CEO, Market Avenue Limited
In 2009, Anna Woolliscroft founded Market Avenue Limited, a marketing consultancy based in England. Anna brought years of experience in traditional and digital marketing, copywriting, design, and print to her new business. Her goal was to help small to medium owner-managed businesses develop marketing plans and strategies.
In a few short years, the firm grew to include five employees and a healthy roster of clients. This growth coincided with the rise of social media marketing, which became Market Avenue Limited’s primary service offering.
In Anna’s first two years in operation, she struggled to find her footing. She took on a wide range of projects for a variety of clients. Anna felt an immense amount of pressure to deliver quality work on time. She tried shifting her focus to providing social media marketing. Despite being one of her strengths, its 24/7 nature left little time for her personal life.
To get her business back on track, Anna needed to find her niche and center her business around providing a specific product. Furthermore, she sought to offer repeatable retainer packages to drive recurring revenue, a more reliable model than ad-hoc projects. Lastly, to scale the business, Anna needed to transfer some of her skills to other team members.
Anna is a true believer in coaching and mentorship. Ready to take on an advisor, she said, “as a business owner, you need to be in a place to take on advice.” This led her to search for a business coach who had the right experience to help her business improve, while achieving a healthy work-life balance.
Martin Williamson is a Business Doctors advisor who helps SME business owners with strategy and planning, business improvement, and value building. He previously served as a senior manager at PwC and as a freelance advisor for over twenty years. He has worked with everything from solopreneurs to large corporate enterprises. Describing where his true passion lies, Martin said, “I get an immense amount of satisfaction watching small businesses grow into medium-sized businesses.”
Having experienced the benefits of coaching and mentoring in the past, Anna was once again personally and professionally prepared to take on advice. Recounting how the relationship started, Anna said, “Martin came in at the right time. I attended his workshops, liked what he had to say, and he resonated with me.” With Martin’s help, Anna aimed to gain control of her business and steer it in the right direction.
The first step when working with a Certified Value Builder™ is completing the Value Builder Questionnaire. This short survey provides business owners with a report on their company’s current value. Once completed, they are given a Value Builder Score out of 100, as well as a score on each of the 8 Key Drivers of Company Value. Anna’s first Value Builder Score was 47. Analyzing the Value Builder Report, Martin reflected, “This was the first time we were able to see tangible numbers into specific areas of the company.”
One key driver they examined was Recurring Revenue, in which Anna first scored 25 out of 100. To improve this score, Anna needed to deliver something more standardized and repeatable that could yield a monthly fee. This led Anna to rethink her offering and conceive of a product that she could confidently deliver. She went back to what she is best at – copywriting.
With Martin’s guidance, Anna niched down to provide a robust copywriting service to her clients. To attract new customers and retain existing ones, she productized her service, repositioning it into a series of products. Comparing this model to her previous one, Anna said, “Rather than people coming to me saying they want something, it’s me saying this is what I offer.”
After eliminating some ad-hoc clients, Anna developed retainer packages which allowed her to charge a monthly fee. By introducing a subscription model in her business, Anna said, “I have fewer clients, but I’m doing more for them.”
After implementing these changes and retaking the Value Builder Questionnaire, Anna’s Recurring Revenue score increased by a whopping 50 points, improving from 25 to 75.
Anna also revisited how the business was staffed. She reduced operational costs by replacing five employees with three freelancers. With standard packages offered, Anna can train her freelancers more efficiently and have them execute with less involvement. Impressed with this new process, Anna said, “there is very little back and forth and it is now working very smoothly.”
Continuing the theme of productized offerings, Anna created a Do-it-Yourself Copywriting Workshop that clients can purchase. This product has been refined into a comprehensive 12-module course available in a group setting or one-on-one consultancy.
By offering a productized service, along with retainer packages, Anna is now collecting a more consistent revenue. Explaining how this affected her day-to-day, Anna said, “I’m not constantly working on projects I don’t enjoy just to gain more money.” These changes have also contributed to an improved profit margin.
Working with Martin and leveraging the Value Builder System™ has helped Anna gain a greater appreciation for herself, spending more time outside of the business. Reflecting on a much better work-life balance, Anna said, “I now work an average working hour week compared to over 60 hours each week in the past.” In addition, by niching down and refocusing on copywriting – her first passion – Anna can say that she now truly enjoys her work.
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