This month I have stood down from the New Anglia LEP, with sadness but great excitement about the reason for my decision.
This is Spring’s eighth year, which means we have spent our life as an agency largely in recession. Thanks to good advice early on, we focused on nurturing our team, helping them to develop skills and keep on top of developments in technology and communication styles; we did not move from our comparatively small Church Street offices to a 4,000 sq ft building on which we had had an offer accepted; in short, we played it safe and focused on our core offering.
This strategy of caution and concentration has seen us emerge throughout the course of 2014 into a subtly different world to the one we left in 2008. Those businesses that have survived are more nimble, strategically minded and customer focused than those who fell by the wayside – both in our industry and those of our clients. Spring, meanwhile, has shaped itself into highly skilled provider of brand consultancy for sustainable business growth, community consultation and engagement, experiential and digital marketing with a strong focus on content development, curation and distribution.
This offering has brought some wonderful clients to our roster: tourism companies like The Original Cottage Company and tourism bodies from the city of Norwich, to the county of Suffolk, to the country of Morocco; British manufacturing brands including Smart Garden Offices, Mark Harrod and Marriage’s Millers; experience offerings like the National Trust and Woodbridge Tide Mill; community improvement programmes including Suffolk Energy Action and Coastal Communities STEM profile raising. Spring has earned the opportunity to build our clients’ businesses, raise visitor numbers and improve the lives of people near us and further away.
During my nearly four years on the LEP, I have enjoyed the opportunity to bring this desire for improvement to Norfolk and Suffolk. The LEP’s have been handed a great responsibility by Government, to set the direction of growth for their regions and manage the journey. New Anglia is a particularly good LEP and has already achieved great things for our two counties: helping businesses to grow and create more good jobs, improving infrastructure and speaking up on behalf of the 1.5 million residents of the area with policy makers. You can find out more about projects and strategies here. I have felt fully aware of the responsibility and privilege connected to Board Directorship, have put a great deal of time and thought into my LEP work and have enjoyed the opportunity to help Norfolk and Suffolk meet their amazing potential.
But as one of two business owners on the Board, as Spring has grown at a faster rate – around 50% so far this year – it’s become clear to me that I have to focus on the business. Our clients, and The Springers, have every right to expect my full attention. We have a great team, every one of whom is highly capable in their role; and the way we work with our clients means that there is constant communication between agency team and them at every level – but as agency co-founder it’s my job to be around, to have involvement at every stage of projects, to keep the agency on the right path for sustainable growth and to be available for comment, advice and other input when needed.
I’ll still be involved with some strands of the LEP’s work, still on a pro bono basis; including a very exciting project for the region which makes direct use of my industry skills. In addition, I am remaining on the board of the Design Business Association. But Spring, its people and its clients, are now my main focus: we are in a period of growth and we are all excited about what the next months and years will bring.