Reset. Restart – Tools for the Job

By workshop leader and programme mentor Lucy Paine. Reset. Restart is a new programme of free business support. Delivery is by Brighton Chamber and always possible in partnership with the Business & IP Centre Brighton & Hove.
Session Four: Tools for the Job There is a side of running your own business you don’t often hear in the motivational TED talks and bestselling business books – the truth about how hard it is at the beginning when you have no money and are trying to do everything. You start a business with a dream to follow your passion, do things your way- and a few months later you’re bogged down in doing your accounts, trying to understand social media or working out how to get your first client. There is no reward for working all hours, trying to do it all – all that does is make going back to regular employment look attractive and that is not why you started your own business! What you need is to build a toolset; of connections, skillsets, resources and software that all make your life easier, save time, save money and release you to spend time on the business not in it. Business Model Canvas focuses on the foundations in the key resources block – the physical requirements, IP, human resources and financial modelling. In our fourth Reset:Restart workshop we decided to break those down and focus our session on the tools all start-ups need around four areas –  Stories, People, Plans and Organisation, bringing the broad BMC subjects into our audience’s immediate requirements for support.
  • Stories
We talked about the Value Proposition in our first workshop – you have to start with a solid understanding of your brand. The tools you would use to build this knowledge, and your brand include all your customer engagement points – from your website to social media. You can use the analytics across all those platforms to build an understanding of who is engaging with you, what content gets the most traction and who your brand ambassadors and potential partners are. So rather than guessing use the analytics to inform – knowing that all online channels should evolve, it is a great form of marketing communication as you can keep learning in real time with very little investment.
  • People
There is an amazing business community in Brighton & Hove, with a fantastic Chamber of Commerce, multiple networking opportunities and a library offering to underpin all your activities with a wealth of free information – make the most of it! Networking is a misunderstood resource for your tool kit – you are not entering any networking, live or virtual, to sell – you are attending to meet interesting people, learn about their business, tell them a little about yours, and build your personal connections. Try a few, they are virtual – what have you got to lose? You don’t even need to leave the house – and once you find one you like keep going, be curious and committed, you’ll enjoy meeting fellow business owners, and it will return your investment in more ways than you’d think. We also have two universities who both offer a range of ways to support you – from interns to KTP’s, executive education through to flexible resources. If you need support for a project make sure to explore how they could help, a lot of these solutions are free. The final thought with people is your own network – LinkedIn is a fantastic tool, make sure your profile is kept up to date, you are connected with all your clients, partners, peers and thought leaders. Get into the habit of commenting on posts that resonate, sharing content that supports your brand or vision and connecting as you meet people. It’s a really effective free marketing tool, but be authentic, consistent and patient for the rewards to be seen.
  • Plans
We’ve talked a lot about Business Model Canvas in our workshops – but at a base level here a great tool to support every decision and development you make is what is the end goal? Do you want to build a team or work a three-day week? Getting all the pieces onto your Business Model Canvas is a wonderful way to manage your business visually but unless you know where you are going it’s a bit like driving without a destination.
  • Organisation
We asked our audience for their feedback on this one – what tools keep you organised? Calendly was a clear winner, a free way to manage your scheduling, immediately saving time on back and forth diary checking. To keep your social media content scheduling consistent, use a tool like Hootsuite which allows you to schedule 30 posts for free so you can keep a couple of weeks ahead. If you want an honest reflection of where the time goes try RescueTime which tracks your activity. Free project management with Trello, Contact Management to replace the excel spreadsheet with Zoho – these are just a few examples of great, often free at entry level, software solutions that can save time immediately, improve processes and also make scaling a lot easier in the long term, if that’s your goal. And for many a good paper diary is a must have, plus of course your Business Model Canvas on the whiteboard and a to-do list note book to keep you focussed on the top priority tasks. A final thought is to stay curious and keep learning, your mind is the ultimate tool in your set so keep feeding it, reading blogs, books, magazines – and read outside of your field, learn from other business owners. Take time to work on the business, ask for help, make connections, embrace technology and be honest about how you optimise your time – if you do you’ll enjoy being in the business a heck of a lot more, and be more successful. If you missed this, or any of our other sessions not to worry – we are re-running them all, packed full of ideas all created to help you thrive in challenging times.  
Expect a different topic over the next few weeks as we travel around the Business Model Canvas.  And if you missed this session not to worry – we have more coming up, packed full of ideas all created to help you thrive in challenging times. Read the first blog – Pitching it Right Read the second blog – Price with Confidence Read the third blog – The Perfect Customer
Workshops Like the sound of this but missed it first time round? All four Reset. Restart workshops are being re-run in April/May. Book early to avoid disappointment.
    • Pitch it right, Friday 9th April – A workshop to help with communicating what your business offers and what problems you are solving for customers.
    • Price with confidence, Friday 16th April – Good pricing means being competitive while making the profit you need. This workshop will help you make sense of your pricing structure.
    • Your perfect customer, Friday 7th May  – This workshop helps you look at who is, and isn’t, buying from you – and why?
    • Tools for the job, Wednesday 12th May – In many ways, your suppliers are as important to you as your customers. This workshop shows you how to identify the equipment, technology and expertise you need to drive your business forwards.

Learn more about Reset. Restart
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