Saturday, 3 November 2012

#0. The Totally Awesome Business Series - An Introduction

As many of you are probably aware, we are experiencing an unprecedented growth in micro-businesses, or small businesses ran by one or two people. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I think we can stick to these three and still get a good picture:

· The security of a traditional job is no longer there. A lot of people have been let go of their jobs in the past few years since the economic recession started, and the ones that haven’t are forced to put up with extra work and financial conditions that are probably far from ideal.

· Some people are starting to question whether it’s worth it for them to put so many hours on a job that, not only doesn’t satisfy them, but stops them from doing a lot of things they love doing. This generally leads to the “working a job so you have enough money to pay for the car you need to get to that job, and the mortgage of a house that is empty all day” feeling.

· It’s now easier than it has ever been to start a business organically. This means you no longer need to go to the bank with a 600 page monster business plan and a tried and tested idea so you can get funding for renting a space or buying machinery. The internet has provided anything from marketplaces to promotion opportunities that cost nothing (or very little), which means you can start a business with minimum investment and put money in it as you make it.

The combination of these scenarios has led to a quiet revolution in which micro businesses are sprawling like mushrooms. With the help of the internet, some imagination and a one page business plan, people everywhere are creating a life that’s closer to their ideal existence than their old “proper job” could create, some by accident and some with a little planning.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are also a lot of people out there that are pretty happy working their 9 to 5 job, and that’s a very valid option. If you’re one of them though, this series is not for you.

Who is this for?

This is for people who have reached that point where they crave a lifestyle that a traditional job cannot give them. People that have a part time business or hobby and wonder if they could turn it into something bigger. People that are very good at what they do but feel stuck, not knowing why they are doing what they are doing or how to reach people and let them know they exist.

In a nutshell, this is a crash course on business management & promotion, which will hopefully help you:

· Get in the right frame of mind before you think of everything else.

· Identify the most common problems you might face when starting a business and deciding what to do with them.

· Decide who your market is – hint: is not everyone.

· Branding – It really is more than a logo (but if you don’t have one, you probably should get one).

· Pricing & Budgeting – all the boring and scary number bits.

· Organising your schedule – for when you feel like, if they sold time, you’d buy it.

· Marketing – what options do you have, how to use them & what suits you best.

Why am I doing this?

To answer this question, I probably need to tell you a little bit about me. After completing a Masters degree on Digital Marketing, I started working for a gigantic online marketing company here in the UK, which mainly deals with massive brands with huge marketing budgets. It’s a hectic and competitive environment, in which long hours are equalled to commitment, and a few months ago I came to the realisation that working there was possibly the furthest I had ever been to the kind of life I’ve always wanted to live.

Incidentally, a few months back I started taking on some freelance work. I started with a few people I knew, helping them understand why they needed some kind of strategy for their businesses, how to create one and how to promote themselves. Then I got some more requests, and it escalated to a point in which I knew that I didn’t have time for working full time and doing freelance work at the same time.

So I sat down, thought about it, and decided that I much rather help small businesses reach their full potential, motivate them and help them create a strategy so they don’t feel stuck anymore, than help a major brand make another quarter of a million this month. And for this reason, I will be quitting my job in a little under two weeks, and officially stop working there mid-December.

In the coming months, I hope to help a lot of micro-business owners grow their businesses with a service that is specific to each one of them, but for now, I’d like to create something that will help a large amount of people get in the right frame of mind, outline a simple strategy, get relevant information, learn how to promote their business and generally feel like they can totally do this.

I aim to post every Sunday, so you can sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit and have the time to read and have a thought about it. I really, really hope this helps you, because a world in which small businesses run the show is where I want to live.

1 comment:

  1. This is very interesting! I am trying to start/run a crafts business, but it's SO slow, and it's not clear to me how to speed it up... Having a background in something as far from business as can be doesn't help either :) So I am very much looking forward to your next posts for advice and inspiration!