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Company Growth in 2008 Despite Recession

During 2008, a year of recession, our firm, Aberdeen Captioning, grew 28%. Is it luck?  No, I don’t believe in luck. Is it hard work?  Partly. Is it a blessing?  No doubt.  Our time had come.  It was September of 2007 when we had decided to really go for it.  We had a plan in place and took yet another leap of faith.

Aberdeen Captioning offers closed-captioning and subtitling services.  The business started in the summer of 2001 and initially won clients by cold calling, going to one trade show a year, and by setting up a basic website.  Our little start-up had some steady clients, where word of mouth and referrals grew our business. Our small team spent late-night hours working hard to keep our clients happy, focusing on our quality service.

When we discovered that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had passed a law mandating 100% of all English programming must be closed captioned by January 1st 2006, we thought things couldn’t get any better. In the beginning of 2006, business flooded in, not only because of the new law, but from the number of seeds we had planted during the previous 5 years.   About mid-year when the rush for finding a closed-captioning company was over, we knew we couldn’t stay stagnant and watch while other companies gained oodles of clientele.

We put together a modest plan to expand, keeping in mind that we wanted to remain a debt-free company. The first thing we knew we had to change was our website, so we completely updated it for improved search ratings, design, and content.  Then we did things we had never tried before that worked—we placed an online banner ad, added our company to directories, optimized our site for search engines, purchased online ads, sent out direct-mail flyers and bi-monthly e-mail blasts, started an educational blog on closed captioning and subtitling, and started participating in online social and business networks.  We knew we needed more face-to-face exposure, so we increased our tradeshow attendance from one a year to four or more a year.  Calling our current clients on a regular basis was a must to ensure satisfaction and to ask for more referrals.  We hired two sales account executives to “pound” the phones—something that was only done during the onset of the business.

To stay on the cutting edge of technology, we purchased new equipment and software and began training our team to stay up-to-date on the industry’s new developments. Closed captioning had been our main focus, but in 2008, after months of renovation, planning, and investment, we had completely revamped our multi-language subtitling department with the latest technologies.  Now, we are able to offer subtitles in nearly any format and in over 50 languages.  We have great plans for 2009, but we are determined not to lose sight of our purpose: to have a positive effect on the lives of our clients, our employees, and on the community that we serve—the deaf and hard of hearing.

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