MicroBizMattersDay is promoting self-help among the self-employed and micro-SME owners, from marketing to construction and beyond.
Last year, I mentioned National Freelancers Day, and I visited several small businesses in my south-east London locality participating in Small Business Saturday in December. Today, I have been reading about another initiative aimed at SMEs and sole traders: the third MicroBizMattersDay. Taking place tomorrow, 9 January 2015, and organised jointly by accounting software giant Sage and search provider Google, it will include:
- a series of live-streamed Google Hangout interviews – From 11am to 12 noon GMT will be about marketing, for example; 12 noon to 1pm GMT will be about building trades: builders, joiners, plasterers, electricians, roofers and “Britain’s most famous plumber” (wearing my construction PR hat, good to see the industry – one of the most reliant on SMEs – featured prominently);* other slots cover food and drink, retail, online services, design and creative, and entertainment.
- People giving 9 minutes on 9 January. According to the website, throughout the world, nine out of every 10 people running their own enterprises have between 0 and 9 staff – and the 9 January effort is focused on the self-employed and small business owners giving nine minutes of their time to help other self-employed people or small business owners – here are over 30 handy suggestions covering the campaign’s core areas of #customers, #cashflow (encouragingly, it highlights some prompt construction payers: Vinci and Morgan Sindall) and #chat. I’ll be doing my bit.
Starting as I mean to continue, I have already committed time to the independent PR practitioners‘ cause (see 18 December post) in this first full working week of 2015.
- On Monday, I talked to Vocus (incorporating Cision, Gorkana, etc) about their services for PR people, asking specifically if networks of independent practitioners could club together to have access to their media database, distribution and monitoring services (the answer was a cautious ‘yes’, but we will need to talk further on this if/when we have some groups of potential users).
- On Tuesday, despite my recent rant about them, I met with Steve Miller, membership and partnerships director of the PRCA. They too are keen to meet the needs of freelancers and while there will clearly be some competition with CIPR initiatives, there may well be areas where the two organisations could work together.
- And yesterday, following an introduction made by Steve Waddington (now CIPR Past President), I met Rachel Krish of Brighton-based agency Propellernet and its offshoot Resolution, and we talked about two new technology offerings the firm is developing: PerfectFit and (currently free!) Coveragebook. The former complements services such as Vocus’s, helping PR agencies – and potentially independent PRs – streamline some account management functions. The latter, as the name implies, helps PRs compile coverage reports and share them with clients (I’ve just tested it on a small news campaign I ran in October – nice output!). It was encouraging that they wanted to start learning about how freelances or microSME PR practitioners work, and I am looking forward to working further with Rachel and her colleagues on this.
- I’ve also been busy reading blog posts about two new(ish) freelance businesses. My friend and occasional collaborator Pritesh Patel has been reflecting on his first year as an independent digital marketing consultant, and has learned 10 lessons during that first year. And fresh out of the blocks is Oxfordshire-based Paul Sutton, who started his own social media consultancy this week, believing that Freelancing is the future (at least for him).
- And I’ve been adding some new members to the CIPR Independent Practitioners Linkedin Group, contributing to its discussions, and thinking about a February date for a London #PRandaPint.
- Updates (2, 16 February 2015) – Our first CIPR Tweetchat on independent practitioners has been scheduled for Friday 27 February 2015 between 12 noon and 1pm GMT.
(* I was delighted to learn that Liz Male, a good friend, CIPR Fellow and a predecessor of mine as chair of the CIPR’s construction and property special interest group was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours. As non-executive chair of Trustmark, she also champions the role played by small businesses in construction, recognising that they are fundamental to the image of the UK construction industry. Congratulations, again, Liz.)