Case study in the words of Will Bottomley
Do you know what you don’t know?
Sounds cryptic doesn’t it?
I mean, how are you supposed to find out about things that you don’t even know you need to know yet?
This is the story of Deborah Labbate and how she personally helped me to go further with my goals, faster.
I’m a mechanical engineering designer and my life is spent behind computer screens working with a myriad of spreadsheets and design software. Some designers, such as myself, naturally lack the social skills it takes to engage with the Nottingham business scene (explaining the analytical type that we are).
I met Deborah at a marketing and leadership conference introduced to by one of my engineering connections and we instantly hit it off. I was immediately impressed by her l openness and personal expertise in running her own businesses.
Before I met Deborah I had a:
- cleaning business start-up with 1 staff, about 8 properties, and a lot of internal ambition to grow it properly; and
- a fledgling engineering design business with just me, and one main customer.
Sounds great doesn’t it, two start-ups?
But in all honesty, I didn’t have a CLUE what to do, I had zero experience of running a business. I was running around like a headless chicken, no defined plan and just fighting fire after fire after fire. Sound familiar?
Deborah identified that I urgently needed robust business and action plans.
At the initial meeting with Deborah we sat down and went through EVERYTHING that was going on. Drawing on her previous experience, we identified items that I hadn’t even considered. Her openness, our instant rapport and her proactivity in articulating my business challenges made this very easy. We settled into a natural flow of conversation and I realised that:
- My perception of how business advisors worked was incorrect; Deborah gave me the confidence that she had the business acumen, knowledge and experience to help me achieve my goals;
- External networks are essential, some of life is really about who you know, and that I couldn’t do everything myself; and
- We were developing a plan based on experience, knowledge, and competency.
With my initial preconceptions out of the way, we started to meet regularly and work through the ‘action plan’.
Deborah’s real benefits are so much more than ‘a point and do’ type relationship.
When meeting to discuss items on our action plan we had detailed and thorough conversations on each point.
As an example, our logo for the cleaning business.
We had an original logo and branding already setup, and I liked it. But the valuable lesson I learned is that it is about the customers perception. We started on topic about colours, typefaces, looked at some different examples, and went all the way around the houses discussing logos and how they are perceived in the customers eyes.
The result of the conversation made me realise that, my inexperience that a logo was just something to put of the website and a t-shirt was woefully narrow minded. A logo is a representation of a ‘brand’ and that brand is how customers perceive your business. It’s the first thing they see, think of, and relate to in relation to your business.
Drawing on Deborah’s extensive network, we used a graphic designer who produced some alternative designs and selected my new logo. I’m really pleased we did.
There have been multiple times, whilst working with Deborah, she has identified and help me understand many points that I hadn’t realised that I needed to know! It’s a tribute to her experience, competency, and ability to communicate at the required level that my branding is now relevant, sharper, clearer, and appeals to more customers…. **Thank you Deborah**
One year later, my cleaning business now has:
- 5* rating from customers on Google;
- Customer feedback score is 9.8 out of 10;
- 5 staff and over 100 active customers; and
- Won the award for one of the top 3 cleaning businesses in Nottingham.
Our business is now healthy and ready for expansion!
My new understanding of the Nottingham business scene.
When I first started out, I was pretty closed off to the Nottingham networks, but now life couldn’t be more different. Through Deborah’s introduction I have met, engaged with, won business from and even been invited to a wedding from our now shared network.
- Am more open;
- An approved member of the Nottingham city business club; and
- Have been consulted externally on matters of the local business community.
This is thanks to the of Deborah’s foresight, network and her experience in asking the right questions. That’s how you get to know what you don’t know.
If I had to write a testimonial for Deborah I’d say . . .
“My perception of how business advisers worked was incorrect; Deborah gave me the confidence that she had the business acumen, knowledge and experience to help me achieve my goals”
“It’s a tribute to her experience, competency, and ability to communicate at the required level. The branding now is cleaner, clearer, and appeals to more customers…. **Thank you Deborah**”
“Thanks to Deborah our business is now healthy and ready for expansion!”
Want some help with your business to go further, faster … ?
Need cleaning in and around Nottingham?
Talk to me!