Last Wednesday was the start of our Big Brains for Small Businesses meetup group in Shoreditch, London.
The reason we started this meetup group was the same reason Digital Heart started – to help small businesses survive in today’s world by bringing in talented people who can help businesses on a limited budget. As digital professionals, we wish to diversify our client base to include small business besides the big, cash-rich corporate clients. We wanted to start a community of digital freelancers that meet once a month where we can discuss how we can help these businesses survive and flourish in the ever changing digital age.
We were happy to see four people show up (plus another guy who ended up in the wrong place, what a shame!), with many more interested in coming to our next one. Four turned out to be a great number to start our first meetup.
Focussing on Small Businesses
The lively discussion including agreeing between us on what a small business is (e.g. defined by turnover, amount of employees). This led into a conversation about projects with small businesses including what type of budget they typically have. From everyone’s input, we found that projects could range roughly between £1,000 and £15,000.
Continuing from this, we began to talk about what the ideal process for working with large and small clients. One of the key areas we wanted Big Brains for Small Businesses to focus on is creating effective and creative processes and methodologies that could help small businesses get as much as possible for the budget they have. For this, the group brainstormed what vital pieces/steps were needed in the process to help with digital projects. In this case, we were focussed on web design. The pieces of the process we came up with were:
- Research (Qualitative)
- Research (Surveys)
- Scope and brief – Design & Development
- Project Management
- Make the website live
We first focussed on how long and how much all of these steps would cost in an ideal world, very approximately – which turned out to be around £30,000. Then we looked at scaling it down for a small business project and ideally we wanted it to be within £1,000 – £10,000. We ran the numbers, and fortunately we came up with £7,800 which fitted into the £10k budget,
For me, this exercise was new, and I enjoyed having other people participate, hearing their issues/problems and how they relate to my business. A lot of the same problems came up for everyone, and I think in our future meetups, we will touch on these particular sections more.
Working on this process and methodology our main focus for the evening until we branched off into pizza, beer and networking!
Having a meetup group for digital freelancers to not only network, but discuss these processes and methodologies, and how we can help small businesses with limited budgets was fantastic. I know I learnt a considerable amount from hearing others speak and am looking forward to our future Big Brain for Small Businesses Events.
We plan to host 1 event per month and all digital freelancers are welcome, plus any small business owners who want to come!