Evoke Inspired Marketing celebrated its first year in business back in April. But true to the very chaos that I plan on discussing in this post, three months flew by faster than I could type out a blog entry - apparently. The first year in business is full of many ups and downs, days where you feel like a champion and other days that make you feel like a complete failure. If you're lucky enough to be busy, you'll be so overwhelmed that you forget to work on your own business as much as you are working on your clients' businesses. There is an ebb and flow in working and owning a business. Sometimes you need to focus on your clients' work and buckle down for deadlines, while other times you can relax into creative work and invest in learning something new. Conveniently for Evoke, this current shift in gears aligns nicely with summer time. Currently, we are working on tying up loose ends and taking the opportunity to nourish and grow the business so that we're ready to hustle come September. So, in the spirit of nourishing, I would like to reflect on a few important lessons learnt in the first year of business
1) Treat your business as your client - Let's be completely honest, Evoke hasn't posted a blog entry in almost a year. If that were one of our clients, we would be giving them some pretty tough love! It's easy to get busy with the everyday chaos of client work and monotonous business operations. However, if you're good at marketing, you should probably show it with your own marketing. Yeah yeah yeah, we're workin' on it!
2) Define your brand values and set a Company Vision - Defining your brand values and establishing a Company Vision right off the bat makes decision-making and prioritizing much easier. There are so many opportunities and so little time, building a business is all about making the right decision for the organization and prioritizing what's most important. Having Evoke's detailed brand values from the start has proven incredibly useful and revisiting the original vision makes us excited for how far we've come!
3) Invest in doing it right the first time - Save your time, your money, and your sanity by investing a little into the right systems and processes. Take the time to set up a QuickBooks account, spend the money on business cards that make you proud, hire the marketing agency that focuses more on your awesome stuff than their own.
4) Find your tribe - Productivity exploded once Evoke moved into an office space with other creative businesses (Shout out Flag5 and Tride Media). One of the most valuable tools in business is a sounding board for your crazy ideas so, surround yourself with people who know more and have more experience than you. Oh also - let's just all support each other. Us creatives have to stick together! "The Tide Floats All Boats"
5) Evolve and Fine Tune - The business you have now may look nothing like the business you imaged a year ago. As time goes on, you discover what you really enjoy doing and what makes you want to give up. You're allowed to fine tune your offerings as you gain experience. Learn from others best practices and gain knowledge that will best serve you and your clients. Your vision should be solid, but the path you take there is ever changing.