Friday, 17 November 2017

We're supporting small independent businesses in Burton-on-Trent

Businesses in Burton-on-Trent have had a tough time recently. Essential roadworks - carried out at short notice – closed one of two main bridges that bring shoppers and commuters into the town centre for 11 weeks.

There was a major impact on the town, so this year it’s more important than ever that we encourage people to return to the town and #shoplocal this Christmas.

That’s why I’m backing an idea by fellow Burton Small Business founder, Tilley Bancroft, for the #BuckieLovesSmallBiz tour that will take place in the town centre on Small Business Saturday.

Tilley explained: “It’s going to be a really celebratory day. Buckie, our two-person-operated puppet, will have an entourage following him taking pictures and videos and putting Burton businesses firmly on the map on Small Business Saturday.”

She added: “Buckie can be a bit cheeky. He loves to poke his nose into whatever’s going on and he loves having selfies taken. We think it will be a lot of fun.”

You can watch Buckie herewhen he joined the Small Business Saturday bus tour, and even got chance to drive the bus!

Small Business Saturday falls on December 2 this year. It’s a day when consumers and businesses are reminded to make a special effort to support the small, independent businesses in their local communities.

When you buy from a small business you're keeping more of your money in your local community. Research by local authorities in the UK has shown that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business, 63p stays in the local economy. This compares to 40p in every £1 spent with larger businesses.

At Burton Small Business we also believe passionately that small independent, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants add variety to our high street. They often provide innovative and unique services and products that you won’t find in chain stores. That’s not to say that we are anti-big business. We welcome the big name stores to Burton that attract shoppers into the town and provide jobs for local people.

It’s important to note that Small Business Saturday – which celebrates five years in the UK in 2017 – is supported by many big businesses and brands because they recognise the importance of small and medium-sized businesses to our economy.
  • Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2016 and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs). 
  • Total employment in SMEs was 15.7 million; 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.
  • The combined annual turnover of SMEs was £1.8 trillion, 47% of all private sector turnover in the UK.
So, for us in Burton, December 2 will be all about having fun ahead of Christmas and celebrating as many local shops and cafes as we can.

Buckie will be touring the town from 9.30am. His provisional itinerary will be:

11.30am: Café B

All small businesses are welcome to join Buckie and his entourage at one or more of these planned stops. You will be able to get selfies taken with Buckie (make sure you bring a printed logo or business card to promote your business on the photos). Bring the children along if you want – small businesses are ALL about family.

You will have the chance to appear in the film Tilley and her Red Door Studios team will be making.

I’ll be helping to hand out flyers to the general public explaining why there’s a giant blue puppet on the streets. Huge thank to our supporter Zero Gravitee– signage and printing specialists from Burton’s Eton Business Park – for providing these and some #BuckieLovesSmallBiz t-shirts for the team.

The hashtag #BuckieLovesSmallBiz, will help anyone who can’t get into town to follow his adventures on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels.

We hope we’ll be raising the profile of Burton’s great small businesses and encourage record numbers to shop at small independents this Christmas.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Learn how LinkedIn can boost your business

Since Microsoft completed its takeover of LinkedIn, I believe that the world's largest online professional networking platform has become easier to use and even more relevant and helpful to businesses and organisations.

I have two, three-hour interactive workshops coming up in Staffordshire where you can learn what's new and how to use LinkedIn to:
  • Reach out to new connections and build productive relationships
  • Stay front of mind with your past and current clients and secure valuable repeat business
  • Forge new collaborations
  • Raise your personal and business profile as a thought leader in your sector
  • Find opportunities - and allow opportunities to find you
Places are booking up FAST for my next course, taking place on Monday November 13, from 10am to 1pm at Advantage House, Stowe Court, Stowe Street, Lichfield WS13 6DT.

A maximum of 12 people will be on the course and everyone will bring along a laptop to work through a packed three hours of coaching. We will cover how to:

* Build a personal profile that gets you found on Google as well as on LinkedIn for the skills you have and the work you do
* Manage 'privacy and settings' to give you more control over who can contact you and how
* Develop a strategy that's relevant to your business or organisation and how you want it to grow
* Understand the types of content that you can create and share on LinkedIn to support your business objectives
* Create targets for your LinkedIn activity and measure your impact and progress

Here's some comments from people who attended my last LinkedIn workshop in September:

"There is such a lot I didn't know about LinkedIn, and I wasn't even aware about some of the functions available. I now have some actions to get on with to improve mine and our company's profile."
"Really helpful! Great Course! Top tips!"
"This workshop has been really good. Enjoyable, informative and so well-presented that there was no stress involved in following instructions." 
"The workshop was so useful; it was jampacked but managed to cover everything from the essentials to some of the more detailed things."
"Great handouts to form a marketing plan - exactly what I needed. Very productive morning." 
The cost to attend is just £37 per person, including tea, coffee and danish pastries on arrival and handouts to take away.

Email me at to book, and I will send you an invoice by return. Payment in full secures your place.

Due to demand for a January date, I will be running the same course at the same venue on Friday January 19 from 10am to 1pm. You can also book your place on this course now to be sure of kick starting your new year armed with the knowledge and skills to make LinkedIn part of your 2018 success story.