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  • Writer's pictureNat Sharp

Reflecting on an eventful year: Sharp Thinking's highlights, tips & lessons


A review of the year

In the face of a challenging business climate, this past year at Sharp Thinking has been a true test of perseverance. Both internally and with the majority of our clients, we've all had to work harder than ever to win business, manage costs, and seize new opportunities. But amidst the difficulties, there have been moments of triumph. Of course, I've also made my fair share of mistakes, but the key is to learn from them.

Celebrating five years of Sharp Thinking

At the beginning of the year, I had the joy of celebrating Sharp Thinking's five-year anniversary with a delicious cake. It's hard to believe that was in January—it feels like it was a lifetime ago. Little did I know that just four months later, I'd give up sugar. So next year, our celebration will be a bit different. Nonetheless, it's essential to mark milestones and appreciate the journey. I never imagined being here, celebrating half a decade and working with 30 amazing clients.

Working with the FT

I was so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the FT in the spring. Since then, I've had the privilege of collaborating with them on various projects, including team marketing training, process reviews, and developing a new business strategy. It was truly an honour to step into their building and be escorted to the rooftop terrace, where I could admire the FT flagpoles overlooking the beautiful city of London and work with their brilliant team.

A proud participant in the SmallBiz 100

Being recognised as part of the SmallBiz 100 has been an immense privilege. It's allowed me to meet extraordinary individuals, passionate entrepreneurs, and work closely with the Small Business Saturday team. Visiting the magnificent House of Lords was a cherished experience. I genuinely feel part of a vibrant community and have taken advantage of the courses and opportunities available.

Launching my marketing bootcamp

Prior to this year, I never envisioned myself as a trainer. However, my work with the FT inspired me to create a marketing bootcamp. I desired to do it my way, without compromising on my beliefs, methodology, and personalised approach. This bootcamp involves a two-month collaboration with individual business owners to craft a sales and marketing strategy tailored to their needs. It's been incredibly gratifying, collaborating with exceptional entrepreneurs. The positive feedback has prompted me to expand this service as a key aspect of my business next year.

Empowering Small Businesses through the Small Business Sessions

My nomination for SmallBiz100 sparked a desire within me to do something meaningful and engaging. I thrive on pushing boundaries and challenging myself, ensuring every opportunity counts. While on holiday, I conceived the idea of creating a practical clinic-style event that offers tangible advice from a team of experts, rather than just networking or talks. To my delight, this dream materialized into an impactful event 'The Small Business Sessions' that achieved a top rating from all 30 attending businesses. With 50 slots filled, over 500 blog views, and three pieces of press coverage, it stands as a career highlight for me.

So, what are the lessons I've learned this year?

Use technology to streamline

While I've never been averse to technology, I haven't always been proficient at using it effectively. However, this year has been a game-changer for me as I embraced different ways of utilizing AI to streamline meetings, projects, and schedules. There is still a lot more work for me to do to take full advantage and I’m prioritising this in the new year to deliver more efficiencies.

The power of choice in entrepreneurship

As a small business owner, it's important to remember that you hold the ultimate control over your destiny. I've walked away from lucrative opportunities this year when the chemistry wasn't right. However, tempting to follow the money, trust your instincts and follow the path that aligns with your vision.

Mistakes are normal, but move on

I've made my fair share of mistakes this year when put on the spot and rushing into projects, resulting in unprofitable work and poor decision making. However, the best thing to do is move forward and stop dwelling on past errors. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.

Complacency is the enemy of progress

It's crucial to constantly adapt to a changing market and evolve with your customers. This year, I revamped my offerings and re-evaluated my business to better serve the evolving needs of my customers. Seeking outside help can be instrumental in making informed decisions so I've engaged external experts to help me go through this process.

Goals for next year

  • Streamline the business even more to reclaim hours

  • Implement more efficient screening to attract the right clients

  • Embrace another exciting challenge?!

As we conclude this eventful year, I'm grateful for the achievements and challenges faced. It's been a year of growth and exhaustion, but now it's time to take a break, spend quality time with loved ones, and return with renewed energy for the year ahead.

Thank you for your continued support, both clients and partners, and to my followers and subscribers, and here's to a successful future together.

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