the year. Thank you for making my dream a reality.
Here’s to another decade packed full of memorable moments!