How many of us have heard someone give us advice and say this:
“Do as I say, not as I do”
Well, I don’t want to be that kind of person or consultant!
Lately I’ve been thinking about the strategic planning of my business. See, the opportunities that came about in my life didn’t go in typical order. I saw the opportune moment and I went for it! Got this business set up with only a month of planning and it was done FAST! I had my first client in order so it was time. So now I’m going backwards and taking care of the foundation of this business so it will be as strong and sustainable as I dream it can be.
There’s a lot that goes in to starting a business! Don’t let anyone ever tell you different. Here’s a breakdown of my progress thus far:
Before I registered my business I had:
The business name
A fee schedule
Then I made:
Expense Tracking Spreadsheet
First round of business cards
Currently I’m working on:
Mission, Vision, Core Values
Business & Marketing plan – so that I can get some funding! Even a super small business loan would help me right now. I’m in the process of turning my dining room into a home office and you can only get so far at the thrift shop. Plus I know that because I’m the face of my business – selling my services and basically selling ME; I should look the part and put more focus on my professional appearance.
Networking & Marketing – I’m trying to go after one potential new client each week. This is a lead, not just looking on the internet. I also look on the internet for freelance jobs but I’m really hoping I can reach out and really affect more people & businesses.
Online Portfolio – This is going to be a very time consuming part of my website but I love the idea so I’m willing to put in the time. I want to have sort of a timeline style portfolio/CV on my website that has examples and descriptions of my work and projects. When it’s a physical work like a presentation or essay I would like to do some kind of preview of it. I’m in the process of filing and organizing everything I have right now and then I’ll start pulling and laying out the content but I have to get some basics on the website first.
What is the culture of Blacktop Consulting? Why am I passionate about this? It’s all about my story and my experiences. I’ve been in so many defective work environments, and seen first hand how it affects people. You see, we spend so much time at work! For the average adult they work 8 hours a day, just as much time as they sleep. The way we feel about our work is bound to carry over into our personal lives. Think about the last time you went out for a drink or needed to vent with someone: Number one topic, right? Hows work? What are you doing these days? I hate my boss. I work too hard/much. It’s so hard to find a job right now. On and on and on. That’s why I want to make businesses better. I want to improve work environments for as many people as possible, and help as many businesses thrive at the same time. Plus, especially with it being election season, we hear about creating jobs ALL the time. But no one really talks about making the jobs that we currently have BETTER and to prevent more businesses from closing. That’s where my focus is. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking they can do everything by themselves but they work together with someone like me who is objective and knowledgeable, they could move mountains.
Want some examples? Gladly.
I’ve worked for an employer who had video cameras all over the store and watched them from home. Discipline was not direct or documented, rather sent via one-time computer message. I’ve worked for someone who brought his wife and kids in to terrorize the office while we tried to work. The wife had accused a past female employee of having an affair with the boss via email. I’ve worked for an organization that had mandatory management meetings and training sessions that were unpaid even though they were required. I once lived with a serious boyfriend who was around such negative energy all day at work as the “rookie” that he took up a smoking habit and used me as a scapegoat for his pent up resentment. I also know someone who’s boss finally let a slacker go because he was caught shoplifting cigarettes. Oh, but after he had been caught stealing alcohol, and caught drunk on the job, and caught napping at work. I’ve worked for a brother and sister team who were as different as night and day who said “we don’t think this location needs a manager.” I’ve worked in a service job where corporate let the maintenance guy go but then never decided to hire a new one to replace him. I know of a business who’s shelves have buckled under the growing weight of unpaid bills.
This kind of madness is happening ALL AROUND US. & it’s affecting people we know and love. It’s keeping this economy stagnant.
So now without further adieu, I’d like to officially introduce to you:
Our mission is to build and grow strong, sustainable businesses of all sizes and be a catalyst for positive, dynamic work environments.
We take a personal approach to economic stimulus in order to live in a world where everyone loves what they do and where they work.
Here’s a breakdown of services I provide (First draft):
- Business Plans
- Marketing Plans
- Strategic Planning
- Annual Reports
- Public Relations
- Other Specified Writing
- Marketing Materials
- Multistage Project Management
- Process Streamlining
- Organizational Culture Improvement
- Accounting & Human Resource Functions
- Data Driven Projects (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc)
- Social Media Management
- Develop a Web Presence
- Search Engine Optimization
- Leadership Training Sessions
- Administrative/Clerical Services
- Secret Shopping & Surveys
- Proofreading & Document Revision
- Physical & Digital Organizing
- Data Entry
I’m also exploring the idea of Blacktop Business Boot-camp – where I can go all Simon Cowell / Tabatha Takes Over on the businesses that are serious about making a change or the better. It will be at a fixed price with a system that probably goes about 90 days. I really like that idea. I can also help individuals as well, with smaller projects such as resume revision, styling and branding, and personal assistance.
The services were originally laid out in groups of different levels where the higher up on that list the higher the hourly rate and at the top there’s a fixed fee and time duration because it’s project based. However, I am working on sort-of reconfiguring everything into groups of where the client is in the business growth cycle. Such as services for first starting a business and services that are a change agent for businesses already established. When thinking website, that might be a better way to navigate. I’m definitely open to feedback and suggestions if anyone wants to share their ideas!
Long enough blog post – lots of information here!
Thanks for reading,
By: Kelly Rates