Here we area again, another week and another blog from me.
Last week I spoke about getting my business up and running in terms of registering a business name and domain name, setting up a website, designing a logo and some of the technical issues I had to overcome to get where I am today.
So with all of the background things now set up it was time for me to get out there and get known, market myself and my business so I can make a real go of it, and of course, get some paid work.
I found the best place to start is to network. Having been in the local government sector for over 10 years I have a lot of contacts, so what a great place to start. I also have a number of ex colleagues who have started up their own consultancies in their specialist area, so it was time to get out there and make it known that I now had my own business and was ready, willing and able to do some work in the consulting world.
"Having been in the local government sector for over 10 years I have a lot of contacts, so what a great place to start."
I also thought I would contact a number of local Council's around my area to let them know about the type of work I've been doing over the last 10 years and what Out of the Box Consulting can offer them. So I contacted them by letter and followed up a week later with a phone call. Not all of them resulted in getting a meeting, but it was a start, and two out of five isn't bad.
So most of this week I have been talking to people, handing out business cards, sending emails and letting people know that I'm here, and I'm happy to help. Not only have I spoken with a couple of Council's but I've also touched base with an environment group and some potential tourism opportunities. The only scary thing is that what if I get too much work? But we'll have to cross that bridge if and when we come to it.
"So that's how I need to market myself. An expert in local government marketing and communications."
It was mentioned to me this week, in one of my many conversations, that I really can offer a great service to local Council's who generally will pay big dollars to get an expensive consultant from a city firm who has no experience in working within the challenges that face local government. That was a real confidence booster for me, because I thought, that's it, they're right, that is my point of difference. I know how local government works, I can work within the limitations that often face us, I can work within a tight budget, providing quality services that will reach the target market without spending huge dollars. So that's how I need to market myself. An expert in local government marketing and communications.
At the moment I'm currently running two community consultations for two different Council's on a next to nothing budget. In fact for one of them we've really spent nothing but time, with most of the consultation happening on line using the Council's website, e-newsletters, along with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We've also contacted local schools and had community stalls in two shopping centres, and put entry forms and boxes in Council's customer service centres, library, youth centre and Visitor Information Centre all at no cost. This has generated over 700 responses to our on-line survey, which is a fantastic response considering the financial outlay has been nothing.
I'm really excited about the possibilities of working with a variety of different people in different areas. I love what I do and I'm passionate about helping others. It's also so good to feel valued for your knowledge and expertise.
Next week I'll tell you about some of the other projects I have worked on over the years. Until then have a great week, and remember that networking is the key to opening doors.