A year after starting my own business – what have I learnt, where have I progressed, and what help can that be to others?
So the first year is under my belt and I haven’t become one of the statistics that show that over 2/3rds of businesses fail within the first year. It hasn’t been easy, and a steep learning curve has been scaled. There is still plenty to do to develop myself and the company, but perhaps some of it may help others just starting out on their journey. After all, I have learnt every bit of help is welcome.
Certainly a business plan helped. I was definitely one of those that thought this was a pointless exercise to take up my time, but it made me think about what I was ACTUALLY hoping to do and achieve. Not just a general thought in my mind “Mmm, consultancy, some promotional stuff, website”. Instead I had to focus on the how, when and where. Looking back on it through the year has helped re-focus. The plan changed due to what I learnt along the way, but it proved a worthwhile exercise, and one that is often cited as a reason companies fail.
Social Media was a major education. Facebook was something others did, and Twitter was a thing spoken about by celebrities. I had a LinkedIn page before – but I hadn’t been told what it was really for and the potential it could provide. I now use LinkedIn to connect with people I meet in other areas and as a source of information and potential clients through engaging on the Groups. I Tweet about my services, interesting blogs or info, and a bit of social interaction. I have Facebook, Google + etc. Social media has provided an important link in my in-bound Marketing but I still have more to do and learn. I can however help those that are just starting out and trying to take their first steps – I’m up to toddling!
Networking has become a major player in my development and client list. It has been just over a year since my first meeting where I nervously stood up to tell the room who I was & what I did. My worst nightmare didn’t happen – and although I fumbled through it a bit – they didn’t all point and think I was obviously useless. My confidence grew and I am now found hosting a Networking meeting myself on a Wednesday evening. I still get a bit nervous, but it has helped me speak to others and development my own voice. I network in various locations and group types, I feel it helps to develop relationships and to be supportive to others. Networking works, but you have to develop it, not just hope it is a quick fix.
So as I take a deep breath and consider the last year, I am pleased with the progress made and the future ahead. Time to get going on the next year – now where’s that Business Plan…..