Advertising, Marketing & PR

Published: June 26, 2020 | Updated: June 26, 2020

You’re fired! ‘Gutsy’ decision by brothers to show original clients the door proves a winner

Social Chaps (left to right) Dominic Chapman, Co-founder; Katrina Summons, Head of Delivery; Sammi Perfect, Account Manager; Elliot Chapman, Co-founder, and Ivan Gibson, Head of Sales.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Ever had the urge to ‘fire’ your clients?

Tell them that your model has pivoted and that they no longer fit with your business?

It’s a high-risk strategy.

Get it wrong and, well, that could be your enterprise down the tubes.

But that’s exactly what brothers Elliot and Dom Chapman did – and it’s proved to be one of the best decisions they’ve made.

The duo co-founded Social Chaps, a Bournemouth-based B2B sales and marketing agency, last year.

It was born out of their own experiences, and frustrations, of dealing with marketing agencies.

Elliot, 26, said: “We’d spent a lot of money over the years but found there was a lot of fluff and very little value.

“We felt there was a better way of doing things. More direct, data driven, automated and focusing on Return on Investment (ROI).

“We launched in February 2019 and by August had seven clients bringing in £10,000 monthly.

“But we weren’t happy with the type of work. It was not what Dom and I had planned.

“So we decided to pivot the business and cancel our clients.”

Cancel our clients?

You mean show them the door?

Dom, 24, said: “It was a pretty gutsy thing to do but from September 1, we wanted things to be on our terms.

“We had some difficult conversations but essentially said ‘We’ll do this with your money going forward but will understand if it’s not for you’.

“In the event we retained two of the clients.”

Others quickly filled the places of the departed with the number of clients up to ten by the end of the year.

They ranged from other brand, creative and marketing agencies to technology companies.

Elliot, Dom and their first employee (and sister) Sammi Perfect.

In February Dom and Elliot’s elder sister, Sammi Perfect, 34, joined Social Chaps as an Account Manager – the agency’s first employee.

It signalled the start of a growth spurt which saw the business double in size in the space of six weeks.

More staff joined including Katrina Summons, Head of Delivery, and Ivan Gibson, Head of Sales.

Meanwhile Social Chaps was building a seven-strong team in America, headed by Daniel Norris, Head of US Operations and Sales.

In total, the combined UK and US operations now have 14 staff, including three freelancers.

Clients have grown from ten to more than 50 in six months while monthly revenues are predicted to hit £80,000 with annual sales of just under £1m for the agency’s current financial year.

For Dom and Elliot, who ran their own B2B businesses from startups to management consultancies in the five years up to Social Chaps, the decision to ‘cancel’ their original clients has been totally vindicated.

Elliot said: “It was a pretty ballsy thing to do but it’s the best decision we’ve made.

“Our values are really important to us.

“We want to look our clients in the eye and say ‘This is how we would do it and it will work for you but it’s on our terms.”

Dom added: “Sticking to our principles is absolutely key.

“We also want to be happy and confident in the service we provide.

“The actions we took last year have laid some really solid foundations for the business.”