Launch Online was able to make bold business decisions with support from MAP.
Exeter-based digital advertising agency, Launch Online, was established by Jaye Cowle in 2012 with the aim of providing paid media management for ambitious advertisers.
The agency started 2020 with seven employees and a turnover of £0.5 million. It was already using a good accountancy firm but wanted to move to an outsourced finance function with digital agency experience.
“I felt that the time was right to migrate to an agency experienced finance partner that could effectively support our growth ambitions”, says Launch Online MD, Jaye Cowle. “After being recommended MAP on LinkedIn, we set up a meeting and I was instantly impressed by the company’s breadth of experience and knowledge of our industry.”
Navigating the pandemic rollercoaster
Launch Online started working with MAP, an outsourced finance function for digital creative agencies, in January 2020 and two months’ later, the pandemic hit. As with most businesses at this time, there was a drop in business and Launch Online lost 40 per cent of its clients in just one week.
Cowle made the decision to temporarily reduce its MAP services when the agency’s turnover was looking like it may half. The flexibility of its contract with MAP means that it can quickly reduce or scale the services it receives, and two months of reduced services helped Launch Online to quickly cut bottom-line costs to see it through its most challenging period.
Cowle says, “We’d had our best month ever in February 2020 and a month later, we were in a nightmare. I was afraid to answer the phone in case it was another client halting their services. Thankfully our largest client stayed with us and so at its worst, our revenue was only down 20 per cent.”
The agency also chose to pivot its services and provide UX and CRO services to help customers convert website traffic. It became more of a business support service, helping clients to navigate their way through the crisis and to continue advertising. Soon business started picking-up and the agency began hiring more staff.
“When competitors were furloughing staff, we were employing people”, says Cowle. “We recognised that the market conditions were favourable to digital businesses and wanted to capitalise on this.”
However, Launch Online wouldn’t have been able to keep growing the business and employing more staff during a pandemic, if it didn’t have confidence in the figures. With instant access to up-to-date accounts and cash flow forecasts, together with the ongoing support of MAP’s finance team, Launch Online was able to make bold business decisions.
Cowle says “We were able to sure-up our defences financially, and I had the right information at my fingertips 24 hours a day. This meant that all my energy could be spent looking after our clients and staff and moving the business forward.
“In fact, within a day, MAP turned around a live emergency budget in which our cash flow could be quickly tracked. MAP also set-up a WhatsApp Group for all clients, so that urgent agency-specific information could be communicated and explained from day one of lockdown. It was clear that we were in good hands.”
Doubling in size
Due to a combination of market conditions and Launch Online making bold calls, the agency has seen the largest growth in its history, doubling in size from seven to 13 employees in just 20 months. The agency is also expecting to hit £1 million turnover by 31 August 2021, doubling its turnover and in doing so, achieving its 2024 target three years’ early!
“With MAP supporting us, I felt empowered to make the right decisions when they mattered the most. Choosing MAP was genuinely the best decision I have ever made”, says Cowle. “We were a small fish in a big pond but we’re now out-performing some of the largest agencies because we were so agile at maximising new business opportunities.”
Having hit its turnover goal ahead of schedule, Launch Online is now busy re-establishing its ambitions in partnership with MAP.
Cowle comments, “We’re figuring-out the five year plan from both a business and a personal perspective and it’s so exciting to imagine where Launch Online can be in a few years’ time. We’ve already surpassed our aspirations, so the only way is up!”