Experiences of an older entrepreur

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A tongue in cheek reflection on entrepreneurial life. Before moving on, I wanted to use my experience with SYOB as an example of one of the frustrations I've faced during my initial months trading.

I'm a qualified coach and consultant, and chose my business name, 'Developing Business Excellence' in the hope that it might provide a flavour of what I do. In truth, it's less straightforward, although I thought it impractical to call myself 'Business Improvement Consultancy, Executive Coaching, and Mentoring Limited'. Anyway, I digress: on multiple websites such as this, entrepreneurs are invited to descibe their business from a drop down menu. Today, I chose 'coaching', although tomorrow I may choose 'mentoring', and confess that I've previouisly used 'professional services' on another website, since the options were so restrictive. Not being able to describe your business accurately online may undermine your marketing strategy. Be thankful that your first client does not approach you for a massage!

Website

Since this is my first written contribution in this forum, I thought I'd constrain myself to sharing just two other experiences with you. Firstly, the website design piece. No sooner had I decided that I wanted to establish my own business, than I was struck be the perceived urgency of creating my own website. I researched various organisations offering templates, personal assistance, guidance, guaranteed Google ranking, etc, but settled on Yell.com. Now I must add, that any opinion I offer is based upon my experience alone, can probably be read on TrustPilot, and is not intended to infer suboptimal performance. No matter, as part of my commitment to Yell, they agreed to design my website for free, and manage it thereafter for a monthly fee. I rejected all offers to 'manage my reputation' on other domains, since I neither had a 'reputation' nor needed social media. I had no single point of contact, not every operator had the same level of communication skills, and the website eventually constructed on my behalf reflected very little of my personality or business offer. I only wish I worked in an office full of so many smiling models! In practice, I ended up producing almost the entire website on my own, and am presently switching to a local provider. Furthermore, of the 34 internet search engines that Yell assessed my business as having a '68% error rate', I subsequently populated a further 60% myself, an extremely time-consuming task which I'd mistakenly assumed would be done by them.

Profile

Acutely aware of the pressing need for me to raise my profile, the second experience I'd like to share is about networking. Again, and with the exception of the 4.15 am Breakfast Club, I've tried most initiatives, and have had mixed experiences. On one occasion, the audience appeared so young that I considered breaking the ice with, 'so who's you're favourite super hero'!" More seriously, the quality of presentations and presenters has been variable, with some just using the time to win more clients.

Conclusions

So where does all this leave me and Developing Business Excellence Limited. In my opinion, my decision to invest in Yell was the wrong one, and I've still insuffient views of my website. I will correct this. Similarly, my networking has stalled, and continues to be an area of concern. I'm now experimenting with other avenues, such as Facebook for business, and am using what opportunities there are to engage on platforms such as Google Business and LinkedIn. I am also supporting more targeted networking events in my area, specifically for coaches and mentors.

There may even be some entrepreneurs who identify with some of my challenges. For now, I will concentrate on persuading others that I'm better educated, better qualified, better regulated, and more experienced than any local competitor in class. After 35 years' in the Public Sector, I am still reasonably confident that I can make a positive difference, and Developing Business Excellence Limited will ultimately, 'Enable Others to Succeed'.

Richard Gadd

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