• davidswallow

I’m pivoting my business. It's exhausting.

Changing direction is draining, but energising.

A couple of years ago I set up my limited company to support my marketing consulting practice. All very easy, not much to do, just work with my clients and be fabulous.

Then Brexit uncertainty hit. Then the election, Christmas, Brexit itself, then Coronavirus. Marketing budgets dried up, contracts vanished and I became way too familiar with Loose Women.

Then inspiration struck. My company, Silverwood Marketing Limited, was ideally named to pursue my other love, woodwork. I create bespoke wooden furniture, so why not pursue this as a 'plan B', or even a long term plan A? So while I wait for the phone to ring, drawing me back to the London crush, I'm planning how to turn Silverwood into gold. And I'm knackered.

Pivoting a business from a simple 'turn up and share your expertise' model to one where you are creating an end to end supply chain is tiring. The marketing side is not so bad for me, of course, and it's fun thinking through my target customers, my brand and tone of voice, the website design and so on. But many of the specialisms you would normally call in, SEO for example, are now down to me. As are sourcing timber, working through the end to end customer experience, dealing with suppliers, finance, credit, fulfilment. I'd better find some time to actually make the wooden furniture and cutting boards as well.

It's really tiring, but also highly invigorating. I've written (here) about the effect of the crisis on my mental health, yet having a focus, and a reason to get up, is a massive help. As a friend who also owns their own business said the other day, 'you can make millions for a company but creating a few quid from scratch with your own concept and hard work is infinitely more rewarding'.

I've described this as 'Plan B' but I'm coming to see it as just the same as my main line of business, marketing. When I worked with Allica Bank, for example, a major piece I led was to understand the end to end customer experience, both happy and unhappy paths. These necessarily include all functions, because any one person can take an action which delights the customer or generates complaints. So it's not all that different.

It's just that I didn't have to actually do everything myself there. Here, it's just me. Still, at least I win Employee of the Month every month.

Take care and stay safe.


To see examples of my work, jump to the home page.

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