We talked to Grant Brookes, the managing director at The Web Surgery about his digital marketing agency that bring brands to life online and he said the following about it:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Grant Brookes: It’s been a difficult year with Covid-19, but my family and I have been coping well. It’s been a challenge to balance running a business, home life, and the added extra of home-schooling, but in some ways, the need to pull together has made us a stronger family unit. As we near the end of the year, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is extremely positive. From a business point of view, this has provided a new sense of focus and clarity.
From a personal perspective, it is encouraging to hear there are developments in terms of vaccination. Hopefully, this could mean we may be able to see more family, friends, and colleagues next year.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded The Web Surgery.
Grant Brookes: I worked as a Head Of Marketing and Partnerships at GCap Media plc (formerly Capital Radio plc). I had the privilege of leading the marketing initiative to launch a national UK radio station called Capital Gold (now known as Gold), targeting an ABC1 35+ audience. As part of this role, I established a 3-year strategy for the business with a substantial budget and launch plans for the UK. I undertook qualitative and quantitative research and put an annual marketing plan in place. This encompassed all activity from creating a market-leading brand identity, including strapline, design, and content to communications, advertising, partnerships, PR, and events.
Following redundancy, I decided to establish my own agency, and in 2010, ‘The Web Surgery’ was created.
My business specializes in digital communications and no 2 days are the same. I wanted to build a company that had everything clients need in one place.
The services I offer range from web design, digital marketing, SEO, PPC, and social media to copywriting, video, and photography. It’s incredibly varied but has proved to be a very successful formula that works for my clients.
How does The Web Surgery innovate?
Grant Brookes: As a business, we always try to stay one step ahead, so we are constantly innovating by testing new software and digital communication platforms. We can use the software to create bespoke solutions and a tailored approach for our customers. This year has seen an increased reliance on online facilities, and with this, in mind, we work closely with providers to ensure we are offering the best services and innovative solutions to our clients.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Grant Brookes: This year has been phenomenal in so many ways.
The pandemic has dramatically increased business for The Web Surgery as more and more people globally have turned to the internet for trade. This has meant companies are using online facilities to carry out research, promote brands, buy and sell products and services, and maximize reach on social media. We have become more of a virtual digital agency because of Covid-19 and have employed more freelancers to help with new projects. That said, it will be great to have face to face meetings with clients in 2021 and beyond.
The growth looks set to continue, and we have some exciting plans in place for the year ahead.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Grant Brookes: An unexpected situation this year has been the need to turn down some projects as we have just been so busy. It has certainly been a challenge to balance the business capabilities and client needs, and I do not like to turn work away.
However, I believe in providing the best service possible to clients, and we cannot achieve that core business value if we are stretching the team and overcapacity. However, it has taught me that I have a range of services that people need to help grow their own business, so I needed to put some additional resources in place. As we go into the New Year with a larger team of experienced freelancers and a clear plan in place, we have the ability to increase our offer.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Grant Brookes: I try not to let the stress of running a business impact my home life. It’s important to separate the two, so I work from a home office and away from our family space. I make sure I take time out away from my desk, enjoy the outdoors, exercise, and drink lots of water. A good cup of tea always helps too!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Grant Brookes: All digital marketing agencies are our competitors.
However, we like to take a more personal approach and are doing well as our product and service are focused totally on our customers.
We have an excellent rapport with our clients. We regularly receive calls and emails thanking us for our help in building websites or marketing them. When they experience great returns in these tough times, they have confidence in us and often become long term clients. For this reason, we are able to plan ahead and know that we have a large client base for us to continue working with.
We also plan to develop more services to offer our customers and, of course, market ourselves as a leading digital agency.
Your final thoughts?
Grant Brookes: Now is the time to go for it! If you have an idea for a business, it’s a great time to get started. Stop thinking about it, and just do it. If you never try, you will never know. I did this in 2008 after being made redundant. There was a recession, so it was a difficult time, just like the challenges of 2020, but I saw an opportunity and knew that I should take it or always be ‘just’ an employee. I felt like it was ‘now or never,’ and I went for it. I’m glad I did!