OK, so in reality we're probably not "Britain's Brightest Business". but we did just win a national competition run by HP, so I guess we can claim the title for a while at least.
In HP's words: "How businesses present themselves is a critical success factor, and HP is thinking colourfully this spring in an effort to inspire small businesses to be bold about their business brand and personality."
So why am I blogging about it? Obviously, I'm genuinely proud of what we've achieved as a business over the past year - and I also think businesses very often underestimate the importance of a bright, vibrant work environment.
If you've been kind enough to read this far, think about:
1. When you look up from your screen, what do you see - and does it inspire you?
2. When you bring visitors to your workplace for meetings, what are their first (and last) impressions?
3. Does your work environment reflect your business and your brand values? (I'm guessing you have a set of values, most companies seem to)
HTK's last office wasn't great - but being realistic it was pretty much all we could afford 7 or 8 years ago when we signed the lease. And it was a huge improvement on the previous one, which to start with was just a single room with windows so high up you couldn't see out of them.
Now we're lucky enough, through hard work, some great project wins and being in the right place at the right time, to have an amazing new HQ on the Ipswich Waterfront.
A few key things happened in the last 12 months that led us to becoming Britain's Brightest Business:
- We went back through the process of thinking about our "brand", in detail, and across our whole team. Pixelgorup did a great job of facilitating this. This led to the visual re-design of our website, and the set of colours we use.
- We re-designed our HTK Horizon software product, to reflect our new visual styling. This was part of a much bigger job of switching HTK from being a bespoke software company into a product company.
- With a product ("what we do") and our new brand ("who we are, how we feel, how we want our customers to feel" etc), things started to get exciting. I think everyone started to think about us differently, with more purpose than before.
- Then we found Chapmans Warehouse. A *perfect* location, but good grief did it need some work and TLC! But as sometimes happens in business, the timing was just right to take on this new HQ and take ourselves on the next step of our "who is HTK" journey.
The paint didn't cost much (though the glass and spiral staircase did!) - and the outcome, I think, has been a massive lift in our sense of purpose, our sense of community roots and our identity as a company rather than a group of bright individuals.
We have an amazing software product, a genuinely talented team and certainly the coolest office I've ever worked in.
I think we deserve the title "Britain's Brightest Business", just for a while :)