As the end of a year approaches it’s natural that we get a little reflective on the past year as we look forward to the next. And I’m no exception. But this year, more than ever, I’ve got reason to reflect.
In the beginning
2017 was a big year for me. Driven by a need to be able to see where I was making a difference -something missing in my corporate career I decided to take action. To that end, I put on my big girl pants, quit my job and set up NK Credit Consultancy. Not the most inventive company name I admit, but it’s my company.
Those that know me know I’m quite sociable. Sitting alone in a home office day after day is soul destroying for someone that needs regular human interaction. We do have an adorable house cat but conversations with her tend to be a little one sided!
I decided from the outset that the best way to get my business known would be to go networking. I scoured the Internet for networking meetings and soon discovered that I hadn’t budgeted enough for it.
There are so many different memberships based networking groups. Trying to work out which groups would be the most cost effective for me to join was challenging. And I’m not sure I’ve got it right yet.
Yet, I can say that networking is a genuine pleasure for me. And I’m not talking only in terms of finding business for myself. There’s been more than one occasion when I’ve been able to connect a pair of businesses to their mutual benefit. That sums up networking for me. Being able to help the wider business community thrive makes me feel an integral part of that community.
Overwhelm at the start
You always get lots of advice from everyone around you when you start up a business. Much of it good – some of it less so. The one lesson I’m still learning is that the advice comes from what they would do, or what works best for them and their business. It’s important then to consider with care if what is being advised is what’s right for you and your business.
I’ve made the mistake of trying to do everything people have said I should be doing and ended up getting nowhere, fast. Instead I have gained more satisfaction, confidence and progress by focusing on one thing at a time and trying to do it well.
Remember, this is as it applies to me and may not suit everyone. You do what works best for you.
I have been blessed with some new friendships as a direct result of my business this year. Some would argue that you should keep your business and personal lives separate. But for me I am my business, and with my inherent sociable nature it’s impossible to separate the two.
It’s invaluable to my mental health to know there are people in my life that have been where I am now. These people are sharing the journey with me and I can turn to them for support or a chat over a cuppa. I can’t put a price on that.
It’s easy to forget to look after ourselves when we’re so busy trying to look after our businesses. So it’s friendships such as these that help you to bring the focus back on to you when you most need it.
While my business has been growing so have I. The many hats a solo business owner needs to wear are enough to fill a milliner’s shop!
I’m a strong advocate of outsourcing expertise where you can so you can focus on your strengths. But that’s not always possible when you first start out, and hasn’t yet been an option for me. So, I’ve learnt to get by with some of those roles that were alien to me, and even found I have an aptitude for the odd one or two.
I’ve done some courses and workshops that have helped, and some that haven’t! If you’re a start-up business you should consider the UK SME Growth Programme. There will be one in your local area. I was part of the Swindon & Wiltshire SME Growth Project and I made good use of my 12 hours free advice!
I’d like to finish my last blog for 2017 by saying a huge thank you to everyone who supported me this year in getting NK Credit Consultancy off the ground. Be you family, old friends or new: thank you.
Not forgetting of course my clients. After all, without them, there’d be no NK Credit Consultancy. It’s been an honour to use my skills to support their businesses. As Brian Williams of The Advisor said of me: “Her advice is totally professional and to the point; there is nothing she says that is not 100% relevant. I can’t thank her enough for getting the business on a good financial footing and I can’t recommend her highly enough.”
If you’d like to find out more about my business, or even where I go networking, then get in touch.
On that note, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Prosperous 2018.