Hello and welcome to our March newsletter!
We are looking forward to another busy couple of months following the success of our two March lunches.
We hope you are all looking forward to an early Easter this year and keep some room after all those lovely chocolate eggs for our ladies lunches. If you haven’t already done so, you could win some lovely Lindt chocolate eggs by entering our competition to guess how many eggs are in the jar, by visiting our Consortium Competition here. Hurry though as the Competition closes on Tuesday 3rd April at 9am!
We hope you enjoyed the sell out Brighton & Hove lunch on 13th March and the Eastbourne lunch on 23rd March. We’re looking forward to more exciting lunches throughout April and May, with our Worthing lunch at Casa Ciro on 11th April, our Brighton & Hove lunch at the Ginger Pig on 8th May and our Eastbourne lunch on 18th May - these are already selling out fast so please book soon to avoid disappointment!
If you would like to boost your business or personal profile, you can be added to our Membership Directory for as little as £20 plus VAT. There is still an opening for a Sponsor of our wonderful Tunbridge Wells lunch – this is a great opportunity to boost your business or your own personal profile. For further information about this please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Please see the bottom of the newsletter, for a list of all of our remaining dates for 2018 which are bookable.
We have no membership fees and no long-term commitments – just good food, good company and networking. We hope you can join us!
5 lessons I’ve learnt setting up my own business’
So it’s tough setting up a business and then as if that’s not bad enough you then have to keep that early day enthusiasm and energy to enable the business to keep going and growing.
Being asked by the team to write this blog I didn’t really know where to start so I thought I would divide it into the 5 key areas which I can then share lessons that I have learnt on the way…
- Money – you won’t earn much… or in fact any in the early days! You need to be prepared for this and able to survive without an income. I was extremely fortunate to have a supportive husband who picked up the slack for the first few months. We got lucky (or you could say planned well) in that we had a retained client lined up before we started so knew we had a basic income from the get go. However, you need to know your numbers – what does profit look like, how much do I need to sell to make money etc. Be lean, don’t get into debt if you can help it and stay focused on what you are trying to achieve.
- Time – you need lots. Are you willing to work weekends evenings and eat, sleep and breathe your new business? You’d better love it as it will take up all of your waking (and sometimes sleeping) thoughts. It does of course get better the further in you get, but in the early days I remember thinking ‘God I am working hard but not earning much’. It’s important that you are prepared for this and can ride through it.
- Clients – There are two key things here;
- They are not your employer. It is hard to transition from employee to consultant. There are no bonuses or pats on the back, it’s you delivering a product or service and getting your invoice paid. It can feel like a thankless slog at times but the fact that they are working with you, paying your invoices and listening to what you tell them to do needs to be enough.
- Work with people who you like! This is one of the biggest perks of running your own business. You don’t have to work with people who don’t share your values or whom you simply don’t gel with. This is one of my favourite bits of running my own business!
- Staff – It is often said if only my business didn’t have clients or staff I would be a happier person. Of course that isn’t true as for a start you would have no business. However, having now reached the grand headcount of 5 I can see where the people who say that are coming from. Firstly, you will think no one is as good at what you do as you (given), secondly no one cares about your business as much as you (why should they) so putting these two things aside its really vital to work with people who you like (see above). Life is too short to spend up to 40 hours a week in the company of someone who you don’t like! When starting out you also have to assume the role of HR Manager, IT Manager and Finance Manager so you will be getting inundated by these staff on any issue falling under these brackets… so you must get good at learning new skills or delegate to others who are better at it. Also reward generously where you can, be the boss you always wish you had when you were an employee whilst keeping a firm eye on not becoming that boss who everyone didn’t like…
- Mentors – Since the beginning of Consortium I have had a mentor in my business life. My first mentor saw me through the tricky stage of my business partner leaving after 9 months. Now this could have been the end of us but by surrounding myself with people who believed in me and could help point out if I was going off course we kept it together. My current mentor is a very successful businessman and whilst we have very different aspirations for our respective businesses I respect him hugely and he helps me focus and push through the difficult stages. So big tip – get a mentor!
I hope there are a couple of ‘nuggets’ in here for you if you are starting up or thinking about it. It’s a brave new world out there – I say ‘Go do it!’ but then I would…!
If you would like help setting up a business or would indeed like to grow your existing business we can help. Please use the form below to get in touch.