What a year! 2020 was a difficult and challenging year for many of us. Despite the global changes, Blackfish managed to grow exponentially. We made a few changes, established collaborations with other Czech agencies, and recruited new teammates. Also, Blackfish obtained many interesting clients both in the Czech Republic and in Denmark!
In some ways, 2021 feels like an unwelcome extension of what started back in March 2020… 2020 became something that no one expected and it left no one untouched. While we were fortunate enough to continue growing our business, many of our friends and colleagues were seriously impacted by the slow economy. As a small business who has navigated difficult times in the past, we sympathize with every small business owner who was forced to shutter their doors and anyone who lost a job due to the pandemic.
Throughout COVID-19, companies had to adapt and move to online platforms, and we helped them with that transition. We also partook in several local, pro-bono projects that supported people in the crisis. In cooperation with Devx and BeePartner, we launched the website Rychlá Rada, an online platform that helps entrepreneurs in the Moravian-Silesian Region find financial resources and support from regional, state, and European programs.
Closing our office in Ostrava
This year, we moved our entire Ostrava team to Prague. Since most of our clients are based in Prague, it made sense for us to consolidate our operations there.The second reason was that half of the Blackfish team worked in Ostrava and the other half worked in Prague; we wanted to bring everyone closer together. At the end of the summer, we started looking for a new office and moved the rest of our employees to Prague.
Before the big move, we went to Krkonoše for a team-building retreat, where we rented a fancy cottage with a sauna. In the evening we grilled, drank, and spent time together. Then we all went to the highest point in the Czech Republic — Sněžka. To us, this symbolized our ability to overcome any barrier!
For a few months, we had a temporary office in Brandmark, with whom we worked on several projects. It took us only a week to find our own office, move, and officially start to work from there.
Stretched between Prague and Copenhagen
Between the first and the second wave of the COVID-19, when the measures slowed down for a while, Vítek and Lukáš went to Denmark to visit our clients. During their stay, they not only discussed business matters and plans, but they also agreed on other projects with new clients. This confirmed to us that no matter how much time you spend on Zoom, nothing can equal face-to-face meetings. We could never agree on so many things virtually as we can in-person. We plan to go to Denmark regularly and much more often, as the situation allows. (Advice from us? Stay in constant contact with your clients!
Half of our clients are based in Denmark, and we know that there will always be plenty of projects for us there. Clients slowly became friends and we have built strong business relationships and friendships with them over the years. Thanks to our quality work, Blackfish gained a solid reputation in Denmark (see our references on Clutch for proof!).
PS: At the turn of August, Clutch recognized us as Industry Leaders 2020 in Denmark and the Czech Republic!
Our soul remains in the Czech Republic, where we also have several loyal clients. We consider both countries as equals because both allow us to do work that we cherish and that moves us forward. Our goal is to expand to other Scandinavian countries to widen our operations. But no matter how far we go, our “base” will always be in the Czech Republic.
Signing new clients
The year 2020 brought Blackfish many new clients and we want to celebrate them!
In the Czech Republic, we worked with MALL Pay to design new visuals for their social media posts. We also refreshed the design guide and supported them with their visual style.
The Prague Spring is one of the most famous international music festivals, and it was a pleasure for us to design their new website for 2021 and help with UX improvements. Lastly, we would like to give a shout-out to Divadlo bez Zábradlí, who asked us for a comprehensive rebrand.
It was a big surprise for us to win a bid for a project with Copenhagen University to design an informational website for diabetes research. They chose us thanks to the recommendations on Clutch! Among other projects, we also started a long-term partnership with danish Planet League, for whom we develop a mobile application for online games. We are very pleased to announce a collaboration with Billy, the largest online accounting platform in Denmark. Billy isa popular Danish website where you can do your own accounting. We are currently working to upgrade their site.
Establishing strategic partnerships
Besides foreign clients, Blackfish also has several partnerships with competing agencies in the Czech Republic. While others might only see competition, we see opportunities for collaboration and support. Our talented partner agencies include DevX, Bohemian Studio, Brandmark, Ex Duris, or Brightify.
“This whole business is based on good relationships with others. These will lead you to further contacts, and thanks to this, you can get to projects that you would otherwise have been waiting for much longer. As one of the few, we take competition as an advantage. You can realize interesting projects, either together or separately, for which the agency itself would not have time, and the project would never be realized or would be done elsewhere,” Vítek and Lukáš agree.
Growth and next steps
At the beginning of 2020, our company grew by more people (+2), more than doubling headcount in one year, even with annual turnover. In 2021, we want to focus primarily on internal development, which our clients regularly require. It’s also important for us to focus on social networks, where we would like to provide a marketing service for our clients.
We are opening the new year with long-term collaborations with clients such as Preciosa Lighting, Škoda Auto, and Divadlo bez Zábradlí. In Scandinavia, we are building a new fintech application that will be very similar to the well-known Revolut app (with the difference that it’ll only work for companies). If circumstances and situations allow, our greatest wish is to expand into Norway and Sweden. We had potential new business in these countries, which, unfortunately, were delayed due to the pandemic.