Following the launch of our new website it’s hard to believe how things have evolved over the past 16 years since Ivan and I started FirstFound. Back in 2000 the digital market was very different and most businesses were sceptical about the importance of the internet to help drive revenue, search engine optimisation was completely new and unfamiliar to most people.
I was convinced that search engine optimisation could benefit businesses and so Ivan and I set out to do just that. Armed with phones, computers, the internet and a small office in Manchester it wasn’t long before we started to help businesses see the potential and start getting results online.Fast forward 16 years and FirstFound is now a full service digital agency that employs over 100 staff from St James’s Buildings in Manchester where we have been since 2003. A lot has changed in that time but search engine optimisation and digital has remained at the heart of our business.
Over the years we have continued to grow the business and have expanded our office space a total of 5 times since moving to St James’s Buildings in December 2003. In this time the business has grown from a dozen employees to over 100 employees and our office space has expanded from 2305 to 10500 square feet.
Our office expansions have enabled us to build up our teams and focus on a full range of digital services that include: pay per click, social media, web design and development, copywriting, branding and more.
There are a few milestones that stick out in my mind which have helped us to evolve from our SEO roots into a full digital agency. In 2006 I brought Sharon Kovacs into the business in the role of Operations Director and she has helped us to drive growth and bring more services to the business including the introduction of our Google AdWords service. We have continued to develop and grow our pay per click service and this expertise has been recognised with our Google Premier Partner status.
The creation of our web design and development team took the skills of our in-house team and applied these to building reliable, affordable and professional websites for our customers. From web design and development to copywriting and branding our web design team really helped to drive the creative side of our business forward. Our social media service was born out of a rising need for businesses to engage with their customers and start conversations and by using technology and recruiting social specialists we were able to fulfill these needs.
The final memorable event that sticks out was the decision to take on apprentices through the modern apprenticeship scheme in 2013. The apprenticeship scheme gives young people opportunities in the workplace to learn skills that will help them progress their careers as well as gaining valuable workplace experience. Watching young people straight out of college grow and progress within a team environment has been very rewarding and I am a strong advocate of the apprenticeship scheme.
I’m confident that our new website and rebrand will help us to further grow the business in the coming years and I’m looking forward to seeing how the business continues to evolve with the digital market.