Since starting my own business in 2014, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a range of great companies – from start-ups such as a Film on a Farm to larger organisations such as Ordnance Survey, Wightlink Ferries and Mail Boxes Etc.
- A work life balance is totally achievable. Sure, there are long days. When everything has to be completed and deadlines are looming it can be a little pressured. Some pressure can be fun, as long as it’s not all the time. If this shifts and you never have any ‘life’ time – you probably need to take a look at what is going on with your projects and consider if it is time to expand.
- Talking about money doesn’t have to be difficult. In past roles, I’ve noticed that no-one ever wants to bring up budgets, money or late invoices. I wanted to make sure that this was something we never hid from, especially as a small business. Getting paid is very important. Having this chat up-front with a client means everyone knows exactly what is expected and you can get on with the project, rather than worrying about being asked to be paid. Their are initiatives supporting small businesses with this stuff, so it is no longer a taboo.
- Stick to your guns. When business slows down, it can be tempting to go somewhere you know you shouldn’t. Slashing your prices, taking work that isn’t in your business plan, lowering your quality of work. Don’t do this. Stick it out, work on your new business and don’t spend all your cash before you’ve made it. You’ll be grateful you hung in there when the next opportunity comes knocking.
- Adapt. When we started, we thought we knew what we wanted to offer. As the client projects came in, as technology changed and we had more chats with prospects it was clear the services required were shifting. As a result, we refreshed our offer to suit the current wants and desires. Don’t be afraid to make these tweaks to your business plan, it can pay off.
- Be nice to your clients. One massive bugbear I had at previous roles was the lack of being nice or talking to your clients. Colleagues would actively avoid picking up the phone or respond to a client. Not only do clients pay your bills, but your clients can offer you so much more. Information into their business, goals they want to achieve and sometimes, a lasting friendship. Spend time with your clients and take them out for a coffee and a chat. It doesn’t have to be about sales and targets but those conversations are vital to a lasting partnership with them and normally lead to amazing reviews and referrals.
Thanks to all our clients, freelancers, family and friends for their support. I can’t wait to get going again in 2016.
This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.