The Wisdom of Multiple Income Streams
Global? National? Local?
We should recognise the value in what we know. But we shouldn’t be precious about what we are prepared to do and how we do it. Multiple income streams allow for variation – in client base, offering and delivery. They also give a small business a good chance of success.
Since we’ve been plying our trade as The Rare Skills Set in Tunbridge Wells, we continue to work with large national and international organisations. The work and the challenges presented will always be stimulating, absorbing and rewarding.
However, largely through deliberate participation in local networking groups of all shapes, sizes, styles and make-up, we are becoming involved with very different types of businesses: significant local players and contributors. The experience has encouraged us to embrace a different marketplace altogether.
Working with and amongst small businesses whose owners are visible is inspiring. People are energetic, engaged, enthusiastic about the businesses they are building and running; they’re also interested in what everyone else is doing, willing them to succeed. These people are wholly accountable, open to risk, and wholly committed.
We’ve learnt that ‘being local’ means there’s nowhere to hide and no point in disguise; it’s an open, raw, honest, largely pragmatic environment with transparency and swift decision-making, not least because in small businesses there tends to be fewer resources and less bureaucracy.
People know you not just for the job that you do or the business that you run, but because they are just as likely to see you looking vague in Sainsbury’s, shouting at the dog in the park, collecting the children from school, or, for some, sweating it out in the gym. Not to mention doing their bit in the community – whatever that might be. But don’t think it’s parochial. People are driven, knowledgeable, and ambitious – and they choose not to spend several hours on a train every day.
Our experience, knowledge and enthusiasm for what we do means that we will always hunger to work with large national and international organisations. Unfortunately, our size and set-up sometimes prohibits us making our way through the protracted and increasingly demanding procurement processes which could see us going under before discovering whether we’ve been appointed or not.
So we are shaping The Rare Skills Set to serve the local business community too – start-ups, the longer-established SMEs, or national organisations with significant regional or head offices here. We’re developing our product and service offering to be appropriate for each of our target groups – which means appreciating that one size won’t fit all whilst recognising where knowledge gained in one arena can be intelligence applied in another.
Multiple income streams need not mean disunity or a weaker proposition – it’s about tailoring what we know and making it fit for purpose for different audiences with varying needs.
At the end of the day, it will always be about effective communication being the key to reputation management.
(Picture courtesy of www.imgsoup.com)