So it’s one year today since we launched Inflect and as with all birthdays a good time to pause and reflect before we close our first chapter and start the next.

I’ve written before about those first tentative steps into starting a business, and the truth is it seems like a lifetime ago. We’ve taken a few leaps forward since then. A year is certainly a long time in a start-up.

I’m conscious it’s been a while since I tried to put down on paper our experiences of this first year of trading. We’ve been busy, sometimes too busy, but I’m proud of us.

We made it. We have a growing list of happy clients, we finally have a bit of money in the bank, and with it a bit of security and, more importantly, choices about how we invest going forward.

So, we are recruiting. Come and join us 

It’s a big deal taking on an employee, someone to join us on this journey, someone who will always be employee number 1. It’s exciting too, a fresh face with a different perspective, new ideas and experiences.

If I’m honest, we struggled with the job advert. We haven’t got a perfectly formed gap that we are looking to fill. In reality only one thing matters  – that our first employee wants to work with us, sees an opportunity for themselves and will be happy to throw themselves into a business that is still not fully formed, and is, well you know, making it up as they go.

I don’t know exactly what our new recruit will work on, it might be policy, or comms, or public affairs, or training, or sales or marketing or even a bit of management consultancy.

We have worked with 18 clients on a genuinely ridiculous range of different projects.

We have written policy papers, consultation responses, communication strategies and business plans. We are running a trade association and have launched another. We have delivered a training programme for academics, a BBQ on a beach, and an event in Parliament.  We have worked with trade unions, trade associations, charities, universities and yes some major businesses too.

Ok, so we totally threw out the rulebook that said be really clear about your proposition. We haven’t been. But, we are not one-trick ponies and don’t want to be – we’ve all developed a range of skills over our professional lives and to be honest it’s great that we get to use them, no two days are the same.

We have also all learnt a few things this year.

We’re trying to build a business as a global pandemic rages around us. It presented a few challenges.

Networking has been hard, and still is. There are clients we have worked with that we have never met. It’s crazy really. I miss the chance meeting whilst out and about, and the interesting or unexpected connection that you find whilst chatting at an event.

On the upside there is more time in the day and we can definitely get more work done than if we were also commuting and running between physical meetings, boy they take a chunk out of your day don’t they?

Working on your own at home has taken some getting used to, but it feels pretty normal now. We talk all day on Slack, we work on documents together at the same time, we don’t feel isolated, and we meet up when we need to, but we need to less, as we get better at working like this.

So thank you to everyone that has helped us, to the clients, and contacts and friends and former colleagues that have offered moral and practical support. To everyone that has put their trust in us to help them achieve their objectives.

Thank you  – we are very grateful.

We won’t be sending out Christmas cards, or thank you cards, and no birthday gifts please.

Instead we are making a donation to a great charity that takes our donation and lends it to a business overseas that needs it.

That’s our way of paying it forward.