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
I grew up extremely poor, so I learned to be resourceful from a young age. One catalyst for launching Saving Solutions is my track record of saving corporations thousands —sometimes millions—on marketing and business solutions. Like the savings I create for businesses, I have a passion for (and a former career in) helping individuals and families save on monthly expenses and to use the savings to pursue short-, medium- and long-term goals. I’ll be sharing this passion for creating savings via my new blog Solutions 2 Save.
Solutions 2 Save is my personal story of growing $1 in savings to more than a quarter of a million in assets in ten years; building a career that led to the C-Suite, then choosing to leave corporate America to pursue full-time entrepreneurship; and doing the mental, emotional, and spiritual work required for my journey. While mine isn’t a story of a multi-millionaire sharing her secrets of getting rich quick; I hope to provide practical and powerful Solutions 2 Save you time, money and hassle in the area of personal finance. Join us to begin your own journey toward financial wellbeing!
SPOILER ALERT:Be sure to check out my first blog in January where I’ll be sharing solutions 2 save individuals and families anywhere from $300 - $500 a month.
1 Personal Feature
I was approached by “The Startup Growth” to feature my journey as a new entrepreneur. Although I was honored, I was initially intimidated when I saw the caliber of those featured in past issues. I set my fears aside and did the interview. Check out my “Pop-Quiz, Monday” feature!
LESSON: Everything you want is on the other side of fear. Act in spite of your reservations!
4-member Solopreneur Accountability & Coaching Circle
I’m a proud graduate of Landmark Worldwide, an organization working in the transformational leadership space. One of the best support structures that came out of Landmark was the development of an accountability and coaching circle for fellow solopreneurs. This circle provides support, accountability and guidance for my business and other aspects of my life.
LESSON: Surround yourself with those who will hold you accountable and give you the guidance needed to reach the next level.
SOLUTIONS 2 SAVE: If you can’t afford to hire a professional business coach, seek a mentor or group of like-minded individuals who are on a path similar to yours. Structure weekly check-ins and establish a system for tracking your performance.
1 New Business Mentor
I am honored to have as my business mentor Ype Von Hengst, Co-founder, COO, and Vice President of Culinary Operations at Silver Diner. Ype provides a sounding board for ideas and offers invaluable nuggets of wisdom that I use to enhance the quality of my work and my relationships.
LESSON: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when selecting a business mentor. You can learn a lot from business leaders who may not be in your industry.