Tricia Fox has taken her business from her spare room to a team of ten, working towards a £1m turnover target. She shared her top tips for being successful with BQ.
I founded independent marketing agency Volpa 15 years ago in a spare bedroom of my home. Now we are an award winning team of ten; on course for a turnover of £1m within the next eighteen months. Here’s some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way:
1. Be honest with yourself about work/life balance. It's OK to love your work, it's OK to take the morning off to get jobs done, work weekends if you like, take days off to spend with your kids. Do whatever works for you - don't let anyone tell you what that balance should be.
2. Value yourself. Too many start-up business owners go in with the "I'm better and cheaper" mantra. Your skills are valuable, price them according to what the market will pay, not what your competitors are charging.
3. Find a mentor. These people will help you adjust to managing the ups and downs of running a business. There's no law saying you can only have one at a time. Meet them regularly, ask them questions, people are usually happy to help.
4. Get a good accountant. Find someone who understands what you are trying to achieve and will help guide you to achieving it. We've worked with Henderson Loggie for over ten years and they give us sage advice, strong suggestions and have worked with us as the business has grown.
5. Get an office. While I love working from home, I also missed the clear distinction between work and home. I have never regretted separating the two. With co-working solutions nowadays it's incredibly cost effective and will also give you an opportunity to network with other business owners.
6. Network your socks off. Don't beat around the bush, get out there, go to every event - regardless of whether you are interested in the speaker or not. The more people you know, the better.
7. Read books. Business books. Immerse yourself in new ideas, more knowledge. Know that you'll never have all the answers but keep actively trying to find them.
8. Invest in learning time management skills. I popped myself on a Priority Management training course about 12 years ago and while it was a lot of money for me at the time, it was the best money I've ever spent. Knowing how to prioritise what little time you have is critical to your success. Otherwise you'll simply become overwhelmed by the demands on your time.
9. Recognise overwhelm and step back. At times you will be busier and under more pressure than you can ever imagine. Recognise when this is happening and step back to give yourself perspective. Focus on the future, don't panic.
10. Don't neglect the finances. Cashflow is king, as they say. Keep your eye on invoicing and payments. It can be an elaborate juggling performance from time to time but it's your duty to keep things on track so don't drop the balls, so to speak.
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