Where did the year just go? Posted at 0:00, Fri, 13 December 2013 in Industry Insights

Reflections on 2013 for the MitchelLake Group.

The MitchelLake Christmas staff party is one of those reflections points for me every year. It’s a moment in time where I am able to look back on the last 12 months since we last celebrated the end of the year and take stock of the highlights and lowlights for our business this year. We had our annual staff and partners gathering on Friday so I thought it would be worth throwing a few of my thoughts from 2013 out there.

We had our ups and downs like any business but without doubt, the Chinese year of the snake has been another one marked by growth, change and opportunity. Here are some of the highlights. (According to me of course)

Growth – Headcount (we’re now at 40 ‘Lakers’), revenues, offices and clients. All have gone up this last 12 months. We have seen further maturity in the startup sector in Aus and with our guys in San Francisco having their fingers firmly on the pulse in the world’s leading innovation and technology hub, we’re able to keep one step ahead of trends. Our San Fran guys have actually just moved into a new office as the old one was bursting at the seams so it’s been expansion all round. In the digital, innovation and online space it’s definitely one of those golden eras of growth we will look back on in years to come. We’ve now notched up 18 quarters of uninterrupted business growth at MitchelLake so no complaints there.

Structure – In our Aus based business we’ve hired a dedicated internal recruiter to help us continue to source great people and we now have a marketing team helping us spread the word into new and existing candidate and client audiences. Both teams have made a significant impact on how we’ve gone about future proofing our business this year.
When I joined 3 1/2 years ago, we had a global team of just 7 so to be able to boost the Head Office with this kind of expertise has already paid dividends as our markets continue to change and evolve.

Recognition – We’ve been fortunate enough to be recognised twice this year for our achievements. We were one of a handful of recruiting businesses included in the BRW Fast 100 list in 2013. Importantly, this is the second year in a row we had been in the top 100. An exceptional feat given the stiff competition. We were also awarded the ‘Best Boutique Agency’ of the year in the Recruitment Excellence Awards in October. We live and breathe specialisation at MitchelLake so this was also great recognition that our strategy is working and the experiences our audiences are having with us continue to add value.

Investments – Part of our focus on participating in the markets we work with is to put our money where our mouth is and back some of the startups and early stage disruptive businesses we partner with. We have an active investment strategy at MitchelLake which has increased our stable of businesses we have put some of our own money into throughout the year. We now have equity stakes in nearly 20 businesses. (Hopefully the next LinkedIn or Facebook is amongst them!) As you can imagine this creates a different level of relationship and a closer bond when working on talent strategies and growth plans with these teams.

Events – We love putting together events where our networks can come together and share knowledge and hear the latest global trends in our specialist area. We were overwhelmed by the interest in a panel discussion we put together on Growth Hacking this year (190 people crammed into the Sydney pub rooftop we had booked) and we had a number of great breakfasts through the Innovation Bay Angel investment network we are involved in. Innovation Bay These included talks from Spotify, Malcolm Turnbull, Ali Baba and a bunch of leading venture capitalists from the valley. Always great to be able to bring people together. We were also very proud to be invited onto the panel for StartUp Weekend a volunteer organised event on the Gold Coast which is part of a global movement in over 478 countries with 1100 events. 80 people attended and there were 28 pitches (4 of which were from children under 15 years of age) proving that you can never be too young to be an entrepreneur in our space.

Disruption – Which businesses are now not being affected by digital disruption? This time last year there were still (unbelievably) doubters in some sectors as to the power and possibilities of the brave new digital world. With 13 years experience focusing just on this market, and the battle scars to prove it, we’ve been referred into and executed assignments across new clients covering such diverse markets as Media, education, retail, e-health, music, travel, pet food, finance, insurance, health and fitness to name a few. The digital disruption net has finally reached all verticals and market sectors in 2013.

Fun – As well as the Christmas party last week, we’ve also been able to squeeze in time to celebrate this year. Our annual global overachievers’ trip to Hawaii in October saw a bunch of consultants and support team members from both Aus and our US office meet up for cocktails and various “business strategy” sessions. No photos appearing on this post from that trip! A team of us also hobbled through the Sydney Tough Mudder event a few months ago. A great thing to do as a team and the cold beer at the end was one of the most deserved of the year.

Giving back – We were also able to give some of our time as a team this year to some great organisations helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Our Melbourne guys spent an afternoon at the Salvation Army’s Hamodava centre helping prepare meals and the Sydney team recently helped wrap hundreds of Christmas presents for underprivileged kids with the Oasis Youth Support Network project. Great effort everyone and time well spent.

Wow, no wonder I need a break, amazing how much you get done in a year.

What about 2014 for the MitchelLake group?

Well, we are still hiring to meet the market demand we continue to have so give us a call if you want to hear more!

We will be launching in Asia early in the year – exciting and scary at the same time but we already have clients asking us to help them grow their businesses there with great digital and technology talent. A new office on the east coast US is also looming based on client and market demand so our upward trajectory looks set to continue. More global searches, networking events and lots of fun along the way I’m sure. Personally I’m looking forward to our continuing growth and making sure I keep up to date on this crazy market space we operate in.

Before then, a short break to switch off and recharge the batteries – looks like next year is going to be another bumper one.

Best wishes for the Christmas season and 2014 from myself and everyone at the MitchelLake Group.

See you out there in 2014.