Guest Blog: Business Rollercoaster

Vervate | Brighton | Visual Agency

Image: Liz @Vervate

We all know that running a business is a huge rollercoaster and as the founder of Vervate in 2011, pulling out our main challenges and successes has been an interesting process.  I’ve whittled it down to 3 of each and I highly suspect they will resonate with many of you.  So, in no particular order:

3 of our Main Challenges

Challenge 1: Getting the message across

I went to an event last night called The Great Debate, full of local businesses discussing the future of business in Brighton. One of the guests made the point that networking groups such as Brighton & Hove Chamber should match up businesses that could potentially work with each other. Kind of a Tinder for business maybe?!  I completely disagree – it is us as businesses that should stand out and be noticed.  Ensuring we are clear about our own business offerings is a challenge as, with many other services, there is a certain amount of presumption.  This may be a challenge but it is also a fantastic way to make sure you are absolutely clear about what you offer, how much it is and what the benefits of it are to your clients.  Marketing what you do is about clarity, purpose and consistency. An on-going process.

Challenge 2:  Keeping our growth strong and consistent

We are constantly reviewing our services in order to maintain and continue developing a real edge.  Listening to customers and watching our industry was part of our DNA right from the start 6 years ago.  However, it doesn’t end there!  Obviously once we have refined or established a new service, then there comes the process of articulating it, pricing it, and marketing it.  Again, an on-going process.

Challenge 3:  Having the right processes

Speaking of processes…! Having the right ones to practically manage the company is a constant challenge. This might be in relation to our CRM system, sales funnel, marketing, finance systems, pricing reviews, freelancer and client contracts…blimey the list goes on.  It is not straight forward to find the systems that really work for you and allow you to meet Business Goals is it?  Getting the right professionals in at the right time, sourcing the right software to use.. as I said, an endless list.  I have learned valuable lessons on this, and in the past I have been side tracked by a shiny new app or find myself working with people that aren’t a good match for us.

Having the right processes to build up the business (Image: Liz@Vervate)

3 of our Main Successes

Success 1: Tenacity

Business takes a lot of it, through good times and more importantly through tough times. (Top tip – gin helps). Support from people that believe in us – whether from the business community, or friends and family – has been fantastic and really helped.  I have discovered that I am incredibly tenacious though, and that has been a valuable asset.

Success 2: Adapting to change

I am very proud of how much we have reviewed our services, rates and taken a holistic appraisal of our company. We are constantly refining things and offering new services as a result of listening to our clients. This is incredibly exciting.

Change isn’t just internal of course – the media has changed significantly over the last few years – and as such the types of PR work that we do.  Technology is also moving forward at a rapid rate of knots.  It is vital that we are glued to the voice of our market and on top of other influences that effect our clients and services.

Success 3:  Having our finances in order

Money was so tight when we set up that this aspect has always been a priority.  As time went on, I needed to make sure I knew about VAT, changes in legislation etc. Gin helped here too truth be told.

These days, the accounts remain at the centre of the business.  I have learned that the right accountant is an absolutely vital part of that.  Being secure in their advice and service keeps me confident that our growth will continue.

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