1. Tell me a bit about your business – when it started and what are your main services?
I started my business in March 2016 after being made redundant. It was a bit of a leap for me as my husband and I were in the process of buying a house. Scary times! Anyway, here I am, we moved, I set up my business whilst moving and nearly 2 and a half years later, I love it. I help small business owners understand how to market their business effectively, either one-to-one, or in my group course, which is launching in September.
2. What was the main driver for starting your own business?
When I was made redundant, I realized that I would have to look for another job, which filled me with a bit of horror. Being in the process of buying a house made it seem like it was the only choice. It was my husband’s idea to start up on my own. He told me he loves seeing how animated I get when I’m offering marketing advice to small businesses. So, not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, I bit his hand off.
3. What gets you up in the morning?
No two days are the same for me, and I guess this, together with knowing that I can make a material difference to a person’s life. I know that sounds big and grand, but when I am working with a small business owner and I see that lightbulb go on over their heads, I know that I have just directly impacted their business.
4. If you could change one thing about your first year (or first few years) in business, what would it be?
I wish I’d had a better idea of where to focus my business. I changed what I do slightly last year. I put pressure on myself to get up and running, which in hindsight I’d change. I also jumped at every opportunity, and that ended up with me giving away my time for free. So, I wish I’d been a bit more savvy about that.
5. What is your biggest achievement to date?
I still think it’s being selected to be a Small Business 100 only 5 months after starting my business. It was a massive surprise and such a great boost to my confidence. It’s fab being part of that community and it makes me feel like I’m not on my own. Only another small business owner understands the challenges we face and having support on hand when I need it is brilliant.
6. What has been your biggest challenge?
Finding clients in those early months. I came from heading up marketing teams in big companies where I had sales and business development teams to rely on, to having to do it all myself. The other thing was learning to say no. I took on everything offered to me, when I should have been more selective.
7. What would be your number one tip for other entrepreneurs who want to develop their personal brand (related to their industry / specialism)?
Don’t do it from a keyboard alone. Go out and meet people. Turn online relationships into real-world ones. It’s when people meet you that they realise what you’re about and what makes you tick. Conversations meander and that very thing means you need to go out and meet the people who will most impact your business.
8. What advice would you give to other women thinking of starting their own business?
100% go for it. Don’t doubt for a minute whether you can do it. Of course, you can. Being your own boss is the best feeling. Besides which, we need more women to start their own businesses. Companies with women in charge or on the board are more successful than those without any.
9. Lastly, which social media platform has helped you get the most customers to date and why?
Actually, I’d say email marketing! My last three clients had been on my email list for a while. They got the opportunity to know, like and trust me because I was, and am, respectful of their data and their time. I promise marketing tips in my newsletters and that’s what my list gets. Social media has played an important part in getting people onto my email list in the first place, so it has played its part.
Minal started Marketing by Minal in March 2016 to help small businesses and start-ups give their marketing more focus. With over 15 years’ experience in marketing, Minal has held marketing roles for UK-based and international companies alike. Her last position gave her the opportunity to get to know 100s of small businesses across the UK and a real passion for helping them achieve great results from marketing was born.
Working with businesses as varied as a wine school to a personal stylist, a telecoms company to an army surplus store and an ecommerce company to a technology start-up, Minal helps to demystify marketing for business owners and establish marketing processes & practices that build solid foundations for future successes.
This interview was conducted by Jennifer Corcoran, LinkedIn Consultant & Trainer, Founder and CEO of My Super Connector and Host of LinkedIn Local Croydon. Jennifer regularly writes and speaks on the topics of social media, personal branding, networking and being an introverted entrepreneur. If you need help with any of your profiles mail [email protected] You can follow Jennifer on Twitter @SuperConnector.