Kate Davies

Posts by Kate

unnamed-6-copy.jpg

Nom Wholefoods – delivering plastic free whole foods in Bristol

Nom Wholefoods is a plastic free wholefoods delivery service, which delivers throughout East Bristol and parts of South Gloucestershire. Founder, Nikki Watten, runs the business out of her home in Fishponds.

Nikki wanted a local solution for sourcing ethically grown food and reducing her plastic use. However, on researching possibilities, she quickly realised that whilst there were some solutions in other parts of Bristol, there was nothing local to her. Therefore, in 2019 she decided to instigate the change she wanted to see and start up her own business, Nom Wholefoods.

Since 2019 Nom Wholefoods has been growing steadily. But as their customer base grows, the space in the house is starting to shrink. Nikki says, ‘’Now we are at the point where it’s time to expand. Many customers have said they would like an actual shop to visit as well as having the option of deliveries and click and collect.’’

Nom Wholefoods

Nikki enrolled on to the North and East Bristol Enterprise Support Programme to help her gain new skills in business. Enrolling in the programme meant that she could access learning resources for growing a business; including 1:1s with business consultants, workshops and an online learning platform. 

Speaking on her experience so far Nikki states; ‘’I’ve joined two workshops so far, both of which were marketing related. I enjoyed them and both have been really useful. The trainer was very knowledgeable and open to all kinds of questions. It was also good to be part of a group and hear about challenges faced by other businesses and how they do things.’’

Armed with the new knowledge on marketing, support on business strategy and more, we’re confident that Nikki is going to achieve all of her business goals. When asked about the support on offer Nikki said, ‘’As most entrepreneurs at the start of their journey, I do everything for the business so don’t usually have time to do proper training and research. It’s been very helpful to get outside perspectives.’’

The help from this government funded support couldn’t have come at a better time. The future for Nom is extremely promising as Nikki tells us, ‘’We will be opening a shop in Staple Hill before the end of the year. We are also in discussion with UWE to deliver to the students at Frenchay and Glenside campus’s next year.’

Learn more about Nom Wholefoods at nomwholefoods.co.uk

If you think an outside perspective on your business could be helpful, if you want to check you don’t have blindspots in your business strategy, or if you just want to be part of a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, then visit our website to find out more and enrol on our programme. Or get in touch with the team to tell us about your business plans: nebes@ytko.com

North and East Bristol Enterprise Support is fully funded by Bristol City Council and West of England Combined Authority under Universal Business Support. Running until March 2023, the programme is offering workshops in marketing, finance, branding, business planning and strategy and much more, as well as providing free access to e-learning platforms, 1:1 advisor support and networking groups. 

Read more

Twelve-Futures-copy.jpg

Helping businesses to be more sustainable

Twelve Futures are a sustainability consultancy who help organisations respond to the climate and ecological crisis that we face. They are based at Gather Round in the Cigar Factory on Raleigh Road in Southville, Bristol. Ellie Austin and Jessica Farrow, both Co-Founders and Co-Directors love being there and believe that it’s a fantastic, creative, and independent community full of wonderful businesses. 

Having moved to Bristol after University over a decade ago, Jessica also sits on a few different advisory boards, including the Bristol Green Capital Partnership Board as well as the One City Environment Board so is very embedded in the work that is happening at a city level in climate and ecological action. She is “really excited to bring more of their expertise of Twelve Futures into those conversations.” They also both sit as Mentors on an initiative ran by Catalyst to Change, which is all about helping young women into sustainability careers. Therefore, it’s safe to say that they live and breathe sustainability and contributing to the improvement of Bristol, as well as the natural world around us.

Through their business Twelve Futures, they help businesses create climate action plans and strong sustainability strategies that recognise the climate and ecological crisis. They believe that it “really reflects the ambition of Bristol as a city, as the first city to declare climate and ecological emergencies.” After launching their business in 2018, they look back on their journey in a positive light. They recognise the difficulties that everyone faced through the pandemic but feel as though they have come out the other end stronger. They state: 

“In some ways it’s really changed the way that we work and in other ways it’s meant that a lot of people have become even more aware of the agenda and the area that we work in. A lot of people have increased their appreciation of nature and green spaces and taken the time to dial away from their normal day to day life. Additionally, I think it’s been interesting because a lot of people really struggled in the beginning of the pandemic with working remotely and working from home. As sustainability consultants and freelancers, we’ve always advocated working remotely and we very much are used to working in that way.”

They also note that it’s positively impacted their business through reducing the amount of travel miles that they used to take for meetings via train and the Eurostar. They’ve supported their clients to grow more confident in video technology which they feel they’ve all seen the benefit of. 

Ellie and Jessica first encountered GetSet for Growth through South Bristol Enterprise Support with the hopes of figuring out how to grow and scale their business. They’ve always “had a clear sense of the long-term impact that they wanted to have both through the work that they do with their clients and as a company.” However, they were “trying to understand how to best grow their business and think about who else they can work with, who else they can bring on and how they can continue to be profitable in the future. Furthermore, how to grow in a way that feels natural and right to them.”

Through their support with GetSet for Growth, they have been able to shape the future of their business and gain clarity on what they want to do, and how they want to grow and scale their business. In addition, they state that it “has helped us explore lots of different models for doing that and really think about what works for us. It’s also helped us think clearly about how we can get more support and how we can bring other people into the business. We did a lot of resource planning during our sessions, and we’ve recently brought on our first new member of staff. We have a summer intern starting with us this year which is really exciting and gives us a lot of potential to grow our business and support our clients moving forward.” They have also benefited from advice surrounding task prioritisation and appropriate delegation and are “continuing the legacy of what they’ve learnt through their coaching through GetSet for Growth.”

Looking to the future, Ellie and Jessica are excited at the fact that they order book is full for the foreseeable. They’ve got some fantastic clients and project planned so are going to be very busy for the duration of 2021. They’re in the process of becoming B Corp certified which means they’re going to be a force for good, something that they support other businesses with on a regular basis as part of their service offering. This will enable them to go beyond the support they can offer businesses by “thinking about how they can use some of the profits that they make to give back to charity and local communities in Bristol too.”

They’re also really excited about welcoming the intern that they’re taking on through the Catalyse to Change network as a reinforcement for their ambitions to work “closely with those organisations to create more opportunities for young people. As well as work with local organisations to help action on the climate and ecological crisis given that we have such strong and ambitious climate and ecological targets here in Bristol.” They feel it’s the best place to be for them!

If you would like to hear more about Ellie, Jessica, or their joint venture in Twelve Futures, you can access their website here or follow them on Twitter or LinkedIn

Read more

IMG_2715-copy-scaled.jpg

Charlotte Osborne & Chris Dolan – Prolific 10

“A straight-talking marketing and communications agency and HubSpot Solutions Partner that is committed to helping clients grow their businesses by attracting new customers” is how business partners Charlotte Osborne and Chris Dolan describe their company, Prolific 10, to me when we met via Zoom. 

Chris initially set up the business in 2019 in Brighton and he was joined by Charlotte in September 2020 – the two had worked together previously at a PR agency. Both possess a very different but complementary set of skills, which allows them to offer a full suite of digital and content solutions to their clients. The name of the company comes from Chris’ love of Tottenham Hotspur FC and their “prolific” goal scorer Harry Kane, who wears the number 10 shirt. 

“We always had ambitions to go it alone, but a range of things held us back initially. However, now we are working together, we really appreciate having each other on-hand to discuss ideas, address any issues, and offer support generally,” says Charlotte. 

A key unique selling point for Prolific 10 is that they are an official HubSpot Solutions Partner, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which allows businesses to bring all aspects of their sales and marketing activity into one place. “This allows us to have an edge on other companies as we take a more integrated approach to marketing and sales campaign activity,” adds Charlotte. 

It was a successful application for an Invest4 grant, assisted by the team at GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital, which enabled Prolific 10 to invest fully into the HubSpot system – a vital tool to attract and service both current and future clients. “The grant provided a fantastic opportunity for us,” stated Chris. “It meant that we could differentiate ourselves in a very crowded market of agencies, whilst giving us the confidence to commit to match-funding to further invest in the business.” 

With the grant recently awarded, Charlotte and Chris are now busy putting their plans into place and helping current clients to onboard the HubSpot system, creating an additional revenue stream alongside their traditional marketing activity.

“We initially heard about the Invest4 grants available through GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital as part of The Business Hothouse on LinkedIn. We got in touch to find out how they could help our business,” says Charlotte. “The team were really helpful and were able to provide tons of information and advice based on their experience.” 

“It was incredibly helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes on our grant application and to support us with the financial planning and documents that were required,” said Charlotte. “We knew that HubSpot was key to our success in helping our clients grow. That’s why we wanted to invest fully in the software and the Invest4 grant helped us to do just that.” 

The pair are very keen to grow their business and are looking to recruit more staff to broaden their service offering even further, but at present they describe themselves as “having their heads down working to develop a firm foundation for the business”. They have seen an increase in people returning to work and more businesses opening after the restraints of lockdown which has brought more enquiries to Prolific10. 

“We’re really looking forward to helping businesses to get their marketing and sales activity working again and thanks to the Invest4 grant, we have the best system to do just that,” states Charlotte. Looking ahead, they are also hoping to build a local community for HubSpot knowledge sharing in Brighton & Hove. 

For more information on Prolific10, click here to visit their website 

Follow them on Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Instagram   

Read more

Scott-Becca-1-cropped.jpg

Rebecca Dowdy & Scott Blott – Castle Construction

Husband and wife team, Rebecca Dowdy and Scott Blott met in 1997 after she moved to the South Coast to join the Ericsson graduate programme after completing her engineering degree. Fast forward to 2004 and with support from Rebecca, Scott founded Castle Construction while she developed a management career in telecoms and IT for large corporates. Three children later and while working for American Express, Rebecca was looking for a more flexible approach to work around her family and Scott had developed the business as far as he could on his own. 

The solution to both issues saw Rebecca resigning from her role and joining the family business, but sadly Scott’s mum was then diagnosed with terminal cancer. Providing palliative care at home meant that the focus was moved from the business, as well as looking after the children who were still young. 

Once Rebecca was in a position to give her attention to Castle Construction, she set about defining clear roles between herself and Scott to ensure that they both worked on the areas that they had individual strengths as well as provide some breathing space for them as a married couple working together. 

“It can be stressful being together all the time and we felt that it was important for each of us to do what we do best, so Scott, who has experience in large scale civil engineering projects concentrates on the construction work side and I am the customer facing side of the business,” stated Rebecca. “This works well and whilst I sometimes moan about it, it does play to our strengths!” 

Initially Rebecca brought the current team together in a workshop so that they could discuss their capabilities as a company and what they did well, which translated into their company values and mission. “Our expertise is in structural work, and we wanted to focus on what we were good at, rather than trying to win jobs that weren’t really part of our core competencies,” commented Rebecca. 

This clarity of vision meant that they could be very decisive about the work that they took on, sub-contracting out any parts of jobs that did not fit that criteria. They provide construction services to residential and commercial clients for jobs that include extensions, basements and any job which requires structural work. “We require all clients to have read our Information Pack, which includes information about our service, case studies with costings and the questions they need to consider for their project.” Rebecca added, “We also ask that all clients have a full complement of drawings unless we are providing the architectural work for them which enables us to be more selective about which projects we take on.” 

Traditionally, the company found work through referrals and recommendations, but they wanted to expand the reach of their offer and potentially attract new clients. “We knew that we needed to embrace marketing to achieve this but were keen to ensure that everything about our messaging reinforced our company values at all times,” stated Rebecca. 

She heard about GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital and their Invest4 grants through the company’s membership of Business Network International, a global networking organisation. They got in touch with the team to discuss their business needs and worked with them to create a wish list of items to help them grow their business. “We didn’t apply for a large sum, as our main need was around the website and our marketing activity,” stated Rebecca. “Nicola was really helpful, helping us to ensure that the information we provide on our application form provided the funders with exactly what they needed to know.” 

“The help that GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital gave us was invaluable as even though we already had many of the documents required such as a business plan and financial forecast, it brought them together in one place.” She added, “It was still a fair amount of work to complete the application but worth it in the end!” 

Part of the work that the grant will help to fund, is the launch and promotion of a new partnership with Fresco Living who make garden rooms. This will add another offer to their portfolio of services in response to the growing demand for home offices and to create additional room for living and working within gardens. “The grant money will also help us to develop a tool on the website so that potential clients can proceed through the enquiry process more effectively to decide whether to go forward with their project with us,” explained Rebecca. 

“I love a challenge of a new project!” stated Rebecca, “the Invest4 grant has enabled us to push forward with our ideas to develop the business. We hope to establish the new offer alongside our core services as well as helping to develop our in-house teams. This is dependent on us attracting new clients and potentially bigger projects.” 

“My advice to any other business looking to develop is to be focused on the direction in which you want to travel and that your values and mission carry through everything that you do in the business.” She continued, “Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but I would highly recommend the support from GetSet or Growth Coast to Capital and the Invest4 grant. For me, they really helped with planning cashflow during the 1:1 sessions we had.” 

For more information about Castle Construction, visit their website here, or on LinkedInFacebook or Instagram  

Read more

Art-People.-Coaching-Profile.-Crop.-1.-Photo-Credit-Holly-Jane-Sutor.jpg

Claudia Kennaugh – Art and People

It could be said that Claudia Kennaugh was destined to work in the art world, with her parents owning an art gallery in London where she spent many of her formative years. However, initially her career took a slightly different path, as a musician and performing artist before she then joined as an assistant to her mother, and it was here she really felt the call of art as a passion. After 4 years of working her way up to gallery manager, she and her mother became partners, and it was during this time that she discovered that there was an opportunity to expand the business. “More and more collectors were coming to me for a bespoke service to help them find and curate art for their homes,” stated Claudia.

In 2017, this prompted Claudia to launch a ‘daughter’ service – helping the gallery clients buy, frame and hang their home collections. Fast forward a few years and Claudia broke away from the gallery to explore the potential of offering a fully independent business. “I had a real lightbulb moment when it came to setting up my own business, where I realised that my experience and background meant that I could help artists just as much as collectors, as I understood the struggle that many artists face in developing the commercial aspects of their work,” commented Claudia. “By helping both artists and collectors, I could create the space to connect them in a meaningful way. there is a natural compatibility.”

Claudia had a fantastic network of contacts within the community of artists and collectors which gave her the confidence to pursue her business idea. A move to Bristol did prove challenging she admits, as she was still spending time in London meeting clients and visiting galleries. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns meant that she then had to rethink her approach. “I found it quite difficult at first, as I was located in a new city, which had a very different arts culture, without my previous support network and had previously built my success on the personal contact I had with both artists and collectors,” she commented. “I knew that I wanted to continue providing the very best service to both artists and collectors but had to adjust to not being able to organise events and in-person consultations,” stated Claudia.

Initially Claudia trialled a coaching service online which was popular and gave her plenty of inspiration for how to embrace technology to engage with the artistic community. Support from others in her network helped to promote the first free sessions across the world and this soon developed into a paid programme for artists. Claudia needed more help with the curation side of her business, and it was here that GetSet for Growth was able to support her. She heard of the service through Gather Round, a co-working space in Bristol through an email which was circulated to businesses. “It sounded amazing, and I couldn’t believe that the support was free. It’s hard running a business on your own and they helped me with the nuts and bolts of the business.

“The main area that I needed help with was around cashflow and pricing and the team helped me to figure out where the better margins were and how to ensure that there was money coming into the business on a regular basis,” said Claudia. For example, rather than just working on commission, they advised me to introduce a fixed fee for my art curation service, which I had been holding off doing.” She added, “They helped me to analyse where I was expending the greatest effort and how that could translate into an income. They also helped to keep me motivated during the pandemic by making sure that I continually looked ahead.”

“The GetSet team helped me to look at all aspects of my work and supported the development of my online offerings. The transition helped me to realise that I could save me time, money and energy as well as make it more affordable and accessible to people,” stated Claudia. “They kept me on track to ensure that my finances were in a strong position as well as looking at ways to economise unbillable hours.”

As part of the developments to her business, Claudia has been filming a course which will be made available online covering the different stages of curating and collecting art with plenty of practical tips and advice for even the most novice collector. Claudia enjoys drawing on her experience as a performer to put herself into the promotional side of her business and in order to build her database of prospects and referrals. “I now feel more comfortable being in regular contact with them as I now recognise the importance of maintaining those relationships for the business.”

She did manage to organise one art show in Bristol last summer, but this had to close due to the lockdown, so she looked to new ways to bring people into the space. To do this she set up interviews with the artists involved in the show which she fed out on Instagram, which were really popular. “It’s been inspiring to see how new ways of presenting art can impact on a wider audience, that prior to lockdown, weren’t as easy to reach,” stated Claudia.

She is now planning a series of tutorials for artists for the autumn which can be accessed as one-off sessions, as many artists cannot commit to a six-week series. “The GetSet team helped me to figure out the breakeven point for the sessions to ensure that they would be sustainable. It’s been fun planning the bite-size tutorials on different topics such as writing & talking about your work and how to price your art.”

Looking back on the past couple of years, Claudia reflects that there has been a real evolution of her business in that time. She is keen to resume face to face meetings and shows again and has plans to do more bespoke workshops in the community. 

Her advice to anyone else who is starting or growing their business is to get support from others around you, particularly for areas of the business that you are less knowledgeable about. One of the best pieces of advice she received from the Getset programme was to develop a model week, where you plan your activities so that you use your time most effectively.

“I would say that the most important thing to bear in mind when you start to question why you are running a business, and to be sure about what your identity is. I was encouraged to look to my existing  clients to give you feedback about my service and what it gives them – that was very reassuring!” stated Claudia.

For more information visit her website here or follow her on Instagram here

Read more

iStock-1036390630-copy.jpg

Fraser Daun & Jonny Patterson – SelectMyTalent

The airline industry has been through a turbulent time over the past few years which has resulted in many employees within the sector facing redundancy and struggling to locate new jobs. Many operators have also experienced difficulties in recruiting the right staff with huge variations in recruitment practices undertaken by departments that have also been reduced in size. 

Two men hoping to help pilots find positions at the same time as assist operators in their recruitment search are Fraser Daun and Jonny Patterson, who in September 2020 founded SelectMyTalent Ltd, a company with a new approach to pilot assessment and recruitment. 

Jonny Patterson
Jonny Patterson

Being commercial pilots themselves and both with flight training organisation experience, they understand the frustrations pilots and operators have with the current assessment and recruitment process. “We want to improve the way recruitment is carried out within the industry, making it easier for pilots to present themselves to potential employers,” stated Fraser. He continued, “the current methods are out of date, and we wanted to ensure both pilots and operators looking to recruit were better satisfied by the selection process.”

Fraser Daun
Fraser Daun

SelectMyTalent works on the basis that for pilots, it carries out an initial check of documentation including their CV, followed up by an online interview and aptitude test, which if they are successful in passing, is followed up by a robust assessment day. This final part of the process which takes place face to face at Gatwick, includes psychometric testing, 1:1 interview, group assessment, a simulator assessment and a full debrief. Once they pass this process, they join a community of talent which is promoted and available to operators to help them develop their career opportunities. 

For operators, this process means they can save time, money and resources by selecting from a pre-assessed pool of talent, while paying a fixed fee for pilots upon completion of line training. 

The COVID-19 pandemic took a significant toll on the airline industry and Jonny was made redundant himself, however with determination and a slice of good fortune, he was back flying in March this year. “There are pockets within the airline industry which have continued working, and indeed grown, during the pandemic but there have been many redundancies. We have received CVs from pilots with decades of experience and thousands of flying hours, it is truly humbling to see,” commented Jonny. 

One problem that the pair anticipate for operators is that as we come out of lockdown and flights start again, the crew required to fly them have found themselves new careers, have retired or are not willing to return on a full-time basis. Each of these factors creates a shortage of experienced and trained pilots. “We are determined to be in the right place to help deliver a community of pilots, pre-assessed and keen to work – this has been our ambition from the start.” said Fraser. 

We decided we wanted to set up the business in 2020 and were looking at the financial support available to help us when a contact at the Local Enterprise Partnership suggested we contact GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital. We attended a number of workshops to help us prepare an application for an Invest4 grant with 1:1 support from the GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital team. “Their help was invaluable as we had identified we needed to invest in our technology and software to offer the quality and sophistication of service we needed in order to set ourselves above others,” stated Jonny. 

“We thought there was demand for our service and this was confirmed when we went out with our first promotion, we received applications from around the globe,” commented Fraser. “The Invest4 grant process was pretty straightforward although it was difficult as a new business to forecast what our trading would be like in three years. GetSet Coast to Capital helped us with tweaks to the cash flow forecasts and other financial documents which ultimately helped us to be awarded the funding.”

The grant they received has enabled the pair to invest in the technology to make their website and Applicant Tracking System (ATS) work efficiently and to offer a service which is far more robust than many other recruitment organisations. 

Looking forward, Fraser and Jonny are hoping to expand their service wider by broadening their client base to include other roles such as engineers and cabin crew. They highlight the fact that having a strong network of contacts within the industry, which they have engaged with throughout the company formation process. Their feedback was critical when setting up the business and process flows. They are keen to see how the sector recovers post lockdown but are optimistic about their positioning and timing in the marketplace. 

Business is going well, they have just taken on their second employee and have plans to take on two more in the next few months, including making use of the Government’s Kick Start scheme which encourages employers to take on young people. 

When you are setting up a business, you have to wear a lot of different hats, but the process has been a great focus during the difficult times of the pandemic,” states Jonny. “However, the reward is in being able to help other pilots get back flying, where they deserve to be.”

When asked what advice they would give to others starting their own business, they agree the key thing is passion and relevant industry knowledge. “Use your strengths and bear in mind that it will be much harder than you imagine at the outset but having the support of organisations like GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital, is definitely a bonus!” 

For more information visit their website here  

Read more

Screenshot-2021-05-26-at-09.25.45.png

Roisin Meredith – Roisin’s Water Kefir

There has been a lot of coverage in the media in the past few years about people’s changing eating and drinking habits and the move towards a healthier diet as well as the growth in demand for non-alcoholic drinks. One woman who is definitely part of this movement is Roisin Meredith, who produces water kefir, with its range of health benefits. 

“I never set out to run my own business,” Roisin makes clear at the start of our interview, “the business came out of necessity after my baby daughter Florence became ill and we struggled to find out how to help her get better.” 

Initially Roisin’s daughter was a healthy, bouncing baby but he suddenly began to lose weight, could not sleep and was continually crying and despite a barrage of medical tests by doctors, neither a diagnosis nor a treatment could be found. 

Roisin was a chemistry teacher at the time and her background in science became a major factor in the eventual good health of her baby. Roisin had initially worked in the corporate world for FMCG companies such as L’Oreal but she realised that she was not ideally suited to a desk job and she retrained as a teacher. “I suppose that I have always been a little bit entrepreneurial,” states Roisin, “alongside my traditional career I ran events, set up a hat company and had a whole range of ideas but fear of failure prevented me from taking those all-important steps to self-employment.” 

Roisin describes how her upbringing, with both parents being doctors, led her to follow the traditional career path and she soon became frustrated, feeling that “she was not living in the now.” She remembers how running your own business was not an option for most young people, with the exception of perhaps being a plumber or hairdresser, but that she felt deep down that one day she would run her own business. 

When her young daughter became ill, Roisin’s scientific background led her to believe that the issue was related to food and she initially put her on a FODMAP diet to restrict what she was eating and drinking. Roisin engaged the services of a nutritionist and a more holistic approach to her daughter’s diet helped her dramatically, “Realising that the antibiotics that I had taken whilst pregnant with my daughter, had destroyed her microbiome which meant that she couldn’t digest any food, was a key moment for me,” comments Roisin. 

Within two weeks of taking a powdered probiotic, her daughter was back to good health and this dramatic change “fired off the science part of my brain and my lightbulb moment happened as I could see that this was a way that I could help others also struggling with similar digestion issues,” Roisin says. She started to research the subject of microbiomes and discovered that many medical conditions appear to be linked to the bacteria in our bodies. 

Roisin started to ferment food and drink, starting with milk kefir and kombucha and her business idea was born. She moved to making water kefir and selling it at local markets in September 2018 as well as making it for family and friends and describes the production process as “very therapeutic.” She admits that at this point she was worried that what she was doing would not pass the requirements of Environmental Health and Trading Standards. However, having engaged with them, she soon realised that by having a dialogue with these official bodies, they were actually very helpful to her. Roisin describes it, “I had a mental block about this but when I recognised it as such, I was then able to deal with it and move forward.”

rosins water kefir

Roisin found that she really enjoyed talking to people at markets about the products she was making, and connections made with other small businesses really helped her to build confidence including a pitch she made to a local gin distillery. Whilst she didn’t win her pitch, they did put her in contact with organisations who could help her business. Having successfully been awarded a Start Up Loan, she left her teaching job to dedicate more time to her business but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and all of her potential sales outlets such as festivals, events and markets all closed. 

Roisin approached GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital who provided her with coaching and 1:1 support and she describes this as the point where she finally felt she had stepped into a business owner mode. GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital encouraged her to apply for an Invest4 grant to help make the most out of the money from the Start Up Loan as well as pay for a sales and marketing consultant to take her business to the next level. 

Support from Jonathan and Nicola at GetSet helped her to develop a full business plan, together with three-year cash forecast to plan for the future. “I had never done these plans before, but they helped me to really think about the details. They had lots of suggestions and I felt that they really wanted to understand my business and go through everything, particularly with my Invest4 grant application which I was successful in getting.” 

Roisin describes the support she received from the GetSet team as an “elevating experience” which made a tremendous difference to how she approached her business. She is now working with a family who are bringing land back into their stewardship where they have a vineyard and micro-brewery and plan to set up a community of like-minded businesses. “We have a dream of offering people the best of food and drink in Sussex and to become a destination for people looking for healthy, local products with a strong provenance,” says Roisin. 

Post COVID-19, Roisin envisages that more people will give more consideration to the products that they buy and that the experience of lockdown has opened their eyes to the benefits of buying from local suppliers. 

Roisin advises anyone thinking of starting their own business to set aside their fears, to take advantage of the support available through the GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital programme. “The GetSet team helped me to really develop my business and to create a strong foundation on which I can build – it was brilliant!” states Roisin. 

For more information about Roisin’s Water Kefir click here or on Instagram here

Read more

me.jpg

Mike Ethridge – The Design Print Distribution Group

Mike Ethridge

“GetSet For Growth helped to provide clarity to my ideas and put the structure in place to make the plans happen.”

It could be said that Mike Ethridge has a certain well known search engine to thank for his now successful company. Having been made redundant around six years ago, he turned to the internet to look for ideas for businesses that you could start without any outlay. Leaflet distribution was the suggested idea and so Mike set about researching the potential demand and what competition existed in the marketplace. 

What started as a part-time business for him, through his hard work and energy has turned into a very successful design, print and distribution company, with a HQ in Bristol employing six people, a team of forty self-employed staff and franchises in Reading and Sheffield. The company now focus principally on distribution and they work for a range of clients including estate agents, gyms, political parties on direct mail campaigns. “Many of our clients want to implement campaigns which are data driven and we can help them with that, locating good, reliable source data for them which can be targeted by their requirements,” said Mike. 

Mike describes the past year as “interesting” with many of his clients having to close their businesses and cease their marketing activity during the lockdowns. At the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, their client base disappeared almost immediately, and staff had to be furloughed until May. However, things did start to pick up as some businesses opened again and by August, all staff were back at work. “We used the time during lockdown to take a good look at our systems and processes and to try to improve everything that we did so that we would be in good shape to react when the country came out of lockdown,” explains Mike. 

One of the key changes that we made to the business was to set up contracts with clients rather than operate on an ad hoc basis as we had done previously. This gave the company more security and by adding new product offerings as well, they have managed to grow business despite the subsequent lockdowns which took place. They recently had their best month ever and demand is continuing to grow for their services, which Mike describes as “fantastic.”

print services

“It was Andy from the GetSet for Growth Business Resilience programme in South Bristol that helped us to get back on track when the situation was looking challenging,” said Mike, “He listened to my ideas and gave me feedback which we then worked on. Through 1:1 sessions, he helped me to focus on ways to improve the business strategy including the franchise model which we have now put in place.” Mike describes how Andy helped him to develop more structure to their growth plans and to introduce practices to the business which have had a really positive impact on the team. 

Mike stated, “I have started to carry out 1:1 sessions with each member of staff, which is a great way for them to provide input into the business growth through their ideas, but also helps to set targets for their own personal development within the company. By planning the schedule for these sessions for the whole year, the team realise the importance of their contribution to our success.”

Mike also spent time with Sally from the Bristol team who provided insight into their marketing plan as well as talking through ideas particularly around the support of the new franchisees. “I liked the coaching model that they used,” said Mike, “It helped to provide clarity to my ideas and put the structure in place to make the plans happen.” 

Going forward, Mike is continuing to put into practice what he learnt from the GetSet Business Resilience programme, looking at training and development for his team. He is also keen to focus on building the franchise programme he has across other regions but wants to take time to put the right model in place and to choose the right locations. He states, “selecting the right people to take on the franchises is key to our success but thanks to the GetSet for Growth team, I now feel in a better position to find them.”

Whilst many of their previous clients, such as restaurants are still not open to the public, other businesses have taken their place and Mike is optimistic that they will return in the coming months which will generate even more demand for their services. “We help businesses create targeted campaigns which integrate with their other marketing activity which in turn helps them to be more effective in their overall business promotion, and this is even more important as they return to trading following a period of closure,” stated Mike.

door to door distribution

His advice to any other entrepreneurs considering starting or growing a business is to realise that you don’t need to know everything and to get advice from others. He admits that in his enthusiasm, he has sometimes tackled tasks that in hindsight, he should have employed other professionals to do. This experience has taught him which areas of the business he excels in, and which he should leave to others, which he rates as invaluable. 

He encourages other entrepreneurs to network with other businesses and to surround yourself with people who can be mutually supportive to each other. He reflects on the business that he has created, stating that “I always did make a terrible employee, so it was inevitable that I would start my own business at some point.”

His advice to his younger self would be to access the coaching available such as the GetSet for Growth programme earlier in the development of the business but to maintain that enthusiasm for what he was doing. He comments, “As a business owner, you have to relish the rewards and tackle the challenges with resilience – you might not get everything right, but you should always be proud of what you have done!”

For more information about The Design Print Distribution Group, click here

Read more