Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Memoirs of an MD #1


I was surfing the interwebs yesterday and stumbled across a post by Paul Adam Davis, which intrigued me. As a bit of background, Paul is a freelance front-end developer* that I'm hugely fond of - he's a talented chap and a bit of an egotist - my favourite kind of person in fact :o)

What intrigued me about his post was that, whilst I could understand where he was coming from I just couldn't agree and I began to wonder whether the benefit of my experience allowed me greater wisdom/insight or whether I'm just a miserable old git, scarred by working through two major recessions and the dotcom crash.

Anyway, inspired by his post, I thought it might be interesting to give an alternative (miserable old git) take on the points he raises.
  1. When you run a business (or you're self employed) it's surprising how little you actually end up having direct control over but one of the things you do have control over is how much you charge.

    However...
    • Basic economics teaches that the price of goods/services effects demand. Interestingly though it also effects recommendation and loyalty - two things that are key to building a sustainable business.
    • Demand fluctuates over time due to a whole bunch of factors that are totally outside of your control - these fluctuations are generally measured in years as opposed to months.
  2. Being a dick about anything at all in business isn't good. Of course in reality we're all a bit of a dick now and again but we should aspire to be assertive, confident but at the same time pragmatic and open-minded. It's all about reading the situation - At Kempt we've had clients that were so unreliable that we had insist on receiving full payment up front - but in most cases a little trust goes a long way in building a relationship.
  3. The secret to doing anything successfully is understanding what success actually is in the current context. For example - there's no point getting all worked up about standards and compliance if you're going to miss an important deadline as a result, better to get the job done to the time available and then re-visit it later if there's scope to do so.
  4. Building up a good stock of clients is about the following:
    • Having enough conversations.
    • Taking opportunities when they present themselves.
    • Delivering on the client's expectations.
    • Reducing friction to a minimum - your customers want to employ you to solve a problem for them - don't create new ones!
    • Realising that in life relationships are the most precious commodity we have and they should be nurtured at all costs.
So, there you go... Paul, if you're reading this, do come go-karting with us!

Cheers

C

*he uses dreamweaver a lot

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