Last week it was the 14th anniversary since Punch’s incorporation. And, whilst it’s fairly rare that I look backwards, I did take a moment to reflect on what I’m most and least proud of having achieved in the business’ time to date.

The first one is easy – I’m most proud of the team, our flat structure and our friendly, work-oriented yet social culture as a business.

I’m the first to admit that I had no idea what I was doing way back then – several of my colleagues might say that little has changed on that front – in terms of building a team but I am extremely proud to look around and see the people that I now work with on a daily basis, many of whom are amongst my closest friends.

Barring the odd hire that didn’t work out, we seem to have recruited extremely well – but moreover, we have prized openness and transparency, worked hard to keep a flat structure and enjoy surprising people with unexpected rewards for development, achievement and success.

You’d think it’d be a nightmare to hire in a place like the East Midlands – but counter-intuitively, we seem to catch both experienced practitioners who have spent their time in London as they are ready to move out, or young folks who are just starting out. Sometimes, people move on to their next stage, of course, but what we’ve tried to do is create a place which people don’t want to leave. And it always makes me smile when people say – and it still happens – “I didn’t expect to find this kind of agency outside London”.

And what would I have changed?

If I had one piece of advice for my 29 year old self it would have been to back myself, to not worry about consequences of failure and to hit the accelerator harder, earlier than we did.

Of course, you never know what you don’t know – and what is brave at one point in your life may seem very different at another. Still, I was relatively cautious and keen to grow and build a sustainable business organically, rather than to force growth.

I’ll never truly know whether that was the right thing or not of course – because things could have gone either far better or far worse if we had been more aggressive, more quickly. But at present we’re really getting much more proactive in terms of business development, with eight new hires in recent months, ever more sophisticated creative/studio output, a more strategic view and full action plan for business development and, consequently, a number of exciting new brand clients and projects coming through at present. More on that in due course.

We had a big one four years ago to mark the 10th birthday. I’ve no idea what the next 12 months will bring but I can honestly say that it’s presently as exciting a time as we’ve ever had– and as a result, I hope to have learned a good deal more about both our good and bad habits by the time we’re holding our 15th birthday…