Three years and still a start up business?

Happy 3rd Birthday Comma Sense!

When is a start up no longer a start up?

I remember listening to a ‘business expert’ speaking about start ups at a conference in 2016. He said that 2 out of 3 businesses fail within the first 3 years of trading. If you reach three years then that’s a great achievement and a sign that your business is progressing beyond start up status.

Drum roll please…

Today is Comma Sense’s third birthday and I declare we’re officially no longer a start up business!

It’s become tradition for me to write a reflective blog at this time of year to celebrate the events of the last 12 months. So here goes.

2018 was a year of collaboration

In 2018, I wrote about my intention to explore collaboration opportunities for the business. This has materialised in the form of a really productive relationship with the brilliant Ally Philips at Pink Spaghetti. Ally and I have similar career backgrounds and we gelled from day one. She is super organised and I highly recommend her services to anyone desperately in need of an extra hour in their day. Thanks Ally and long may our partnership continue to grow!

Some of the collaborative projects I had hoped to progress didn’t quite work out, but that’s ok. The important point is that we tried. Others are still work in progress and I’m positive these partnerships will come to fruition in 2019.

My clients are fabulous

2018 was a difficult year for me personally. I took a short break from client work, blogging and writing my newsletter to reflect and be with my family. My clients were all incredibly understanding and I cannot thank them enough for their patience and support during this time. I am very lucky to have you.

Everything happens for a reason

During the early part of 2018, I parted company with a couple of clients and a third party supplier let me down. These were challenging times commercially but with a little extra legwork on my part, new clients have arrived and new suppliers have been sourced.

I discovered outdoor networking

Now this is a form of networking I can get on board with! A walk in the beautiful outdoors, fresh air, and the chance to make some new business friends. I can recommend the monthly Netwalks in Delamere Forest and the Walkie Talkie event locally in Stockton Heath.

Don’t use technology unless everyone knows how to use it!

Whilst Skype, Zoom and other video conferencing facilities are an effective way to hold meetings remotely, you’re in trouble if people don’t know how to use them. I sat on a two-hour meeting listening to one person’s keyboard and printer, and two people represented by a black screen. Lesson learned!

Google works!

I gained a new client who found me via Google search. They found my website, read my blogs, and liked what they found. A couple of weeks later I started blogging on their behalf.

I also received the following message from a happy client in October:

“Just thought I’d let you know we’re now number one on Google…thanks to the copy you wrote. Excellent result and exactly why we enlisted your service!”

I won’t lie. I did a little happy dance when this came through 😁.

I don’t just write blogs and websites

In early 2018, I wrote a 28-page magazine for a charity. My role started with creating the magazine layout, coming up with feature ideas, telephone interviews, and drafting all the content. An intense but fun project and always great to hear other people’s inspiring stories.

For the record, in 2018 I also produced writing guidelines, brochures, LinkedIn profiles, CVs, created marketing strategies, and carried out website and communications reviews. Phew!

And finally, I crossed something off my bucket list

I tackled The Crystal Maze with five willing friends and two random strangers. We aced it, winning 12 crystals and collecting 198 tokens in the crystal dome. I'll admit I squealed for most of the time in the dome and couldn't resist buying a souvenir pencil from the gift shop. It was an experience I will never forget. Yes, that's me below showing some love to Richard O'Brien!

What will 2019 hold?

The focus for our fourth year is innovation. Now we’re no longer a start up, it’s time to take Comma Sense to the next level and I’m really excited to start the journey and expand the range of services we offer.

On a personal level, if 2019 could be less of an emotional rollercoaster, that would be great. On that note, I’m trying to not use the word ‘great’ as much this year. So, come on 2019, let’s make it incredible, wonderful and astounding!

#storytelling #startup

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