There are countless business articles and blogs circulating the Internet that focus on the clear-cut methods you should follow to reach your goals. They provide a list of steps to take to help your business achieve success. What many businesses don’t talk about, however, are the mistakes they made along the way.
Awhile back, the Business Machine podcast featured Rough Draft Solution's own Amanda Washburn in their series “Learning From Our Mistakes.” Hear the interview for yourself or read on to learn why Rough Draft Solutions was started, what our future looks like, and what mistakes we’ve made along the way. Here is a sneak peek!
Why did you start Rough Draft Solutions?
Creating content that provides value to customers is a struggle for businesses across the board. There are so many small businesses that don’t have people dedicated to marketing and creating content. In the end, they lose the opportunity to communicate with their customers in a meaningful way. A lot of people think they have to have a blog because “everyone else does." In reality, they need to have a goal and a strategy in place to help them determine the best way to provide value to their customers. The platform in which you have those conversations are secondary (important, but not the main focus).
RDS was created because of how many businesses need help to better communicate with their customers. One of the best ways to do that is through content marketing. We specialize in creating content for businesses that their customers will want to read. Whether it is through newsletters, blog posts, or website content, we realized there was an opportunity to help these companies, encourage them, and lead them in the direction of taking their business to the next level.
What does Rough Draft Solutions look like in the future?
We’ve got all sorts of hopes and dreams! We want a beautiful downtown location with exposed brick and big windows! But more importantly, we picture internal growth for our team. We imagine having a few client service managers to seek out new opportunities and a team of professional writers and editors who are dedicated to the strategy and content creation for our customers. Content is always changing, so we want to have a team who is focused on providing the most value to our clients. It is important to us to always have an internship program to provide young professionals with a valuable experience before they graduate.
What was the biggest mistake you have made?
Not having a strategic plan in the first nine months of business. Many business owners overlook strategic plans or think they are old school, but once we made a plan it gave us a more focused direction and allowed us to reach what we were striving for. We could have achieved greater success earlier if we had created our strategic plan sooner. Having specific and measurable goals in place is what helped us really make 2015 an amazing year.
What was one thing you tried that you thought was a really good idea, and then it wasn’t?
When we first started the business, our struggle was thinking we could be all things to everyone. People immediately glaze over when they hear “strategic marketing.” We know our strong suit is content creation so relaying this to our customers in the simplest way made it clear how we could help their needs.
What technology app or software could you not live without?
Though it may be a bit creepy to have the ability to be on a document with someone at the same time, Google Docs is great way to edit documents and save our work efficiently. There have been too many times to count where Word has crashed and everything was lost. Our team uses Google Drive every day and we love working with the docs, as well as the spreadsheets.
What is your favorite quote?
"It is a terrible thing, I think in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any." - Hugh Laurie.
We hope you enjoyed the sneak peek of our podcast with Michigan Creative! Listen to the full podcast and comment your thoughts below! Tell us, which mistakes have you made that have shaped you into who you are today?
“If you love your work, you’re going to be a happier person and you’re going to create better work.” - Amanda Washburn.
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