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In this article I’ve decided to talk about how seasonal business can be and how I’ve changed my approach this summer. Some of it is a work in progress, I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m hoping you’ll enjoy reading about the journey.
I’m not sure why, but every year, summer seems to catch me off guard. Whether it’s because of sales or investment or an acquisition, I seem to always forget that you can’t achieve ANYTHING in July and August.
So, this year, I decided to go with the flow and make the most of a somewhat quiet 6 weeks. I’ve used this time to really reflect on what we’ve done in the last 6 months, organise our content plans for marketing and create some really cool content that we can launch when all the kids go back to school in September.
It’s been really refreshing to look and think more strategically about our clients, what they need and how to best talk to them. In fact, this article is part of that, showing everyone that it doesn’t matter how well your company is going, the summer can be tough.
So, what have we done over this 6 weeks that I’m pleased about….
Reviewing what’s worked, and what hasn’t
To be fair, this is something that you end up doing on a daily basis anyway, but it’s been nice to set aside some time and reflect on what marketing and advertising has delivered results and what hasn’t.
I’ve also spent time looking at the product proposition and how the team pitch it, as (as you would expect with an early stage company) things evolve quite quickly. This has really helped me to not only better articulate our offering to clients and partners, but also better to the team, which is probably more important.
Getting content out to the masses is critical when trying to build your audience and create opportunities, but so often it ends up coming in fits and starts and doesn’t convey a coherent story — it’s just “stuff” that you think might be interesting.
I’ve spent a lot of time with Harry and the management team working out what might be interesting to the world beyond our 4 office walls, coming up with some coherent threads that run between all of the articles and making sure we have a long term plan! Nothing worse than dumping articles onto LinkedIn every day for a week, then disappearing off the face of the planet for 2 months…. If you’re going to do it… commit!
We’ve committed to a 3 months worth of content in this plan…. We really hope it connects with you, the listener.
Going beyond the planning, this time has been great to actually find some head space and create the content that I want to share with the world. I don’t want to write “Top 5 tips for building a business” everyone writes that sort of stuff, I want to write about my journey, the highs, the lows, what’s worked, what doesn’t and hope you find it interesting. Some of it will resonate, other times you’ll think — “What the hell were you thinking!”.
I’m also massively fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly creative people, it’s something that I find awe inspiring as my mind is so analytical, I could never do what they do. However, by working with them, the team has produced some really great ideas and collaboratively created some great stuff.
Talking to the Team
I’m sometimes pretty guilty of putting my blinkers on and just getting on with my job, and as a result, the first thing that goes out of the window is communication to the team. We all know it’s important to communicate, and it’s always the first thing to blame when things go wrong. I’ve had some time to reflect on this and have been looking at how we can more regularly keep everyone in the company in the loop…. In a productive way.
I don’t want to introduce weekly stand-ups where people feel like they’re obliged to be there or told what’s going on… it’s a work in progress, but I’m spending a lot more time with each of the team and talking to them about what I’m doing on a daily basis and how it relates to what they’re doing and why it’s all so important. I’ve got so many insights from doing this, the feedback really helps.
Talking to Customers
Not selling, not business developing, just talking. It’s a great time to catch up with those that we work for on a daily basis. I’ve been meeting for a lot of coffees, lunches and afternoon drinks. Hearing about their businesses, what’s working, what’s not and understanding their ambitions and plans for the rest of the year. So much of what we do is about the relationship that I’ve built with the founders, it’s great to be a trusted advisor and really see the world from their perspective.
It’s amazing, doesn’t matter how much you think you know their business, having these conversations always surprises me about what they want to achieve and talking through how they want to do it, always makes me think more creatively about how to help them. I’m lucky to have such a wide network of people I’ve met over the years, these conversations always allow me to make connections and think “it would be great if you spoke to X, they’ve cracked that market before”.
Probably the most important thing… although, it feels like it’s not something you’re allowed to do when you run your own company. That said, it’s much like participating in a big sports event, if you don’t train, look after yourself and sleep and eat well, you can’t perform.
I’ve always been a bit of an “All or nothing” sort of guy, but since my children came along, I’ve forced myself to find the time to spend with my kids — I love seeing the world through their eyes, it gives me a fresh perspective every day and increases my own inquisitiveness to understand the world I live in more.
I’m also looking forward to getting some sleep!