Signing off for 2022.

19 December 2022
Read time: 10 mins

Written by:
Graeme Leighfield.

As 2022 draws to a close, it's that time of year for my annual sign-off.

Like many business owners, I'm guilty of spending too much time in the business rather than on it. So it's nice to have the opportunity to share what we've been up to over the last twelve months and also for me to stop for a few brief moments and reflect upon so much of the great work we've accomplished.

GEL's Christmas day out at Reading's Winter Wonderland.

The team.

We had a few new members of the team join us this year.

To meet the demands for our Marketing services, Max joined us in February, and then later in the year Jeanne and Phil too.

Jeanne's talent at photography has been a welcome addition to the services that we offer and perfectly complements not just our marketing, but graphic and website design services too. I must say that seeing some of Jeanne's work appear in my social feed and on the work we do has been one of my highlights this year. I've always been rather fussy when it's come to photography and how it's used, so it's safe to say that she's got it just right from the very first day!

An exciting new role for GEL Studios was the Studio Manager. This was filled by Gemma, and she has already made a massive contribution to the business. As we grow, I know that I want to have a dedicated account manager role, but for that to happen, releasing some of Katie's time is vital. We're still formulating the details about what an account manager would look like for us, however, it's clear that Katie is just the lady for the job. I'll be working closely with Katie over the coming months to scope the role to the business alongside her personal goals/career path. This approach of making roles aligned with employees is something I'm really proud that we're able to do at GEL Studios.

This year hiring was done somewhat differently, mainly because I had nothing to do with it! The roles we were filling were of no direct report to myself, so seeing this as an opportunity, I tasked Lewis and Katie with the job of having complete sign-off with who we recruited. Seeing them both not only deal with the recruitment process but also decide who we should hire aligned with our values, was a pleasure to behold. Well done to both of you.

We said goodbye to Max in November as he took the next step in his career in digital marketing. Max if you're reading this, it was a pleasure to have you in the team, your work, efforts and 'choccy milk' were greatly appreciated. I wish you all the best for the future.

Also leaving us this year was Justin. All the best in your career moving forwards! I'll be sure to give you a call the next time I do some office Biltong!

Some of our team members and Duncan Battishill representing GEL at the 2022 South West Business Awards.

Our approach to sales.

In the summer the Leadership Team began working on a sales training plan spanning this year and next. The reason for this was because my belief that we can't just 'hire' someone to do sales.

What we've experienced through the feedback from our clients, is that with past suppliers a great relationship is struck and promises are made - then when it comes to delivering it falls short.

I believe that inside GEL Studios we are all experts in our own respective fields. So, wouldn't it make sense for the people doing the work, to be making those promises? It's because of this belief, that I've invested heavily in the leadership team to bring this to life. We're six months into the process and already the difference is clear. Not only to sales but how we work as a Leadership Team. I must say a public thank you to Duncan Battishill from Altrix Consultants for all your work so far.

Business-wide changes.

Lots changed in 2022 and I do mean lots. So, I'm just going to list them out as they come to the front of my mind.

Force for good.

Our commitment to doing good has been stronger this year than any other, once again we've done so much great work for good causes that I'll list them out as they come to the front of my mind!

Helping others is a fundamental part of who we are, and as we grow, so does our commitment to giving back.

Our vision.

Earlier this year, I embarked on the Government's Help To Grow scheme. An outcome of that was an updated vision statement for GEL Studios that I would like to publicly share for the first time.

"Inspiring change through creativity".

We help others, no questions asked. We provide solutions, peace of mind and emotional comfort through compassion, empathy, the sharing of knowledge, and expertise.

Every day provides us with new opportunities to inspire others, and ourselves. We create lasting change with meaning and purpose, from a place of deep understanding, honesty, and creativity.

We help, we provide, we inspire, and we create. WeAreGEL.

Next year we'll be going into great depth to promote our vision, with real examples of what we do to back it all up.

Next year.

2023 is looking like a very exciting year for us, and it all starts with our home.

We're not moving far - just up the road.

We love where we are in South Marston, so when discussions started about units 2 and 3 becoming available, I was already sold.

We're aiming to be in by April 2023, and our new space is roughly a third bigger than both of our current units combined. So no more running between units for meetings when it's raining!

With a farmhouse style, 18ft high vaulted ceilings, and lots of cool spaces create in - it's brimming with character, and will be our home for at least the next 5 years. To help us with understanding this somewhat quirky space, we've enlisted the help of Debbie Watts of Ashlar ID. Debbie is well known for her input into the Swindon Carriage Works, so we know we're in good hands. Debbie, I look forward to working alongside you in the coming months!

Account Manager/Project Manager.

As mentioned earlier, the Studio Manager role was made to enable Katie to have more capacity to do more traditional account/project management tasks, however, I don't want to stop there.

I won't go into the details now (maybe in my 2023 recap) but in short (and in its most simplistic terms) I'd like to do two things:

It's clear to me that as we grow, more resources will be needed for each of the points above, and my attitude to that is 'let's do this now, and start being even better!'.

I would like to mention Katie at this point. All-round office star, and wearer of many hats. You've done a fantastic job of the account/project management tasks to date, we wouldn't be where we are now if it wasn't for your continual hard work. Thank you! I look forward to carving out your new client/account-focused role with you moving forwards.

Working on the right things, with the right people.

Having work is great, however, working on things that make a difference, that's what inspires us. We're going to be doing more of that moving forward.

We've had many meetings about pieces of work we should or maybe shouldn't have done over the past years. Be it for timescales too short, brief too vague, or even down to the client who simply wants us to "do". We're going to be listening to our peers moving forwards, and what we work with, and with whom, will be a joint decision.

Ultimately, we want to work on things that motivate us, make an impact, and most importantly is a collaborative effort. More of all that please!

In closing.

I'm immensely proud of all that we've achieved this year. Everyone in the team has contributed and it's clear for all to see. We're doing more great work, for amazing clients, and we're contributing towards causes that create lasting change.

To everyone in GEL Studios, I thank you. Without you, we wouldn't be able to be doing all these great things - and having a great time doing it too!

To our clients, thank you for your continued custom and support, I look forward to taking this journey into 2023 and beyond with you.

Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and New Year with your friends, family and loved ones.

G


Written by:
Graeme Leighfield.

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01793 677150

Unit 2, 3 Lancaster Place,
South Marston Park, Swindon, SN3 4UQ