I’m Angie, I run a marketing consultancy in York. I set up Halo Effect Marketing during the pandemic in May 2020. Starting a business from scratch can be tough. I hope the lessons I’ve learnt along the way will help others starting out.
Finding my purpose
I’d worked in corporate for most of my career, and had some amazing experiences and opportunities but I always felt that there was something lacking. I wanted to make a difference and help people, and I knew I could do this with my marketing skills. My first job was as a marketing assistant in an economic development company. I helped new business owners with their marketing plan and gave them advice on what to do. I loved that job and the feeling I got from helping people, and the experience stayed with me over the years.
Empowering small businesses
Big companies have a lot of resources at their disposal; big marketing budgets, teams of specialists and access to the best agencies around. I decided to bring the knowledge and expertise I have developed over the years to help smaller business. My mission is to help business owners to understand marketing, and how to make it work for them. I empower them by giving them the information and therefore the confidence to make decisions and move their business forward.
I think there’s a misconception around marketing that it’s just ‘advertising’ and it can be a waste of money. I’m also sensing that marketing may have a bit of a bad name amongst some small businesses and I’d really like to change that perception.
Finding out what they needed
Before I started trading, I did some research to try to figure out what services people needed and where the problems were. Surprise surprise, small business owners struggle with time and resources! However, they also told me that they didn’t know where to start when it comes to marketing, didn’t have plans in place and very often they were just ‘winging it’ without a clear understanding of results. This gave me the confidence that people out there needed my help!
Getting under the skin
I specialise in marketing strategy which is basically about getting a really good understanding of what’s going on within a company and the external influences affecting it, before making any decisions on how to move forward with a plan.
After my initial analysis, I always end up with two lists – one list of things to fix or put in place, and one that will move the business forward towards its goals. If advertising features at all it would be in the second list, but it really depends on the business and its goals.
It can be difficult for a small business with limited resources to make lots of changes at once. So I work up a plan which prioritises the activities, and so that we can start to see results alongside fixing some of the issues. It’s at this point where I am often asked to continue working alongside the client to implement the changes on their behalf. This gives me a real sense of satisfaction when I see the results coming in.
Starting a business from scratch can be tough, not to mention a global pandemic! I have learned some key lessons along the way which I hope will help anyone starting out.
Keep the faith
Building a business takes time and you have to be able to stick with it, so many people have told me how bad their first year was, and how things start to improve in year 2. This was scary at the time but I can completely see what they meant now and so long as you put the right foundations in place and keep working hard, you will get there.
Don’t stop learning
You may have stepped away from a company where training and development was the norm, but it’s really important to keep learning. There are so many organisations out there offering free training to small business owners, take advantage of it, it’s a great way to meet people too.
Networking is key
Often networking hasn’t been that important when in employment but it is critical to small business owners. No matter which industry you are in there will be networking events out there for you to attend. It is also a great way to make sure you get out there and mix with other humans!
Get comfortable with selling
As a small business owner, you have to sell yourself and your product or service. This was one of the biggest revelations for me and I’m by no means an expert now, but I read books, go to training sessions and continue to refine my approach.
Be kind to yourself
There will no doubt be ups and downs, and as humans we tend to beat ourselves up when things don’t go well. Celebrate the wins, and try to see everything else as a learning opportunity, and then move on.
The last 12 months have been challenging but I absolutely love what I’m doing and I’m feeling really optimistic about the future. Good luck to anyone out there who might be reading this at the beginning of their journey!
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