Peacock Carter is 8!

9 November 2014

Wahey! Peacock Carter is 8 years old this November.

8 years in the same business: quite a daunting thought! As I’m sure many other SME owners and staff can attest, there is a lot of room for change in 8 years:

  • We’re now a limited company, having started as a partnership
  • Almost like the Sugababes, I’m the only original member of the company left: people change, and move on. The first time is a shock to the system, but new blood (and more importantly, new ideas) have been invaluable in getting us to where we are today.
  • We focus much more strongly on ecommerce these days; I put this largely down to our move, several years ago, to almost 100% open source software, including the fantastic Magento platform (our Magento experience here).
  • Training courses are one of top 3 things we do in terms of revenue these days: building a website is one thing, but having a well-polished training course can add so much more value to a client.
  • We’ve never been entirely reliant on clients in the North East (as much as we love clients on our doortsep), but by focusing on specific platforms, we’re attracting clients from all over the UK, and world, at a greater rate than ever before. That’s pretty cool, even if Skype is a bit of a pain!
  • It’s fair to say we were not very picky with clients when we started: we were lucky enough to work with some great clients early on (and still do work with some clients who even predate Peacock Carter’s existence), but we made naive mistakes and dealt with some clients who I’d like to think, in my newfound wisdom, we wouldn’t deal with these days (all team members even have access to a “bad client smells” list these days). Perhaps part of this, as with any new creative business, is the need to build a portfolio of work.

One of the many reasons I’m still here is that I find a challenge in the way the business constantly evolves; it is almost as addictive as running a business!

Party like its 2006!

As is our tradition, we celebrated with our team and selected clients, suppliers and hangers-on last week: we’ve worked very hard this year and I’m proud of where we are, and where we’re going as a company. Plus, I like the fact I get to keep the giant balloons after the party.

In all seriousness, it’s taken me this long to give myself reasonable breaks from work when I need them: I’m hugely guilty of never switching off, but the odd week (or even few days) away from work leaves me more refreshed than before: time off is a necessity to stop you burning out, so use it!

Keep it simple, stupid

What’s interesting (to me, anyway) over the last few years is that we’ve stripped back to basics in terms of our service offering: we’ve returned/are returning to our core four platforms: MediaWiki, Magento, WordPress and Drupal.

This seems to be a process we go through every few years: we have our core technologies (particularly MediaWiki and Magento), and over the years we accumulate more offerings to try and provide a better solution to clients; after a few years we then shed the less useful of these platforms, and return to a few core platforms. One useful outcome of this is the chance to evaluate new technology in an appropriate environment, but maintaining these sites is a bit of a hassle long term, especially as new developers take over projects!

So, thanks for the laughs, blood, sweat, tears, support, memories (and money to fund my Lego habit, of course), and keep them coming!