Small business chat update – Suzi Brown (was Zobair)

23 Jul
Small business chat update – Suzi Brown (was Zobair)

Welcome to another Small Business Update – this time with Suzi Zobair of The Smart Bear Digital Consultancy, who joined us back in June 2014 for her first interview and July 2015 for her first update. When I asked her where she wanted to be by now, she said, “In a year’s time, I definitely want to be in a position where I’m not as busy – either because I’m working less for the same money (i.e. working smarter) or I have some help.” Obviously one change is that Suzi’s changed her name – let’s see what else she’s been up to …

Hello, Suzi, lovely to have you back! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yes, I am. Although I am still busy, I do now have help. Things are going from strength to strength.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I now share an office with Taylor’d Marketing – we work on a lot of projects together so we thought it would be great to share resources. And, as being a sole trader can be lonely sometimes, it’s great to have company and someone I can bounce ideas off.

I also have a new logo – I felt the old one didn’t reflect my business anymore so we had a bit of a revamp which had an amazing effect on business.
The only thing that has stayed the same, really, is my ethos for the business. I always wanted to be able to provide value for money to the small and micro businesses and I feel my range of packages and my monthly payment option for websites really does that.

Oh, and I got married, I’m now Mrs Suzi Brown.

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

I wish I had taken the leap away from ‘working from home’ to an office sooner. It is a big step for any small business as you have to know you can afford the rent month by month but, it does save money in other ways (for example, I no longer have to travel to various coffee shops for meetings), and I think it gives a more professional air which by itself can increased sales.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Network, network, network – I don’t get to do it enough anymore but if you don’t get out there occasionally, not only will people not know about your business but you become isolated and miss opportunities. If you don’t think you can get work that way, how about working with the people you meet, or simple learn something by talking to others.

BONUS NEW QUESTION: What question would YOU like to ask other small business owners?

I’d like to know how many people use contracts with their clients and why they see them as a good idea. (NB, I do use contracts but not everyone does.)

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

Judging by how we have grown in this year, I expect my turnover will be at least 50% more – perhaps we’ll need bigger offices!

Moving to an outside office is a huge step, but as Suzi says, if you’re in the type of business where you need to have face-to-face meetings with people, it does give a more professional edge to your business. Going into a shared office is a great idea, as it will presumably give a cost saving, and it gives Suzi colleagues and makes sense as the two companies do work together. How exciting!

You can find Suzi and Smart Bear Digital Consultancy here:

Suzi Brown
Email Suzi

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. 


Posted by on July 23, 2016 in Business, Small Business Chat


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5 responses to “Small business chat update – Suzi Brown (was Zobair)

  1. stephentianobookdesigner

    July 23, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    When I first began working as a freelance book designer over 25 years ago, self-publishing was not a “thing”. So I worked for publishing companies and book packagers. Occasionally they sent contracts. Now, with the rare publishing company, indy press, or university press that I work for they don’t usually send contracts. But I write agreements up for all my self-publishing clients, including a requirement of a 1/3 deposit to begin work.


    • Suzi Brown

      July 25, 2016 at 8:57 am

      Sounds like a sensible idea, Stephen! Thanks for your answer.


  2. Liz Dexter

    November 7, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Tammy Ditmore, who has the most recent interview, wanted to comment but had trouble leaving the comment:

    “I use contracts with most of my clients; I have written my own that addresses what I consider the most important points: pricing, confidentiality, what I will do and not do; and deadlines. I think it’s important to have all these agreements on record, and I believe that most of my clients find it reassuring to have such factors spelled out in advance. It makes them understand that we are entering into a professional process.”



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