Now that I’ve hired myself, I’ve had to employ the same level of scrutiny that I would for a client. Particularly since I’ve been growing in clarity around some of my personal choices as it pertains to business and financing.
So, me, client, sat down with me, Brand Strategist, and asked, “Is this business still serving your needs?
“No” ~ me, client.
“Is there a way for you to re-brand yet maintain the reputation that you’ve carefully grown over the years?” ~ me, Brand Strategist.
“Yes” ~ me, client.
These are the problems.
To examine it further, I want to give you context around why the business no longer serves my needs, and how I’ve been working steadily at changing this dynamic. Although my brand is JM™, my company name is GreenInk Caribbean Ltd. When I first started GreenInk, it was as a sole trader in 2005. I then moved on to a limited liability company registration in 2012. For most of those formative years, I was a single person and inflation was way lower than it is now. It was easier and more affordable to invest time as opposed to money to grow one’s business’ through simpler methods of brand awareness, like networking events, referral and word of mouth. Now, inflation is higher, the industry is ram-packed and advertising costs are higher, along with the new costs associated with networking – whether opportunity cost or actual cost. There is a lot more work needed nowadays, in order to rise above the noise presented by businesses in my industry – which, to be clear, is the Marketing Industry. My skill set in Web Development still applies more so to the Marketing Industry than the IT/Digital Industry because my angle is one of Branding, and functional websites based strongly on the foundational principles of good design. Added to all of this, I have mismanaged my capital base, preferring to bootstrap all of my business products and projects. I hate debt, but my aversion of it has not been smart either, because although avoiding it entirely, I have not used it instead as a means of growing my own money while using borrowed money for creating business products and projects for sale.
These are the solutions.
The good starting point is that above all, my reputation and experience grew. To exist in my space, I had to firstly set a higher price point for my services. I have products that I have created over the years that are solid. I need to now sell these, but firstly begin to reap the benefits of profitability and stability from having raised my prices. This would provide me more capital base to invest in Marketing and Advertising/Promotion of my existing products. I also need to now grow my stability to the point where I can re-introduce debt servicing as a way to grow my capital base, instead of bootstrapping, which creates negative business growth.
My growth map is very deliberate and intentional, though tiring, because a lot of planning and work goes in without immediate feedback or results. The results are compounding and so, consistency is needed, but patience is required.
I’ve seen where I am at. I’ve listed out new business objectives, that are granular. They are not general, no, there are actual targets and figures – how many clients will I need across all of my services and at what rate, and for how many hours as well as how many products do I need to sell. I have properly calculated the cost to pay my employees, currently myself and accountant, and in the near future a front facing staff member. I have then matched these objectives to actionable growth tactics for enhancing those areas that need it, changed messaging, new marketing and advertising material, a website that better reflects my qualifications, reputation, products and services, and lastly, promotional methods. The messaging must be reflective of the brand that I have developed for myself over the years, and also the growth that I anticipate. This is work intensive, but at the end of all of this, you should be able to now use the actionable items and targets to create a timeframe within which you can turn the page for profitability.
Wrapping up the consultation call
I have rebooted my business many times over the years, and this time is no different. The Pandemic has brought challenges but it has also created new and different opportunities, so I will use my plan to capitalise on those. You will soon see, reflected here, the changes that I am in the midst of making.I hope this has been helpful for you. Keep courage, Gawd knows, I’ve been on the verge of giving up several times throughout this process, but take heart.