One of the biggest challenges of my startup journey so far has been defining exactly what the overall proposition my business offers/will offer. In case you didn’t know, I’m launching a digital marketing and communications consultancy. The very word ‘consultancy’ alludes to a service, however is it wise to build everything around a service basis?
Product and Service?
After much scribbling, thinking and a little bit of swearing, I’ve decided that my proposition will be split over services and products. The services will be based upon consulting, i.e. a business buying my time and access to my experience and expertise. This may never result in the actual provision of a ‘product’ as such. The other side of the coin are the products. These will be ‘off the shelf’ products that solve a particular need or appeal to those that perhaps don’t need full-on consultation style support. It may be a tricky balance to maintain, but I see no harm in testing this model out.
I’ve not even properly launched the business yet, so to think about a time where I may wish to sell it is crazy I know (I may never of course!), but it is wise to think about the value of the business to a potential suitor. If I build the business on the services, i.e. my brain, then will it ever be attractive? Afterall, my brain is not for sale, I like having it in my head. However, if I create a careful balance of the two and build some brilliant products, then those properties are saleable.
Four weeks. Wow…
In the grand scheme of things, four weeks is nothing, however a lot can happen in that time and it certainly has for me. Time can slip away and I’ve been trying to take stock of what I am managing to achieve within certain time periods and bursts of focus. I’m keeping a day by day tracker of the time I’m spending on the numerous tasks required in order to get this show on the road and have found that a great help in maintaining sharp focus.
Site Taking Shape
I was presented with the flat visuals for my site yesterday and they blew me away! My designer has really captured the brief and I’m going to be proud to put the site out there as the face of my business. These things can take serious amounts of time to get right and I have to say I’ve been very lucky. I’ve been writing briefs for a long time which does help.
Week four of my startup journey is upon me and I hardly slept a wink last night! I’m not a great sleeper but in the past couple of years I’ve managed to switch my brain off at bedtime. Last night was different…
A Million Miles Per Hour
Every little thing I need to do this week was flying round and round my brain. A lot of it was driven by excitement and the urge to just get going. I hardly slept and the funny thing is, I don’t feel shattered today (that may kick in later!). I’m not sure how to stop it happening again but in a way it was useful as it helped me prioritise my work for the week. Pros and cons to a buzzy head!
Week 3 is all but over and it has been a real education…
Admin Admin Admin
Admin is a word that nobody really likes. It rarely involves anything fun. This week I have been through some pretty important admin – registering my business for tax, VAT and as an employer. All vital tasks that did take up some serious time. Worth noting that the online HMRC system (UK) is clunky as hell and will frustrate you. There is a blend of online forms and paper forms that have to be completed in order to finalise everything. God forbid you have to phone them for any clarity – I was passed around departments and each person sounded so disinterested. Working for the man will do that to you. Once all was completed I did have a sense of accomplishment. All major admin complete! Now back to the exciting stuff…
I really enjoyed the Lean Startup book by Eric Ries. This is a great interview from Techcrunch with Eric gives some great insight in to the Lean concept. Enjoy! You can buy the Lean Startup on Amazon here.
You can follow My Startup Diary on Twitter for tweets about startup, tech, marketing and more…
You can follow me on Twitter too. I tweet about social media, digital comms, technology and a tonne of other stuff…
Yesterday, I tackled a lot of the admin fundamentals of getting my business off the ground – things like VAT registration etc. One of said tasks was to find a bank that would be a nice match for my needs as a new business owner. I took my query to Twitter and perhaps a little optimistically expected one of the banks to respond. In fact, knowing social media and how financial service organisations are really struggling to get to grips with it, it was highly optimistic!