Today I interview Rayna de Lange, CEO of DeLange Analytics, an independent research and analysis agency, she is an entrepreneur, consultant and analytical mind. Prior to setting up her own company, specialised in integrated analysis of communications, Rayna was one of the founders of Perceptica Media Analytics and head of the global media evaluation business of A Data Pro. She is an author and mentor of numerous business strategies and projects in the media intelligence field worldwide. Rayna has been actively working to help the industry advance as a Chair of AMEC College and Education group, a member of AMEC’s European Chapter and the Social Media Measurement group. Rayna has also been a guest lecturer on communications measurement and evaluation in several universities.
1. What gave you the idea to start up your business?
I have been exploring opportunities for my own business for years. Yet, those were mostly in areas where I was seeing a business niche or digging into somebody else’s idea. In neither of those cases I was feeling confident in my expertise within the sectors under exploration, so I had to educate myself and hire expert consultants. Suddenly, out of nothing, one day while I was having a walk with my baby, I thought why am I searching for something so far away from me, why not try to develop my own business doing what I am actually good at – communications research and analysis.
2. What did you do to prepare to start up your business?
I talked to entrepreneurs (that gave me the inspiration), got huge support from my family (which gave me the strength), did a thorough research on the business potential (which gave me the confidence) and saved some money (to secure the first months of operations which are usually financially unstable).
3. Which aspects of your business did you need help with? Where did you get that help?
I am not the kind of person who thinks she’s good at everything; I am pretty much aware of my strengths and my weaknesses. So, being pretty confident about my core business – media evaluation – I needed help for my corporate identity (company name, logo, web design, etc.), website and IT support, and financial services. Moreover, practical advice on everyday entrepreneurship hurdles was more than useful. Who did I ask for help? Good friends who are outstanding professionals in those areas – Orange Dot, Little Big Films, Mediazoom, Tina Boyadjieva Photography.
4. Describe what your business does and who you target it at / your ideal client
DeLange Analytics is an independent research and analytics agency which provides a full-circle of media and communications evaluation services. We blend data and the art of analysis to yield insights that make business value visible. We use technologies and add human brain to find out what people say online and offline. We apply this knowledge to help improve communications strategies, market positions and products, and ultimately fuel smarter business decisions.
We analyse the content in various languages and produce the final reports in English. That spares our clients the efforts and costs to go to multiple local providers for each particular market and language.
We work both for end clients – typically PR, marketing, creative agencies, communications departments at corporations or any other organisations – and under a white label – for sector companies such as media analysis and communications research firms. Our ideal clients are people and companies that are open, transparent, easy to speak to and not afraid to jump into new territories, since we operate in the extremely dynamic social-media/digital space. To me personally, clients are just as friends; the sales process often takes a year, even longer, so we get to know each other very well, meet each other regularly at events, see each others’ family photos. Therefore, business is personal, so the quality of the services, and the openness of communication is above everything. Imagine how you would look a friend in the eyes if you have provided bad services – this is how important quality is for us.
5. What is the most rewarding thing about having your own business?
The adrenaline is great. The feeling when you are getting positive feedback from a client after you have fought to arrange everything perfectly well from scratch. Because when you own a company, you are usually in charge of all of it – from paying telephone bills to presenting at the biggest industry event.
6. What has been the biggest challenge?
What I just mentioned above – playing all the roles – actually, the fact that it is so time consuming. I guess it is no secret for all of us that we often should sacrifice playing with our kids because of work.
7. If you could go back and give yourself some advice what would it be?
Many. Mostly practical advice. I believe that we all learn every single day, especially from our mistakes. Therefore, I keep a log of all our projects with a “lessons learned” section – that helps me go back, see the mistakes we’ve made and try to consider them for future projects. Moreover, I don’t keep that secret but share those with friends, family and partners – this is how they share their mistakes and we all benefit from each others’ experience.
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