Welcome to another Small Business Update – this time with Simon Forder from RingHello. Simon is one of my original 2011 interviewees, with a catch-up in October 2012, and we last caught up with Simon in November 2013, when things were changing rapidly in the telemarketing business but he was excited about having his new book published. At that point, he said, “I am hoping in a year’s time to have consolidated the position with regard to The Castle Guy, so that I can spend more time on this passion of mine, and to be more stable with my RingHello work, rather than be working on a month by month basis. Having new clients is always a nervy time, so as I continue to get results for them this should happen. Speak to you next year!” So, how have things gone?
Hello, Simon, how are you? Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
I’m not sure that this time last year I had an expectation about where I would be, more an idea about where I wanted to be. By and large I think I am in the right general area, but of course things happened a bit differently to how I might have expected them to. A shoulder injury has caused delays in the development of The Castle Guy side of my business, but at the same time allowed me the space I needed to sit back and approach things from a different and very exciting direction – after having the time to reflect on it all! As the telemarketing is my bread and butter still, I concentrated on getting the job done during the day, leaving me little scope to continue at my desk in the evenings. So I am in a more consolidated position with The Castle Guy. With telemarketing, the business has remained constant, which is a good thing.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Reading through the comments I made last year, the market hasn’t changed all that much since 2013, and all the statements I made in our previous interview still ring true today – I am still having these conversations with prospective clients. The moves we made to encourage clients to us that value what we can do, and discourage those whose business models don’t fit with ours, have been successful, and we don’t get very many queries from people who don’t already buy into our way of working, and our areas of speciality.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
With my increasing focus on The Castle Guy, I have found that it is very easy to allow myself to get over-ambitious with what I can achieve in a day, and that quite often because I like to do things thoroughly, they (a) take longer than I expect and (b) don’t need to be perfect, because what I see as imperfect other people see as an exceptional piece of work. This has meant I have become far more aware of making sure I don’t over-reach myself and burn out. I wish I had known this time last year that I would still be suffering pain from an injury after 12 months; it would have enabled me to do a little at a time rather than do nothing and hope that I would recover quickly and just get cracking again.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Just one – listen to what your body tells you! If you don’t, it might just have to shout louder.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
Ooh, I don’t know. I plan to have made significant progress with The Castle Guy, so that I can devote more time to it, and develop it further. The more I do with it, the more I should get back, so fingers crossed for a successful 2015! With RingHello, I’d still like a bit more stability, but perhaps that’s a change in the marketplace that’s permanent. Either way I am confident that what is right will happen when it’s meant to. And I also hope to be back to full fitness by then too!
It sounds like it’s been an eventful year, but one from which Simon has learnt and drawn some basic principles, so the effort hasn’t been at all wasted. Getting customers on board who already accept and prefer your way of working is a major bonus, and bodes well for the future. We wish Simon all the best for a full recovery, too, of course!
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.