2018 was my first year as a full-time entrepreneur. On the eve of the New Year, I am here to attest: it was not smooth sailing! Too many entrepreneurs are overly optimistic about the successes they will experience in year one, when the reality is, the first year will almost always be a mixed bag of small victories and big lessons that will form the foundation of your business onward. This 2018 Year-In-Review offers successes, challenges, lessons learned and practical solutions 2 save your business time, money and error!
365 Days of Business Development Prospecting
To establish a new business, one must be constantly be on the ‘Hunt for Red October,’ thus I resolved and was successful in conducting business development prospecting nearly every day of the week. As my good friend and successful Human Capital entrepreneur Yoni Titi always says, "knock on six doors with hopes that two will open." When working offsite or attending networking events, I introduced myself to at least three new people. Even on days off, my mental wheels were turning, ideating on my next opportunity.
CHALLENGE: Two clients we hoped to secure in 2018 delayed their projects. This created a ripple effect which delayed our ability to secure a talented visual services subcontractor.
LESSON: Business development requires multiple client ‘touch points.’ Some prospects are ripe and ready while others need additional time and engagement. In either case, it’s critical to find ways to create value even if you can’t take a client on immediately.
SOLUTION 2 SAVE: New entrepreneurs can save on business development by sticking to coffee and tea meetings vs. lunch or dinner. I’ve discovered that keeping it simple and focusing on problem solving and value creation is a win-win.
More than $20,000 and 170 Hours in Savings Created for 3 New Clients
In 2018, Saving Solutions created tremendous savings and value for three new clients!
· Abraham Security & Training Services (ASATS) is a Washington D.C. metropolitan area security and training services provider. Saving Solutions support ASATS with business development through a 20-hour monthly retainer that enables the company’s President to focus on service delivery.
· Online children’s boutique HBCU Pride & Joy offers companion apparel and accessories for children and their parents. We supported the company with digital marketing, including weekly social media content, monthly newsletters and an online brand ambassador campaign. A 10-hour monthly retainer allowed the company’s founder to use the time savings to secure new licenses to sell apparel for schools not currently on their roster.
· The District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) provides forensic science services to enhance public safety. We are in the process of creating DFS’ 2018 Annual Report, saving the Department more than $20,000 and 140 hours in the process.
CHALLENGE: Securing a government contract can be tedious and taxing. The processes and paperwork associated with becoming a contractor can take months.
SOLUTION 2 SAVE: Consult with someone who has gone through the process and ask if they’d be willing to walk you through the steps. My good friend and owner of MW Consulting Marcus Williams shepherded me through the steps and shaved off two months from the process.
1 Website Redesign
I created the Saving Solutions website over a weekend and a bottle of wine. As a website project manager, I was able to create a simple, clean and functional site. However, as I am not a designer, I knew I needed to outsource the redesign.
LESSON: New entrepreneurs sometimes fall into the trap of thinking we can do everything—especially when it means cost savings. Hire an expert and save yourself time, money and hassle.
SOLUTION 2 SAVE: Saving Solutions has negotiated steeply discounted rates with vendors that can build websites for as little as $600 and in as little as four weeks. Ask about our microsite options.
1 Blog Launched: Solutions 2 Save
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