I’ve always been a bit of a do-it-yourself type of gal. Use experts? Pah! External help? Not a chance! I was always more likely to have a go, get frustrated, read the first page of the instructions, have another go, get frustrated…you get the idea. But in the past few months I’ve come to realise that there are
some many things that I can’t do on my own. For me, this is my list of must-have experts:
When it came to designing the logo and website, I realised that if I wanted something that truly reflected Silver Tongue, I needed somebody to help me. I had some ideas on what I wanted, (the name and the colours) but I had no idea how I could come up with something that captured professionalism and creativity. Equally, I didn’t have the software or the expertise to create an attractive design. So I turned to A Creative Feeling. In the next few weeks there will be a post about the logo and the process behind creating it, written by Al (the brains behind A Creative Feeling). If I’m very nice to him, he might give tips on what to think about when it comes to branding.
Finance & Legal
This seems like an obvious one, but having someone to handle company finances and legal issues was really important to me. Silver Tongue Translations is a Limited Company and, as such, is incorporated with Companies House. When it came to setting everything up, I decided to get an accountant on board straight away, to have all i’s dotted and t’s crossed from the start. I wanted to understand my options for set up, the differences between a Limited Company and a sole trader, the requirements for VAT registration and how it works around the world. Experts in the financial or legal sector with whom you feel comfortable asking questions (however basic!) are to be snapped up and kept forever…so if you find one, be nice! This article is pretty handy for what to look for when you’re shopping for accountants, this piece on top legal tips for small businesses and this one on general “What Should I Think About?” stuff. Just to mention, I don’t have any affiliation with anything I’ve linked to, I just found the tips handy!
Sales & marketing
For a long time, my marketing plan consisted of…okay, I didn’t have a marketing plan. I was busy working and translating and living. But then I realised that every time I sent a bid for a job, or an email to an agency registering interest, I was marketing myself. When it came to getting direct clients I realised that I needed to think about it a little more. For the number of marketing emails I currently send in a month, email templates aren’t necessary. And besides, I prefer the personal touch. One of my pet peeves is receiving emails from agencies with “Dear translator”, or worse, “Dear Sir/Madam” – it’s so insulting! I came across a blog post recently “How Not To Write A Marketing Email” and it reinforced my thinking on having email templates! However, it was necessary to seek some advice on how best to market Silver Tongue’s services, so I engaged with some friends who are experts in the industry and did a bit of a skills swap (I baked, they talked). The aggressive approach is still not for me, but I am learning that marketing yourself and being
arrogant pushy don’t have to be the same thing. I’ve found some interesting tips on marketing for start-ups/small businesses here, here and here (I feel like a flight attendant).
As with the marketing plan, marketing material didn’t feature on my business expenses list until this year. I decided though, along with the logo and the website, that I would invest in some business cards. Other marketing materials, such as letterheads and postcards go against my eco-ethos, but do bring out the inner stationery addict in me, so I’ve limited the material to business cards for now! I found Moo to be fantastically helpful and the result was superb. They offer so many customisation options, along with loads of paper and finish choices. They have Classic, Green (to assuage eco-guilt) and Luxe. You can use their templates or upload your own complete design (that’s what I did). Obviously you don’t have to use the same company I did, so here’s a review of lots of business card providers!
So that’s my list (so far!) on which experts to use, and what, for me, have been good things to invest in. This list is obviously from a business perspective, rather than being translation specific – that’s for another post!