How important are relationships really?

Last week MD Communications celebrated its 7th birthday.

Seven years ago while I was sat at my desk at the Law Society running the press office I knew I needed a fresh challenge. I set myself the goal of gaining three clients as well as having a brand in place and a website by the time my notice period was up.

Three months later after a momentous leaving do and even bigger hangover I was on the train to Birmingham. I (when MD Communications first started it was just me) was heading to the Legal Ombudsman to set up their launch, which was due in four months. It was an exciting time and I got to work alongside Adam Sampson, the Legal Ombudsman at the time, a real character and a superb leader.

I saw Adam last week at our party, seven years after we worked together and instead of just me, MD Communications is now 12-strong. I overheard Adam telling a group of people that they hired me for my connections and I opened doors to the media that they couldn’t have imagined. Did I feel used for my black book of relationships? Not at all.

In our first year we only had one permanent member of staff but we started to build a company like many law firms, with a solid base and plenty of freelance consultants, which meant that we could offer PR, directories, social media and training.

In our 7th year we now have three parts, which make one business, run by separate directors. We have our offices on the Southbank (we are soon to move as we have grown too big) and we have clients all over the world.  We have an advisory board made up of amazing minds across the sector covering regional firms, international firms, alliances, regulators and the magic circle.

We are still boutique. But we also have bandwidth.

I thanked my parents last week as I always do at our birthday parties. They made me believe that anything is possible. My parents left school at 15 and at 20 were running their own businesses. I often think of a story about their bank manager Jim Sergeant. He had become an advisor and a friend to my parents. When they asked for a loan to build a nursing home he asked them what, as shopkeepers, they knew about the nursing home trade. He gave them a loan because he liked them, and because he believed them when they said they would build relationships with people who did know and would learn quickly. This allowed them to flourish for 20 years within that trade, before retirement.

I have lost count of the people who have believed in us, and continue to do so. Our clients, who trust every single day that we give them what they deserve and support them through thick and thin, our team who put their faith in being part of a small business that has big aspirations and often face challenges that need a wall not a windbreak. Our board that give their wisdom and listen like therapists on tap and all the amazing contacts throughout the sector that just want this small business to do well.

My dad still hands out my business cards in the pub. I’m not entirely sure he knows what we do but at least 200 people in his local pub have access to what I think is one of the finest legal PR agencies in the world, and maybe one day they will call.

My mum has very late stage Alzheimer’s now and there is no chance she knows what we do, because she no longer knows who I am.  There is a huge part of me that knows that MD Communications wouldn’t be around had she not shown me that guts, determination and a massive desire to make everyone who comes in contact with you proud to be part of what you believe in are the values that any business needs to succeed.

Myself and the team look forward to celebrating our 8th year in 2018. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible.

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