Today we’re catching up with Sarah from Green Apple Communications. Although I met Sarah in the Midlands and saw her again a few times, she’s now had a big move, which has kept her busy this year. I first interviewed Sarah in June 2012, and when I asked where she wanted to be in a year’s time, she replied “I hope to build up long-term relationships with clients that come back to me on a regular basis”. What happened next …?
Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Yes and no. I have been approached to do PR and marketing for non-farming businesses and have found that my skills apply across a broad spectrum of industries. However, I do tend to find more work in the areas of countryside and food because of my previous contacts at the NFU.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Green Apple Communications now offers a much more integrated PR and marketing service which normally includes social media. I have also utilised my experience in crisis management to develop a PR Panic Pack. This helps business owners and managers anticipate negative stories either on social media or in the press and coaches them in responding quickly with pre-prepared statements. Essentially it helps a business protect its brand in the event of bad news.
The other big change for me has been a house move to Suffolk. I have kept my clients from the West Midlands but have also met new clients in East Anglia.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I knew that I wanted more flexibility but I didn’t realise just how much I would enjoy running my own business. Although it is challenging to start from scratch the benefits of working at home, taking the dog for a walk at lunchtime and having a more personal relationship with clients have been immense. In the early days I had moments when I felt uncertain that I had made the right choice but now I wish that I had worried less and enjoyed it more. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Any more hints and tips for people?
Looking at my original interview I can see that soon after I started I realised that I should have made my website more sophisticated. Since then I have done quite a lot to improve it – including a regular blog.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
The past 12 months have been very busy for me with a new business and moving house. During the next 12 months I want to develop my business relationships in East Anglia and do more to market my PR Panic Pack.
Sarah’s business was very new when I first met her, and it’s lovely to see her actively enjoying her new challenges and the new working rhythm. I think she’s being very sensible in broadening her offering as the need arises, and the Panic Pack is a great idea and a real differentiation from other people in the same line of business, too. Here’s how Sarah was doing in 2014.
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 new books.