Our three biggest lessons through winning micro business of the year 2022.
We were delighted to win 'micro business of the year' in the 2022 Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. It was the process of being a finalist and the questions which we were asked that taught us the most. A number of questions were asked about our development, risk management, pipeline, and financials; all of which are good things to think about and reflect on.
Our three biggest takeaways were:
1. Always be one step ahead when it comes to risk management. Having an optimistic, positive ethos is integral to our team. But being aware of risks, managing them, and staying ahead of them is essential. In my role as director of RWC, I am acutely aware of the risks, partly from being the and of the line when it comes to dealing with the issues, but also from my background in portfolio and programme management. As someone who has promoted risk management for more than a decade as a senior leader in the project space, I would have been foolish to stop when I started my own 'project'.
Managing your own risks as a business owner isn't about being pessimistic, it is about being realistic and thinking through the ‘what if's’, and then coming up with ways to stop that happening.
These are two of the main risks that we identified in the last 12 months and managed/are managing:
Risk 1: There is a risk that the ceasing of ERDF funding provided by the EU will impact our pipeline of tendered work to deliver funded coaching.
Mitigations: Diversify to build up more affordable private streams for coaching, create our own coaching course, and stay abreast of the funding changes to align ourselves with the aims of the levelling up agenda.
Risk 2: There is a risk that the increases in the cost of living and the cost of running a businesses will impact the business owners ability to spend money on support services such as coaching.
Mitigations: Revamp current offerings to give some lower price points, change offering to make it the same cost to us as a business rather than increase current offer with inflation. Focus on the cost of not having coaching through difficult times to ensure people know the worth of the investment.
2. Diversify and keep going! We almost gave up. Covid was hard as it was for many people, and I almost gave up because of it. Overnight the years of hard work we had put into building a team, a service, and a profile felt like they had disappeared over night when we locked down. The key word in all of this is 'felt'. Although sometimes things feel like they have disappeared, they haven't- you just need to find a new state of normal and carry on! This is easier said than done, but by diversifying and persevering, I am confident that our business is bigger and better because of the challenges.
3. When you look back, you realise how much you've achieved! Looking back, we realised we have some wins that we are pretty proud of, but when your head is down concentrating on ‘the everyday’, it's easy to overlook them. Here are some things that I personally am very proud of:
- Growing from a team of 1 (just me!) to a team of 6 with 4 of those people delivering coaching to RWC clients without me worrying about service (recruiting the right people is 100% key!!)
- Moving from sole trader to Limited Company. Again, the shift from me to many!
- Accrediting our own Business coaching model - this has definitely supported our consistent delivery, as it gives the coaches a consistent framework.
- Going from local to Nationwide delivery - next step...the world!
- Becoming the trusted supplier of business coaching for 4 government bodies. We love working with funded providers as it means that we get to work with lots of businesses who are in the early stages!
- I was appointed as a Director for the Kiln CIC
- And last but absolutely not least, we need to add 'award winning' to our bios!
Our wins would not have been possible without managing our risks and diversifying our portfolio. We also wouldn't have been able to accomplish them without our amazing team and clients. As a company, we are proud of the ecosystem which we have built.