An Outset Cornwall event in March 2011 inspired Lucy Thornton to take the plunge and enrol on the Outset programme, working on her idea to help small enterprises develop their marketing and social media strategies.
After completing the programme, Lucy launched Perfect Balance Marketing later that year, winning some major contracts with local businesses and organisations, as well as the Cornwall and Devon Media Business Accelerator competition in early 2012, where first prize was £10,000 worth of advertising.
“Winning the competition was a major milestone for me, as suddenly I was highly visible, meaning more calls, emails and clients sooner than I expected! It was fantastic to have that boost and opportunity so early on though.
“My family were incredibly supportive during the early stages and I’ve made some good friends in the business community who have been generous with their advice and guidance since I started, which I’m really grateful for.”
Although her initial plan was ambitious, Lucy has found working with her existing clients extremely rewarding and has put any expansion plans on hold in order to concentrate on her clients, while also having time to spend with her young son and be there for special family moments.
“I still spend Sunday evenings doing the ironing. Every weekday morning I make sandwiches for our lunchboxes and I still relish the occasional lie-in at weekends. But when I wake up in the mornings I can’t wait to get started. Every day is different and never feels like work, even the late nights writing proposals, fixing a Facebook problem or optimising a web page. I never expected to enjoy it all quite so much!
“There have been many proud moments for me. Seeing an article I’ve written in print or on a website still gives me a buzz, particularly when it gets results. Not much beats hearing how a client has seen a positive impact from implementing some of the actions I’ve suggested; their enthusiasm, excitement and pride is hugely rewarding.
“I’m always learning new things about marketing, particularly digital marketing which changes all the time! But the whole experience has taught me that I don’t know everything, and it’s okay to ask for help.”
Despite putting her expansion plans on hold initially, Lucy is now looking at the future growth and development of her business.
“I’m currently working almost to capacity and it would make sense to employ someone to help with the workload, so I’ll focus on expanding in 2014.
“For now I’m just enjoying working with so many inspirational Cornish companies and being where I am, thanks to the Outset Cornwall programme, which laid the foundations of my first business plan and gave me the confidence to give this a go. Without it, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing and I will always be grateful.”