Celebrating RIMU Marketing’s 10th Birthday

Over the last ten years, RIMU Marketing has gone from strength to strength. The brand story is a fairly familiar one. I initially set up the business to have a flexible working solution around my young family but I soon realised that establishing the business was one of the best decisions I made for my career and personal development. Having worked in the corporate travel industry for 15 years, I was made redundant a little while after having my boys. I soon realised that a corporate role would not fit around my young family. I was not sure how to move forward and it was a chance conversation with a friend of mine who at the time was a reflexologist that changed everything. She was not seeing the results she was looking for with her marketing, so I offered to help, she was my first client and to this day I am grateful for that chance conversation.

The first few years were spent, focusing on the family but also working out how to adapt the corporate marketing principles I had learnt. I had to make them work for a small business, I no longer had a £1m budget to work with. This in itself was quite a journey, finding tools and platforms that were affordable and could help my clients who were also working on a very tight budget.

Once I got started, I could soon see the opportunity. Many people have been incredibly generous with their time in answering my questions and sharing their knowledge. I try to pay it forward and return the favour to those new businesses I meet just starting out today. Networking played a big part in giving me that visibility at the beginning, The Business Girls Network, Athena, WIBN, Laptop Mondays plus various other online communities have been instrumental in helping me to create the business over the years.

Research shows that 70% of small businesses fail by the ten-year mark I feel hugely proud to have survived and to make this significant milestone. I wanted to reflect on some of the highs and the lows of my journey during that time:

The Highlights

There have been many highs along the way, but perhaps a few that stand out are:

  1. Business Growth. The business has seen significant growth over recent years with turnover doubling in the last five. This has largely been due to my increased ability to focus on the business. I also credit the team around me for helping me implement our client work and making efficiencies in the processes and tools that we use, Asana, Xero and Capsule are some key tools to mention.
  2. Awesome clients. Over the years, there is no doubt that our awesome clients have been a significant part of our journey. We have had the privilege to work with many different sectors on a diverse range of projects from setting strategies, building websites, creating brands and research projects to implementing many marketing campaigns. I am delighted to say that some of the clients I have worked with, we have worked together for nearly five years. It has been an absolute pleasure to watch their businesses grow, flourish and to be part of their journey.
  3. Awards. I am super proud to have won several awards over the years, probably the most notable was from “The Business Girls Network” in 2017 when I was awarded “Business Girl of the Year”.
  4. Our team. I could not have achieved everything I have, without the people who work alongside me to support our clients. Polly, Emma and Sarah work closely with me on a day-to-day basis but the wider associate team, all experts in their field, help us to be able to offer a comprehensive range of marketing solutions.
  5. Personal Development. As a member of the CIM I commit to a certain amount of CPD across the year. Over the last ten years, I have not only added to my marketing knowledge but through necessity, increased my knowledge in other areas of running a business.
  6. Proposition. Over recent years what we do for our clients and how we help them has evolved. I gained my ILM Level 3 Coaching qualification back in February 2019 and adding the coaching skills to my toolkit has been really valuable. We can now best support our clients in the way that works for them and suits their budget, whether that is via training, mentoring, coaching or project implementation.
  7. River Radio. I really enjoyed being a radio host for a year, welcoming many small business guests to our show.

Overcoming Challenges

It can be tough and sometimes lonely as a small business owner. You start all excited and put all of your energy into the new project. There is so much to do. I remember the times when one is trying to launch a new product and the possible feelings of overwhelm, the trick is to ensure a focus on wellbeing is maintained, turn to your support teams during these more challenging times. Like all business owners, there have been challenges to overcome in the last ten years:

  1. Personal Events. One of the good things about working in the corporate world is that you get holiday pay, sick pay and pension contributions. This can be appealing. In May 2016 I lost my Dad. It was quite quick and I think it was as peaceful as it could be. I tried to carry on with the business but by November it hit me. It is tough to work through these things but it is at these moments when it is important to prioritise yourself, taking a step back for a few weeks certainly helped.
  2. COVID. I don’t think I could talk about the challenges without mentioning COVID-19. This was a difficult time for everyone but I remember as the media reported an ever worsening situation and as we got closer to going into lockdown there was an increasing feeling of dread. I think there was one week where every client call I took was to tell me that they could no longer continue to work with me. It was a very difficult time. However there was one positive story to come from the experience, I was working with a client on a large in-person event, and with COVID we had to pivot how this worked. It was an amazing experience, to read the full case study click HERE.
  3. Losing clients. I enjoy working closely with my clients so I can understand the challenges they face to be in the best place to help them to build their businesses. When you are invested and passionate about making something work, it is always difficult to accept when the project comes to an end.

It is hard to overcome challenges but upon reflection, working through challenges is often when we learn our biggest lessons. Certainly, if I look back at many of the challenges I have faced, in the long run, they have helped me to be better at what I do.

We have learnt a lot over the last ten years and the learnings along the way have certainly improved the service we offer our clients. The business looks very different to what it was like ten years ago. I wanted to share the article I wrote last year, HERE, where I share some things I wish I had known when I first started.

One of the important things to identify when you start your small business is your why. Once you are clear on that it will help give you the resilience and perseverance to continue when times get tough. For me it was so I could be around for my family and have the flexibility I needed. As my boys have grown they need me less, but I love that I don’t have to ask permission to take annual leave, to go to sports day or start work late to attend a school assembly. I can just plan to do it. Having a team around you, for support is really key in facilitating this flexibility.

Looking Ahead

When I reflect over the last ten years, we have achieved a lot. As we look forward there continues to be awesome client projects, exciting new technologies plus opportunities to grow and innovate. I hope the next ten years will be as full of adventure as the last. Growth, change and innovation will certainly be part of what we do moving forward for the rest of this year and beyond.

Thank you to those who have been part of our journey so far and who have helped us to become the business you see today. If you are a small business owner and have a marketing challenge, we would love to hear from you, please get in touch. To mark RIMU Marketing’s 10th birthday we are also running a FREE webinar on 24 April at 10 am “Customer Growth Strategies For Small Businesses”, please click HERE to see the full agenda and to book your place.

Sophie Comas

A highly successful self-motivated and results driven, senior marketing professional. My passion lies within developing and delivering marketing solutions which make a difference in today's complex digital market place. A marketeer with a strong academic background and broad ranging level of experience working with small businesses and in the travel and hospitality sector, across the Thames Valley, I love a challenge!

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