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Blue Array in top 50 companies on the Thames Valley SME 100 Growth

By Sara Klusch
26 July 2021

The Business Magazine asked the CEOs and leaders of the Thames Valley SME 100 Growth index, which celebrates the region’s high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises, to share their experience of managing a company in 2021. We asked Simon Schnieders, CEO of Blue Array, the following three questions:

  • What were your toughest challenges over the past year?
  • What were your biggest wins?
  • What are your wildest ambitions for the coming year?"

The Reading-based SEO consultancy agency reached number 50 on The Business Magazine’s Thames Valley SME100 Growth listing this year, with an overall growth of 19%.

What were your three toughest challenges over the past year?

Simon Schnieders: One of our challenges was dealing with a 20% loss in revenue. Some of our customers literally tore up agreements and notice periods to preserve cash flow. Another challenge was managing staff turnover. Despite us doing our utmost to remain attractive to employees, the great 'musical chairs’ event of January was compounded by: location no longer being a factor, pandemic fatigue and a resurgence of business within our industry during Q4 of 2020. Finally, since we are a people-first business, we incurred a loss of profit as we retained 100% of our staff at 100% of salary which was also challenging.

Your biggest win?

Simon Schnieders: Retaining our team so we could deal with the influx of business in Q4 of 2020.  I feel proud that we sacrificed profits to keep everyone employed and paid them 100% of their salary despite some needing to be furloughed.

Your three wildest ambitions for the coming year?

Simon Schnieders: A holiday! Government rationing of meat to help the environment (you asked for wild!) and finally a punitive ‘vacancy tax’ for commercial landlords to accelerate the transformation of our cities and bring business back to the high street.

Blue Array is included in the Thames Valley SME100 Growth index for the second consecutive year. To qualify for the listing, businesses need to be based in the Thames Valley, have a turnover of no less than £1 million and no more than £20m, and to have grown their turnover significantly in the past year.

The 2021 edition of the list is sponsored by law firm Herrington Carmichael, commercial property consultants Hicks Baker and corporate finance advisers Wilson Partners.

Supporting partners are Laithwaites and Lamborghini.

All Thames Valley SME 100 Growth members are now invited to enter the nominations to this year’s awards, which will recognise outstanding achievements in six categories.

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