Manchester-based Embryo’s full service offering for mid-size companies, from search engine optimisation driving traffic to social media promotion and website development, enabled it to grow 84 per cent in 2020 and recruit 16 more staff. This year its forecast is for a £2.5 million turnover and an aim to increase its headcount to 45. Among clients are professional services firms such as insurers, needing to keep their content up-to-date and compliant. Other recent Embryo clients include natural-based pet foods manufacturer Burgess Pet Care and boho chic label Dancing Leopard.
“Lockdown has made more businesses realise they have to move with the times and make the most of online’s massive commercial potential, be that overseas sales or gaining visibility and authority through campaigns,” says Embryo founder and managing director Ross Green who co-owns the company with director James Welch.
“But today’s digital world is multi-layered and complex,” Green points out. “It takes a specialist to steer a company through so they are noticed and see a return on investment.”
Embryo’s Index, a live-updated ranking tool it has developed, covers a variety of UK sectors and scores firms on metrics such as keyword reach, web authority and social media. “Businesses can easily see how they compare to competitors, what it takes to be leader and monitor improvements,” Green explains.
He jumped from business development to set up Embryo in 2015, steadily increasing its consultancy services to today’s full complement for companies turning over from £1m to £100million.
Although staff are currently working remotely, having a creative, collaborative space, has always been a central to the strategy. The company’s latest move to a bigger office was just before lockdown last year.
“It was not easy, but we are all about agile thinking, have worked hard developing our skills and management with training programmes and setting common goals. That has helped us adapt quickly,” he says. “We will return, having the teams together to share ideas and innovate is fundamental to what we do.”
Investment has come from in-house and profits and Green prefers to recruit internally through staff development.
A strong supporter of empowering women in the workplace, he is full of praise for his female management team’s skills, explaining: “They are creative, reliable, easy to work with, trustworthy and excellent at mentoring staff and making new ones welcome.”
An advocate of businesses being “bold, brave and ambitious”, he also knows how hard it can be getting that right having come through a tough buy-out experience.
“You also need to be careful who you let into your journey,” he advises.
A strong sense of fair play and the integral role businesses play in communities drove his decision not to seek any Covid-linked grants or reliefs.
“Embryo is doing ok and fortunate compared to the immense difficulties many firms are facing through no fault of their own,” he says. “We need to do our bit.”