Not sure if you noticed, but we skipped a few weeks... You can check out my last blog here.
I have been absolutely flat out with work, which has been great but it has meant that I haven't been as focused on building my business, writing blogs, facebook advertising etc. The results? Lower lead generation. Boo.
As a small business, knowing that new work is walking in the door on a regular basis is a DREAM! I took it for granted. Things have just started to slow down, and I was reflecting on why this might be.
Is it summer holidays?
My advertising campaigns are not targeting the right people?
No one likes me anymore? (ridiculous, I know)
Is my service offering not what they want?
I have settled on a few conclusions - primarily, I had stopped posting everyday on Instagram, I had turned off the ads, and it is summertime. Who really feels like talking to their accountant when they could be at the beach?
Running a small business and working for myself means I do need to take control of the situation though. I think this all comes down to me taking some of my own advice that I often give to my clients:
MANAGE THE CASH-FLOW
In a lot of industries there will be seasonal cash-flow, so when it is raining down money, put some away for a 'rainy-day' (the miserable, no money kind of rainy day, not the rainy day where it's raining down with money).
There are a few methods people use, but I think having separate bank accounts is a great way to start. At least make sure you have money aside to pay your debts - your suppliers, the tax man, your accountant ;)
BE THE "CEO"
Spend time working ON your business not just IN your business. As a sole trader or small business owner you usually play all the roles - the Board, the CEO, customer service, finance, marketing etc. Make sure you don't get caught up being the staff. You need some time to plan, strategise, budget, dream, get creative.
I am trying to put aside a few hours in my week to research new potential clients, brainstorm new service offerings, learn new skills and educate myself, and planning out my year.
This might be something you focus on a lot - many creatives do this very well! For me, as an accountant, this has always been low on my list of priorities to be honest. But what I have discovered is it doesn't matter how good your service or your produce is, if no one knows about it, if no one talks about it, then how will they find you and why will they choose you?
I now dedicate a hefty part of the budget, in terms of money and time, to marketing. In my industry, this sets me apart, but I think its important in all industries. Marketing is more than just ads. It is communicating with your existing and potential clients.
So, this blog is going on the record to remind myself to invest in blog writing, to keep my 500 Instagram followers engaged, to continue creating new and valuable services I can provide to my clients, and to dream big and plan well for the future!