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Hi. I'm Maria Potter - owner and founder of WiseWords Communications - a strategic communications consultancy for ambitious purpose driven health and wellness businesses.
Health and wellness is now even bigger, broader and cooler than before. New entrants have flooded the market and established players have jumped onto the wellbeing bandwagon creating a multitude of opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Every brand, no matter how large or small, depends on its reputation for survival and long term success. Customers, suppliers, employees, investors, journalists and bloggers alike all have an opinion - whether it be good, bad or indifferent, right or wrong – and all these opinions can be shaped by the stories you tell about your business.
I created WiseWords because I wanted to help ambitious purpose driven health and wellness brands create and tell stories about their businesses. I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs appreciate that effective communications can be so much more than your social media platforms or the odd press release; and how taking a little time to look holistically at all your stakeholder communications will help your business survive into the future.. We offer advice to those entrepreneurs who have been through the heady start up days, are now entering their next phase of growth and want to bring a different level of maturity to their communications thinking.
I've worked in Communications for the past 20 years across the UK, Europe and North America. I’ve also had the privilege of working for some of the world’s largest consumer brands including Sony, GSK and Coca-Cola. In 2016 I decided to say goodbye to the corporate world and take a leap of faith and follow my passions. I started WiseWords in February 2017 with a view to using my skills and expertise to not only help create sustainable flourishing businesses, but equally help spread the word about the benefits of health and well being. Let’s see what 2017 holds for WiseWords!
What has been your biggest lesson from your startup journey...
I've loved learning about lots of different aspects of starting a business - financial, technical, design, SEO and the many areas you need to understand. Basically, being an entrepreneurs means you are the accountant, head of sales, marketing and IT as well as a digital specialist rolled into one!
I've also learnt not to be afraid to ask for help whether its my close friends, family or professional network. Starting on your own can be both exhilarating and lonely at times and its important you ask for advice and have people to share the highs and lows with.
What are the best and worst things about running your own startup business?
I love the independence and the fact that I'm in charge of my day and what needs to get done. Coming from working in a large corporate work always used to take time, there were layers of approval and projects didn't always move quickly. Running your own business is your responsibility and this means you need to take action. Some days this happens easily, on other days you need to take a leap of faith with your own decisions.
I've also learnt to build my own work rhythm and when i need a break I should take it rather than feeling guilty. I take the time to do my sport, get outside and eat healthy food. This makes such a huge difference to my energy levels.
What do you think it takes to become an entrepreneur?
A good idea, tenacity and persistence, good people skills and lots of humour sprinkled with strong financial, technical and creative acumen.
Is there anything you can offer to help other startup businesses?
I'm an expert in Communications - whether it be for your investors, customers, consumers or your team. My advice to any start up is don't think about these audiences as unique and isolated. Make sure you build your communications plan as an integrated strategy. Be clear on your purpose and vision and then you can think about how you'll tell your story to each of these stakeholders in a compelling way. Once you've done this your tactics (S0cial media, events, presentations, PR etc) will be so much more effective. In addition, don't forget about protecting your reputation. Be clear on your blind spots and have a plan you can activate quickly to protect any issues you might anticipate. Our mentoring service with myself would be an ideal way to test your thinking or ask for advice and receive feedback.
Is there any help that are you looking for?
As a new entrepreneur I'd love to hear from other like minded businesses on how they started, what they've learnt and what to avoid. I'm also keen to build my network and understand which events and networking groups you all rate. Finally as my business grows I will be looking for partner organisations that offer SEO, Content Development, Email Marketing and Events support