my 5 tips on launching & managing your own business
I grew up watching my dad with his own business. And though it seemed extremely rewarding, it seemed equally overwhelming. Upon graduating from St. Andrews with my Masters, I wanted to head straight to a desk. It seemed like little risk and not too much responsibility. But with each passing day, I learned more and gained confidence in what I was doing. I probably wouldn’t have had the motivation to start something of my own if my first clients didn’t approach me. It was only after that, I realized it was all possible.
Starting your own business will allow you to grow and develop your own dreams and that is what ended up pushing me to move forward with this endeavor. Soon enough, we opened the virtual doors of C&É Consultancy and I couldn’t be prouder. Here’s what I went through (in a nutshell, of course) to start up the consultancy. If you have any specific questions, please either email me or leave a comment below!
what I’m wearing
plan & research
I launched in March of this year and it seemed like a spur of the moment sort of launch on social media and in my head too actually, it was well sought out. My first client approached me back in October of 2014 (about 5 months before) with the project underway only about 2 weeks later. From end of October to March I spent early mornings and late nights researching my market and devising a plan on what services I will offer. I worked backwards, by first thinking about what my clients are hoping to achieve. Then blueprinted a strategy on how I would provide a solution to the client. Finally, I came up with a list of what my services provided for that particular solution that no one else was providing.
partners & sub-contractors
As a blogger, you develop quite a few skills that you want to monetize on. That came with my consultancy. Though I was more interested on the business strategy and risk side of the luxury fashion and artisan goods industry, I was being approached to do a more “all in one house” sort of projects. People were asking me who I should hire to do websites, how to approach digital marketing, if they should utilize social media. Promoting ideas meant clients were looking for an easier avenue to implement those ideas. To make sure no one ran away, I set up relationships with a few sub-contractors to not only keep everything in one house for my client, but also to share the love with others!
marketing plan & expertise
Networking is the name of the game and what people don’t realize is that you have to actually market yourself before you promote your business. People need to have confidence in you that you would be capable of completing a task, fulfilling a deadline and running your own business. I spent the months leading up to my launch going to networking events around the city and speaking to experts in my business. From there, I realized I needed to be an expert too to be able to reel in the clients. Put together a personal plan on how you can monopolize on what you’re good at then come up with ways to promote your services.
go with the flow
Initially, my services seemed to make sense in my head and even in my business plan. But as one client turned into two and then four, I realized that things needed to be tweaked a bit. My services drastically evolved as well. With that my elevator pitch became more refined and I think the most important thing you can do is have an amazing 15-second elevator pitch. Today, my services are more concrete and though not completely different, but a lot more honed. So go with the flow and make tweaks and changes along the way.
wear all the hats
When I first imagined myself running a business I imagined myself in a cute pencil skirt suit, running about town in high heels, very “The Devil Wears Prada”. Later I came to realize that there are a ton of behind-the-scenes things that need to get done when you’re running your own company. From bookkeeping and accounts to navigating clients with various sub-contractors-it is exhausting. Even though I can easily find people (ahem, my father) to help me out with things, it was important to me that I learnt to do everything at first. I have high hopes for the consultancy, and if I want it to succeed I need to know what I’m doing on all levels. This will help you hire the right people and be efficient at delegating tasks.
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With that said, this is a very basic debrief of what I’ve learnt and what is important. Many of you have your own businesses of all sizes, I would love to know what your thoughts are and anything you would add! It’s incredibly inspiring for me to read about others’ path.