Wrap-up 2022: Lessons learned & challenges

365 days of running a "techie" comms agency

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2022 was not an easy year. After two pandemic years in which we held on tight – with a lot of work – 2022 brought the challenges we thought were over.

We spent 2020 and 2021 saying: “We are very lucky. While so many businesses go through complicated times, FES never had so much work” – even after losing some projects related to events and brand activations that the pandemic did not allow us to accomplish. 2022 brought challenges with the team, with the clients, with the market… which, as responsible for the organization, led me to a moment of introspection and definition of new realities within the company.

The following lines I share with you are some of the challenges and decisions made in 2022 that I hope could be knowledge that will help other founders.

About the team

In 2022 we hired new team members but also had to “let go” others. Cultural alignment, workflow adjustment, and mental availability are some of the reasons for the comings and goings that were part of our reality – and are part of the challenges of any company.

“A company is made of people, people who may have, like any of us, personal and unexpected situations. As an employer we must be aware and available, being able to accompany team members and help with whatever they may need. Leadership is about creating the right context for team members to shine and do the best job possible. In a remote company, this is even more true” – this paragraph is an excerpt from the opinion piece published in ECO in November – this reference made sense in this context and does in this blog post as well.

About customers and market

Many companies hung in there during the pandemic, spending the last cartridges of their communication and marketing budgets in those two years. 2022 dictated that those companies follow other paths, recruiting to have those resources in-house or defining that communication would not be their priority… 

This reality made us lose some clients that had been with us for several years. It also made us feel the challenge of looking at the market and doing the exercise of understanding what is the market looking for now and how can we differentiate ourselves from other agencies. What can we do, on our own, to be top of mind? There are questions for which we still have no answers, and there are others for which we have defined actions to mitigate doubts and risk. We hope the coming months will answer whether we have outlined the right path.

About the internal structure and processes

With the business context shared above, and team members coming and going, one of the steps we took was to hire an Operations Manager – someone who already knew the team and worked with us on/off but who has now taken a more active and involved role in order to make the internal process leaner. Our Operations Manager came to help establish overall processes for different things within the structure, create an internal wiki, adjust the tools we use and, above all, support the team in their management of work and clients. That step was essential to get me free – as the person who’s the face of the agency – and allow me to dedicate myself to the business strategy and effort of the company – which brings me to the next point.

About growing pains

A company like FES Agency, 100% remote, with 11 employees (9 full-time and 2 freelancers), focused on communication for technology and challenges like the ones mentioned above, it was inevitable the effort to stop and (re)evaluate our ambitions, vision, and values. This exercise allowed me to identify, along with the team, points for improvement, service adjustments, commercial push with potential strategic clients, creation of external communication elements to generate more visibility for the company, and a host of other points that allow us to reach the end of this year with an action plan and a more cohesive vision of what the future of the agency will be.

About the future

Reading the previous paragraphs, we can see that 2022 was not an easy year. However, all the work of analysis and structure created gives the assurance that we are on the right track, and from now on, everything will be easier, as well as the lightness that we have done everything possible to ensure the path to success.

As we have always said, it is often necessary to take one step back in order to take two steps forward.

We close 2022 with a thank you to all clients, for the challenges they bring us, and partners, for always being able to contribute to the projects we have in hand. And I, in particular, close with a thank you to the team, for always giving their all and helping to push the boat.

2023, we are ready! 🚀

Web Summit & everything and everyone type of events

Did you know there is a whole world alongside Web Summit? It’s true. There are many different side events, talks, gatherings, demo nights, etc., also happening! But with so much to attend to, it's normal to feel a little bit lost. Worry not, as we compiled all the events already shared so you can take your pick and get to know the community.

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