A digital marketing consultancy based in Aberystwyth battled through lockdown to help keep 1100 clients across the UK afloat.
InSynch, established in 2005, which also has a headquarters in Shropshire, provides marketing services to a variety of sectors, as well as mentoring, training and consultancy to government and EU funded programs.
When lockdown hit, all the training courses the company was set to deliver to government bodies and EU programmes stopped immediately.
CEO, Eddy Webb, said: “A third of our digital marketing retainers were wiped out within two weeks, our main source of income, and projections showed this could fall further.
“All mentoring sessions with businesses were cancelled by the projects we were working for. We realise we were fortunate in that we were able to deliver our services remotely but nevertheless, we had a choice to make in terms of whether we took advantage of the furlough scheme or took another approach.”
The company had taken on new staff in March and Eddy said he considered briefly furloughing staff to bridge the gap in income but decided to take a different approach and fight for the business.
“The easy route would have undoubtedly been to furlough staff,” he said. “But we felt we wanted to not only try and safeguard our business but also to be around to help other businesses stay afloat. We decided not to furlough any staff but instead create a strong team, train new staff and keep the resources as normal.
“After changing things internally and creating a digital working environment for ourselves with communication channels we were then able to help our clients pivot and change how they worked, exploiting new opportunities, and taking fresh ideas to them to help them survive.
“We offered free one-to-one consultancy sessions to any business, delivering over 200 during lockdown as well as free training webinars for businesses across the UK.
“We helped Government and EU funded projects to gear up for remote delivery by demonstrating how we could make remote meetings work just as well for mentoring sessions, helping them choose online delivery methods and writing guides on how to use meeting software so that businesses felt more confident among other things.
Within InSynch and externally via clients, staff were surveyed to check on their mental wellbeing and working preferences and marketing was ramped up and expanded to other areas, as the company realised that geography was no longer seen as a barrier by potential clients.
“The results of this shift in working was that we very quickly replaced much of the income we had lost, with new clients and new work,” said Eddy.
“So much so that in the month of June we took on twice as many clients than any other month in the history of the company.
“Over 900 remote meetings held from April to September. Pre-lockdown that number was zero! The average number of meetings we are able to hold with clients has gone up significantly due to efficiencies – so we are serving our clients better.”
The company has also delivered 62 online training courses, Superfast Business Wales, Farming Connect, Cywain and Tyfu Cymru, between April and September and estimates 18,600 miles have been saved by delegate and trainer travel, which equates to approximately 5 tonnes of CO2.
“We supported over 1000 businesses between April and September and we were able to help our clients recover revenue to above pre lockdown levels. Clients who had to cancel originally, are coming back on board and clients have signed up with us from much further afield.
“We have a happy team of staff, with greater levels of communication and collaboration than before lockdown.
“The business is now changing its entire working model and using this as an opportunity to shift permanently to a new way of working and helping all our clients to do the same.”