Article by Bianca Angelico, Chief DayMaker at On Verve
Four months later I launched On Verve. The journey from initial idea to launch was a rollercoaster to say the least! But I loved every second and the business has made a great start since launch.
I learned a lot during the last year and hope that my experience can help others who are about to start the same journey that I took.
The early stages are all about creative thinking. The hardest thing was coming up with the name. It’s very emotive and everyone you speak to will have an opinion. I was fortunate to have support from two great colleagues, and I also used my personal Instagram account to ask my friends for words they associated with front of house and guest services.
We went through nearly 100 iterations of names. ‘Verve’ kept coming up as a strong option, but we need something more – that’s how we came to choose On Verve. My advice is to pick a name that people either love or hate. That way you can be sure that they will be talking about it!
I have a creative wall behind my desk where I write ideas and attach post-it notes. I keep adding to it even now, because you always need to think about how you can innovate and develop. I also kept a journal beside my bed to jot down ideas that might pop up in the middle of the night.
This is also the time to think about your target market. I talk about them as fans, not customers or clients. My aim is for everyone I work with to be a raving fan – one that will sing our praises, enhance our reputation and become long-term partners.
Picking a launch date can be tricky. It always feels like there’s more to do, and it is very daunting to get your business out into the market. We decided to launch on International Receptionists’ Day. It felt right to launch on a date that was so closely tied to what we do, and it drew a clear line in the sand to aim for. That gave me just four months from the idea to launch.
It’s ok to launch when you may not be fully ready as you’ll learn and tweak as you go. So long as you keep the same values and ethos it’s fine to make changes.
I followed my gut with our launch date, and it worked out great.
We would have loved to hold a launch party, but it just wasn’t feasible because of the pandemic. Instead, we created and sent launch boxes to friends, colleagues and industry leaders. We included items that spoke to the personality of On Verve, along with a handwritten note asking if they would share their box on social media. Many people did and this really helped amplify our launch.
The key is to make a bang and don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t go to plan. Lots of things won’t go to plan during the course of running a business. The important thing is to persevere and keep up momentum.
My first hire was someone who is good at the things I don’t like doing. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and hire people accordingly. We make a perfect team because between us we are organised, creative and hard working.
It’s vital to keep up the impetus after your launch. I have been hosting an industry podcast and employed PR support to get our name in relevant trade titles.
We have consistent messages on our social channels. Don’t be afraid to recycle content. It’s easy to think you have to constantly create and share new content, but the reality is most followers won’t see a one-off post.
Write a list of your dream clients and see if anyone you know has any contacts in them. I still remember when we won our first piece of business – it’s an amazing feeling and I felt like I’d really made it.
The whole process can be very consuming. It’s essential that you take the time to care for yourself. When you have quiet moments, give the time back to yourself. It can be tempting to think you have to fill the time but sometimes the best thing you can do is relax and recharge.
Prepare to sacrifice time with family and friends. Let them know what you are doing so they know you haven’t simply disappeared!
Finally, remember to have fun. You’ll laugh and cry during the process – capture the high moments and enjoy every minute that you can.
Bianca Angelico is Chief DayMaker at On Verve, the specialist guest services arm of the Churchill Group. Bianca has headed up On Verve since its launch in May 2021 and was instrumental in the planning and development of the service prior to launch.