What a difference a day makes! Well in this case a year. I was taking a moment to reflect on past birthday celebrations, whilst planning what I would do to mark Rimu Marketing’s 6th Birthday. Each of the previous years has been slightly different. Last year was definitely the highlight and something special, when we celebrated our 5th birthday. I have always tried to give something back to charity. Last year, we gathered together an amazing group of people for networking and celebration; at the same time raising just under £700 for Smart Works Reading! A very worthy cause.
This year is very different. Before the unprecedented and challenging situation we now find ourselves in, I wanted to mark our 6th birthday with gratitude. As with any small business owner, I have had many challenges and highs over the last six years, but the overall result has been one of immense satisfaction and happiness. The business has also given me the flexibility to be around for my children and part of their younger years, for all of this I am grateful.
This year, as I have done in the past, I wanted to share some thoughts with my earlier self, which I hope will inspire those who are just starting out on their business journey; or if you are struggling to see the way forward will help give you a little encouragement – here goes.
Dear Small Business Owner
I wanted to share what I hope are some useful insights into my business journey, looking back over the last six years. This year is a year of gratitude to those around me who have supported me on my journey, whether they are friends, family, colleagues or clients – thank you. I wanted to share below six things that would have helped me when I was starting out.
1.Surround yourself with a strong network. I know that many people talk about this, but it is true. I have an amazing network of people around me who support me in different ways. It could be through friendship, colleagues sharing their knowledge or just being generous with their time to talk something through. I would not be where I am now without their generosity and support. Thank you, you know who you are.
2. Take a chance and have a go. Sometimes it is daunting to take that first step, try something new or just get out there. I remember sending my first newsletter was terrifying, even though I had sent hundreds before in my corporate roles, somehow sending something so personal was a big deal. Email marketing and newsletters are a key way to engage with your existing audience and done well, a real gift for any small business owner.
3. Build a website. In today’s digital world it is really hard not to have a website, they are like your shop windows. There are many different packages that you can consider, depending upon what type of business you have and how much budget you have available to invest. Tools like WordPress and Wix have some templates to help get you started.
4. Keep Going. There will be times where the going gets tough. When this happens, take some time out to re-evaluate, speak to those that give you strength and consider how you move forward. Often with a small revision or shift in focus things can feel more positive. I also find that going for a run or walk helps to clear my head and helps me to find another way to solve the challenge.
5. Network, network and network. This was one of the best pieces of advice someone gave me when I first started out. There are many network groups out there and depending upon your objective or your target audience you will find the ones that work best for you. Think about what you wish to achieve from attending a network event, is it to build your team or find business? Networking will also form part of helping you to get out there and start to talk about your business.
6. Gratitude. My final one this year is all about gratitude. I know we are currently in unprecedented circumstances, my hope is that they will pass quickly. I am grateful for all that I have achieved and the support I have received. I am trying where I can to repay this kindness.
My final note, is that you enjoy your business journey, your passion will shine through – remember you have got this! If you wish to also read our 5th birthday, 4th birthday, 3rd birthday, 2nd birthday and 1st birthday letters – here you go!
Wishing you much success and happiness!