At the outset, I know this will be a long blog post because it is a round-up of a very busy year for fatBuzz, but I hope you all find the time to read it and, if you find it interesting, please share it.
2011 was a big year for fatBuzz, or so we thought. During that year we worked with 24 new clients, an amazing number in the current climate and we thought that would be difficult to repeat in 2012. But we are optimists, so we decided to try and repeat this number in 2012. In fact, we actually exceeded our expectations by some margin - working with over 30 new clients.
Our thanks go to all of these new clients for giving us the opportunity and to the many existing clients who referred us to many of these new clients.
Exceeding expectations is something we strive to do; we hope every client we worked with in 2012 feels we exceeded their expectations. If not, please talk to us about where you feel we could have done more.
We are extremely encouraged by last year's figures and even more positive about next year because we are already talking to a number of potential new clients for 2013. Hopefully we will be able to bring you some news about them early in January.
EXPANDING THE TEAM
Introducing so much new work to the business meant we had to expand our team and whilst I'd like to take credit for the great team we have, I must admit this was largely down to Kyle and Marion. In fact, on one occasion, the first time I met one particular member of staff was the day after he started working with fatBuzz!
Derek Howie was the first of the 2012 recruits. Derek actually interviewed me in 2010 as part of his university work but it wasn't until Kyle interviewed him that we knew he would be a great addition to the fatBuzz team.
Joanna Robb came to fatBuzz as an intern before joining us full-time a few months ago. Joanna's marketing degree and experience in fashion retailing are very useful to a variety of our clients.
Chris Winch is the latest recruit (he's the one I met after he joined fatBuzz!) Chris has been a fantastic addition to the web development side of the business and his arrival brings us a range of additional skills that complement those already on offer from our design team.
Brian Blacklaw joined us at the start of 2012 to strengthen our accounting, reporting and admin functions - and he has exceeded our expectations! We now have up-to-the-minute reporting and extensive financial data that helps us to set fair rates for the work we do for you. We are very pleased to have all of these people on board and I look forward to Kyle expanding the team further in 2013.
IMPROVING OUR ENVIRONMENT
We not only expanded the fatBuzz team in 2012, we also decided to give our office a major refurb! We wanted the interior to reflect the innovative and dynamic nature of our business - and the main office is now bright and airy with lots of areas for team collaboration and client meetings.
The floor of the office is Astroturf and visitors are invited to compete in our appropriately named "Finding the Net" golf challenge, where we record scores on a "Top Gear" style leader board.
We wanted the office to have a creative feel but more than anything we wanted it to be fun. We always tell clients that social media should be fun, even when the message is serious.
Thanks to John Dick & Son for their help with the office interiors, you can read more about the project here.
fatBuzz is proud of its tradition of sharing knowledge, which we do mainly via the Social Media Podcast and the New Media Breakfasts. September this year was the third anniversary of the Glasgow and Edinburgh events and what a busy year we had - over 1300 attendees heard a variety of presenters talking on a wide range of social media related topics.
At our final breakfast in Glasgow a first-time attendee said to me immediately after we finished that she had been to many similar events that didn't impress her and she had come along not expecting very much, but that we had exceeded her expectations. That's what we like to hear. We do get lots of positive feedback from the breakfast attendees and we hope that most people take away at least one thing from each event.
The New Media Breakfast is a significant commitment for fatBuzz; many hours of preparation go into every one we do and we will continue to run them as long as we feel there is sufficient interest and support for what we are trying to achieve. The first breakfast of 2013 is already scheduled, where we will try to get your content creation off to a great start by giving you lots of tips for 2013. You can get full details of that event here.
In 2012, I also completed a large number of speaking engagements throughout the UK. I hope the 2000 (approx) attendees from Aberdeen to London enjoyed listening as much as I enjoyed talking to them.
WHERE WE DID FAIL
I will be the first to admit that we have failed to deliver a sufficient number of podcasts this year - this is very much a case of the 'cobblers bairns'. We have been so busy with client work and the breakfasts that something had to give way.
We are still 100% committed to the Social Media Podcast and we're currently looking at ways to ensure a more regular release. We may alter the format so that we have some like the existing one, others that are interview led and perhaps even guest presenters. One thing is for sure - we will be bringing you more episodes in 2013 that we did in 2012, so please stay tuned to see what happens.
WHERE WE DID SUCCEED
Perhaps the most satisfying event of 2012 was the Social Media Day for Charities that we ran in October. We were delighted to welcome 125 guests representing over 90 charities to 29 Member's Club for a day of knowledge sharing about social media. We were delighted to be able to offer this day to every attendee free of any charge. Several people did say it had exceeded their expectations - we liked that!
The day was made possible because so many of our clients supported what we were doing and helped us where they could. We are very grateful to 29 Glasgow, Bloom VC, Commsworld, Dean's Shortbread, Meigle Print, Orb Group & The Networking Coach for their support and participation on the day.
RAISING THE BAR
The only way we can keep exceeding expectations (yours and ours) is to continue to 'raise the bar'. The Social Media Charity Day was an example of this, we wanted to help charities make better use of the very limited resources they have at their disposal. Next year we would like to do it all again, but let's do it for 500 charities this time!
If we are to achieve this though, we will need even more support. We don't mind putting in the hours to make it happen and if any of our clients or social media friends would like to offer their support please let me know I will be delighted to chat to you about it.
GIVING SOMETHING BACK
fatBuzz has always adhered to the motto of The Entrepreneurial Exchange - 'Work Hard, Play Hard, Give Something Back'. We will continue to work with a number of charities for discounted rates and in some instances for no fee. This year we are delighted to have worked with; Aberlour Child Care Trust, Action for Children, Hearts & Minds, Kilbryde Hospice, Carers Trust, Scottish Spina Bifida Association, Skillforce and With Kids.
We would urge all of our clients and social media friends to find a way to work with charities, the rewards for both parties will exceed your expectations.
IT DIDN'T HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT
We are genuinely delighted with 2012. It has been a busy year but it didn't happen by accident; lots of hard work helped but I believe the real difference this year lies in the goal setting and planning we did at the end of 2011, and before that, at the end of 2010. I really cannot express enough how important it is to set goals and plan how you will achieve them. Personally, I would like to thank my fellow directors Marion and Kyle for their support and faith in me, it is much appreciated. It would also be remiss of me to exclude Philip Dearing, of Philip Dearing Works, who has helped us enormously with the strategic development of fatBuzz.
Finally, I would like to thank all of the team at fatBuzz for their hard work and dedication over the past 12 months. They really do work hard, we give something back and, as a result, we also have some fun!
We hope all of our clients, suppliers, partners and friends have a wonderful time over the next few days and we wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.
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