Tao Turns Four – Our Story so Far

Happy birthday to us!

We can’t believe it’s been a whole four years since our Founder, Matt Tomkin, officially set up the business on 4th May 2017. 

Whilst not all of us have been around that long, it certainly feels like we’ve been around longer, especially when you look at the progress we’ve made in such a short space of time.

So, where did it all begin?

Well, Matt has been an entrepreneur for almost 20 years, and whilst setting up previous businesses, he discovered that having a strong online presence was the key to success. 

His years of experience as a business owner had given him a strong insight into how to provide the best bespoke service to cater for an individual clients’ needs – no two businesses are the same!

2013 – 2016

Around eight years ago, Matt began to work on developing his expertise in digital marketing whilst running other businesses. 

Obviously, a lot has changed in the digital world since then, but it was a great start, and he refined his knowledge over the years to the point where he could confidently start taking on clients and achieving real results.

2017 – 2018

Initially, Matt was based in one of our clients, Thornton & Lowe’s office, helping them out with digital marketing whilst building his own client base. He was determined to develop and grow the business in an organic and strategic way.

Thornton & Lowe’s founder, Dave Thornton, agreed to back the business, and so Tao Digital was born on 4th May 2017!

Matt started cautiously with a hybrid model of taking two part-time staff on and outsourcing admin and back-office functions whilst the business started to grow.

2019

As Matt secured more business, staff became full time and he realised that he needed someone to manage strategies and ultimately, the team – this is so that he could take the time to network with potential clients and get the word out about Tao Digital. 

Chloe Mitchell joined the team in October 2019 and is now Operations Manager, overseeing the day to day running of the business aligned with its overarching strategy.

2020 – 2021

This approach proved successful and within a few months (February 2020), Matt and Chloe had hired Lydia, our Digital Marketing Executive, which coincided with the start of the pandemic.

Various restrictions meant that we had to be flexible in our approach to work, which included some staff being placed on furlough, working remotely and sometimes working in the office. This required meticulous planning and supervision – strong communication between the team was vital. 

One important aspect was the team checking in on each other, not just about work but also our health and wellbeing in what was a difficult and unprecedented time for all. 

From our initial, tiny office, we moved into new modern premises in the heart of Bolton town centre, occupying the entire first floor of the building. This move happened in summer 2020, which presented its own series of challenges. 

We had agreed to take the larger office before COVID hit, so when it did, we were definitely scared about what we had signed ourselves up to.

Team Tao in the new office on Knowsley Street

Despite initial concern, Matt steered the ship through some difficult months and the team’s determination has paid off – Tao Digital has thrived and has GROWN remarkably during the past 12 months. We have also invested in the learning and development of team members to grow our own talent.

We now have ten people working for the business as a result of securing ten more clients over 12 months. We’re proud to say that many of these referrals came through word of mouth – in fact, in one client prospect meeting, they said four separate businesses had recommended us!

One of the new ventures over the past 12 months for us has been entering awards. As we have more clients, more work and therefore more case studies to submit for awards, it was time to get entering. In 2020 alone we, as a business, and specific members of the team, were shortlisted for:

  • UK Digital Growth Awards: B2B PPC Campaign of the Year and B2B SEO Campaign of the Year
  • Global Marketing Awards: Global PPC Campaign and Global B2B Campaign
  • UK Search Awards: Best Low Budget SEO Campaign
  • Made in Manchester Awards: Manager of the Year and Marketing and Creative Professional of the Year

It has been great to receive recognition from local, national and global awards bodies for the great results we achieve for our clients.

What next?

It’s a bit of a cliche to say this, but we have LOADS of exciting plans for the future. We now have a member of the team who will be specifically focusing on Tao Digital itself. 

We hope her efforts mean that the business grows even more and that we can continue growing and investing in our team. We’ve already knocked a meeting room down on our floor in the building to make space for more people!

We’ve already got plans to start engaging with young, local talent who might be the next members of Team Tao. We’ve recently become patrons of Bolton Lads and Girls Club and will be getting involved with their employability sessions. 

We’re also looking forward to speaking to Bolton University students at their virtual Graduate Futures event in June, aiming to spread the word about what we do and how students can work with us.

It’s important for us to celebrate our achievements and growth, so we’re holding an internal afternoon of celebrations and reflections on our birthday, looking at our exciting future plans and next steps. We’re also going to be having a proper showdown in May, when we have an away day planned for the team followed by food and drinks!

Now, time for us to celebrate…

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