I had started up my coaching consultancy about a year before enrolling on the West Kent Business Support Program. I found that I had been struggling with the business development side and decided that I needed some help in learning those skills.
The support I received was entirely free and so useful to me! I had access to 12 hours of one to one tuition, and the content was completely tailored to my needs. We went through a comprehensive model that covered all the areas that I needed to think about, and we spent our time focusing on the steps that were relevant to me and my business at this time.
My main takeaway was a shift in mindset around how to speak about what I do and how to present myself. This was very helpful in determining what I am selling and who I am targeting with my marketing, and it has transformed my selling technique.
Thank you for all your help! I have already recommended this program to many people around me and will continue to do so.
What an amazing service. Roger knew exactly what I needed for my business and not only identified how I could expand, but carried out the work needed with professionalism and attention to detail. Thank you so much for everything.
I just wanted to thank you for your time and helpful input when we met last week.
I greatly appreciated that I was able to take advantage of this free service, and also how easy it was to set up and meet with you. I initially set out looking for information online about funding my start up company, but after finding the The National Centre for Micro Business site, I realised that what I really needed, and what I had found, was someone to point out things I hadn’t considered and, crucially, to help me get the momentum going. So many thanks.
In our meeting we discussed the following, and now I have to act on each…
- Federation of Small Businesses
- Joining BAAPA and IAPA
- Limited Liability Partnership
- Confirm the company name and buy the domains (.com and .co.uk)
- Social media presence: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
- Decide on platform for building website (I want to be able to maintain it myself)
- Unique photos for website
- Testimonials for website
- An 0300 number
- Leaflets, business cards (and roll up banner for events)
- Looking further ahead to my programme of opportunities beyond the USA
- Customer journey overview, ‘script’ for different interactions with customers
I’d be really grateful if you could let me know if there is anything I have forgotten and I look forward to meeting you again.
Kate Griffiths came to the Business Support Team here via Twitter asking about the 121 business advice sessions.
Afterwards, we asked if she would mind sharing her experience, and this is what Kate said.
1. Tell us a bit about your company and you. I work as a Special Effects Makeup Artist and have worked as a freelancer within the film, tv and theatre industries for 15 years. Although I have managed my own business reasonably successfully, I have very little knowledge of an area I am hoping to get into, which is totally unrelated to my current work. My new business is to bring a product which I am having designed in China to the worldwide market through online marketing and sales.
2. What was the challenge / reason that led you to find support, and how did you found out about this service? I’m aware that I need to write a business plan in order to access a financial loan, start up funding and manufacturing costs. I have very little, or no, knowledge of how to write the business plan and what other aspects I need to consider at this stage and need as much advice as possible from an independent advisor. I use social media to advertise my current work and to keep the hits up on my website, using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to blog and keep my website content fresh. I happened to be on Twitter one morning and saw a Tweet from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council …
3. What were your expectations? My expectation before the meeting was to come away with a template or format for writing a business plan and find out what I needed to consider regarding finances/loans etc before I pitch to a bank.
4. What happened in the consultation (nothing that is confidential obviously!)? I met Roger Gabriel (The Centre for Micro Business) at West Kent College in Tonbridge which was really convenient for me. He told me about his background, the service that he could provide and a bit about the free session through TWBC. He asked me to tell him as much as I could about my reasons for the meeting, my business etc and what I needed from him. Roger went through everything with me, made me think about things I hadn’t considered yet and came up with ideas and solutions. It’s a very new area to me and this information was above what I expected.
5. What kind of outcomes were there? Roger has emailed me the Business Plan template which I’m in the process of completing but I’m still waiting for figures from China so until those are through I’m not able to complete it fully. As soon as it’s done, I’ll email it back to him for him to go through. We’ll make any adjustments that I need to do and then he’s going to arrange for us to meet up again for another free session. Again, above what I expected!
6. How did you feel about the whole experience and did it meet your expectations? I am delighted in the service I’ve received! It was pure chance that I saw the Tweet when I did and the fact that there was an appointment available for me that afternoon was amazing! Roger is highly knowledgeable and gave me huge amounts of information that was really useful. We packed loads into the hour session and I’m really pleased that I get a follow-up session too. I wasn’t aware that the Borough Council offered this service and I would highly recommend it to other small business owners.
7. What are your next steps? My next steps are to complete the business plan as soon as the figures are available to me, meet with Roger again and then I’ll be in a position to decide whether I want to approach a bank for a loan or a private investor to secure funding for this new project. I have a very positive outlook for the development of this product and having such good financial advice at this stage has been undoubtedly highly beneficial to me. Thank you very much to Kate for sharing with us.
See what Kate is up to now: www.theatricalmakeupartist.com/news-from-kate-griffiths-theatrical-make-up-artist
Thank you for your time on Tuesday – I certainly found our meeting most helpful. Whereas my mind is preoccupied with what I’m doing now, you and Roger made me aware that if I’m going to sell my services I need to be more aware of how others (a potential market) view me. In Roger’s word ‘perception’. I think that’s a fundamental element which has given me a lot to think about.
Thank you our chat was indeed helpful and motivating. I am pleased that you thought I have a great business concept. I am now working on my customer profile!
Thank you so much for all for the helpful and practical advice. It has really helped me to head in the right direction with developing my business and allowed me to develop my website exactly how I want it. The locations are always easy to get to and convenient for me.
I really appreciated the one to one time I had with obviously well experienced business person.
I will definitely be putting what I heard into practice. It’s all obvious when you know isn’t it?
I was really impressed with the huge range of knowledge that the presenters had, it made me confident that I could take away what I learned and try it out.
I would like to thank the Rogers for a really helpful and absorbing experience. Not only have I been given simple methods of dealing with complex tasks that will move me forward, I felt that they really understood my objectives and were able to deal with me as an individual even in the group ssession.
I now have the confidence to get my business going. Having been given an insight into what to expect and a simple action plan I feel ready to have a go.
The presenters helped me sift through several ideas and focus on one and set the priorities to make it happen. I can see exactly how this process will make the most of my efforts, time and money. A big thank you.
I wasn’t sure I could start my own business but now I am thanks to the presenter. Knowing I can still talk to her on the phone is a great help.
From a simple first meeting, I have been given confidence plus detailed advice on designing and sourcing my jewellery products together with my first web site pages. I did not originally realise how much help I was going to get. Many thanks.
My husband has been out of work for some time and working with the advisor has given us both a way of starting a business from a hobby that will bring us back to life. The advice we have been given has been so helpful plus the actual help in creating the sales material. Cannot thank you enough.
Thank you for a great day yesterday, it has really fired us up for moving
the business on.
Richard and Melissa
I came away today from your training course knowing more in two and a half hours than I have learned from attending seminars at trade shows and spending significant amounts of money on code courses. I would happily recommend you to others and would not hesitate to use your services in the future.
I have been meaning to get on with my business ideas but have always been afraid of taking the plunge. In two hours you have gave me a huge push in confidence and I have taken the plunge. I do hope that you will be able to take occasional phone calls form me as and when I get stuck.
After a really interesting session with you can I thank you for setting up my web site. I would also like to encourage you to create the “trading event” you mentioned.
The artwork you produced for my visiting card and the small leaflet are absolutely wonderful and I love them. You made it all so easy.
I would like to recommend The Centre for Micro Business after receiving coaching from them. I have attended all parts of their business start-up course which was a 6 session program. The two Rogers delivering this program are very relaxed and present the facts in a way that feels achievable; they create a relaxed environment with good energy and, dear I say it, entertaining energy which keeps it engaging and fun – For me these sessions have been invaluable for refocusing my energies, killing the isolating elements of self-employment and creating networking opportunities. The delivery of material is tailored to those on the course and it is clear that they have listened, understood and interacted with us in our initial presentation to find out what we were doing and made it relevant. Both Rogers have given time in brakes and after the course to answer our plethora of questions.
In addition to the courses I attended, I have received ongoing support and coaching with managing my photo stock to technically alter them for purpose, and advising me on bespoke marketing for me. The coaching through my business plan has not just been a prescriptive approach to what is needed but they have taken time to unpack what the blocks have been in my particular case and talked me through, helping me to visualise what things could look like through example, connecting me to relevant people and taking time to fill the technical gaps in my knowledge. They have a growing network of connections through which they are continuing to promote my business and encouraging me through feedback on my marketing pitches to approach these and other contacts and campaigning for affordable workshop space for manufacturing concerns like mine which of course I fully support. – It is lovely to have friendly faces to ask my ‘silly questions’.
If you would like to talk personally to me about the support at the Centre for Micro Business – I am happy to oblige:
Thank you for your time to meet me yesterday. Hope your rest of the day was successful.
I had a good thoughts of what we have been discussed yesterday. Your suggestions of Apps and Videos are brilliant ideas. I felt that I have came to the right place for support how to set up the business.
Just wanted to let you know that I am busy setting up the social medias for my business, to allow to create a business profile. I will send you an email with all details as soon as they are ready.
As discussed, I am planning to have a look at your website, to give you sample of the video clip in British Sign Language or some ideas of video to sell products and as well as provide some feedbacks.
I have spoken to my husband about the app, he said he is happy to support and provide me some training which I should be able to learn quickly. For your information, I could create websites which is able to work on any smartphones and tablets accessing via browsers.
I am busy tidying up the samples of web design portfolios, will let you know as soon as they are ready to view.
I checked the company house, my business name, MykaSoft, is available to register. Can you please advise what I need to do next? Also can you please clarify what is the qualification for social media which you have mentioned yesterday?
Look forward to hearing from you soon.
When I first met the mentors I had great ambitions but no idea how to achieve them. After two sessions I have now a completely focussed plan of action. The team have taken me through a process that has given me a definition of my product, a profile of my customers, a way to reach them and a way of deciding my priority actions. I also have an understanding of what I can and cannot do. I am thrilled with the clarity of thinking they have given me and the way they have broken down the tasks I have to carry out to move forward. I now understand my product and the stages it has to go through.