Hindsight can be as useful as it is pointless, after all how else would you know to look ahead in your business if you weren’t aware of all the opportunities you had missed out on in the past.
I’ve been running my own accountancy business in Northampton for a year and a half now and have tried many strategies in terms of sales, marketing and the services I offer, I’ve realised that my business would have grown faster if I had done a few things on day one that I ended up doing almost a year in, this blog is an overview of what I’ve learnt.
Website – I initially built a basic website not because I wanted one or to achieve anything in particular, just because I had heard that it was the done thing in business. Eventually after spending hours of my time rebuilding my site I settled on the version I have now and started optimising it by building links and writing a blog. I would say that my website became effective around month 9 and now provides me with a steady stream of clients as well as a voice in the business community through my blog.
Networking – A month or so into my business I went networking a couple of times and then gave up after not generating any business, I’m sure I’m not the first new business owner to have unrealistic expectations about something and I won’t be the last. After a few months had passed I realised that I was getting quite lonely working by myself and then decided to go back to networking and stick with it through thick and thin.
I’ve now got to a point where I’m part of a couple of groups and really enjoy spending time with fellow small business owners and learning about what they do, and although the referrals have started to build up they’re more of a bonus as the greatest reward is a sense of community that I didn’t have working for myself.
Telemarketing – I’ve got mixed feelings on this one, on one hand it has helped me to build up my business and in the short term there is nothing more effective then telemarketing to gain clients quickly, on the other I get so many nuisance calls every day from other businesses that I am now reluctant to inflict it upon others. Regardless of my feelings this form of marketing showed me what I could achieve if I put my mind to it and the benefits of taking risks with my cash.
Pricing – I’ll admit that to start the business and to get my first few clients I had to do some discounting as many other successful businesses have had to when they started out as well. But it became pretty clear early on that customers would pay more for the quality of the service I offered and that they weren’t as price sensitive as I originally thought.
Target Market – Initially I wanted to be all things to all people but it became pretty clear a few months in that to stand out you have to demonstrate your personality and also be specific about the types of businesses you want to work with. I help creative entrepreneurs manage the finances and tax within their businesses because I have identified them as a group of people I connect really well with and can help more effectively based on their needs.
This blog isn’t a list of regrets but more a list of opportunities for anyone else following in my footsteps as a small business owner, if you are based in or around Northampton than I would be happy to meet up and share my experiences as well as don my accountants cap and help you with your finances and tax, you can contact me here.