I’m often asked about my experience of running a B2B marketing business and how it compares to my previous corporate career. As a firm believer in reviewing achievements, as a platform for the next phase, here are some of the things that I have learnt as the past five years have flown by.
Variety is the spice of life
I love working part-time for a number of different clients, with diverse B2B marketing needs and personalities, as it brings huge variety and there is rarely a dull day! I have always relished new challenges, and my best employers realised this and made sure that new opportunities regularly appeared on my plate. In the last 5 years, I have been lucky enough to support businesses ranging from start-ups to multi-million pound companies, from a retirement village and a technology inventor to facilities management companies. Birch Marketing’s flexible services have enabled me to help a number of businesses improve their marketing, communications and sales, which I find hugely rewarding.
People are great
One of the best things about running Birch Marketing has been that people have been amazing! The support of friends and family was brilliant in my start-up period, when I wasn’t completely sure that I was doing the right thing, nor whether I was going to be able to gain enough business.
My clients have been lovely and appreciative, and we have built long term relationships based on mutual respect and trust. Being thanked for work carried out (a rare event in my corporate life!), sent flowers and being invited to join them at events have been the icing on the cake. Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, it has made working life happier too.
Particularly when you become busy, it’s easy to be concerned about whether you are working hard enough, networking enough or building the business you want for your future. In the last few years, I have worked with some great businesses to help them with brand building and growing their profit. During that time I have helped them achieve positive PR, award wins, social media successes and new sales, and make a point to ensure that I celebrate the achievements.
Reputation is everything
B2B marketing clients have come from a variety of sources including contacts, recommendations, cold emails, networking and social media. I always ensure that I do the best for each of my clients, and as a consultant I believe that this is paramount. Delivering against promises, bringing return on investment, and having a flexible approach are all key in my mind. It is great when I hear that my clients have recommended my services to other people, or when they provide testimonials and support case studies, as this is my future pipeline.
Don’t take too much advice
People love to provide advice and solutions, but too many suggestions and ideas can be overwhelming and you can get caught up procrastinating in the pursuit of perfection. When I started Birch Marketing, I found it was important to connect with a few supportive, energetic, inspiring people and to get started building my business. My value proposition wasn’t perfect, I didn’t initially have as much work as I would like, but as I progressed my self-belief grew.
There really is work-life balance!
There is a lot of talk about work-life balance in corporate life, but as I jumped on planes on Sunday afternoons or spent the week in hotels, I often wondered where it had gone. I have found that when you run a small business you can still be extremely busy, but you have choices. For me, there is nothing better than being able to take advantage of a sunny mid-week day to visit the Chelsea Flower Show or a beautiful National Trust garden, knowing I can make up the time when it suits me.
That’s my take on my five years and overall it has been very, very rewarding and a lot of fun. If you’d like to know more please get in touch.