January

Unfortunately, most of January was spent harping on about our awesome 2017. Unfortunately we spent the next half of the year doing the same. It was a great year. This years’ objective – make 2018 even bigger and even better. In all aspects. So this began with us signing up for the Wye Valley Challenge. 100km from Chepstow to Hereford. A one-off event for 2018. This would be happening in August so plenty of time to train. Talking about training we took part in the Hereford Winter 10k to break us back in after Christmas and the new year.

Pushing ourselves physically as we continue to push the business.

Work wise, we were featured in Business Direction. A brief write-up about our award wins in 2017. As we’re a micro business ourselves, it often goes un-noticed but we champion other micro / small businesses whenever we can. We took part in #MicroBizMatters Day.

February

We had a lot of interest in us and our business following the successes in 2017. In February we continued to pick up new clients from all over the UK and grew our social media following. We wrote a blog about ourselves for all the new supporters here.

Training for the 100km ultra continued we a 10k jolly around the Castle Coombe circuit for DB Max’s Chilly 10k.

On a side note, we went to Twickenham to see England beat Wales in their Six Nations game!

March

We always make sure the business is at the top of its game. This includes reviewing our branding and consistency. We’re immensely proud of what we’ve built, both in a business and branding sense. There is no other business (we know of) that looks like us or shares our business’ personality. *(See April)

A particular highlight from March came courtesy of the awesome Sale Sharks, in particular our hero Denny Solomona! We were fortunate to receive a personalised, signed match worn shirt from Denny! Mounted and framed, we’re as proud of that as we are our awards!

Obviously work ticked over as usual and we also made the trip up to Manchester to see Sale Sharks take on our neighbours Worcester Warriors. Awesome game, well worth the journey up, winning by 58 points to 25.

A quarter of the way through the year and it is turning out to be a decent one again! Nothing we personally could have a say on the outcome of, but we once again went to Twickenham, having secured tickets to the England v Ireland game – thinking it would be a Grand Slam decider a few months back, it turns out to be a nothing match for England, meaning they couldn’t win or lose anything overall, just the game itself. England did lose to the Grand Slam Winners Ireland but it was still a brilliant match to be there for. The first time we had seen England lose at Twickenham unfortunately.

April

*First things first, we found a franchised ‘digital marketing’ offering in the local press which is a blatant copy of our brand. Both colours, design and wording. In our own backyard, we thought this was a pretty terrible move, despite being flattered. Coincidence? Definitely not. We won’t dwell on that though, we’ve been around since 2010, the brand itself 4 years in the making launched in 2014 and still going strong today.

On a more upbeat note, we’re are huge fans of Lawrence Jones, MBE and his company, UKFast. We’ve been partners with them for years now and they are everything we aspire to be. We’re emulating them, just on a much smaller scale.

The Herefordshire Business Awards also launched their promotional video to tie in with the awards launch, which we have every intention of being involved with this year. Fantastic event.

May

As we approach the halfway point of 2018, we have grown our client base, launched a number of websites and have a number of ongoing marketing projects. We haven’t sat back, we’ve continued to push forward. We’ve even started looking at new premises. A massive step for us. Caught up in the excitement, we framed all our club shirts we’d acquired through our sponsorships.

On a par with winning awards, receiving a signed shirt from Denny Solomona we were invited by the guys at UKFast to the final game of the rugby season at Sale Sharks.

Not only that, we enjoyed matchday hospitality, something that the clubs we sponsor locally offer us, but this was an awesome Premiership club that we’re huge supporters of! Great food, amazing seats, awesome people – but it didn’t end there. We were also invited to the Sale Sharks end of season awards the same evening. Wow! What an evening that was – read about it here.

Sale Sharks' End of Season Awards Dinner

If we were to pick the worst part of May, it would have to be our beloved Luctonians almost survive relegation but losing by a single point to the then already league champions, Sale FC, coincidently.

https://thedmlab.com/blog/absolute-heartbreak-today-luctonians/

June

June 6th, also D-Day, is The DM Lab’s birthday. The company was established in 2010, but The DM Lab was launched on 6th June 2014. We’d achieved so much since then, it’s been an incredible journey, especially recently! Work was going well, and training for our 100km ultramarathon in August was also going well. June saw us embark on our longest training run to date, taking on #TheVOGUM.

Pegasus Ultra Running's #TheVOGUM's 40 mile route map

We were still pushing ourselves and the business, moving into unchartered territory for both.

Our longest run to date and we’d found a new premises in the city centre. We found ourselves outside of our comfort zones as nothing ever happens if you stay within them.

June was also the second Sundogs Festival. We’d been heavily involved with designing the marketing materials while also helping to promote the event. Posting daily from February, we created a buzz for this years’ event with all sorts of media, graphics and videos. It went well and the event has firmly established itself now.

We also bought tickets to donate to Circus Starr – an event we’ve donated to for a couple of years now, great cause and appreciate being involved.

July

Another massive month for us and the business, doing things we haven’t done before. As we mentioned previously, we were incredibly grateful to have been chosen as winners of ‘Growing Business of the Year’ at the Herefordshire Business Awards and ‘Entrepreneur / Business of the Year’ at the Sunshine Radio Pride Awards.

Even after the events we committed to giving back by way of sponsorship. We wanted to sponsor the categories we won but understandably the Marches Growth Hub we’re sponsoring ‘Growing Business of the Year’ again. The ‘Entrepreneur / Business of the Year’ was changed to ‘New Business of the Year’ so with our history of helping businesses grow, it was a category we wanted to endorse and hopefully be able to help the winner and the 2 runners up. We know first-hand what it’s like to run a new business, so we want to offer our expertise and experience.

https://thedmlab.com/blog/herefordshire-business-awards-2018-sponsor/
https://thedmlab.com/blog/sunshine-radio-pride-awards-2018-sponsors/

We’d been so busy working on new projects and the ongoing projects we already had that we’d completely neglected to push our services publicly. We’d been working on a number of design projects as well as marketing projects so we showcased a bit more what we are all about, having picked up some traction on social media. We have produced some awesome work and we wanted to show it off!

We’d actually worked on that many design jobs recently and got them printed (a service which we’ve really been pushing this year thanks to Printed.com) that we’ve reached the highest accolade on Printed.com, as ‘Pink Tier’ customers! With a number of successful jobs under our belt, averaging 3 per month. Totalling 42 projects since we offered printing as well as design.

Printed.com Logo

Outside of work, we have been able to go along to loads of fantastic local events, including the Shobdon Food and Flying Festival and Beer on the Wye.

August

When we picked up the award for ‘Growing Business of the Year’, we absolutely HAD to do it justice. Despite being really busy all the time both inside and outside of work, we slowly but surely paved the way to grow further. We were looking to recruit and relocate, and the wheels were in motion. We had recruited Harvey, an apprentice and secured a new premises to accommodate the team. Huge, unchartered steps for us, but necessary.

Our sponsorship of the Sunshine Radio Pride Awards is in full swing. Hearing our little category promo on air quite regularly. Radio advertising – another awesome accomplishment to check off! On Monday 13th we were delighted to learn that we were one of just two businesses shortlisted for the Midlands region for the Best of Britain Business Awards. An incredible achievement in itself!

Best of Britain Awards Finalist

Unfortunately we lost out to some stiff competition in Larkfleet Homes.

Bigger than us in every way but to finish second out of 1000s of businesses in the Midlands region and nationwide was an impressive accolade for us.

Then on Tuesday 14th, we were notified that Chris had picked up a One4all Spotlight Award as a result of his efforts both inside and outside of work!

One4all Spotlight Awards Logo

Although we knew a good 4 weeks before, we had to wait until August 24th to tell everyone that we had been chosen as one of Small Business Saturday’s Small Biz 100! The only company from Hereford flying the flag for the county this year and joining an exclusive club of just 3 other Herefordshire based businesses – Philip Morris & Sons, Great British Florist and Julu who we were up against for ‘Growing Business of the Year’ last year that we ended up winning! Our day will be on Wednesday 14th November – more on that later in the review!

#SmallBiz100 Logo
We also, this month, completed the Wye Valley Challenge, 100km from Chepstow to Hereford.

Wye Valley Challenge - 100km Chepstow to Hereford Ultramarathon Start

September

The Spotlight Award arrived and we are proud to put it on the shelves alongside our other 2 awards. Very cool and honoured to receive it! September was off with a bang and it only got better!

MD Chris with his Spotlight Award

On Sunday the 9th we ventured up to the AJ Bell once again for Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors. We were treated to matchday hospitality by the awesome people at UKFast once again. A brilliant day topped off with a win for the Sharks. Not to mention the brilliant birthday gift for Creative Director Dale from Sharks and UKFast – a signed ball!

Sharks v Warriors Match Photos

The 12th of September marked our 5 years to the day that we partnered with UKFast:

On Thursday 13th we headed to London for the #SmallBiz100 Blue Tie event. Put on by Small Business Saturday, the event was fantastic. We made some new friends and new contacts and we’ll definitely be returning next year as a #SmallBiz100 alumni!

On the 12th, we were delighted to find out we were a finalist for ‘Creative Business of the Year’ at the 2018 Herefordshire Business Awards. A day shy of a year when we found out we were a finalist in the first Herefordshire Business Awards where we won ‘Growing Business of the Year’!

We also developed our first WordPress plugin for Coil Payments (XRP).

With notable recognition from some big players in the digital currency world!

We had also began planning our Small Biz 100 day. Making a huge effort to both make it count and make it significant for others. We booked the Seminar Room at the Business Solutions Centre and the awesome Send Cake are on board with us! More to come on that later!

October

We have already been planning our Small Biz 100 day, and the 1st of October gave us the opportunity to try out our ‘SEO For Beginners’ talk to an exclusive audience of Ethical Hour. It went down really well. We’ve refined it ready for our ‘day’.

On Friday 5th, we attended the Herefordshire Business Awards 2018, as both a sponsor of the category ‘Small to Medium Business of the Year’ and as a finalist in ‘Creative Business of the Year’. It was even better than last year despite not winning the category. Still a great achievement and we’re already looking forward to next years’ awards!

Following this we were invited to Ledbury RFC’s Captain’s Lunch hospitality day.

As a club sponsor, we were treated to a fantastic day of food, cider, rugby. Plus raising money for Strong Young Minds – placing the winning bid on a team signed 2016 / 2017 Northampton Saints shirt!

More awesome news came in the form of an email from the Midlands Business Awards, notifying us we are a finalist for the Midlands Corporate Commitment to the Community Award! This is another fantastic recognition for us, as it’s not about our success, but what we do with that success. As huge supporters of events and clubs locally, for no other reason than we want to, it’s nice to be applauded for our efforts given our size and financial limitations. We’ll find out if we’re a winner in early March next year!

Midlands Business Awards Finalist

On the 17th, we celebrated a year of being one of the Three Best Rated® Marketing Agencies in Hereford.

Three Best Rated Marketing Agency Logo

It also marked exactly 5 weeks until our Small Business Saturday’s Small Biz 100 day, so we advertised that across our social media channels. When our day comes around, it would be another first for us – hosting a seminar! On the 20th we funded Greyhound Juniors U9s ‘mini tour’ to our friends up at Sale Sharks for a pre-match tournament plus tickets to the Challenge Cup match against Connacht.

The Friday following this we created an opportunity for the same group to be the pre and post-match cameo reporters for the Channel 5 highlights show in the first ever Premiership Cup match (formerly the ‘Anglo-Welsh Cup’ – different name, different format) against our neighbours Worcester Warriors. The programme was broadcasted on Monday 29th October however the boys didn’t get featured – but it was worth a shot!

We attended the Sunshine Radio Pride Awards as sponsors of ‘Best New Business’.

The finalists were Mills Mobility Aids, Wags Club and the winners Three Fruity Ladies.

We also gave 5 final year students at the University of Gloucester an opportunity to document our Small Biz 100 day. They have assembled a media team and we’re looking forward to seeing what they can do next month! On the 29th we announced our partnership with Andrew Graham of ODOS Business Solutions. On Tuesday 30th we travelled to Solihull to meet the judges of the Midlands Business Awards 2019 to have a face to face interview following the announcement we had been made a finalist in Midlands Corporate Commitment to the Community category.

November

November started off with an invite as part of our Small Business Saturday Small Biz 100 to the House of Lords on Monday 26th! We also attended Edgar Street for a VIP hospitality day at Hereford FC thanks to Charlotte Thomas. Food, guest speaker and the match. It was a great day to be a part of!

House of Lords Invitiation

Next up was our third trip to Twickenham.

This time to see England take on the All Blacks. Tickets came courtesy of Luctonians and the excellent sponsorship we have with them. Awesome seats with a brilliant view – only downside was it rained. A lot! Superb match, narrowly losing by a point in the end.

On Wednesday 14th November was our official, designated Small Biz 100 day. As huge supporters of Small Business Saturday every year when it comes around, to be selected from 1000s of businesses as one of the Small Biz 100 meant we had to do something special.

Since it was announced in August we were putting together ideas of how we could make the most of our day. We decided that offering our knowledge and expertise to other businesses was the best way to embrace the accolade. Hosting an event at the Herefords Business Solutions Centre where Chris did 2 talks on ‘SEO For Beginners’ and ‘Micro Moments’. We had 30 sign ups out of 50 which was incredible! You can read more about the day here. We invited a team of students from the University of Gloucester to document the event. As part of their placements so we could use snippets on Small Business Saturday next month. On the 21st we received notification that we have retained our Three Best Rated Marketing Agencies in Hereford status. On Monday 26th, we took a trip to London. We were invited to the House of Lords for afternoon tea with Lord Young of Graffham, as part of Small Business Saturday’s Small Biz 100. Chris heard from Lord Young, MP Greg Clark, Melinda Roylett of Square and director of Small Business Saturday, Michelle Ovens. We’re very grateful for the invitation, not every day you get to do that!

December

December the 1st saw us get involved in Small Business Saturday 2018. Particularly special this year as it’s the our first as an official Small Biz 100! Now that we’re an alumni, we’ll be getting involved for sure. Supporting Small Business Saturday throughout the year and whenever an opportunity arises! We uploaded one of the talks to give other businesses an insight into ‘Micro Moments, Search Intent & The Changing Landscape of Google’. You can watch the hour long talk here.

We also enjoyed The DM Lab’s Christmas do at Luctonians. The rugby themed fun continued when we won the use of Together’s Executive Box at the AJ Bell! Having initially enjoyed matchday hospitality at Sale Sharks courtesy of the brilliant UKFast, we rounded off the year with an incredible day as VIPs for the Challenge Cup match against Bordeaux!

There was not much else to report in December, we just knuckled down in preparation for a proper Christmas shutdown. We tied up a few loose ends. Launched a few sites. Ready to start a whole host of new projects next year!

Thank you for reading.

Whether we’ve worked together or you’ve interacted with us in some way on social media, thank you. With the ever changing algorithms on Facebook, it makes our page harder and harder to be visible. No such problems on Twitter and we’ve recently decided that we’d start using Instagram. We never thought we did anything interesting to post on there but we realise that we do do some pretty cool stuff throughout the year. So give our page a like on Facebook and check back regularly as we’ll probably not show up on your news feed. Give us a follow on Twitter – we’re always on there. If you want to follow us on Instagram – this is us. We’ll reciprocate the likes and follows of course.

We’re grateful for everyone’s support this year. We’ve met some amazing people and amazing businesses. We’ve been invited to some very cool things throughout the year. Thank you everyone.

We hope you’ve had a great Christmas and we wish you the all the best in 2019!