A Very Happy BA Birthday No. 1!

Written by Sam

Back to school, the football season really clicking into gear, the gradual cooling of the weather, shorter days and pumpkin spice back at Starbucks. September has some pretty major landmarks in it, but for us September takes on even more significance as it’s officially our birthday! 

Robin and myself are both parents, and when a child turns one, you look back and reflect on the landmarks of the first year – the first trip home, first night sleeping through the night, first time they crawled, maybe the first time they walked or first words. 

So like the true proud parents we are, we’re reflecting on our first year in business and some of the major landmarks we’ve enjoyed along the way. 

September 1st - our first day:

SR – The first day felt like any other work day. We’d spent the last six months working from home as a result of the pandemic, so there was actually a huge anti-climax on the first day of the company starting. Robin and I spoke over zoom and I probably changed my Linkedin status, but the focus for the day quickly became about creating a sales template and following up a few prospective clients I’d arranged in the build up to working full time on Brand Ambition.

September - our first invoice day as Brand Ambition:
SR – We knew we were on the right track when it came to sending out our first three invoices. 15 days after starting the business, it felt like a big occasion. 

It meant that all of the hard work that Robin and I had put in the build-up to starting Brand Ambition felt worthwhile. We knew it would be a long road but this was a big step along the way.  

I remember a text exchange with my Dad, who is our financial director and is an investor in the business and him saying that this would be the first of many. It was a moment that everything felt real

December - our first Christmas:

SR – By December, we were pretty much fully booked. Both Robin and I were working flat out and we knew we needed to make a change, especially with the holidays coming up. We couldn’t get together for a Christmas party or anything, but I was lucky enough to be invited to one at a clients office and was incredibly grateful to kick-off the holiday season with some festivities. 

We spent our time off well, and developed a bit of a plan, which we put into action in January.

January - our first hire:

SR – As we entered a new year, we took a big step as a business as two of us became three. We’d had an uptick in business at the back end of the festive season and we needed someone that could come in and help us take the next step.

With so much content needed for websites and the need for us to get out there as a business, we made the decision to bring in a PR and Content Manager. I’ve known Pete for a while from a previous role so when I saw he was available, I got in touch. 

After having a chat with him (Pete likes to talk so it was a long chat) I introduced him to Robin via a Zoom call. After seeing how the pair of them got on – neither would shut up – it felt like a great fit for everyone. On the 18th January we were officially a trio.

April - our first trip to the office (not just Sam):

SR – As lockdown restrictions eased, we were able to venture into the office as a pair for the first time, with our PR and Content Manager Pete joining me in the Fantastic Media offices for the first time. Although it sounds like a small achievement, it really felt like we’d taken another big step forward!

May - our second hire(s):

SR – After hiring our first full-time member of staff in January, we were joined by another two members of the team in May. We’d had a number of new business wins and additional projects from existing clients, so it was clear we needed a bit of help, particularly across SEO and design. 

After going through the interview process fully remotely, it was great to finally meet Myles and Dylan face to face as we spent a few days in the office getting to know each other in person.

June - our first time together in Northern Ireland:

SR – As restrictions eased further, I took full advantage of the opportunity to hop across the Irish sea and have a couple of days in person with Robin in Belfast.

One of the many benefits of us being a family business, is that I was able to bring my son along and have him spend some quality time with my side of the family. It was something that we’d just not been able to do over the previous 16 months due to the pandemic. Robin and I had a very productive couple of days together and my son had a brilliant time with the family.

July - our first office day together as a full team:

RH – In July, I was able to take the reciprocal step across the Irish sea to have a full day with the team. It was the first time that I’d met Pete, Dylan and Myles in person and the first time I’d been to Leeds in a long, long time.

Remote working is great and we have it down to a fine art at Brand Ambition, but there is something about being together as a team, face to face that you just can’t beat. Along with a productive day talking about who we are as a business, spending time refining our proposition and just generally having a good laugh with each other, we were then able to blow off some steam and spend the evening in a social setting.

August - Sam’s first holiday abroad from the business:

RH – After plenty of nudging from my side, Sam finally took a well deserved break and headed off to sunny Spain to spend a week topping up his tan and enjoying plenty of time with family.

It felt like a pretty big step for us as a business as we wanted to make sure that Brand Ambition ran just as smoothly with Sam or myself taking a break.

September 2021 - Invoice number 100.

SR – September 3rd – almost a year to the day that we sent our first invoices, we sent invoice number 100. Talk about coming full circle.

September - we’ve officially turned one

SR – Robin came over for a strategy meeting. As we turned one, we realised that a lot of what we initially set out to do had come to fruition, but that certain elements were starting to change and shift the way we work. 

The day brought the team together to get a clear company vision and a clear direction for the company over the next 12 to 24 months. We have some ambitious plans for our direction so keep following our journey to see where we go next. 

This day concluded with the Inaugural Annual Brand Ambition Birthday Games (or the Gonk’Athon.) Where a series of Games are played to win the honour of taking our “Gonk” Trophy home for the year. Well…what’s the point of starting a company if you’re not going to start ridiculous traditions that with any luck will be played out for years to come.