So today is the last day of Leapfrog's financial year. And the very positive aspect is that turnover is up by around 29% - quite amazing as I've lost over 50 potential working days to University studies. What that has meant in practice is a bit more evening and weekend working and a far greater focus on implementation projects rather than strategic work.
Most of my regular clients have stayed on board through the year - for which I'm very grateful, and I've also built new relationships with the likes of Blue Goose (leading to work for a number of banks) and just in the last couple of weeks, Royal Bank of Scotland.
The costs of running the business have risen markedly too, so I'm not sure yet how much my bottom line profit will actually be up.
For instance last Thursday I stayed in Edinburgh prior to a day of meetings with RBS. A year ago, my Risborough - Edinburgh return with a hotel for the night would have come in around £150 using a budget airline. This time round, it was over £250. While the client's happy to pick up the cost this time round, I suspect it'll mean fewer face to face projects across the duration of the project.
Going forward, I'm making a couple of changes - while others are being made for me. I've lost the main writing role on one magazine, so am turning the days that frees up to writing for the web - the one area of internal comms I'm really focusing on for 08/09. I'm also going to actively look for at least one more piece of regular external comms work to sit alongside the quarterly client magazine that still retains my services.
I've also stepped back from Leapfrog's relationship with Penna, since I really don't have the time, nor frankly the interest any more, in the kind of internal comms strategy projects they've been asking me to work on. They're a really nice bunch to work with, and if I wasn't balancing work and academic study, I'd probably have hung on in there for another year. But the last 12 months have shown me that time really is finite, and to do well in anything, one needs to set priorities.
So, I head into 2008/09 in good shape and with a bit better definition to the Leapfrog offering. What effect the tightening market will have on my place way down the business food chain has yet to be seen, but I've got absolutely no time to rest on any laurels.....for a start I've got about 500 pages of training interventions to start turning into an intranet site - with the first checkpoint planned for this afternoon.