RSS

Tag Archives: freelancing

Small business chat update – Jane Badger

Small business chat update – Jane Badger

We’re welcoming the lovely Jane Badger from Jane Badger proofreading and editing (she’s also a writer) to the series again today. We first met Jane in November 2013 and updated ourselves on her new business venture in December 2014 when she’d launched her editing business full time. When we updated again in January 2016 and I asked her where she wanted to be by now, she replied, “Still growing, I hope”. Short and to the point, then! Let’s see how she’s doing now. 

Hello again, Jane! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Pretty much. Growth has been unspectacular, but growth there has been — at least on the proofreading and editing side. My regular clients are all still sending me work, and the fact they are expanding is helping me too.

I followed through on my plan to look at my continuing profession development, and took a series of courses run by the SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders). That meant I could upgrade my membership of the SfEP to intermediate level, which was very satisfying!

Writing is in an in between state. Writing anything has been difficult, as the increasing volume of paid work means it is difficult to devote the time to it that it needs. However, I’ve found an interest in railways that surprised me: I haven’t become a train spotter, but have started putting some pieces together on the horses who worked on the railway, and the people who worked with them. One blog piece, on women, railway horses and the war, hit a spark, and was my most successful blog piece of the year.

I have also managed to complete a couple of smaller research projects that I’d been wanting to look at: horse stories published during World War II, and the horse stories published by Puffin books. The World War II project I did for a conference on girl’s fiction. I’d just about managed to retain my knowledge of how to present things from when I used to teach, so it went reasonably well.

On the academic front, I was also part of a conference run by the University of Cambridge on horse stories: Pony Tales: Writing the Equine. That was an excellent event, where KM Peyton (author of the Flambards series) and Meg Rosoff (Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner 2016) spoke.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Speaking at conferences was another of those things that I had thought were well behind me, so it was good that those opportunities came up.

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

I’ve learned to say no to clients! I recently turned down a large and lucrative book edit because I felt the book was not yet in a state where it could be edited. I’ve also become better at recognising red flags for when clients might prove tricky: for example, a prospective new client initially said they were happy to wait for me to be able to fit their work in, but when they sent their test edit chapter, it very soon became obvious that waiting for me was precisely not what they were prepared to do. I politely declined the opportunity of working with them.

At last, I managed to go to a local networking event where I met actual people rather than communicating over the internet. My plan is to carry on with local networking now that I have faced the fear and done it. One really useful thing that emerged from the event is that it’s not just about getting business for yourself, but also about looking out for the interests of everyone in the room.

I’ve also set up a backup for when I can’t take work on, for whatever reason, and that’s worked well. I find it does give clients more faith in you if they know you can recommend someone else who is as good as (or better!) than you.

What do I wish I’d known a year ago?

I am always learning, and clients always provide something new for you to learn about. Fortunately, I am a member of a couple of internet-based groups who are very good at providing support and help if you have a problem.

What question would YOU like to ask other small business owners?

If you are an introvert, what do you find helps you to get out there and network?

Any more hints and tips for people?

Get out there and look for support and help in whatever form it comes, whether it’s local business networking groups, or internet-based groups.

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

I’m hoping to have some local clients.

The SfEP courses I did were really worthwhile, and my plan is to work on upgrading to advanced membership through doing more training courses, looking in particular at developing my editing skills.

I will get the rights back to Heroines on Horseback, my book on pony books, later this year, so am investigating how I’m going to proceed with that. Whatever I do, it will be a steep learning curve, so I’m looking forward to that. The Society of Authors runs workshops on e-book publishing, so I’m planning on doing one of those.

Fabulous progress from Jane here. To pick up on a couple of points, it’s SO important to learn to say no – and so difficult. When you’ve only been going a few years, you tend to say yes to everything, just in case it all goes away. But saying no is important – both for you and the client, if you’re not going to be a good fit – and listening to that gut feeling is also vital. In addition, having a back-up is, in my opinion, vital. I have a list of people (including Jane!) who I refer clients on to if it’s not a good fit or I can’t get them into the schedule, and have a couple of people who cover my work in case of illness or holiday. Well done, Jane, and I’ll look forward to seeing how you get on this year.

Find Jane’s website at janebadger.com

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. 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business update – Yvonne Donald

Small business update – Yvonne Donald
I’m very pleased to be saying hello again to the lovely Yvonne Donald from delicious cake company, Kake and Cupkakery. Yvonne’s first interview was in September 2012, and we had catch-ups in in October 2013 and then November 2014. and most recently January 2016. What I love about Yvonne is that she’s always trying something new and always then assessing whether that was a good idea – so often we either think about new things but don’t do them, or we try something out but forget to take a good, hard look at the consequences for our business. In January last year, Yvonne’s plan was this: “In another years’ time I think the main goal is to take a massive step forward with Kake and Cupkakery being my full-time job. All the other times when I thought I was ready, I really wasn’t, but now I feel more established as a business and a little local brand, the winds of change are beckoning to help me sail on out to my next adventure”. So, let’s see how she’s getting on!

Hello, Yvonne, it’s lovely to chat with you again. Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Well, I felt I was making positive moves with the business in having a store front which was the main goal for me to run kake and cupkakery as my full-time job, and 2016 seemed the perfect time after a very busy year for me in the world of cake, I decided the time was right to make a serious move towards fulfilling my goal of owning a shop front, even viewing a property local to me and looking into gaining some extra financial support through a local organisation, but in the first couple of months of 2016 there was an unexpected illness in the family that threw us all. Thankfully, everything is fine and dandy now, I’m very happy to say, but it was a stressful time that threw my concentration and focus and  made me re-evaluate my aims and goals, it sounds doom and gloom, but it really wasn’t: if anything it was a  bit of an epiphany really, and a little sign for me to focus on the things that are truly important and think about how I want to live my life and run my business in the future.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

My online presence has changed massively, so much so that it has made me reassess my business model from having a store front coffee shop style bakery to rethinking and looking into having a business unit instead to run the online business from, or even build upon my home to keep overheads as low as possible, which for me has always been an issue with running a storefront like it is for any business. With every step of my business, it has dictated where it was going. I would like to think it was me guiding it but it really isn’t, when demand grows for a certain item that I offer I tend to follow my gut and give it more focus and that’s one of the reasons (as mentioned in my previous update) I decided not to do wholesale orders to coffee shops any more, as it just didn’t feel right for me or the direction of the business.

I have continued to listen to my customers new and old, who seem to like the fact they can order cakes online and have cupcakes/celebration cakes delivered to their door or sent to friends or family, all done virtually, saving them time in having to go to a store to order or collect from a shop.

This is something I have realised more than ever in 2016, so because of this I decided to give the website a tweak and  researched a little about SEO and meta tags and got some nifty advice from someone I met at a networking event to make my website show earlier in Google searches.

In May I had one of my own cupcake recipes (blackberry Mojito) featured in a national baking magazine, to say I was over the moon was an understatement and then to top it off I was featured within the Birmingham Mail online as one of the best places to buy cupcakes in Birmingham, I’m still smiling about that as I type, as one of my ambitions was always to make one of these type of list, and after 5 years of hard work my business did, which in turn really helped raise my online profile which has me now gaining more orders via my website. I always get a little thrill when I get a form submission from my website for orders (simple pleasures).

Because of increased web orders, members of my family deliver orders for me when I’m not able, but I need to look into making my delivery and admin more streamlined and efficient so am going to get one of my sisters to help with that.

My blog called Adventures in Kakeland is still going and I’ve added a feature called “Meet the Baker” ,which was inspired by you Liz and your business updates. I basically send out questions to other cake business and bakers who can shout about what they do, the products they use and issues that we all share and feature them on my blog. I’ll be starting it up again for 2017 with a new batch of bakers. This helps me to create blog content which is linked to my business and will help increase web presence.

What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

To not equate my vision of success with someone else’s vision of success.

Any more hints and tips for people?

  • If you have a website, work on keeping it updated with fresh content and make it as user friendly as possible
  • Think about writing a blog, you never know, you could become an influencer
  • Network and always seek out opportunities that will help raise the profile of your business
  • Listen to your customers: we can get so romantic about doing things that we want to do rather than what the customers want
  • Always let the customer be your focus and always try to add a little value or exceed their expectations
  • Get some balance in your life: this has been my number one tip with each of my updates as I’ve learned the hard way
  • We are all time poor and time is precious, so anything you can do to save someone (a customer) time is a win-win situation
  • Look at other industries as well as your own to see what innovations are taking place, I’m a little bit inspired by how Uber and Air bnb have dominated the market in what are pretty much traditional industries with the main focus I believe as saving (us) the consumer time in making booking a taxi or accommodation, just a click of an app away

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

What time-saving online tool or app would you recommend for other small business users?

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

After all this time I finally realise my main priority is to see kake and cupkakery grow and flourish whether that’s online, through a store front or both.

So for the year ahead I want this to be my main focus as I see Kake and Cupkakery as a brand which I would like to become stronger within the local community and Birmingham as a whole.

I want to have more of a presence amongst the wedding market as I still have a little concept that I haven’t given my full attention to.

And maybe look into having an app, as we all have mobiles and I think an app alongside my website might be a good idea to save customers even more time and have ease of access for ordering.. So if any fellow small techy businesses reading this can help with this, I would love to hear from you: I’m happy to give you cake

I love Yvonne’s learning points above and the time and trouble she takes to share them with us. Having a blog is certainly key: giving the search engines something that’s regularly updated means they are more likely to show your results high in the list and a blog is the easiest way to do this. I can’t wait to see what Yvonne does in the coming year!

Website: www.kakeandcupkakery.co.uk and blog Adventures in Kakeland
Twitter @Cupkakery
Instagram@KakeandCupkakery
Phone: 07837 876604
 
 

Tags: ,

Small business chat update – Liz Dexter

Small business chat update – Liz Dexter

Welcome to my own Small Business Chat update. My participants tell me they find it useful to reflect on the past year and plan ahead, and I’m no different. And today it’s my birthday, so it seemed apt to do this now. I started interviewing myself back in December 2011, then  December 2012, December 2013, a December 2014 and January 2016.  Last year, these were my plans for the year: “I’m going to be reading more because I started to make more time for reading over Christmas and I’m continuing with that. I’m going to keep running a half-marathon distance or more a month, and hopefully (very carefully and slowly) running a marathon later on in the year. I’m going to complete the self-mentoring for editors guide and produce a print and e-book version by the middle of 2016. I might write up my research or I might not!” Did I achieve these? Um, partly. Oops! But I’m no different from my other interviewees there.

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Reading more: Yes, I read 11 more books in 2016 than in 2015 and I read more non-fiction (not a goal, but I like reading non-fiction. I did a report on the year as well as a top ten reads list here. I had more time for reading because I adjusted how I was working; see below.

Running: I continued running half-marathon distances until the Easter, when I had an epic fall (over a dog: not funny yet, I’m allowing it to be funny from next Easter), cracked and bruised my ribs and had to eschew running (and moving, sleeping on one side, coughing, laughing) for a bit. HOWEVER, I did fight my way back to some form of fitness, and completed my first marathon in Iceland in 6 hours 1 minute (race report here).

Writing: I did not complete the self-mentoring for editors guide or produce any versions of it in book form. I did add to what I had already and it will be done.

Research: I have nearly but not quite finished writing up my Iris Murdoch research.

So it looks like I completed more of my personal than work goals, and that’s fine!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I continued to make sure that I took more time off, and this had an impact on what I was able to do with the writing. I now take most weekends off, or at least 1.5 days of each weekend; I might have the odd bit to do.

The balance of my work has changed: I’ve always worked with writers and journalists and had worked on transcribing the interviews for a couple of books, but this last year I’ve worked a lot more for ghostwriters on big projects. I have had repeat projects from some clients and been recommended on within the ghostwriting community. This is great as it’s large projects with reasonable flexibility and interesting work: you really get to know the subjects of the books, and also having a lot of tapes of one person means you can build a glossary for them, spend less time looking things up and get more done (and more earned) in the average hour.

I’ve also continued to work on more in-depth and longer academic projects in transcribing, which again is good from the point of view of economies of scale. I have continued to keep a good mix of academic, journalist and corporate work. My clients are constantly amazed at how much I “know” – which is mainly looked up, of course!

My editing work has stayed constant, working with translators, non-fiction writers, etc. I have moved away from any fiction editing except for a couple of regulars, as I prefer working on non-fiction.

My localisation work has diminished; I’m not sure why and it hasn’t had the effect on my income that I feared, as I’ve balanced it with corporate transcription.

In my personal life, I’ve qualified as a Leader in Running Fitness which means I am doing more volunteering in my running club, which I love! It’s great to have the theory behind the practice and the practical tips from the course at my disposal.

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

It sounds really arrogant to say you haven’t learned anything. I’ve continued to know that I am supported by a community of colleagues; I have kept up with saying no, and every year I re-learn to trust my gut instinct and that sometimes you do end up pulling a late night to get something done.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Be clear on what you’re offering people. As economic and political times don’t seem to improve, competition can become more fierce. Be clear what you’re offering to a prospect, but do not allow people to play you off against your colleagues.

Keep a good spread of customer types and regions, etc. to try to protect yourself against economic shocks.

Make time for mental health, whether that’s running, reading, colouring in or sitting around blankly staring into space. If you need it, do it.

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

I will still be running, I will have done the Birmingham Marathon and I will have supported running club mates through the training, too.

I will have volunteered at parkrun or junior parkrun 100 times (you don’t get a special t-shirt for that but it’s so cool to say you’ve done it.

I will have finished my self-mentoring guide to editing careers and also a transcription version.

I will have continued to maintain a good work-life balance and have most weekends fully off. I will continue to work as transcriber to the ghostwriter stars and will see lots of my books on the shelves but often not be able to point them out as I’m not allowed to talk about them!

I will have written up my research such that I can provide a copy to people who want it at the Iris Murdoch conference in September.

You can find me here, of course, and also on my books website and my book reviews one for more personal stuff. Happy New 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. 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. 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 21, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat update – Amelia Wilson

Small business chat update – Amelia Wilson

Welcome to an update with the lovely Amelia Wilson, now of The Editing Shop where she provides copyediting, translation review and localisation services (and someone I recommend to prospects for these areas when I can’t fit them in to my schedule. We originally met Amelia in November 2014,and had our first update in January 2016. When I asked her then where she wanted to be in a year’s time, she replied “That’s a great question, because for the first time since I started I’m setting goals and intentions for next year. I feel like I’ve got ground beneath my feet now, and I can start building. I would like to niche down even more, and package my services into something very specific, with my products to go alongside. I keep overhauling my website, it’s quite basic at the moment but I’d like to create an online home I can be really proud of, and which better serves my clients and readers. I’m also setting revenue goals so that I can improve on last year and continue to grow. Here’s to an exciting 2016!”

Hello again, Amelia, we’ve spoken during the year but let’s get started on your exciting update. Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yes and no – I guess that’s always the way! My business looks a lot different this year (intentionally), and I’ve ticked off a lot of goals: I’ve streamlined the behind-the-scenes which makes the day-to-day running of the business a much smoother process, and I’ve also carved out time for the more creative pursuits I had in mind at the end of last year.

Some things I feel a bit behind on, but I think it’s an occupational hazard of business owners to beat ourselves up over the things we didn’t get done instead of celebrating all that we did. Overall, I’m really happy with where I am, what I’ve done, and what’s in store for this year.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I completely overhauled my branding, my business name, and my website, because my old branding didn’t reflect where I am with my business anymore. I’m glad there was a need to do that (however long and complicated the process!) because it shows how much things have grown and developed since I started two years ago.

I’ve put a lot of work into developing my first product, a course, and I’ve put an emphasis on connecting with other business owners and making new friendships. I’ve started blogging consistently and sending out a newsletter, to really build a community with the people I serve.

I’ve also been working hard to increase my revenue streams, and successfully experimented with affiliate marketing, which is something entirely new to me.

The things that have stayed the same are my core services and the fact that I’m still totally in love with what I get to do every day!

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

My big investment this year was a conference for female online business owners. I shared what I learned from that in a blog post, but the longer I’ve been doing this and the more entrepreneurs I meet, the biggest thing I’m learning is that we’re really all in it together. The people we admire and look up to are facing the same challenges that we are, and you can’t overestimate the importance of community and support as you continue to grow.

I completely agree; as I’ve said many times, cooperation is more important than competition! Any more hints and tips for people?

Be fluid and open to change. My business and my brand looks an awfully lot different than it did last year, and while it’s not perfect, and it took (and takes) a lot of work, it was the absolute right move to set me up for success going forward. If you wake up one day and think something could be better or different in your business, don’t let the complications of making the change stop you from adapting.

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

Have you got a community or friendship circle made up of other people in business? Where did you meet them and how much of an impact do those relationships make?

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

My course will have launched! I hope to have increased and diversified my revenue streams, and to have continued to grow my audience via my blog and newsletter.

This is all so exciting – lots of change and a lovely new website, but still a great service and a good contact to have to be able to pass prospects to (I really cherish the people I can do this with, in the same spirit as Amelia’s discoveries of community and cooperation!) I wish Amelia the best for her business through 2017. And one last very important point …

Finally, if any of your contact info, websites etc. have changed since last time, please give me your new links.

All change! My website is The Editing Shop and you can find me on Twitter @editingshop.

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. 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 14, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat update – Marvin Edinborough

Small business chat update – Marvin Edinborough

Today we’re catching up with my old personal trainer, Marvin Edinborough, or Marvelous PT. He started taking part in this series in July 2012 and checked in for an update in August 2013, October 2014 and December 2015, Especially as I’ve been involved with supporting beginners and other runners in my running club and qualified as a Leader in Running Fitness, I’ve thought of Marvin’s excellent Emotional Intelligence and the way in which he tailors his training to how his clients work and are motivated – and there’s a lesson there for all of us in adapting to how our clients need to be interacted with. Around this time last year, when asked where he wanted to be by now, Marvin replied “I aim to be working towards my life goal of running my own qualifications company. At the moment it’s just ideas, but over the next few years I’d like there to be some sort of development. I’ll still be personal training of course. No matter how busy I get I will find time to personal train, as it’s something I have enjoyed for 6 years now”. Let’s see how he’s getting on.

Hello, Marvin. It’s great to have you back! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yes, definitely. Currently I am still tutoring on fitness courses, both delivering full-time courses and meeting with learners who are studying online for practical tutoring days. It’s going great and I believe I am slowly but surely making a difference to the industry with the personal trainers I am putting through.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Well I am still tutoring, the change has been I am now travelling and meeting with learners all over the Midlands, interacting with and training people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. One by one I am affecting learners across the West Midlands, enabling them to succeed in what is a very competitive industry.

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

In the past year I’ve done a lot of re-learning if you like, going back to when I sat my own personal training qualification and covering modules you probably wouldn’t use in everyday training. I also, as stated, wish I knew the requirements to provide these types of qualifications independently, as this is something I intend on doing going forward.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Take the leap. Go for it. Whatever “IT” may be. That is something I intend to do this year, my aim is to have started my own company, providing qualifications by August. What has stopped me so far is my ability to do the above.

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

My question would be on a personal level! Business owners who have “made the leap” if applicable: How do you juggle the hustle and bustle of running a business, tending to a toddler, whilst working and still having time to workout!!!??

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

In a year from now I hope to be running my own qualifications company, and for this to be established (Marvelous Qualifications, maybe?) producing high-quality professionals.

I love that a man’s asking questions about fitting in work and childcare – so often it’s only women who are asked about this! Any tips for Marvin? I’m glad he’s on the case of training personal trainers, as there are some very shoddy courses around but he has the credentials and attitude to teach people the right way. Let’s hope he has that qualifications company going by the next time we talk to him!

You can contact Marvin via Facebook, Twitter or email.

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. 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 7, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat update – Hannah Jones and Duncan Jones

Small business chat update – Hannah Jones and Duncan Jones

We’re out of season now but here’s a lovely update from Hannah Jones and Duncan Jones of the company Marine Discovery Penzance, who run wildlife spotting boat tours from the Cornish town in the very west of the UK which is one of my favourite places. I invited them to take part in this interview series last year after having been on one of their catamaran trips, and this was their first interview. When I asked them then what their plans were for the upcoming year, they replied, “The time has come now to either grow the business or streamline it. In our case growing further would mean having to buy
another vessel, and take on a skipper and more staff. Streamlining would mean trying to almost narrow our appeal – a business cannot be all things to all people and all budgets. We are still thinking about which way to go, but something will change because the summer we have just had was insanely busy and we don’t want to suffer burnout”. This is such a pivotal time in the life of a business (I covered the general options in a series of articles on the topic a year or so ago, although not with specific boat tours reference!) and I was interested to see how they’re doing this year. Read on to find out …

Hello again, Hannah and Duncan. I know from your Facebook page that you’ve had a great summer of wildlife spotting. Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Broadly yes, though this year has been even more successful than last year in terms of customer numbers and turnover. We were running full boats from May right through to the end of October.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

We kept the same staff as we had last year, and it looks as though they will both be with us next year. This is such a massive advantage, as it means we don’t have to look for new staff and train them during those early months of the season. They are both very different, but big assets to the company.

We now only operate the shortest trip (the 1 ½ hour Bay Discovery) between the start of the season and the end of June, which takes in the Easter holidays and the May half term break. Demand for this trip had been falling in recent years during the peak season, and we found it impossible to fit into the peak summer schedule. This did mean that there were certain families we “lost” to other companies which was a shame, but such was the demand for the longer trips, it didn’t matter financially, and hopefully they will come back when they want to do a longer trip (when their children are older maybe). We also streamlined our pricing structure, getting rid of the family discount but retaining the child’s concession. It hasn’t had even the slightest adverse effect on our visitor numbers.

We have also made the decision to convert our engine power to electric. We have bought a new electric outboard engine from Germany, who lead in this kind of technology. It is a costly investment but one which will pay off long term. As the technology improves we hope to power this eventually using solar energy, but for the moment it will run on batteries, alongside one remaining petrol outboard and the sail power of course. This will mean lower fuel costs, fewer emissions and a quieter experience, during those days when there is no wind and we have to use the motors. These motors also require much less servicing than petrol and diesel engines, and need no engine oil. There is zero risk of fuel spillage.

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

What have I learned? That working smarter rather than harder (in terms of hours) is often the thing to do, though there is no substitute for hard graft and dedication of course. I’m glad we made the decision to streamline rather than grow.

Brexit – well it’s hard to know what it will bring isn’t it? Lots of people didn’t think it would happen, yet here we are. Hopefully it won’t mean our overseas visitor numbers will drop (with the weak pound I doubt it), and I really hope that it doesn’t mean the increasingly number of European residents in the UK will stop holidaying in Cornwall. We get lots of Central European people living and working in the UK visiting us, for example. We have made no secret of the fact that we are concerned about the effect Brexit will have on the marine environment, and people have overwhelmingly agreed with us.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Life is not a dress rehearsal – work hard but don’t forget to live as well.

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

Are you generally pessimistic or optimistic about Britain’s future in this new world we find ourselves in?

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

Making use of new technology and using the ongoing findings of our research to help us find the wildlife on our trips, which is what gives us one of the edges over the competition. This is alongside the experiment with the electric outboard engine. This should hopefully prove to customers that we are genuinely committed to being genuinely environmentally friendly rather than simply coating our marketing in greenwash.

Times are extremely uncertain – I have no idea what next year will bring. Very few people do.

I’m so glad they had such a good year and have worked out a way to build the business which works for them (when it came to full-capacity time for me, I built up my network of people to refer onto so I could say “no” while offering an alternative option, and streamlined what I offered and who I offered it to; different options are available). I love the idea of them offering even more environmentally friendly boat tours, as this is what attracted us to go out with their company in the first place, and I’m sure next summer will bring more development there. I suspect more people will be holidaying in the UK next year although who knows, really – I’d love to see a few answers from fellow business-owners to that Brexit question.

You can find Marine Discovery Penzance online at www.marinediscovery.co.uk as well as on Facebook and Twitter. You can email them or call on
07749 277110

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. 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat questions – over to you!

Small business chat questions – over to you!

For a while now, I’ve been adding a special bonus question to my small business chat update posts: what would you like to ask other business owners? There have been some great questions and some lovely answers, too. Here I pull together some of the good ones and I bet a good few of my readers have some answers to them, whether you currently run a business, have been a freelancer or hang out with the self-employed crew – why not click on the link, go to the comments and add your answer?

Managing, growing and maintaining your business

How do we make more money … without diluting the principles that drove us to start this business in the way we did in the first place?

I’d like to know how many people use contracts with their clients and why they see them as a good idea

I’m a procrastinator. What do you do to motivate yourself and achieve things that you’d otherwise happily let slip down your to do list?

What’s the hardest part about running your business?

How are you staying up to date with changes taking place in your industry?

How do you keep the momentum going? Where do you get inspiration from to keep things fresh?

What’s the one thing you’ve done that has had the biggest impact on your everyday workday – whether it’s a strategy you employ or a piece of software you use?

Time management and work-life balance

How do you manage to maintain a healthy work/life balance? Do you have any secret tips, or links to articles or videos you can recommend?

How do you find time to do your work and also keep up with social media or other marketing tasks?

When you started out in business when did you start to take time off for holidays?

What are your tips for balancing work and family time?

How do you fit small business around a young family – especially if your baby isn’t a big day sleeper!

How do you maintain focus on your business when issues in your personal life are draining all your energy?

Have you ever thought about quitting? If so, how did you get to your ultimate decision (whether you carried on or did indeed quit) and do you feel like it was the right thing to do?

What motivated you when it seemed too difficult to continue?

Social media, advertising and lead generation

Do you feel your business gets any benefit from using Twitter?

Where do you get your leads from?

What medium of advertising to you find most useful in obtaining new customers and why?

How do you go about finding work if you’re having a quiet period?

What do you think is the most cost-effective way to get mass brand exposure to consumers?

Staff and success

What inexpensive ways are there to treat your staff?

How do you grow a team effectively and not damage the personal nature of your business?

How do you successfully delegate work? What tricks have you got for growing your business, but still retaining control?

If you were to recruit your first employee, what do you see as being the most important role you would need to recruit to move your business forward? Would it be a finance person, marketer, operations, etc.?

Miscellaneous

If you could plan the perfect week at your business what would it be like?

Are you ready to publish a book?

Seen a question that tickles your fancy, that you’re just itching to answer? Click on the link for your favourite question(s), go to the Comments and add your words of wisdom. I know the interviewee(s) you choose will be thrilled to hear from you (and I’ll display your URL by your answer, for that bit of extra exposure …)

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 19, 2016 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: , ,