Today I interview the brilliant and lovely Stephanie.
Stephanie is the founder of a marketing consultancy called Start Marketing, aimed at helping start-ups and small businesses grow.
She has had over 10 years experience in creative advertising agencies working with brands like Foster’s, Hennessey, Sky and Halo to develop 360 strategic campaigns, and most recently was the Head of Online and Stores for the luxury homewares designer, Tom Dixon. She then had a baby and changed her life with the start of a family and her consultancy.
1) What gave you the idea to start up your business?
I was coming across lots of people who were starting the journey to having their own business, but their knowledge of marketing was minimal and they often asked me for advice. I decided to set up Start Marketing as I wanted to use my experience to really add value to start-ups and small businesses and allow them the time to focus on the actual product or service they are offering.
2) What did you do to prepare to start up your business?
I did a lot of research and planning. I tell all my clients to plan, plan, plan when it comes to marketing their business, so I couldn’t really ignore my own advice! I researched my business proposition, potential competitors and my target audience, before putting my business plan together.
3) Which aspects of your business did you need help with? Where did you get that help?
I needed help with the financial aspect of setting the business up, I felt it was important to register as a limited company and for VAT as early as possible, as the type of clients I will be dealing with will expect this from a partner. I thought that having an accountant from the beginning would avoid mistakes and further work later down the line. It also took the pressure off and would allow me to focus on the business. I found my accountant by asking around friends to get local recommendations.
4) Describe what your business does and who you target it at / your ideal client
Start Marketing is aimed at small businesses and start-ups – acting as a marketing manager for their business and giving them access to a team of experts in their field but without the commitment of hiring staff or the high costs of larger external agencies. We offer fresh thinking on a range of services including strategy, ecommerce, SEO/PPC, website design and social media at flexible and affordable rates. Our ideal clients are entrepreneurial career change mums, ambitious start-ups or businesses that have been around a couple of years but need a helping hand to grow.
5) What is the most rewarding thing about having your own business?
You get what out what you put in. I work just as hard, if not harder at my business plus managing a household and a 16 month old (or is he managing me??) but the feeling I get when I speak with potential clients or see the success and fruits of my labour is fantastic. The ownership and control is nice too – if I decide to change something I don’t need the boss’ approval! Plus I can be flexible around my son, which means I don’t miss important mum and son time because I’m commuting to work.
6) What has been the biggest challenge?
Confidence. I think no matter how experienced you are, you will doubt yourself at one stage or another. Having your own business means you are accountable if things aren’t going well. You have to stay strong and focused and believe that you can do this! No matter how knackered you are and how many tantrums you’ve grit your teeth through you still have to put everything you’ve got into your business, so if you’re reading this and thinking the same –have another coffee and keep going – you can do it!
7) If you could go back and give yourself some advise what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to invest more into the business – whether that be time or money. You will get it back and although there is always a risk, this risk is worth taking!