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Business Strategy Session with Martin Robson romanbritons.com

Adela Mei
So welcome, Martin, nice to see you.

Martin
And you Adela.

Adela Mei
Let’s dive right in and talk digital strategy. So would you like to just start with introducing yourself, maybe your business name, a little bit about what you do? And then let’s see how we can explore some digital strategy together in this session.

Martin
Okay, sounds great. So I’m Martin, I’m the owner of romanbritons.com. We are, I say we, I mean, it’s my business, it’s just me as an employee. I work with various other people, depending on what project is involved, and if I need extra skills and things like that, but basically, it’s my business. And we design websites and digital strategy, but not to the level well, definitely not to the level that you do it, but in terms of helping businesses to grow. What is not just a website, but you know, what do you do with a website once you’ve got it? How do you get people to see it? How do you turn it into a marketing machine? That sort of thing. So I try and bundle those things that turn a decent website into one that really makes a difference to people’s businesses.

Adela Mei
How do you factor in the kind of strategy piece at the moment in your business? Or is it just more as you go through the process? As you work with your clients?

Martin
Yeah, I mean, it does vary from client to client, but it would be a case of, Okay, you’ve come for a website, let’s explore what you want from that, and where do you see the business going? And then talking with the potential client about the fact that, have they thought about SEO? Have they thought about other ways in which they’re going to get their website seen? And have they, have they really thought about why they want the website? Which sounds like a kind of strange question. But it could be to make more sales, it could be to get bigger coverage, it could be that they want to achieve a specific objective, and just trying to make sure we’ve talked about those things. And then on the back end, we’ll also look at, have they considered things like, email marketing, like automating some bits and pieces, so that they can achieve more with the resources they’ve got. So sometimes, most of my clients are small businesses, and sometimes solopreneurs, and they haven’t really thought through, what are they going to do with this asset that they’re gonna have?

Adela Mei
So for your business, is there a direction you had in mind that you wanted to grow? Or shift direction?

Martin
Yes, so the things that I really like doing, which are training, educating, translating, I kind of think of it between techie and business or ordinary English, and vice versa. And building, so not design as such, but the backend building systems. Those are things I really like doing. So I probably spend way too much, no I don’t probably – I definitely spend way too much time on those things. And the things that I’m not so keen on – marketing, selling, very good at advising other people on them. Not so good at applying it to myself, but the things that I’m weak in, don’t enjoy, but need to do more of I suspect, because ultimately not enough people know about my business.

Adela Mei
Right. How might someone else be able to come in and help you with your marketing for example, because it is common for people to feel, for a number of reasons, not really well reluctant to market themselves and market their own businesses, services, when, I think we can all market other people much more easily.

Which doesn’t really make sense. I think maybe we’re too humble. We don’t want to self promote, but what might you be able to bring on board maybe to help you with marketing, with getting in front of more people, maybe we could explore some different places you can position yourself so you can be found, but within your comfort zone or maybe a little bit just outside your comfort zone. Would that be useful?

Martin
Yeah, I think that just outside the comfort zone is hitting the nail on the head there. It’s like they say you do the same thing, day after day, you get the same results. So if you’re not exactly where you want to be, then you have to do something different, so the comfort zone thing is good.

I think there’s great value in just even something like this. Where you’re bouncing ideas off somebody else in a one to one situation. I mean, I am a member of a marketing club that’s very good. But there’s almost too much advice sometimes. So, I kind of like, okay, just do this – don’t do anything else. And I’m trying to train myself to do that. It’s not a natural talent. I tend to be like, doing lots of different things at the same time. And, you know, all that million tabs across the screen. Yeah. Guilty. And it’s really a, it’s a productivity and time eat, isn’t it?

Adela Mei
Yes.

Martin
So something like this, I think there’s great value in and then obviously, looking at, like you say, do you actually get a marketing specialist in, in order to help in whichever way they say is the correct way, as at the end of the day they’re a specialist.

Adela Mei
I wonder with the – in terms of the networking groups – are you involved in any business networking groups, or, you mentioned a marketing marketing group. Is that supportive for peer networking?

Martin
There is some peer support in that. It’s mostly, it’s an online club, that is run by somebody who is quite exceptional at that sort of thing. So full of very good advice and all the rest of it. And they’re starting to develop some sort of peer relationships, just from the fact there’s other other club members.

It’s really interesting to say about networking, business networking. In the last two weeks, I have been approached by a number of potential networks. Why they’re coming to me now, I don’t know if it’s the time of year or something, or we’re sufficiently along the cycle of COVID or whatnot, but for whatever reason, so chambers of commerce, BNI, a couple of others, have all in the last couple of weeks gone, Hey, ‘yeah, come and join us were brilliant’. There’s a financial commitment there, it ranges between a fair bit to ‘Oh, really’. And so it’s trying to make that decision about which way to jump, which has probably resulted in me not jumping any way.

Adela Mei
Yeah, I think the themese and with having too many tasks, too many suggestions, too many offers, we get overwhelmed and it is very difficult to make a decision and I think our default setting is then to do nothing, which is fortunate that we’re faced with too many options. So to try and reduce some of that noise, and really feel what’s going to work for you.

Going back to the online side of things, is sort of the training something that you’ve looked at, so in terms of maybe digital courses, or an online learning environment. I’m kind of thinking about the the passive, relatively passive, income side of things, if that’s something where you can share your knowledge, your background, your experience. Yeah, so digital learning. Digital education.

Martin
Yeah, it’s a really interesting side of things. There is a part of me that feels like that’s what I should have done three years ago, but I guess we’re always looking at that and going okay, the market ss really busy but I suppose the flip side of that is, well, there’s a demand for what the market is providing.

It’s like a lot of things Adela, you’d have to take a period of time out, where you’re not generating any income, to generate the resource, the asset, the training program, whatever it is, to then put it out there and then wait for like you say, hopefully, the income to start coming back in, and once you’ve done that once, then that cycle gets shorter, etc.

But it’s that initial like, okay, now I’m going to devote my time to, to doing that, as opposed to just kind of running around the the hamster wheel or whatever. So it is something I really got to give some proper thought to, because it would probably nourish my soul more. And, you know, you have to make an income because of all the reasons you have to make an income, but it’s nice to have a nourished soul isn’t it.

Adela Mei
I think that’s, at the end of the day, what really drives you. We all have up days and down days, and if what you’re doing actually really drives you ,like I I think I’ve said this on another call, I will get on a call with someone and talk to them, however I’m feeling because it’s what I really enjoy doing. But web design, I’m happy to delay that a bit if I’m not really feeling it, I’ll put it off to another day, there are other tasks I will put off, you know, to another day.

But when it comes to the strategy and I really enjoy learning about other people’s businesses and seeing if I can find a spot, we can go, a direction we can go in to either affect a change, or growth, or a different perspective. So that really does keep me going. And I think I said to you before, when I decided to stop focusing on web designer as my main business, the energy I got from that was like ‘oh, I can do it if I want to, but I don’t have to’. The burden was lifted of quite a few tasks that I didn’t realize I wasn’t absolutely passionate about. mean I still love doing it. But it wasn’t the real ‘the thing’. Like I talk about ‘the thing’. The thing for me is talking, strategizing, helping, supporting and being more involved in the business, the entrepreneurial side of things. So that helps give me some impetus. Even on a weekend.

Martin
Yeah, I mean, I had, a week or so off fairly recently, because my cousin was getting married, and it does give you that little bit of time away to think about ‘the thing’. And yeah I realized the things that make me happy, or I enjoy doing, when somebody says, ‘can my website do this’ – it might be some sort of online booking that has got various different conditional bits and pieces and whatever, it’s not as straightforward, just pick a plugin and stick it in. I’m like, Oh, I don’t know, but I want to go and find out. And I’ll go and spend plenty of time finding out and you end up working to crazy hours in the evening, because it’s a puzzle to solve.

And so yeah, that obviously gets me going as well as the training, education side. So now I suppose it is – how do I focus more of my time on the stuff that makes me feel impassioned? And equally – how do I get rid of all this stuff – like you say – you’re like, Yeah, I know, I’ve got to do this. But I really don’t want to.

Adela Mei
Do you have other colleagues, I’m just thinking about how – moving forward – you might get some accountability maybe from others who whether they’re in the same situation or not, but someone who can say, ‘Martin, did you go on Instagram last week’, or whatever you choose to do? Because I find that really helps. If I know another human being knows that I was going to do something, I do it. Because you can’t get away with it can you?

Martin
No. Yeah, I think just starting to develop some of those relationships with individuals, as opposed to bodies and groups. Because I mean, there are groups where you can go, yeah, I’m going to do this and you’re group accountable. But that’s not the same as you know, a specified human being going ‘so how’d it go?’ And I do that sometimes for other people as well and it has exactly the same effect.

So yeah, starting to develop those. And it’s going to be interesting to see how much progress that that makes happen. Because I’m sure it will absolutely improve things. But it’d be interesting to see how much it improves it.

Adela Mei
Is that, and I call them masterminds but I think that means a lot of different things nowadays, but up to say four people meeting once a week for an hour to just help like move the needle, taking those steps, and you know, trusted people. So you build this up over time, who can see your journey, your progress, they know what you’ve been doing. Because there’s nothing worse than someone who doesn’t really know where you’re at with your process, just give you some advice, because it’s like you haven’t seen the 101 steps I just take, I just did. And now you’re – you need some context.

So these things take time to find the right groups, the right people, and once a week – or once a month is probably not enough – but once a week or once every two weeks and just see. Because what can happen is people will see the patterns that you’re playing out over and over, that maybe you can’t see, you don’t realize, and they can say you know you’re doing that thing again. And you’re like ‘what thing is that?’ So maybe it’s a pattern of resistance or procrastination, distraction. These things appear over time when you get to know people. Does that make sense?

Martin
Yeah, absolutely. I think the – like you say – mastermind, however you want to call it, i remember you talking about being in a mastermind yourself when you’re going through business training or whatever it was, and how valuable it was.

Adela Mei
I would absolutely encourage you to find one or several ones, actually, I prefer one. And then you just enter into, I don’t know, pick a timeframe. Three months. Pick a regularity in the calendar, no excuses. And then you set the parameters, okay, that this is the purpose of what we’re doing. And then it’s like mutual feedback, sounding board, support. So preferably someone in the industry.

Martin
Yeah, it’s a really good idea. And it’s one that I need to make happen.

Adela Mei
So we’re coming up just to the end of the time, but what I’m going to do afterwards is just, I’m going to find some links for you, and email them over, because I just think it’s something that you could explore looking at what the business networks are doing at the moment, because the world state has changed, and is still changing.

So I’ll send those over afterwards. And I hope that was useful in terms of just kind of unpacking a few ideas to see if we could find a direction for you to move forward in.

Martin
It really is useful because it’s useful to be able to speak to someone who you’re convinced that they’re listening to you. Because I have quite a few meetings, not necessarily one on one, some one on one, where that’s not always the case.

And there’s value in that as well. I think it’s been really interesting as well to watch it back, because sometimes you’re focused on the other person and what they’re saying. And sometimes it’d be interesting to look back and go, Okay, well, did I say that? I didn’t realize that’s what I was saying. So maybe I need to think about that as well. On top of the links and stuff that you said, Yeah, very good. Thank you.

Adela Mei
Awesome. Well, you’re welcome. And thank you for your time.

It really is useful because it’s useful to be able to speak to someone who you’re convinced that they’re listening to you. Because I have quite a few meetings, not necessarily one on one, some one on one, where that’s not always the case.

And there’s value in that as well. I think it’s been really interesting as well to watch it back, because sometimes you’re focused on the other person and what they’re saying. And sometimes it’d be interesting to look back and go, Okay, well, did I say that? I didn’t realize that’s what I was saying. So maybe I need to think about that as well. On top of the links and stuff that you said, Yeah, very good. Thank you.

Martin Robson

Owner, Roman Britons

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