With the onset of the cold weather (at least here in Scotland) and the dark nights drawing in, we're in a reflective mood here at Lucidity, so we thought we'd have some different types of posts this week. On Friday, Jess will be telling us about how she's adjusting to working from home full-time. And I thought it was time for a stock take of how Lucidity's getting on. Beware: this is not your usual business post. It's been a rollercoaster of a year!
We live in a world where being busy is the goal. It's not about what we achieve. Rewards - and the way you're perceived - come from how much we have on at any one time. The busier the better. And when you run your own small business, that's even more important. Being busy = success. And the flip side? Not being busy = failure.
I've never signed up to this, but lately have found myself saying I'm busy when the truth is, I'm not. Big projects that were keeping me occupied for the first half of the year have come to a close and new ones haven't taken their place. This has coincided with taking on Lucidity's first employee, so the pressure to find new work has intensified. Not exactly what you'd call the perfect storm!
But, rather than panic or get gloomy, I thought I'd turn the tables on myself. Much of my work with clients asks them to look more closely at what they're doing in order to find ways to make it better. To be honest with themselves about what's working and what might need some attention. And to be open about their successes and failures. So I'm giving myself some of my own medicine!
First, the successes. 2019 has been a pretty good year, all told:
We organised our first conference - and it was a success!
We've completed two major projects for university clients
We've continued working on projects for an established client
We've worked with new clients and started to build some great new relationships
We've added new content and resources to our website which has increased site traffic and, hopefully, helped people with their strategy
And we're working with Jess, who has settled in amazingly well and is producing some great work.
Next for the honest reflection:
We've relied too much on word of mouth and recommendations, and not done enough to build a wider network.
We've been slow to respond to the changing nature of the work. There's been a definite shift from long-term projects to much shorter contracts, and that's been a tricky adjustment.
Our business model is based on a different type of consultancy - so we're there to help give people the knowledge and skills they need to carry out the task again without external help. This approach means that repeat work is not usually on the cards!
And we've not been bold enough to approach people who we've worked with before, to see if there's any further support we can offer.
So, what next? Now we've reflected on what we should be doing, we'll put this into action. We've just introduced a new set of services that respond to the needs of the sectors we work with. We'll continue to build the new relationships we've recently created. We're looking at new resources to launch in the new year. I'm committed to the approach that sits at the heart of Lucidity, so this won't change. All this means is that we have to do more to reach more people! So we're focusing on creating new connections and building our networks.
Will this work? Who knows! Running a micro-business can be really tough and you have to be more resilient than you could ever imagine. And I'm sure they'll be many more difficult days, when reserves are low and the horizon looks bleak. But, after more than 5 years with Lucidity, I'm determined to hang on in there for a bit longer, at least.
If you need help reflecting on your performance, strategy, or business processes, get in touch. We'd be delighted to help.