Foreword: Purple Smudge is a digital marketing agency that’s almost 4 years old. Purple Smudge is also a start-up business that Tristam and I built from nothing, born from a conversation over a cup of coffee. It’s our labour of love, its not just a business, it’s a new way of life. The lessons we have learnt along the way have been the sole reason we have been able to build a business and make it a success.

Through Purple Smudge we have had the pleasure of working with a vast collection of companies from family run business, start-ups, founder run, solo project etc It’s our clients who make this job exciting. It’s through integrating into our clients teams, business, objectives and drives that we are privileged to work in a unique way with each and every one. Our clients make us the business we are today.

If we hadn’t taken the plunge to chase our dreams none of the above would be possible, the same applies for our clients. If our clients hadn’t followed their dreams, taken the risk and started their companies then we wouldn’t be here working with them today.

Over the next course of Blog Posts, we want to share some support, tips and advice for everyone out there with a dream to build business for themselves whether that’s solo or with a team. We want to help others realise their dreams and help translate that into a business. BECAUSE without people like YOU agencies like us wouldn’t exist!

Ready to build a business?

With a huge percentage of start-ups failing in the first year and even more folding before reaching their fifth year its crucial to hit your sweet spot early to see sustained success. HOWEVER, that doesn’t translate into sacrificing your own life in the process. Hitting your sweet spot is easier than you think, all you need to do is remain true to your goals, consistency is key.

Follow these five steps start up rules and you will have all the tools you need to build a successful business.

1. Write down WHY you want to start your business and what is it you want to achieve.

Is it job satisfaction, time, creative freedom? Be totally honest with yourself on this one, this will create the foundation on which you build your business. It can be so easy to become swept away in someone else’s picture of success. Speaking from personal experience my goal was time. I wanted to work to create more time in my life. Time I could enjoy spent outside, with my family, camping, walking the dog etc the list is endless. However, when starting out you are hit from all directions with the ‘Hustle’ culture. A mentality that its worth pushing yourself to break to bank the big bucks. The promotion of a fast life (what I call extreme materialism) can create levels of comparison, stay true to yourself, stay true to your business.

2. Use your WHY to create your picture of success, visualise it.

 How does it feel? Visualising your version of success is crucial to achieving it. One of the hardest things (in my opinion) about starting a company is confidence. The confidence to believe that you can single handed make one your dreams come true can be quite daunting. Taking the time to visualise yourself in this new level of life will help you begin to believe, once you believe in yourself then you remove the risk. With the risk gone you are now one step closer to the goal you are already living and breathing through the power of visualisation. Remember a risk is only a risk when taken without self-belief.

3. Set small achievable check points on your path to your goals. Small wins to celebrate along the way.

This is so very important.

You will get set backs on your journey to success that’s just part of the process however without a balance these setbacks can be the fall out for you and/or your business. Focusing on the small wins will help create that balance. Had a good call with a potential client, praise yourself. Received a response to a sales email, praise yourself. Finally finished that big project, praise yourself. Be the first set of feedback you hear and kick it off with something positive!

4. Don’t focus on figures.

Of course, money is important but first focus on the quality of your work, the stability of your contracts and the opportunities born through nurtured relationships. If I had let my bank balance be the measure of success of my business, then I would have failed in the first year too. It wasn’t and I didn’t. Far too often people try and fast forward their business by focusing on figures. Let me tell you this, slow and steady wins the race. When you first start out you have so much to learn, you suddenly have to wear a multitude of hats you haven’t even tried on before! Perfecting your role, your delivery, your ethos etc will create a reputation and reputation is king! Remember success is in sustainability. Your business is nothing without clients. Focus on the quality of the work you’re delivering, focus on the relationships you’re building, focus on the opportunities you can nurture. Focus on quality not quantity, we allowed ourselves the time to invest in our clients. Two of which have been with us from the very beginning, 4 years is pretty good going in this industry.

5. Save before spending

I would hope this one speaks for itself. You are building a business remember, not staring a new job. Save for tax, save for salaries, save insurances, save for office space…the list never ends. Everything costs money and starting a business doesn’t guarantee funds straight off the bat. There will be some good months, some great months but there could also be slow months, dead months. It’s these drops that can fold your business if you’re not prepared. What’s the point in driving around in your expensive car if you can’t pay your tax? What is the point in renting a huge office space if you can’t even afford to pay the people who work in it? Create a financial goal which will offer you the security to cover the aforementioned points. Once you reach that goal you have a self-sustaining business, how you spend your profit is now open to you.

Top Five Take Away Tips For Start-ups

  1. Work out your why
  2. Visualise your goals
  3. Celebrate the small wins
  4. Don’t focus on figures
  5. Save before you spend

Finally, be proud of yourself.

Proud of yourself for trying.

Proud of yourself for chasing your dreams.