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5 things I’ve learnt about running a business in the first 5 years

Here’s some wonderful lessons I’ve been fortunate enough to learn over the past 5 years.

When insights are required to drive engaging content that delivers actual business outcomes, Sapio have been invaluable.

Tom Buttle
President & Managing Director
MWW London

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Audience understanding and branding research to improve customer perceptions – Equans

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As this received so much love on LinkedIn (100+ likes!!) I thought it might be nice to keep a copy on our website so it doesn’t fade away without celebration. And it’s always great to have the opportunity to see yourself looking younger 🙂

I nearly can’t believe it, but Sapio Research is already five years old!

It’s honestly incredible how we’ve grown. In fact, looking at the Research Live 2021 Industry Report, only 9 UK-based research agencies grew faster than us in 2019!

We’re still pinching ourselves.

Five years ago, all I really hoped for was to be able to earn a living working with some great people, in a happy, supportive environment, and to produce good work that is appreciated, and have fun while doing it.

I’m very pleased to say we’ve done that (and we’re still doing it), and we’ve also done loads more!

Here’s some wonderful lessons I’ve been fortunate enough to learn over the past 5 years.

1. Complicated services requiring judgment, analysis, and technical skills can be developed into processes without losing either the personal touch or flexibility. Every project is bespoke, but many elements are repeatable.

2. Without support from excellent non-fee earning personnel (like office management, HR, legal, advisors, etc.) the core skills of the business (in our case: project design, data collection, analysis, and consultancy) get overwhelmed. It’s hard to balance being both a T-shaped individual and an expert.

3. It is possible to run a thriving business without each partner having to work full time in the business. A good business can even survive maternity leave and ownership changes.

4. You’re not alone. We felt like we were making things up as we went along in the early years until we hit upon EO (the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’). That’s helped immensely with scaling.

5. You can grow your business and do some good along the way. We’re able to do more pro bono projects now. We’re all keen to get involved with sustainability initiatives and work with NFPs, so it’s brilliant that we can get on with the day job while also doing this.

I’m looking forward to the next 5 years (and smashing through into the Market Research Society (MRS) league tables)!

Thank you Jess & Andrew!

The Sapio Research founders