This month I’ve been thinking about what is in store for us as a small business and how we can keep evolving to keep offering relevant and helpful support for our clients. At the end of August, Fingerpost Consulting has been operating for three years. That’s not a long time in the scheme of things, but in my head, three years was the magic timeframe to determine whether the business would be a success or not. As it turns out, I still feel that this is just the beginning and we are still evolving our service… However, if the last three years have been nothing but extended market research, it is clear that there is a demand for our services and I am immensely proud of everything we’ve achieved so far. And of course, I’m extremely grateful to the agencies and individuals who have given us the opportunity to support them. And to Louise, Kaz and our extended team of freelancers who have helped us to fulfil our commitments and (hopefully!) exceed expectations.
Looking back, the first two years were largely spent as me providing freelance support to market access consultancies. It wasn’t long before I realised the demand was greater than I could fulfil on my own. Recruiting a permanent employee for a single project isn’t feasible and finding senior support when someone moves to another role isn’t a quick process. Sometimes there is a need for someone with a specific skillset for a very small part of the project. And who develops the much-needed training when your senior team are working flat out on proposals and projects? Or perhaps there is a need to look outside of the organisation for a fresh take on a project or for training on a particular skillset. These needs have helped to define Fingerpost Consulting over the past two years but I realised quite quickly I would need support to develop these ideas into a reality.
And that’s when Louise joined me. As well as helping me to provide freelance support on the consulting side, Louise has built up our training capability and enhanced it significantly through her previous background and expertise.
Between us we have also spent the past year building a strong foundation for the business to enable it to grow. We moved into the office in Poynton last October, have attended a number of market access and business-oriented events, moved all of our files on to a secure sharepoint system and set-up webex accounts.
Most importantly, our own version of CMAP (integrated project planning and project accounting software) is due to go live in August. This will be a great relief because the invoicing and timesheets are getting more and more complex with every new contract we work on.
We’ve also employed the services of Helen Everatt, a HR consultant. Helen has painstakingly gone through all of our contracts to make sure we have the right paperwork and policies in place for permanent employees and freelancers. Louise has even gone to extra lengths to understand more about employment law so we know what we should be doing as both employers and contractors!
And, of course, Kaz has spent the last two years supporting us with our design needs for both our templates and marketing, and when required, our deliverables. This is all helping us to build a recognisable brand.
Well the operations side of the business is a never-ending mission; as soon as we improve one area of our operations, we realise there is another aspect we could improve on!
We don’t know what the next year will have in store for us but I’m really excited about it. Already our client base has expanded beyond market access consultancies and now also includes medical/healthcare communications agencies. We are looking forward to rolling out more training modules, providing strategic market access insight, and supplying much needed resource through our in-house and freelancer teams. We recommend freelancers on merit alone or we work together to ensure a consistent level of support, quality and value. After all, if we help our clients to deliver a great product and generate repeat business, we are only increasing the opportunities to work together again in the future!