Welcome to an update with Kathy Ennis, business mentor and brand consultant from Kathy Ennis: Your Brand is You. I first interviewed Kathy back in May 2012 and updated her story in July 2013, then caught up with her again in August 2014. When I asked her then where she wanted to be in a year’s time, she replied, “Bigger, better, bolder!” – which is nice and concise, isn’t it! When your business has been going for a while, it gets easy to stay in a pattern and harder to innovate, so I always find it interesting to see how people are doing. Kathy’s weathered a few storms during the year, but has adapted and come out even stronger than before …
Hello, Kathy, good to catch up with you. So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
It has been a good year and I am where I thought I would be. My aims were to introduce some new services, to streamline the way I work with my clients, to review my pricing structure, to review my business expenses and to increase my turnover / profit. All of which happened.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
The biggest change was the closure of PRIME: The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise. I had been delivering their business start-up courses for mature-preneurs for three years, but the organisation ceased to exist in March 2015. Not only did I lose work that I absolutely loved – helping first-time, 50+ age group individuals on their first step into business – a big chunk of my income disappeared too. This made the streamlining of services and revisiting my pricing structure even more imperative.
What has stayed the same is my joy in running my own business, although it’s really hard a lot of the time!
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I had some bad experiences this year where I put my trust in people and was sorely let down. Primarily it was a few clients who failed to pay for the work I did for them. That’s what makes it even more hurtful. However, I know that 99.9% of people are fantastic, so I cannot let these bad experiences have an impact on my customer relationships.
Any more hints and tips for people?
These are a few things I have been speaking to my clients about that may help:
- Get to grips with the four key business questions – what am I selling, who am I selling it to, do they want it, how much will they pay for it? – and you will have a better business
- Don’t keep looking for new customers, engage with the customers you already have and they are likely to come back for more
- Create online resources – books, courses, downloads etc. – you can sell while you are doing other things
- Network offline as well as online
- Create systems, they save you time
- Know how you spend your time – it’s the key to managing a small or micro business
- Plan, plan, plan – and create fully measurable targets
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
You reminded me, Liz, that in 2014 I said “Bigger, better, bolder!” and to be honest I don’t believe I can think of anything better so I am going to stick with it through 2016.
I love that snappy list of bullet points – one that is useful for all of us, I’m sure – thank you, Kathy, for your generosity in sharing your learning points and those tips with us, and best of luck for the upcoming year!
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.