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Small business chat updates – Paul Brook and Kathy Ennis

06 Jul

Welcome to another Small Business Update. Today we’re catching up with Paul Brook and Kathy Ennis, in an interesting double bill.

Paul Brook

http://www.PaulBrook.co.uk

Mind reader Paul was originally interviewed in March 2012.  He predicted that by now he would be, “even busier than this year. Despite the recession, my business hasn’t fared too badly over the past couple of years. As we begin to move out of the economic downturn, I can only see the entertainment budgets of business increasing and more couples wanting to have a wedding. Corporate work and weddings are my two main income areas, so I predict that I will get up to a  25% increase in bookings as a psychological mind reader over the next 12 months” and also commented, “I would love to be reminded of what my previous year’s thoughts about my business were and how accurate my predictions were”.

So, how’s Paul doing? As his industry changes, has he changed too? Read on to find out …

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

I am in a sense. There have been some changes to my industry, so some of my targets didn’t get met, but others I have far surpassed.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

The things that have changed are that I am extremely busy this year, but due to my performances being a luxury commodity I have to work much harder to secure the increase in business that I have attained. It seems that the in these austere times, I have to either throw in more, or be a bit more flexible on my pricing. I also decided to make no price increases in 2013.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

After being told that there isn’t any work out there but many agents, I discovered that they were wrong. There certainly is work out there, but it has to be cultivated, and isn’t going to just fall into one’s lap. If I could go back to last year and give myself some good information it would be to be more flexible in my prices and offerings sooner.

Any more hints and tips for people?

People are really looking for bargains in these days, don’t be afraid to give a little back. It’s better to have 90% of something than 100% of nothing.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

My projections for next year are looking amazing, I have a lot of new ideas in the pipeline. I am working on rolling out more public shows instead of just corporate and private clients. I have some great marketing strategies that will hopefully make me even more busier than I am now in 2014.

Looking for someone to read minds?  Do visit Paul’s website at www.PaulBrook.co.uk.

It looks like Paul’s business is still running, but he’s chosen not to take part in this interview series for 2015.

Kathy Ennis

Kathy’s line of work is in business mentoring, career mentoring and personal branding. I first interviewed her in May 2012 and she spelled out her plans for the next year thus: “Higher turnover, fewer, but higher priced, 1-2-1 mentoring clients, group mentoring – face-to-face and online (webinars, etc.), 2 books written”. How is she doing now? Read on to find out …

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?         Looking at my goals:

Higher turnover – My turnover increased by nearly 80%

Fewer, but higher priced, 1-2-1 mentoring clients – I made some significant changes to the way I work with clients. I actually decreased my hourly rate, which increased the number of people I worked with on a 1-2-1 basis, but I offered a number of other options such as my group mentoring programme – Brilliant Visions – and social media and engagement marketing workshops.

Group mentoring – face-to-face and online (webinars, etc.) – See above re groups and workshops. Still haven’t gone fully down the line of webinars, although I have experimented with a few bits and pieces. I haven’t found the time as yet to really put into this.

2 books written – Well, it’s not 2! One of the books is 95% there!

Am I where I thought I would be? Yes and no. Moving into an office space and out of my home office has had the most profound impact. I now have to pay rent! It’s amazing how focused you become when you have the rent date coming around every quarter.

The space I have has also allowed me to offer more diverse consultations and services.

My concentration levels are higher and I definitely get more done than I did at home (I don’t worry about the laundry here). It also means that I have a definite break between home and office which means I now have a definite weekend.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

As above: the change has been in me as well as my work space.

I also now have a small training room as part of my office space which makes it really easy to offer workshops. I also hire it out to people who need meeting space, to run a workshop or as a space to meet clients.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I have learned to look after every 1p – and not to be hesitant to find ways of cutting down costs, ask for discounts and to chase payments.

Any more hints and tips for people?

If people are working from home they need to build in ‘out’ time: get out to a networking event at least once a week – it can be lonely working on your own from home, meeting and talking with other business owners is a great way to keep your business brain active; go and work in a different environment – a business centre, a coffee shop, anywhere as a change of space and outlook will definitely help you be more creative, solve problems and approach tasks differently.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time.

·         I want to continue the increase in turnover (40%)

·         I want to have finished the current book and have the second ‘on the go’

·         I want to increase the number of group mentees I work with

·         I want to finally get to grips with webinars

·         I want more training and speaking engagements

·         I want to have a bit more spare time – I really need to get to the gym more often

·         I want my clients to grow and develop brilliant businesses

That’s a good set of goals! I think getting out and about is, indeed, very important – one of my own Homeworker’s Resolutions is to get outside in the daylight at least once a day, and do a Thing every week if possible. It’s interesting to see a few of my interviewees moving out of the home office and down the road, and the effect that this has on their lifestyle and work. I’m moving towards a slightly lower income this year, myself, but less money means fewer hours spent up in the office, and I think it’s worth it! Here’s where she was in 2014!

Find Kathy online at www.kathyennis.co.uk

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured. If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books.

 
 

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