Neil Lewis - Innovative Entrepreneur

Solving problems by growing profitable businesses @neil_lewis

Outstanding marketing results? Can it be done with freelancers?

Sometimes we sit and theorise about how things can be done better. I’ve been arguing that engaging freelancers is a better, more effective way of growing businesses fast than attempting to employ – especially if you are a sub £5m turn over business.

However, this time, I set out to see if it was possible.

Can you put together a team of freelancers in less than a month and expect outstanding results?

The answer, in my experience, is yes, you can!

Here is what happened

Over the previous 18 months Manchester Business School had been developing a product to improve investment decisions based around assessments of an executive team.

Finally, the product had been delivered and it was time to take it to market. 

So, here’s what we did…

  • 16th Feb – met a talented business development freelancer at the Enterprise Freelance Fair in Manchester.
  • 1st Mar – follow up meeting and proposal for 2 day ‘extreme marketing and sales’ project
  • 22nd and 23rd March – project delivery
  • 25th March – tidy up and completion of project

Within 6 weeks of the initial meeting or 4 weeks from the first meeting, we were able to construct a talented freelance team who delivered the following in just a 2 day project (with a bit of pre planning and post project tidy up):

  •  Brand design and logo
  • Website, twitter, headed paper and copy, newsletter sign up and integration with mailchimp
  • Customised CRM with 50 prospects and 5 appointments
  • Fully polished and scripted Go to Market 17 slide presentation which can form the basis of all business development and sales presentation
  • Tested price structures that fit within the market
  • Definition about our target market and clarity about who we are not (yet) selling to

All of this was customer tested – that is, presented to customers on three seperate occaisions to test potential customer feedback on our messages, brands, style, pricing and offering.

Okay, great result – we are now looking for those appointments to conver into sales and then the whole test will be complete.

So what did it cost?

Costing in my own time, this project cost around £5k.

Was that good value? Well, to work this out I did a calculation of what this team would cost a business if hired, employed and placed in an office with modest expense accounts.

The result is that the annual cost of running this team would be the equivalent of £500k.

And I got a 2 day project – with some planning before and tidy up after – for £5k.

Did I get value?

Like heck I did. Not only is the full time, permanent equivalent far more expensive, but even the agency option would have cost around £20k for a major Liverpool or Manchester agency and perhaps upwards of £10k for a small, regional agency.

Don’t forget too, that the nature of the Freelance Team is that they work with the entrepreneur – which means that all insights into the best way to market and sell a product come back directly to the business owner. The business owner can then use this knowledge to build a marketing plan based on real responses from the market and a thorough understanding of the costs and challenges of making sales.

And, did the talented freelancers enjoy the experience too? Sure they did – it was a dynamic, result driven project – great outcomes and great people working together.

Fun, effective and quick.

It works. Here’s what the freelancers said;

“It was great to take part in the Enterprise Freelance Fair project with eTeamTool last week. Working on a collaborative basis with like minded individuals meant we could cover a lot of ground in a short space of time.

“By bringing together a combination of experience and key skills, it allowed us to create a strong strategy, fantastic presentation, test the market and develop an effective brand for the eTeamTool. This is collaboration working at it’s best!!

“Thanks for inviting me to take part Neil, look forward to working with team again.”

Phil Young, creative designer

“The Freelance Fair Team project is a great experience and it’s great to be working with such a dynamic team.”

Chris Hough, PHP developer

“The freelance team project was a highly successful two days that put us in a great position to being actively marketing the eTeamtool. The team gelled straight away, the combination of digital marketing, design, and sales expertise is a great pointer to success in the coming weeks. This is the first ‘freelancers’ team I have worked on, and the dynamic it created really helped some good ideas to flourish.”

Michael Lloyd, business development

“I participated in a Freelance Fair Team project with Neil which was my first experience of working with a team of freelancers in this way. It was a fantastic experience and the results we achieved really showed how well it can work. The unique combination of skills that had been put together made sure that the team worked with total efficiency and each freelancer played to their strengths.

The sense of team was brilliant and the clear focus on what we were trying to achieve pushed our boundaries and excelled performance. Any company with a highly focused project need could gain real benefit from taking the Freelance Fair Team approach and witness real and measurable return on investment.”

Laura Parkinson, Marketing project manager and business development.

You can read more about Freelance Fair Teams … or you can contact me directly if you have a potential project.

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Written by Editor on March 28, 2011 and filed in Entrepreneurs, Featured, Innovative Entrepreneur, News, Opinion , , , , ,

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