I have been involved in marketing since the mid 1980 and web sites and digital marketing since the early 1990`s. I also spent some time in sales and operations management.
Until 2008 all my experience was in B2B markets particularly manufacturing and high technology products. I worked for a range of small SME’s and start ups. How is that relevant to me you may ask, but there’s more.
In 2008 I decided to branch out on my own. The concept – Help small and micro business owners with business strategy and business development. Great in theory but I soon hit several problems.
As a new business I needed to promote my services at minimal cost. I understood websites, paid Ads, social media, Email marketing and SEO at a top level but I didn’t have the hands on experience. In my previous life, other people had worked on the detail under my supervision. I therefore embarked on a steep learning curve to develop my digital marketing skills and a DIY marketing process.
Most small and micro business owners don’t have time for the strategy stuff. It is something many know they should do but it is way down on the ‘to do’ list. However, business development, particularly in their local area, is something they are keen to learn.
So, for five years or so I made a living advising small businesses on how to generate more high quality sales enquiries.
I learned there is a limit to the number of small and micro businesses who have the means to pay for advice on how to grow their business. Much of my work was partially supported by some sort of business support grant. For me, this was not a long term sustainable business model.
I found most small businesses would prefer it if somebody would do the work rather than tell them how to do it. They tended to accept advice because that is all most of the available business support packages at the time paid for.
I therefore morphed into a business mentor working for larger businesses employing ten or more people. Slightly larger businesses had the ability to pay for my services.
I worked alongside their designated marketing person doing the work while training that person to take on the task in the medium term. This is one of the businesses I still run today.
There is only me with a small level of support. I learned I had effectively spent years building myself a job and a job without holiday pay, pension or other benefits. I had to build other revenue streams and something to sell in the long term. I therefore, built several online businesses using what I had learned over the years.
So that’s me. A small business owner with over ten years experience of small business support, digital marketing and local marketing and many more years experience of strategy and operations.