In addition to the beginning of a new decade, this month also marks the start of the sixth year of my business Eaglei.
To say that the ‘learning curve’ has been steep is an understatement. Of course I knew about the theory of what it takes to run a successful business from an outside perspective, based on my years as a Business Adviser at Business Link. However, the practical realities are something that can only be experienced from working on the inside.
So what have I learnt? I do know that running my business is the most rewarding chapter of my varied working life to date. To be the master of my own destiny and have sole responsibility for whom I work with are the essential criteria I hold very dear. Here are some very personal thoughts – some positive, some not so – about running a micro business:
• Plate spinning. Look after your customers. Despite the fact that 90% of our clients come from recommendation or referral and 70% repeat business, I ensure that I make it a priority to maintain regular communication with our clients. This could be something as simple as a regular call to check how things are and whether they have any new training and development requirements that might be relevant. The main aim here is not to let a plate drop!
• Pipeline. When I’m in ‘head down’ mode, doing the job, it can very challenging to allocate time to look for new prospective customers. It’s one thing to know our income stream for the next quarter, but what about after that? I need to make it more of a priority to work on my business – in terms of building a pipeline of preferably ‘warm’ contacts or leads – and not just be in it
• Loneliness. Working alone can be lonely. While I have Associates to work alongside me when I am in delivery mode, I still work alone for much of the time. Maintaining regular communication whether by telephone, video or in person is vitally important. Over the years, I have chosen carefully a few select networking groups to attend in order to gauge which ones are of potential benefit to my business
• Reputation. I am Eaglei. Eaglei is me. It sounds so obvious but, for a micro business in particular, my reputation is everything. I have worked tirelessly to establish a reputation – built on mutual respect and trust – for providing high quality, authentic training and coaching. The many recommendations of our work are testament to this and I am inordinately proud of these
• Listen. I listen to my customers constantly. In addition to working in a proactive manner, I am forever ‘flexing’ to the changing needs of my clients. While the foundation of what we offer is the same as six years ago, I have adapted and tweaked our offer to suit their requirements. Change and adaption are essential if my business is to continue to grow and develop. Having said this, there are parameters…
• Jack of all trades. On several occasions over the years, I have been asked if I could provide training in an area that is tangential, at best, to our core training and development offer. After careful consideration, I have declined this type of offer as it would mean keeping ‘one page’ ahead of the delegates. I do not feel comfortable with this approach and so have learnt to stick to what we do best
If you want to know more about my business, please explore the rest of this site. Here’s to a healthy and successful decade and another rewarding six years for Eaglei.