A reflection on 2017
I am feeling rather reflective as we look towards 2018 and closing off 2017.
I guess we all are so here’s my ramble about what 2017 has meant for me, for us, for Ringhello.
I am so delighted to say that I have a great team of telemarketers working with me here at Ringhello. When I envisaged my company growing, I had no idea that it was all about the team you surround yourself with. I’ve always thought it was about how you lead them. And to be honest it is a bit of both, but I’ve noticed that my management style is not what I expected. I thought you weren’t allowed to be friendly to your “staff”. I thought you had to always be professional, and never let them see the real you. However that’s the opposite of what has worked for me.
Past “Learning Experiences”. I’d tried various guises of expanding in the past and chickened out or not had the right team with me, and I suspect I’d been dogmatic, untrusting and precious about my brand. It was my baby and then a real one came along on Valentine’s day in 2016 and I got a reality check. I realised when I was pregnant that I needed support to help this business grow and that I needed to learn to trust other people, and to allow them to stand in and help me manage my business in the way I needed to do it, as a leader and by choosing the right clients. It was hard for me to do this on some levels, because I’d been let down before and also had bad experiences of Managers and didn’t want to be like them. But the truth is, I never realised how good it could be to work in a team when you appreciate the skills you each bring to the table.
I’m good at Telemarketing, in fact I am GREAT at talking to people and finding out everything I need to about what they are doing so I can get leads for my clients, but that doesn’t mean I am the only one or indeed the best at it. I believe I am up there as one of the best but I now know I work alongside a team of other awesome people who also share those skills and I am humbled that they are working with me to make my business a success. I think I’d got used to being stuck up in the Highlands of Scotland, miles from where I grew up “down south” and in the Thames Valley and got too comfortable in my little cabin in the garden with my regular clients and just ticking over and something needed to shift in order for things to change for the better.
The reality of being a working Mum.
There’s something about having a child that makes you want to strive for more. I quickly learned that if I wanted to spend my time away from him, it had better be doing something I enjoy. I don’t mean that in a negative way, because I’ve been able to turn this into a positive although there were times during postnatal depression where it felt like the biggest battle in the world. But with time, and supportive people around me I can now see that there is absolutely a positive to be drawn from this. If I want the life I want, I need to adapt and be prepared to change and trust other people to help me in my business and allow me to get there.
How to be a leader: I try to lead the team by example – literally. I let the team listen in to calls I make so they can hear how I’d approach the calls for the clients, as well as being thorough in my preparation for them. I coach them and hope I do it right when there’s something they need to remember to do. I hate having to pick anybody up on what they’re doing and really try very hard to do so in a constructive way. I also go out of my way to make sure they know how appreciated they are and how much they mean to me and my business, and also to let them know when they’ve done a good job. Because working for yourself or being self-employed is hard work. I did it for so long (too long) and we all need some reassurance and positive reinforcement.
I’ve laughed with them, I’ve even cried in front of them when it’s been really tough. And it has been tough, especially in the summer of 2017 following the ad hoc election and Brexit – it just seemed to make everyone nervous and stop doing anything and we had a really hard summer. Thankfully I’d been positive in all my messaging and started to attract lots of smaller clients, where we as a team could get really involved in helping them change their business around. We did the odd few hours here and there for clients where those odd few hours made an enormous positive impact on their business. We enjoyed the working relationship with them, and they recommended us to their friends and associates and we keep on getting the work in and keeping our happy clients.
Some campaigns don’t work as well as everyone expected and this can be down to so many variables but we are always honest about it and make sure that we’ve done everything we physically could to get the best possible results. We know where our strengths lie and we will make sure we shout about them and work with people where we know we can really help them. We need to work with clients who trust us, listen to us and allow us a free rein to do our best. We know telemarketing inside out, we know what works and what doesn’t and how important good data is, as well as the approach. We know some campaigns take time to build and nurture, and our strength lies in speaking to people and finding out SO MUCH information that when we pass a lead to a client they have more than they ever dreamed of from us to help them close the sale.
Thank you for reading, and for being there through the journey with us in 2017. On a personal level I know growing my team is the right way forward for my business and continuing to support a wider range of clients with a larger team that get more involved with each client is the right thing to do. We appreciate every conversation and honest exchange we’ve had with many of you reading this! For more on what 2018 holds for Ringhello, read here