This time twelve months ago, we handed in our notice to our previous employer and became Celsium. The last year has been a mixed bag of emotions, with high points and low points, successes and failures, jubilation and numerous expletives. Especially expletives. Especially from Shelley.
But by crikey, have we learnt a lot!
A key learn for us was that just replicating what other relocation management companies are doing is not enough for a successful business model that supports organisations and HR departments fulfil their relocation programmes in the way they want. There are plenty of organisations out there churning out the same service offering year in, year out, with sales and service teams that seem to share the same DNA as zombies. You might think zombies are pretty cool, but they can't give the client what they really want - unless the client wants their face chewing off, that is.
From the early stages we thought long and hard about what potential clients actually want from a relocation service provider, carrying out market research and all the other tasks that go with that to make it worthwhile, and we now have a 360 service offering that can meet the requirements of even the most resource-strapped clients. We call it our ReloHub.
At the recent EuRA event in Malta, a number of partners commented that we actually have no direct competition in the UK market. That either makes us unique, or maybe just freaks. Either way, it's good to be different.
So we managed to pick up some clients along the way, which is good news, especially for the bank of mum and dad. Some of our clients are big. Actually, bloody massive. We're not talking about some tin-pot companies located in the arse end of Birmingham; we're talking global manufacturing giants, industry leaders and household names. Client confidentiality precludes us from divulging their names, but think soft beverages, packaging and engineering.
For one of these companies, we moved a senior management team into London and helped their President settle into her prestigious new home, providing ongoing, high-level support to her and her Family Office.
However, our biggest achievement is becoming the sole relocation provider for what is likely to be the world's largest trade and inward investment programme under one "roof". We can't say too much about it at this stage, unfortunately, as the official launch is not due until later this month, but we will make more details available as soon as we can. It is big.
Have we had setbacks? Yes, we have, and we're not afraid to mention the fact. Our biggest disaster started right at the start of our Celsium journey. We had engaged with a company moving 40 people from the UAE into London and this would have been our first client, funding the initial stages of our venture. The figures looked good, really good. But they pulled out of the move when they realised the company would have to pay tax in the UK. Yes, they hadn't factored this into their initial set-up calculations, so back to the drawing board they went. As far as we know, they are still there...
For us, it was one of those heavily expletive-laden moments as we realised our cash flow projection would be heavily impacted. But we got through this painful experience as stronger, more experienced individuals, and we're still here!
Partnerships and friendships
We have been overwhelmed by the well-wishers both from our personal lives and our business contacts. Our supply chain partners have been instrumental in motivating us and providing us with support and potential leads. Setting up a company by yourself can be an incredibly lonely business (oh, many thanks to Skype as well!), especially when you are a very small fish in a very big pond with some very big fish already in it. I know that sounds ridiculous as there were two of us in the early days, but still, you have these crazy moments when you can feel very isolated as a new start-up. Thank goodness for the fantastic Entrepreneurial Spark programme which has been instrumental in more ways than one.
But we grinned and we bore it and we have made some wonderful contacts and friends in the last year and would like to toast you all in thanks and in anticipation of many more years of the same to come.
As we head into our second year, we are brimming over (not literally, of course) with confidence, enthusiasm and excitement. We currently have not one, not four, but nine proposals out there, so we reckon we must be doing something right that extends beyond making a smashing cup of tea. We are conscious (which is in itself a good start) that we must not rest on our laurels and let complacency creep in through the door. Finally, we are grafters, not shafters, so we will continue to work hard to ensure we are providing not only great services but great value services to support our current and potential clients.
Happy first birthday to Celsium.
Over and out.