Making a few changes at Bamford Media
August is traditionally a quieter month for me, as we take a break at one of our favourite spots in Devon, to recharge the batteries and plan to finish off the year strongly.
Of course, this year is different, for all sorts of reasons.
With Covid-19 data suggesting a second spike, and locals in the South West reporting intolerable pressures on local infrastructure due to desperate tourists, we’re doing the responsible thing and staying home.
But it’s still important to step back and reflect from time-to-time.
I emailed our clients on Friday with an update on our plans for Bamford Media in August and beyond, some of which I’m sharing here.
Thinking back to the start of the lockdown, it came along at an ‘interesting’ time for our business.
We had recently expanded our operations, investing some personal money to allow us to grow quickly and keep up with client demand. We leased a larger office and hired two more members of staff.
And then the lockdown came along. A couple of our flagship clients saw their revenues fall to zero overnight, with the inevitable removal of their marketing requirements.
Members of the team had newly discovered childcare and homeschooling needs, so we made the decision to offer furlough to the majority; it worked for them and it worked for us, given the uncertainty we faced about existing and new client work during the lockdown.
Before the lockdown was announced, we took the early decision to cancel our Financial Planner Marketing Summit for June. It was all too clear back in early March that conferences and events would not be an easy sell this year. As it turned out, coronavirus restrictions would have forced its cancellation anyway.
One of our largest contracts for later this year was also postponed until 2021, another large event that can’t happen under current rules.
So, fairly bleak times for the business.
James and I kept things ticking over, doing our best between us to keep existing clients happy, and limiting our availability to new clients.
From a personal perspective, working from home with my wife as a teacher looking after the children of keyworkers in school, it wasn’t easy to maintain focus or motivation during this time.
That was then and this is now.
One of my personal reflections from the lockdown and this pandemic is how much I’ve enjoyed a) working from home (in my newly built shedquarters), and b) pursuing a slightly less ambitious growth strategy for the business.
Lockdown has allowed me to rediscover many of the things I lost during the past three years of pursuing growth at Bamford Media. I’ve loved spending more time with my family, enjoying long walks in the forests behind our house, and taking photographs.
So, here’s the plan for Bamford Media as we head into August and beyond.
I’m sorry to say farewell to Elmien and Joe, both brilliant individuals who have been a valuable part of the Bamford Media team this year, albeit in very difficult and different circumstances.
Kathryn will be rejoining the team, from furlough, at the start of September.
The Bamford Media team will consist of Kathryn, James and Emma, and we’re hoping to (mostly) get back into the office then too.
We’re keeping our biggest office room, but plan to rent out two or three desks to other local creatives, to help cover some of the bills there.
Our focus at Bamford Media is going to be on three things:
1 – Working with our existing clients. James, Kathryn and Emma will be leading the charge on this front, with my input too. Instead of engaging new clients for the rest of 2020, we will be…
2 – Expanding our FinCart GO service as a membership package for Financial Planners, including access to our off-the-shelf blog content and some marketing resources. Delivering this service is more scaleable than the work we do with individual clients and will allow us to grow our revenue without placing undue pressure on resources within the team.
3 – Writing books, shooting videos and taking photographs – this is where I would like to spend more of my time in the remainder of this year, including finally getting my next book written.
It’s not the plan we had at the start of the year, but it would be foolish to believe that any plan made in a pre-Covid world could remain unchanged today.
What I hope this new strategy will realise is our long-held ambition to be great not big as a business, and for Bamford Media to serve as a vehicle for my happiness, and that of the team and our clients.