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Why invest in communications now?


Recently, for Insider, I wrote an article about why businesses need to think about strategic comms even more, during times of change. And whilst the themes I highlight might seem relatively generic, I wanted to relate it back to what I’ve done with my own business, to help prove the point.


Two people planning a business on a whiteboard

One observation I would offer to anyone seeking to set up their own business, is: setting up a business is easy – the hard part is making sure it works. Before I launched, I undertook months of planning and pre-launch activity.


This ranged from the basics, such as registering on Companies House, and opening a bank account (not as easy as it sounds), to securing URL’s and socials for Yasper, and trademarking the name. The latter might not be top of every new business owner’s to-do list, but I wanted to make sure my company was set up in the right way, for the long-term.


One of the first things I did, was set out a wish list for my marketing activity – both organic and paid. Affordability at a time of uncertainty was a key consideration for me – as with most businesses – and I wanted to ensure any spend was sustainable, sensible and offered a clear return on investment.


I set revenue targets and retainer levels whereby I could invest in the business. I knew tactically what would work to help grow Yasper’s reputation and standing, but it had to work financially too. And because of this pre-planning, I’ve been able to put my money (literally) where my mouth is, and progress the marketing spend I had intended – and more.


I am in a fortunate position in my sector, in that I’ve run seven-figure P+Ls at other agencies, been responsible for teams, winning new work and establishing profitable well-run accounts. But with SMEs accounting for 99.9% of all UK businesses, it’s clear that entrepreneurialism is alive and kicking in this country.


However, the points I am making in my Insider article, aren’t just aimed at start-ups. Many established businesses have cash at hand, but prefer to adopt a conservative approach until they have clear visibility of the road ahead. The argument I seek to make, is that it’s only by being properly prepared for multiple eventualities, that we can stay ahead. By adopting a wait-and-see approach, opportunities can be lost, and chances can slip through fingers.


I can see why there are concerns for entrepreneurs though. The figures around small-business failure are, quite frankly, frightening. 20% of UK start-ups fail in year one, with 60% winding up in the first three years. When coming up with the idea for Yasper, I wanted to make sure it didn’t become part of those statistics.


There are many frightening preconceptions that put people off even taking the first step. Bureaucracy is undoubtedly one, cost is another. Late last year, I had a good conversation about start-ups with the Small Business Minister, Kevin Hollinrake, and he was unashamedly pro-growth and pro-entrepreneur.


He shared an article on LinkedIn recently, showing research findings that Britons thought it took on average £34,000 to start a new business, whereas the typical cost is actually around £5,000.


Regarding my own story, my biggest game-changer by far, was receiving the backing of Umpf, an agency I’ve known and respected for more than half my career. Our partnership gave me the boost I needed to back myself and push on.


If you’d like an informal chat about any of the themes addressed here – whether that is starting up on your own, or taking your business to the next level through comms, I’d love to hear from you:

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