Welcome to another Small Business Update, this time with Matt Welvaert from Lean Marketing. Matt is one of my original 2011 interviewees, although we seem to have slipped a year somewhere along the line (read his First interview Second interview Third interview under the links). Last time we chatted, this is where Matt wanted to be by now: “I’d like to avoid full-time staff and brick and mortar premises because it means we can continue to be flexible for our clients and pass these cost savings on (or rather not pass these costs on!). In 12 months’ time, I’d like to think that I’d be generating lots of new business for even more great clients, demonstrating even greater return on their marketing investment!” So, how’s he doing now?
Hello Matt, and welcome again to one of my originals! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
A year ago, I was more than pleased with the business’s growth and would have been happy to continue growing at a similar rate. However, as the economy picked up we secured a couple of significant business wins which has seen growth exceed all expectations. We’ve still managed to avoid employing staff but have a really solid team of freelancers who we work with. I also work with a couple of Associates, who bring a new set of marketing skills and specialisms to the table.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Our website has changed and better reflects our core skills; what we do well and where we can add the most value to our client’s businesses. Despite the economy picking up, clients are still demanding a tangible return on their marketing investment and I don’t think this will ever change. This suits us, because every marketing activity we plan and execute is designed to deliver and clearly demonstrate the ROI to the client.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I have a much better idea of the type of work I like doing and what I’m best at, which is the analytical side of marketing. I’ve also learnt that there are plenty of people who are better at doing what I don’t like doing, and are more than happy to do it for me! I wish I’d known a year ago the great team of marketing specialists who now make Lean Marketing the great virtual marketing agency that it is.
Any more hints and tips for people?
I still maintain that avoiding costly, fixed overheads and staff costs is key. The more agile you are, the quicker you can adapt to clients’ needs and the more cost effective your solutions will be.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
I’d like to maintain the same rate of growth as we achieved in 2014 and there may need to be some relatively significant changes to facilitate this. I don’t yet have absolute clarity on what these changes are, but it’s one of my New Year’s resolutions to find out!
I’m also a firm believer in retaining as much flexibility as possible and avoiding fixed overheads – that’s why I continue to work on my own, in my home office, recommending clients and prospects on to colleagues rather than employing our outsourcing (I have, however, just outsourced our house cleaning!). Good luck to Matt as he continues to grow his business the way he wants to!
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 (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.