As we see the end of sight for Covid, I thought it was the perfect time to reflect on the last three years since I started 10X Marketing.  

10X Marketing Consultancy is a business that was born at the start of the Covid pandemic, and in a previous blog post, I shared my journey to going self-employed.

The start of the pandemic gave me the boost I needed to leave my full-time employment and go full-time into my own marketing business. I remember saying, “if it doesn’t work out in 6 months, I’ll just have to start applying for jobs again”. Luckily, nearly three years later, that never needed to happen, and I feel grateful to have a successful business with a fantastic team alongside me.

We’re now in October 2022, and I own a business that I’m proud of building. It is a business that is successful and filled with potential. The road hasn’t always been easy, and every day is a learning day! They say your first two years in business are the hardest. Now we’re past that timeline; I’m going to share my top 4 tips for developing a successful business.

Let’s get stuck in…

Tip 1 – Networking 

The saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” comes very much true when owning a business. To grow a business, you need to raise your awareness and get people to “know” who you are and what you offer. The best way to do this is to network. Whether networking in your local area or industry, this will widen your brand visibility.

At the start of 10X Marketing, we were in an online zone due to the pandemic. However, this didn’t stop the networking events; they had to pivot to an online setting. Utilising tools such as Teams and Zoom has become the norm very much over the last two years, but I’m now glad to start seeing people back face to face. The comment “you’re on mute” is becoming less and less frequent, which I’m so happy about. However, the benefit of having these online networking events helped save time. You didn’t need to waste your working day stuck in traffic to get to an early morning event; it was a pleasure to do it from your own home.

In the first few months of going full-time into 10X Marketing, I reached out and attended various networking events to test the pool. After realising that I was attending all these online events but not taking action after them, I quickly realised I needed a different approach. This was when I learnt about BNI. BNI is a global network which is all-around givers gain. What I put into the meetings, I would hopefully get back in return. I was invited to visit a newly formed group called BNI Synergy in June 2020. I loved this group because everyone was a new business owner, filled with energy and passion for growing their business. They weren’t just there for a cup of tea and a chat. It was an outstanding balance between learning about each other whilst also referring business in the group. The BNI structure makes you very accountable, so I decided to focus all my energy on this membership and join the group. Since joining BNI, it has been my top lead source for new business sales. It has helped me grow the business tremendously, and I’ll be forever thankful for the partnerships and clients I built in the group.

Tip 2 – Building a team 

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”

I always knew when building 10X Marketing that I wanted to create an internal team. It was vital for me not to be afraid of employing people better than me in certain areas. Luckily, from the get-go, I was offered support from one of my teammates (Sophie) from my previous role. Sophie was on furlough when I started 10X Marketing and offered her time to support me in growing the business. After a couple of months, I was thrilled to be able to offer Sophie a full-time position, and she quickly became my first official member of staff.

As the business was getting busier, I knew we needed an extra pair of hands but couldn’t financially employ another full-time member just yet. At this moment, I decided to utilise freelance support, and LinkedIn helped me source my first freelance copywriter, Alison. Alison started working for 10X freelance to support us with our copywriting tasks. After six months, the business was in a better financial position, and I could afford to offer her a full-time job. To my delight, Alison accepted the role and has been working with us full-time for over a year. Sometimes in business, you have to risk investing in the business to support its growth! It’s always a scary move but trust your judgement. 

In 2022, we took on our first Digital Marketing Apprentice, Sasha. Sasha joined us on a training scheme where she can work on the job whilst learning all the marketing principles. This recruit pushed us to tighten our systems and processes to a professional level to ensure her learning journey was as seamless as possible.

Alongside freelances, creating business partners is essential, especially in the creative world. At 10X Marketing, we don’t offer every marketing service, but we can work with partners to provide a complete digital package. I have trusted partners in the world of SEO, website development and Google Ads. It’s essential to choose these partners who work towards the same values and goals as you do!

Tip 3 – Developing a culture

Although we don’t have an official 10X Marketing office just yet, I wanted to make sure we built a strong culture that was present online. Business culture drives employee engagement and satisfaction. I want 10X Marketing to be a place that people enjoy and want to work for. I’ll always say to the team, “the first Sunday night you dread coming back to work is a time where we need to chat”.

To build an online culture, it’s important to have consistent communication. Every morning we have a daily team check-in at 9am. In this 15-minute check-in, we review what we all achieved yesterday and our top priorities for the day ahead. I’ll be honest; most check-ins always start with “what did you get up to last night”. It’s the perfect time for any questions we may have and a time to build our relationships. It’s where we can all relax and support each other before the busy day begins.

Every quarter, I’ll also conduct team 121 meetings. These 121 meetings are a personal time where we can really dive deep into how they are feeling, what they are enjoying, where they need further support and how I can support their development. For this meeting style, I’ll always get the team member to prepare answers for the agenda so I can review them beforehand. It makes the meeting more productive and beneficial for both parties.

To build a business culture, it’s important to identify your values early on. At 10X Marketing, we defined our values as a team, so everyone was invested in their “why”.

Our values stand for BERD

B – Balance

E – Empowerment

R – Resilience

D – Development

We frequently return to these values as a team to see if we are still living and breathing them. It’s important to set values you believe all your team should follow, and it can also support your recruitment strategy. 

Another critical factor of the 10X culture is also to have fun as well as work. Currently, the team is located here and everywhere, but at least once or twice a year, we try to put down our laptops and meet for a social event. Spending time out of work to build relationships and form those friendships is essential. Having something in the diary for everyone to look forward to is always a motivating factor. 

Tip 4 – Investing in yourself 

My final tip is to invest in yourself. Since the start of 10X Marketing, I’ve invested in a business coach (Jon Covey). Every week we have a 20-minute phone call, and each month we have a sit-down meeting together. It’s brilliant to have that person to bounce ideas off and to make you accountable for pushing the business forwards. Jon has become a business coach and an all-around life coach to make me the best version of myself for both my work and personal life.

As you can get busier with day to day tasks, its easy to push working on yourself and the business to the bottom of the list. Now I regularly set time aside in my calendar to schedule CPD time. This is time away from client work to invest time in developing my knowledge as a business owner and marketing professional. If you keep pushing this to the bottom of the do-list, schedule it and make yourself accountable!

I am confident that these four tips will continue to help 10X Marketing grow over the coming years. If you have any other advice or want to speak about becoming self-employed, please reach out on LinkedIn as I’d love to chat with you.