We talked to Chloe Smith of Forty8Creates, a brand agency that specializes in digital marketing services, and web design. Here is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Chloe Smith: We’re doing great considering! We’re very grateful that no one has been dramatically affected. Obviously, there’s been an element of anxiety and unfamiliarity during the lockdown, but to be honest, I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t struggled during this period. It’s a matter of trying to stay positive, busy and hopeful.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Forty8Creates.
Chloe Smith: I started working on the agency when I was at the university. I started working freelancing, and once I had a bit of a return client base, I turned the business into a 2 people gig, my now business partner Daniel Barnes. Fast forward 7 years later, we’re a Shoreditch creative agency, 7 creatives strong, with expanding departments across website design & development, graphic design, social media and digital marketing services.
How does Forty8Creates innovate?
Chloe Smith: Our company spans all creative services you might need to promote a business. Our servicing and mentoring does not stop with the provided services; instead, we’re there every step of the way to aid growth, regardless of the department.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Chloe Smith: Originally, when everything seemed unreal, we were quite worried about the finances. Luckily, the furlough system came to help. As well, we were fortunate that most of our clients were still fully operating and sending us to work on a daily basis.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Chloe Smith: As a business owner, those are thoughts that, unfortunately, you do have to consider. I was surprised to see some establishments jump to remove human resources, which was highly discouraging given we didn’t know much about the evolving situation. The main lesson here is to appreciate your workforce and remember that behind a number and a role, there are actual human beings with families and needs. Luckily, all our team has survived.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Chloe Smith: This was a great opportunity to streamline our operations further. For instance, we’ve realised that every time we had a meeting in the office, the process would take much longer than necessary and would involve a lot more resources than expected.
By keeping those communications online solely, we’ve saved a lot of time, and we were able to create standard operating procedures to deal with clients much more efficiently.
Now when we have a meeting, we send out an online invitation and follow up with a post summary email that can easily be attached to our CRM for the rest of the team to keep track of. It’s a much more linear process and allows creatives to spend more time being creative as opposed to communicating with a client.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Chloe Smith: We used the furlough scheme, and that undoubtedly made a huge difference. Ultimately allowing us to keep everyone in employment.
Your final thoughts?
Chloe Smith: We’re in a fortunate position, and we look forward to the future when we can have everyone back in the office bickering about which brand of tea is better.
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