Business resilience in Ashford: Six TwoPosted on 26 June 2020
Established in 2010, Six Two is a creative, digital agency based in Ashford that specialises in web design. As marketing budgets were cut in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the company was understandably affected, but while new business enquiries reduced, some of their clients got busier.
Websites are more important than ever, becoming the main way for businesses to engage with their client and customer base. Thanks to a diverse client portfolio and their expertise in web design and development, Six Two has been able to support those wishing to accelerate their digital transformation plans.
CEO and co-founder of Six Two, Aaron Taylor explains how from an operations perspective it was an easy transition to working from home: “As a company we have offered remote working and flexible hours for about four years now, which meant we were well-equipped to deal with the current situation. All of our team already had the resources to work from home, so it was simply the case of getting everything we needed from the office and starting our new way of working. It’s obviously still been a change, but largely it’s business as usual.
“Some of our employees have long commutes, so they are saving up to a couple of hours of travelling each day, which is really positive. Home schooling has also been achievable through flexible working. In many ways, we are actually more connected as a team. Clear, focussed, internal communications have been more important than ever in order to deliver for our clients. Our team is happy from the increased work-life balance, so it poses the question of how we will work in the future.”
Six Two also run Kent Digital Meetup Ashford, a free monthly networking event, which was picking up pace before lockdown. To keep it going, the team took the decision to transition it into an online format.
“We knew we wanted to keep Kent Digital Meetup Ashford running, so it was just a case of making it work online and allow our members to continue to network in a fun and relaxed environment. The community has grown and by taking it online it has reached people beyond the county, we even had someone attend from Portsmouth, which was great.”
“Everyone is asking what the new normal will be as we emerge out of the pandemic, but it’s impossible to predict as the rules have been broken. But this is an opportunity for everyone. Don’t wait for the new normal, create it!”Aaron Taylor, CEO and co-founder of Six Two
As well as the business adapting to survive in a new landscape, Aaron and the team also looked at how they could support the wider business community in Ashford. Six Two created support packages for clients and have been giving free one-hour digital strategy video calls to small business owners. They also offer heavily reduced rates for any businesses doing work to support Covid-19.
Aaron continues: “In this crisis it’s a case of asking ‘How can we do what we did online?’ I believe the people who started exploring this the quickest, have been the ones that have survived or even thrived the most. Whether that’s the pubs that switched to online deliveries or small, independent retailers making the most of social media.
“While it’s not for us to tell people how to run their business, we were in a position to offer free, no strings attached digital advice for those choosing to pivot what they were doing. We wanted to utilise our 10 years of experience in running a business and of digital strategy to make a difference. The way I looked at it was even if we can help just one business find a way through the crisis then that would be a success. It doesn’t take much, it just takes someone with knowledge who is willing to donate time.”
Like most businesses, the pandemic has meant it has been harder for Six Two to plan for the longer term. So rather than looking six or 12 months ahead, the team are planning for more of the immediate future and proactively helping their clients plan for their digital futures too. The company has benefited from the £10,000 rates relief scheme, which they say was processed quickly by Ashford Borough Council and has given them the additional liquidity to start progressing new business strategies.
Aaron concludes things on an optimistic note: “Everyone is asking what the new normal will be as we emerge out of the pandemic, but it’s impossible to predict as the rules have been broken. But this is an opportunity for everyone. Don’t wait for the new normal, create it!”