Today’s blog guest is Lucy Eckley, founder and chief storyteller at Blue Penguin Communications. Here she is, in her own words:
My name is Lucy Eckley and I am a business storyteller. I am also a very sociable person who likes spending time with friends and family, enjoying great food and wine and travelling the world, meeting new people and learning languages. My business is called Blue Penguin Communications
I started Blue Penguin because you only live once and I needed more variety and freedom to be truly happy. I also wanted to use my strengths and experience to help more people. I left my full-time job in 2010 but I only started my business seriously with its current focus early in 2014. I’m lucky that there’s a strong contracting market in marketing & communications so I have been able to continue working on relevant projects while I decided on the future shape of my business.
Every business has at least one great story that makes it unique – its 100-year heritage, its start-up story or how it sources its product – and helps it stand out from competitors. I help businesses work out what their stories are and share them through their marketing material, whether they need a whole new website, case studies or a series of news articles. For larger organisations, I also help them use these stories to share plans and strategy with colleagues. It’s all about creating compelling communications for customers and employees that they’ll actually connect with.
The thing I love best about my business is the variety and the way it combines my passions: business, people and communication. I get to work with amazing people – not just my clients but also the people I collaborate with. Words aren’t always enough to tell a story, so I work with great graphic designers, web developers, photographers and video producers.
The surprises have been how I’ve gone full circle in my business planning and discovered I probably had it right in the first place. I had this vision for my current business in 2010 but it’s taken a while to come to fruition. I had a number of other things I wanted to try along the way, such as coaching solo businesses in marketing. It’s all be been great experience but in the end I have settled back with what I know and love best.
I wouldn’t say anything has shocked me so far (touch wood!) but then I’m pretty cool and calm. The biggest thing I need to keep my eye on is where my next clients are coming from. Even when you’ve been in business a while, if you don’t continue looking for new work while you’re busy you can very easily end up with a lull in work…and cash flow!
It might be a cliché to say that you find out so much about yourself when you run a business but it’s true – there’s nowhere to hide and no one to do the bits you don’t want to! When you’re employed you’re usually sent on courses to develop your weaknesses. In business I am learning to focus on my strengths and pay other people to do the bits I’m not so good at. It’s more fun, more efficient and all helps to keep the business world turning!
The thing I’m most looking forward to is building a portfolio of regular clients, helping them achieve the results they want and creating a business I am proud of.
People often remark on the name Blue Penguin Communications and when I named my business, I followed my own advice. I could easily have called it Lucy Eckley Associates but I wanted something that stood out, had a personality of its own and gave me the option of growing the business beyond just me. It’s also personal as it’s a reminder of the time I spent living in New Zealand, where Little Blue Penguins live. My strategy has paid off – people remember the name and I often meet someone in person for the first time who says, “Ah, you’re Blue Penguin”!
My vision for the future is to grow my business through collaboration with other creatives. I believe that collaboration is crucial for small businesses, especially those that provide services. I come across networking groups that only allow one member per profession and I find that so short sighted. I don’t fear my competitors, I try to get to know them. What’s right for one client won’t suit another, so in a busy market there is room for all of us.
Follow Lucy on Twitter: @LucyEckley
Like Lucy on Facebook: Facebook.com/BluePenguinCommunications
Lucy is a graduate of the Club 100. Join during August and you will save 50%. Become one of this fabulous group of women for a very affordable £100 a month. Prices rise to £150 per month on 1st September 2014 so now’s the time to join.