In the winter of 2019, I was looking forward to the launch of my first (real) company. Until then, I worked as a freelancer, and after having tried to wear many different marketing hats, I understood that content and SEO may be my thing.
So, the plan was that I was going to build a system around what I had learned and knew best and scale it up. Little did I know what actually goes into building your own company and scaling up your time and expertise, which in most professional services is your product.
As difficult as it may have been, the journey was (and still is) very rewarding. In this post, I will explain how we got started, what led us here, and why changing our brand identity at the stage we’re at wasn’t an option but a necessity. Let’s begin.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I was preparing for the launch of Minuttia in the winter of 2019. Back then, I had a couple of clients with whom I was consulting about content and SEO.
It wasn’t as clear to me back then what Minuttia would be, but I felt that we would end up doing what…
- We enjoy most
- We are very good at
- Our clients get the most value out of
I remember I was in London with my parents and sister and trying to build something out of nothing.
The name Minuttia (spelled: mee-noo-shee-a) has Latin origins and comes from the word minutiae which means the little details of things.
We ended up with Minuttia because, well, minutiae is a bit difficult to pronounce, and the .com domain extension was way too expensive for us back then.
We also thought about minutia (which is the singular form of minutiae), but since I was interested in the .com domain extension, again, we had to reject the name due to the high price of the domain.
So, we added one extra “t” and went for Minuttia.
To build the initial brand identity and website, I worked with two exceptional partners. (To protect their anonymity, I’ll call them S and S.)
One of them handled the brand identity and visual aspect of the brand; the other handled the design and development of the website.
The website was ready right when I came back from my family vacation in London, and on January of 2022, I made the announcement on LinkedIn.
I admit that back then, I was very excited about building and growing my own business.
I mean, the SaaS industry was booming.
Demand for content marketing and SEO services was surging.
What better time to launch a new agency, right?
Well, not exactly.
Right when I hired my first part-time employee (because that’s what I could afford at the time), Covid happened.
Approximately three months after I made the announcement and decided to ride the brutal—though rewarding—journey of entrepreneurship, the world turned upside down, as you probably have heard.
From a let’s-take-this-thing-to-the-moon mindset, I quickly got into survival mode after an unhealthy dose of panic and concern about the not-so-bright prospects of the future.
Back then, I had four clients, and my first and ultimate goal was to maintain these clients.
I had to let go of my first part-time employee, something I regret until this day.
However, in situations where your survival is at stake, you can think but not act emotionally.
I continued alone with the help of a couple of freelancers.
A few months after the initial shock of Covid and, even though things still weren’t very bright, it became somehow clear that this thing, this whole situation, may not be so bad for digital services like ours after all.
That, along with the fact that we got a couple more clients and maintained the ones we had, kept me going.
But, back then, growth wasn’t really in my mind; in fact, growth wasn’t really an option.
I mean, when you see big agencies you admire and look up to let several of their employees go, how can you think about anything else besides your survival?
Our steps were, are, and always will be steady.
So, month after month, there were small steps that indicated that there may be some potential in what I was doing after all.
By the end of the first year, we were three people, and in our first ever Minuttia Pulse—our now monthly all-hands meeting—there were three of us:
Eleni, my beloved sister, and our now Director of Content, Odysseas (Ody), one of my best friends and our now Director of Client Success, and I.
That’s not the kind of growth you read about in TechCrunch or other prominent publications.
But, for us, Minuttia was never and will never be about revenue growth, money, headcount, or anything like that.
It’s about the impact we can have on people’s lives.
And believe me, you can make a lot of impact with just three people on your team.
Above all, we wanted to make sure that our steps were steady and that we felt comfortable about how things were going before making the next step.
For us, that next step came in Q4 2021, when we changed our approach to growth.
In September 2021, we were six people.
One of these people was Aristotle (our now Director of Growth), who was new to the team and had just joined us this month.
The company was (somehow) growing, and it really made no sense why such a small company needed someone to run growth, let alone to work on growth at all.
I mean, if you see it from a purely business perspective, what you need at this point is more people to serve your clients and not someone to help you acquire new clients.
After all, new clients will keep coming through referrals, right?
I’ve learned that this is the standard recipe for agency growth, or at least that’s what most agencies and agency owners think.
Don’t get me wrong.
Referrals are great.
They have a higher closing rate and far lower customer acquisition cost (CAC) even if you pay a commission to the person who made the referral.
There’s one thing that referrals don’t have.
Until that point, besides the occasional post we’d publish on our blog, a couple of posts we’d share on LinkedIn, and a webinar every now and then, we didn’t do much in terms of growth.
Still, referrals kept coming, fueling our small (and totally unpredictable) growth.
I wanted to change that.
I knew this didn’t really make a sustainable business, regardless of how good I felt every time an intro email landed in my inbox.
That is why I decided to bring in our first growth person.
We approached growth differently than most agencies; I’d say we approached and still approach growth more like a SaaS company than a professional services one.
Trust me, it didn’t work overnight.
In fact, I’d say that the first nine months were characterized by the following three words:
And, no significant growth or impact on our bottom line.
At some point though, the accumulation of all the effort, time, energy, and money we’d invested in growing Minuttia and not relying on referrals started working.
It definitely works right now.
Why and how it works is the topic of another blog post.
For now, I just want to highlight the fact that we went from a 3-person company to a 12-person one with around 20 contractors working closely together with our in-house team.
The companies that work with us are getting bigger and bigger.
Not that this by itself says something about us.
It’s just that big companies need to feel that they work with other big companies.
And, even though Minuttia isn’t a public or billion-dollar company like several of our clients yet, it’s definitely a big company.
After all, you’re not a big company just in terms of revenue or headcount.
It’s how you act, you’re perceived, and how you operate, and in that regard, Minuttia is definitely a big company.
We understood, however, that even though all this growth we were craving was great, the changes that had happened in our company in those past few years weren’t reflected in the brand identity we had through the great work that S and S did back then.
So, it was time for us to take a step back and build our brand identity from the ground up.
Why (& How) We Built Minuttia's New Brand
The why behind this post’s title has been answered already.
We’re not the same company as almost three years ago, and we needed a change that represents who we are and who we want to be.
To do that, we worked with the following service providers:
- UX design agency
- Development agency
- Graphic designer
- Google Docs Designer
- Google Slides Designer
- Video Editor
The reason why we decided to work with contractors instead of doing the work in-house is twofold:
- With our current growth pace, we lack the time required to work on our new brand identity and website.
- We are service providers ourselves and want to set an example for our clients and future clients: when you can’t—or don’t know how to—do it yourself, you should outsource it.
A lot of work is still in progress, so I will talk only about elements of our brand that have been finalized as of writing this post.
This is Minuttia’s new logo:
We’ve left capitalized letters behind us and also applied a major change to the colors.
The three boxes on the left of the logo represent the collaboration between our team members, our team, and the client’s team.
Also, even though it’s not so visible initially, the three boxes together form an “M” that represents our brand’s first name.
Our logo is simple yet powerful in telling the story of our company.
One thing you may have noticed is that we’ve changed our color palette.
No more (Series A) blue for us to transmit and communicate confidence to our clients and partners.
Everyone who has worked with us has attended one of our webinars, read one of our posts, listened to one of our podcast episodes, or interacted with us in any way, knows that we’re the real deal.
We feel confident about that and don’t need to communicate it through the colors we choose when representing our brand online or offline.
At the same time, we want to be perceived as our premium brand.
We’re here to help ambitious B2B SaaS companies dominate their category, which you must be able to support financially.
Last but not least, we don’t want things to be serious at all times.
This is why a few colors in our palette are a bit more playful and vibrant.
One thing that our old website and brand identity were missing was clean, cohesive, and consistent design across different sections of the website.
Another thing that it was missing was a more humanized experience for the visitor.
I mean, let’s face it, people like to see other people’s faces online.
And, since we’ve invested three years into building relationships with our clients, team, partners, and audience, we have many people who do the talking about us.
We tried really hard to create a memorable experience that separates us from other agencies and professional services websites.
This is evident in our case studies section (both the hub page and the individual case study pages), our blog, etc.
Our design isn’t perfect.
In fact, no design is ever perfect since design brings opinions, and last time I checked, each person has a different opinion about things.
So, we’re not seeking perfection through our UX design.
What we’re seeking is an improvement as we see improvement in every other aspect of running and growing our company.
Let’s wrap this up and close with some final thoughts.
If you made it thus far you have a better understanding of why and how we built Minuttia’s brand.
I would say that changing our brand was a necessity rather than an option.
During these three years, I’ve had my share of ups and downs but, in retrospect, I wouldn’t change anything.
Not because of where we are today but because of the journey along the way.
After all, I never took and will never take anything for granted.
And, because the journey without people isn’t a journey, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all the people who supported us and made the journey possible so far.
A big, big thank you to all of you.
Our journey has just begun.