As a local business owner, I recognise that there are many lessons learnt when setting up your own business. I set up The Little Marketing Company back in 2018. After many years of helping friends and family with their marketing, I soon discovered that there was a demand for marketing experts and so decided to set up my own business ‘The Little Marketing Company’ to help others in a field that I was passionate about.
I support small business owners with their marketing and assist them with the fundamentals of how marketing can really promote their business, identifying lessons to be learnt and supporting clients in making the relevant changes, turning their businesses into successes.
The Little Marketing Company have just celebrated their 3rd Business Birthday, upon reflection I recognised the many lessons learnt after running a business 3 years in and the several dos and don’ts that I encountered, which I will take with me throughout my business journey.
1.Many hats – As a business owner and a mum I wear many hats. You will have to learn to juggle. I’ve found it difficult juggling everything being a mum, step mum, wife, sister, daughter, granddaughter and finding time for just me and catching up with friends. As well as within the business doing sales, accounts, admin, marketing, HR, and that’s without serving my customers, I’m sure I’ve missed something? There is no such thing as one role it takes a while to get your head around and I think having a little boy and his routine changing frequently meant I needed to adapt and change the way I worked to suit this lifestyle. But that was the whole point of me setting up the business to be able to have the flexibility around my children and family. Although you may have lots of time at the start of your business journey and feel like you need to do everything to save money because you have the time. Actually, using an expert whether it’s an accountant, IT, HR, Virtual Assistant they have the knowledge and will do it quicker because they know what they are doing and you can spend time on something else that only you can do.
2. Systems and Processes – DO NOT wait to set these up. At the beginning of your business journey, you have loads of time and feel like you are waiting for customers. Think about your processes and automating as much as possible, including using a CRM system to capture your leads and customer details. When you get busy with customers you won’t have the time to think about this and wish you did it earlier when you had the time.
3. Importance of networking – It is crucial that you meet lots of people, make connections, and build relationships as most business is generated through ‘word of mouth’. Build a network of people/businesses – go out and speak to as many people as possible whether they are interested in what your business offers or not. If they are not interested right now, they might be later or know someone who is.
4. Planning is crucial – Do not underestimate the importance of planning – Plan, Plan, Plan – Write a marketing plan, if you do not have a plan, you risk wasting two vital resources as a small business owner: one being time and the other being money. It really does pay to be prepared. Planning helps a business to identify its goals and keeps you on track. I recommend planning your next 12 months as an outline then break this down into quarters, then break down into months and then weeks and days. I have found this really helps me keep focused on my long-term goals. So, each quarter I will map out what I have planned based on my 12-month plan this may change and more than likely will change i.e., the pandemic threw us all and we all had to change how we worked but having a rough outline keeps you on track. Then each quarter I break down the months into more detailed tasks, then each month I break this down further into weekly tasks, you get the jist. But if you’d like to know more just drop me an email, I’d be more than happy to go through this with you.
5. Surround yourself with support – It is imperative that you surround yourself with the support of family and friends, neighbours, and acquaintances the more supported you feel the better your business will do. Having people around who can help really does make a difference. Running your own business can be lonely, it’s important to have people around you who can support you whether it’s to look after the kids or to talk to other business owners about their struggles and wins.
6. Self-Development – Personal growth is a fantastic way to add value to your business and to yourself. By learning a new tool, reading a new book, and gaining additional knowledge you can grow emotionally and psychologically enabling you to become better equip at dealing with issues that might arise. Being your own boss also has its down sides as you have no one to be accountable to, if you don’t get something done it’s only yourself you have to respond to. Whether it’s a coach / mentor or an accountability buddy to keep you on track and moving forward to reach your goals.
7. Buckle up – I hope you like theme parks because running your own business can feel like riding a rollercoaster at times, with all the highs and lows running your own business is not all happy moments, there are lots of blood, sweat and tears, you put in your all and work harder than ever to achieve your dreams. But remember to allow time to review your successes and celebrate! When you have a difficult day look back on these successes and reflect how far you have come.
8. Self-care – I know you may want to work 24/7 because you love what you do, you want to make your customers happy, and you want to make a success of your business. But your business won’t run if you don’t look after yourself, you will get to a point where everything is too much and you will have worked yourself to the ground, make yourself ill and you will be no good to anyone. Remembering to take care of yourself should be high on your list, if you are run down or too stressed it will reflect onto your business. Where possible try and enjoy your business, the stages and celebrate the wins no matter how small. Block out time in your diary to do things just for you, whether it’s a lunchtime walk, a yoga class, a run, or a coffee with a friend it’s crucial you have this time for yourself. It all begins with YOU, if you do not care for yourself, you will not be strong enough to take care of anything else in life.
“The highs and successes truly outweigh the lows within business and makes you realise what all the challenging work is for. I’m not going to lie it has been tough, especially having something thrown at you all the time but when you are passionate about your business and know it can work, you keep going until you get there. This is why the business has gone from strength to strength and I am expanding my brand and building a team. I wanted to let people know who run their own businesses you are not alone so don’t struggle on your own, I have built up a support network over the 3 years and know a lot of people, so if I can’t help you, I’m sure I know someone who can”
Find out more on what Entrepreneur Europe had to say about lessons learnt in life and business in this article ‘The 10 Best Business and Life Lessons I’ve Learned So Far’