Whilst preparing our third set of accounts, I realised that Pembroke and Rye has now been
in business longer than the average student spends at University.
Some elements continue - Charlie still supports Fulham and continues to walk with a joyful
Others change (a bit) – Victoria (aka V) adding a new Fulham lodger – a ‘Feisty’ Cavachon
puppy - whilst sustaining her passion for reading light-weight novels.
Me - I limited my social life by completing a part-time MA at Sussex - complemented by
robust walks on the Hove promenade.
Jokes apart – you learn a lot about yourself when you set up your own business. Big
consultancy life shields you from many of the challenges involved in establishing your own
Our newly acquired knowledge around everything from VAT and corporation tax to
employment law and IT systems has served us well in recent months.
Nevertheless, the twin heartbeats of client servicing and new business remain vital.
We’ve always tackled these with hard work, elbow grease and good humour.
Throughout we’ve always tried to balance serious work with a sense of fun.
Yet, nothing could have prepared us for 2020.
Our Christmas celebrations in 2019 were full of hope. Steady growth remained on our
agenda. Half-term and late February breaks passed without major incident.
However, the pandemic swiftly turned the tide of optimism early in March.
Rosie, who has been with us since October 2017, battled with curfew in Cusco – never
catching sight of Machu Pichu. Charlie, V and I shuffled essential computing equipment
across the platforms of Victoria Station shortly ahead of London’s lockdown. We adapted
our processes to ensure that colleagues in Spain, Singapore and across the South of England
could serve our clients effectively. Thankfully, from day one we have always been a
Microsoft Teams business.
Despite the social challenges, we quickly mastered how to work remotely. New virtual
meetings including Story of the Week, Wednesday night quizzes, Friday morning updates
and more recently, socially distanced picnics all helped sustain our culture.
In practical terms, new breakeven budgets were agreed, and tight cost control imposed
right across the business. We battled with fee reductions and client pauses.
Today, putting the final touches to our accounts I look back over the last six months as
tumultuous and challenging.
Yet, it has also brought out the very best in our team. Amazing teamwork. Exceptional client
work. Brilliant content. Together we turned a very modest profit.
Now I am working on next year’s budget. No easy task.
But I am taking a punt by setting aside a small sum to celebrate our fourth birthday, next
Written By: Kevin Read