Bring on 2022!
By Declan Waters
Since starting Waters Agency 4 years ago, I can honestly say this year has been the most enjoyable and challenging. Now I know you are probably thinking, well he would say that! Stick with me here. One of the many great things about running a business is that, regardless of how well you plan, you really don't know what’s going to happen next! Every day, week and year brings something new and I love the sense of fun and adventure that brings to my professional life. These days I am fortunate to be able to run the company with my brother, Ryan Waters, who runs our EMEA business.
Four years in, time is flying by. We only incorporated in July 2020, during the height of the pandemic. Sure, why not? Roll out a team in Europe, let’s get it done. We then expanded our service offering from core media relations to analyst relations, IPOs, community building and thought-leadership platforms. This has really helped us build more strategic relationships with our clients. For example, on the IPO side alone this year we helped four clients with listing day media strategies and pitched some $500M worth of funding news in 2021. We welcomed with open arms 40 brands across retainers and project work to ‘’test the waters’’ with us and made friends along the way, including VC Lane Bess who is just back from space! We continued to attract the best of the best employees and consultants who thrive on start-up culture and everything that comes with it. I am proud that our approach of providing start-ups with senior teams has been adopted by so many organisations, and that the majority of our new business emanated from client referrals. That speaks volumes about how our team goes about their work.
Based on these achievements, coupled with welcome structure and processes from our wonderful operations team, it feels like we’re maturing. In fact, I know we are! More on that below. We’re not perfect, however over the last 12-18 months we’ve learned so much more about company building and we all feel good about the strategy going into 2022.
Collectively at Waters we’ve celebrated the wins, accepted the failures and moved on, worked out the problems and have given each other a virtual arm around the shoulder when needed. And this year we needed those hugs more than ever. This year we lost our friend and colleague, Simon Marshall, after a tragic accident. It stopped us in our tracks and it took weeks to process. The outpouring of messages from the community was a testament to Simon and his personality. As a leader of the team, it tested my communication skills to the limit. Nothing can prepare you for sharing news like that with your team. We talk about Simon often and laugh at the fun times we shared.
On that note, the Waters team rounded off the year by finally meeting in person a few weeks ago in Silicon Valley to plan ahead with clients, celebrate successes this year and get-to-know each other even better. We genuinely enjoy each other's company and that’s great to see.
During our internal planning meeting for 2022, we announced healthcare and 401k plans (cue big round of applause!) and ensured everyone that additional benefits such as our 3 week vacation policy, no meetings Friday, mental health days, birthdays off and there will be more to come. I shared my personal KPI for 2022 with the team: that everyone in the room is still with us this time next year. My leadership team and I will do everything we can to keep this team together during a very competitive jobs market. I will check in with you this time next year to let you know how we did :)
Part of the maturing process is knowing who you are and being more self aware. Waters Agency is a PR agency built for B2B start-ups who prefer a senior team to navigate the challenges of brand building. We’ve seen a lot, but not everything, not by any stretch of the imagination. And that’s the beauty of it. I wonder what next year will bring?
In the meantime, Happy Holidays from everyone here at Waters Agency!