Results

YTKO helps local SME to raise the bar for sustainability

YTKO, in partnership with The Planet Mark, have helped local Bristol bar The Strawberry Thief to set a new standard in sustainability. As part of the EU-funded Enterprising West of England programme, YTKO are able to offer businesses, like the Strawberry Thief, the opportunity to get to grips with their carbon footprint and understand which steps are viable for them to improve their performance.

Strawberry Thief

CEO and “Chief Thief” Mike Harris recognises that the programme had been incredibly useful in creating a business which reflected his own values, not least as the support went beyond simply looking at energy efficiency but tailoring an approach specifically to the needs of an SME which is looking to set a standard across the hospitality sector.

Mike Harris said: “The business case for sustainability has never been more relevant. We all want to make the right decisions to protect the planet but it must stack up financially for our businesses.”

“When an organisation works with YTKO they will identify ways to help their business financially, as well as environmentally. It really is a no-brainer and I love the fact they can help all types of business from sole traders working out of their kitchens to multi-million pound SMEs with large offices and energy bills!”

Bottles in the Bristol Bar "The Strawberry Thief"

As part of the support programme YTKO helped Mike and the rest of the staff at The Strawberry Thief to improve their performance in a holistic way:

  • Water: Reduced line clean water use by 40 litres per line per week (approx. 12,500 ltr/yr).
  • Waste: Belgian bottles on deposit & returned to the supplier. Now doing this with local Bristol Dry gin (with £1 saved for every bottle).
  • Social: All staff on living wage regardless of age, 100% tips and max 40 hr working week, and engaged with charity partner Penny Brohn UK, focussing on health and wellbeing – staff ran Bristol 10k in 2017 and 2018.
  • Energy: Spent £500 on LED bulbs and on a 100% renewable energy tariff.

“Teaming up is a natural fit for us and a great opportunity to raise awareness of the free workshops which are available. A key part of being a sustainable business is telling your customers about it and we hope that working with YTKO will allow us to spread the word.”

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Too Many T-Shirts – a story of scale up and upcycle

Too Many T-Shirts needed to make the jump from cottage industry, manufacturing products on a kitchen table, to where it now is, an upcycled products provider, recently outsourcing to a UK textiles manufacturer.

They reached out to GetSet for Growth for help with their marketing and in finding a long-term manufacturing partner. As a result of the support provided, they outgrew their studio space, have outsourced their manufacturing, and their management has been released form day-to-day operations to be able to focus on longer-term business growth (working more on the business than in the business).

Too Many T-Shirts started-up in 2017, and make custom t-shirt blankets. These ‘memory blankets’upcycle customers’ own t-shirts to create a nostalgic and unique memory of times they experienced when wearing their t-shirts, such as a runner’s blanket comprising all their race t-shirts.  As well as a very innovative idea, they are also are helping to reduce clothing waste in this clever way.  They further strengthen their sustainability credentials with a real focus on keeping things local and reducing air miles.  As such, they have a wide range of customers, from fanatical runners, keen sports team members, university graduates, football fans, and gig and band fans.

In 2018, having taken GetSet for Growth’s advice on funding sources and on their marketing, Too Many T-Shirts crowdfunded on the Crowdfunder platform.  This campaign was a success in gaining overfunding of £24k – 163% of the original target.  319 backers came onboard to make the campaign possible, donating or pledging in return for the product.

Simon Bellamy, Founder, says, “Our preparation was key to ensuring we built a large audience or ‘crowd’ in advance of going live.  To launch in the strongest way possible, it was essential to first onboard prospective customers, and warm them up to the future campaign.  As a result, we reached 50% of our target numbers within 48 hours and we were fully funded just a few days later”.

Lots of hard work immediately followed the campaign to fulfill all the backers’ orders, and they were so happy with their unique products that they have now become long-term customers.

The crowdfunding campaign was also instrumental in a manufacturing company approaching Too Many T-Shirts, who have now become a long-term partner, taking over the manufacture of the blankets. This relationship has been essential in enabling the company to scale.

The future for the business is very bright as they continue to grow, providing income to skilled machinists here in the UK.

Simon says, “I have gained invaluable advice from GetSet for Growth.  Being a solo business owner, sometimes you need that sounding board to clarify your thoughts.  GetSet for Growth have helped me to grow my business to a point where I can now concentrate on my future business strategy.  With a manufacturing partner now in place, they take care of many of the operational elements of the business. I would recommend GetSet for Growth to any other business owners out there that are looking for help or advice in scaling their businesses”.

 

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Food for Thought Cookery School

We spoke to Louise Jones, Founder of ‘Food for Thought’ a home-based cookery school in Dorset. She is on a personal mission to help inspire people to make and eat healthier choices.  A qualified nutritionist, she knows the power of positive food choices particularly given her own personal struggles with anemia. Having previously experienced the pressures of the corporate world too, she decided to pull back and strike out on a different path as the time felt right to build her own business around her passion for food. Her cookery school has been trading for just over a year and she has also created a range of sweet treats including a recipe for healthy chocolate!

Louise says: I can’t speak highly enough of GetSet. Having someone else looking at your business who is not close to you, is fantastic.  Asking the ‘why’, is really powerful”. Regular mentoring with the team helped to accelerate her decision making.   A considered review of The Food for Thought website generated more focused content and tangible results, with class bookings up already this year.  The GetSet workshop support helped build her knowledge and confidence as well, with the suite of training being a valuable resource from which to develop a plan of action for building awareness of the cookery school and an engaged client community.

Working with the GetSet team, Louise now has a clearer idea of her target customers – primarily female foodies with health as their key motivator, they are seeking more confidence in their cooking skills.  This knowledge is helping her to develop new class offerings and generate more repeat business with a healthy pudding club being one of the new tasty offerings for the Autumn.

The future is looking bright at ‘Food for Thought’.  So much so, that Louise has taken the plunge and given up her part time job to be able to focus on the business full time.  She was a finalist in the ‘Successful Women in Business’ awards and is committed to helping and inspiring more people to make healthier cooking choices.   She intends to explore a wider range of formats for delivering her passion and will inevitably be having lots of fun along the way!

Commenting on her journey so far, Louise has some sound advice for other budding entrepreneurs:

 

Go and see GetSet for Growth”! Find your passion and be fully committed as it will take over your life.  Realise that you will not make much money initially, put the groundwork in by way of personal investment of time and energy and you will reap the rewards in the future

 

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Eco-Cleaning – Clean Homes and Happy Customers!

We spoke to Anca Petcu, founder of Eco-Cleaning Bristol, to learn more out about her experiences of running a small business.

Eco-Cleaning has been trading for nine years providing environmentally friendly cleaning services, reliability and peace of mind for a range of locally based domestic and commercial customers.

Driven by Anca’s pursuit of quality throughout the business, Eco-Cleaning is the only cleaning company in Bristol to have been awarded a Which ‘Trusted Trader’ endorsement based on its consistent service and desire to please its customers.  This commitment has helped Anca to increase her turnover year on year and build long-term relationships with her clients, and her employees.

Running a small business is a big responsibility and Anca has invested dedicated time to build her knowledge base and confidence. Working with GetSet, has helped to give her a chance to reflect on progress, and offered practical ways to help improve her commercial awareness and a make plan for the future.

She has taken advantage of the free workshop training too, particularly around operational finance and the importance of cash-flow, along with 1:1 support to identify new ways to generate leads and build the pipeline around her business.  She has also valued the chance to network with like-minded peers and learn from the experiences of other small businesses.

Looking ahead, Anca has a vision to be the ‘go to’ cleaning company in Bristol.  She intends to take on additional staff including a team leader to ensure she can spend more time working on the business rather than in it.  Finally, she’s considering the opportunity for a re-brand and referral scheme to fuel the next phase of growth.

Commenting on the journey so far, Anca says: “Slowly, slowly it all helps. Just get on and do it!

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Faithworks – Help and Hope for those in Need

We spoke to Ruth Argles, Communications Lead at Faithworks in Bournemouth.

Running for 15 years, Faithworks is a not for profit, independent charity solely focused on helping people get out of crisis and isolation, giving them renewed hope for a more positive future.

The small team supports a wide range of initiatives locally and is currently involved in 14 wide-ranging projects across the region, including Food Banks, befriending carers, debt advice, homelessness and helping single parents. Building on their existing links with Christian churches, there is considerable scope to build wider regional awareness and understanding around the charity’s aims and good works.   Having a strong volunteer network and communicating tangible results is also essential for future-proofing their future growth.

Ruth discovered the GetSet service online and was impressed not only by the range of content but by the ease of accessing the quality resources locally.  Keen to build her skills and communications confidence she has taken full advantage of the range of support this year including workshop training and 1:1 mentoring.   As a small charity with minimal marketing investment, she now feels better equipped and ready to explore the potential of social marketing and blog content too in order to build the wider Faithworks community of interest.

She says: It’s a great resource, a blessing that it is funded with mentoring support where needed.  There is a real energy with GetSet and wonderful to be able to absorb it”.

Ruth and the Faithworks team are now looking ahead with a renewed sense of purpose and keen to make further investment in digital channels to help them get their name and work in front of more and more people including funders.

Ruth says to other charities considering the value of the service:

I would definitely encourage them to contact GetSet – it will encourage them that they are not on their own.  It’s fully funded, with in depth training and very flexible to the needs of the individual.”

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Food for Thought Cookery School

We spoke to Louise Jones, Founder of ‘Food for Thought’ a home-based cookery school in Dorset. She is on a personal mission to help inspire people to make and eat healthier choices.  A qualified nutritionist, she knows the power of positive food choices particularly given her own personal struggles with anemia. Having previously experienced the pressures of the corporate world too, she decided to pull back and strike out on a different path as the time felt right to build her own business around her passion for food. Her cookery school has been trading for just over a year and she has also created a range of sweet treats including a recipe for healthy chocolate!

Louise says: I can’t speak highly enough of GetSet. Having someone else looking at your business who is not close to you, is fantastic.  Asking the ‘why’, is really powerful”. Regular mentoring with the team helped to accelerate her decision making.   A considered review of The Food for Thought website generated more focused content and tangible results, with class bookings up already this year.  The GetSet workshop support helped build her knowledge and confidence as well, with the suite of training being a valuable resource from which to develop a plan of action for building awareness of the cookery school and an engaged client community.

Working with the GetSet team, Louise now has a clearer idea of her target customers – primarily female foodies with health as their key motivator, they are seeking more confidence in their cooking skills.  This knowledge is helping her to develop new class offerings and generate more repeat business with a healthy pudding club being one of the new tasty offerings for the Autumn.

The future is looking bright at ‘Food for Thought’.  So much so, that Louise has taken the plunge and given up her part time job to be able to focus on the business full time.  She was a finalist in the ‘Successful Women in Business’ awards and is committed to helping and inspiring more people to make healthier cooking choices.   She intends to explore a wider range of formats for delivering her passion and will inevitably be having lots of fun along the way!

Commenting on her journey so far, Louise has some sound advice for other budding entrepreneurs:

 

Go and see GetSet for Growth”! Find your passion and be fully committed as it will take over your life.  Realise that you will not make much money initially, put the groundwork in by way of personal investment of time and energy and you will reap the rewards in the future

 

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Manufacturer Gets Set for Global Growth

 

Brush-Baby started out as an idea of founder and mother Dominique Tillen to help address dental decay, one of the world’s most preventable diseases, through enabling parents to help children take care of their teeth – even before they have them!

Over 500 children are hospitalised each week for dental extractions, and a third of primary school children have some form of dental decay. Dominique devised a range of products, including tastebud-friendly toothpastes, easy-grip Silicone Chewable Teether/Toothbrushes and Mini Electric Toothbrushes, helping parents establish a routine for children to transition through, once their behavioural skills and manual dexterity skills have developed sufficiently.

Having grown a very successful UK business, with Brush-Baby products in the major supermarkets, John Lewis, Mothercare, Superdrug and JoJo Maman Bebe, and a trade line through dental surgeries and distributors in 22 countries, Dominique was facing many of the challenges of growth.

Like many manufacturing and distribution businesses, long lead times from manufacture to payment was impacting on cashflow, the lifeblood of any business. And after 8 years, it was also time to take the next big step, with outside, impartial and experienced support to help prepare the business and its founder to grow to international level.

As Dominique says: “as a business owner, you’re not only a manager of products, money, people and ideas, and trying to stay one step ahead of the game, so ambition and ideas can often get lost. I was getting bogged down in the day-to-day minutiae of the running of the business”. 

Dominique worked with GetSet Solent for three months. During this time, they helped her secure a £1m financing facility, revisited and structured her business plan with dates, responsibilities and measurable outcomes, and assisting her with her new marketing strategy. A monthly coaching session with their marketing advisor designed to stop, step back, and work on the bigger picture helped ensure Brush-Baby stayed on track with its plans for growth.

An additional salesperson was recruited, the business moved from reactive to proactive, together with new marketing activity to achieve the targets in the business plan. A great foundation from which to achieve Brush-Baby’s goal to be the ‘go to’ name in dental care products, and a game changer in dental health.

Dominique concludes: “I would highly recommend any business owner to use GetSet for Growth – it’s one of the best Government initiatives that I have ever found. The business advisers have gained knowledge of various industries and bring a wealth of experience to their roles.” 

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Novel Wines – Raising a glass to the unique and wonderful!

We spoke to co-founder Ben Franks, to find out more about the new exciting venture Novel Wines.  Based in Bath, Novel Wines is an independent, award-winning online wine retailer on a mission to showcase overlooked wines, regions and producers. Trading since 2016, he told us about the journey so far in setting up the business, and the growth support he and his co-founder Gyorgy Zsiga have received from GetSet.

With a background in wine journalism, Ben quickly developed a keen interest in English and Romanian wines with a desire to make them more accessible to a wider audience.  A meeting with Hungarian importer, Gyorgy to discuss their shared passion for the delightfully named dessert wine, ‘Kardos Fairytale’ quickly led on to the real chance to set up a viable business model around the sourcing and retailing of wines from Eastern Europe and globally.

From road-testing the initial concept via a targeted crowdfunding campaign and a personal investment of £20k, more than 200 handpicked global wines are now available to buy online, complete with compelling stories and tasting notes.

Against a backdrop of established players, Novel Wines continues to go from strength to strength with a laser focus on its niche market of discerning / curious wine lovers. Building on last year’s turnover of £100k, Ben talked more about the support he has received from the GetSet team in helping to bring a growth planning discipline into the business, together with the creation of a compelling business case and third-party support to secure a   six-figure equity investment.

He said of the service: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with GetSet for Growth. We’ve gone through a really exciting opportunity for growth with an investor coming on board and our business growing by over 150% year on year. The GetSet team helped me focus my marketing ideas and reassure me on some of our financial processes. It’s always great to have an extra pair of eyes.”

GetSet helped in other ways too by inviting Ben to participate in the successful internship programme it ran earlier in the year with University of Bristol.

With a ready grasp of the people side of growth too, Ben said:“I knew as soon as Lydia came back telling me Marina was right for my business that I’d found a great intern.  Naturally, we had to offer her a job … you don’t come by talent like this very often! “

Looking ahead the future looks very positive for Novel Wines with every confidence that 2018 will be another very good vintage for the team!

Not one to rest on his laurels Ben is already thinking about his strategy for the medium term and the definition of success in the next 5-10 years.  Commenting on the journey so far, Ben says: “Meet as many people as possible, seek value from every situation. Try and be proactive in giving as well as taking. Be patient and be brave!”

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My Gammie’s Ltd

Rebekha Gooden, the co-founder of My Gammie’s Ltd based in Newham, holds her business close to heart. The company sells allergy friendly food, free from 14 main allergens highlighted by the Foods Standards Agency (FSA). Her main target market is anyone, including children, with food allergies and/or intolerances and the company’s ultimate mission is ‘to provide safer foods with easier access’.

Having enrolled to be a part of a business start-up competition at the University of East London (UEL), Rebekha and her business partner Marie-Anne were pointed towards GetSet for Growth London by the UEL Innovation Enterprise team based in the Knowledge Dock. Although she had a solid business idea in place, the main challenges Rebekha was facing were mainly related to marketing, sales forecasting and getting more funding support.

They initially worked with Tahir Rahman, the business finance advisor at GetSet for Growth East London, who helped Rebekha to better understand and complete her sales forecast to go along side the sales pitch for the UEL competition. Tahir also discussed the various funding options that were available to them, allowing her to make informed decisions on which route to pursue.

They also took advantage of the marketing support on offer, when Robyn Sinclair, the UK marketing director at YTKO Ltd, helped Rebekha break down her planned marketing activities and create a more structured and manageable marketing plan for her future.

In the future My Gammie’s Ltd plans to expand not only in the wholesale/ retail sector but also aims to target educational institutions to build awareness, helping allergy prone adults and children. Rebekha says that with the foundation of support received from GetSet for Growth, reaching the next stage now seems easier and more achievable and that she and her business partner are more confident in their actions and tasks. This ultimately had enabled them to be more knowledgeable, more realistic and more determined to build their business.

Our experience with GetSet for Growth has been 10/10. All off the staff are friendly, passionate, knowledgeable and prompt and I would definitely recommend GetSet for Growth to other business owners.

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Dorset Marine Training

Speaking with Sarah from Dorset Marine Training (www.dorsetmarinetraining.co.uk), its clear how passionate she is about boating.

She has always loved being on the water, starting boating when she was just 6 years old. The mantra of the company is that they want to enjoy being out on the water and to enable other people to enjoy being there too.

Sarah and her life and business partner, Dom Coleman, both became watersports instructors working freelance, and then decided to start their own business. They established Dorset Marine Training in Spring 2017.

“Our aim is to make people love being out on the water as much as we do!” said Sarah, Co-founder.

They train people to drive powerboats or motorboats, and they also teach the full range of supporting courses, e.g. navigation, online courses required for licenses or commercial qualifications, marine radio (VHF). Their practical training can take place on their clients’ own boats, or they offer training on Dorset Marine Training boats, and the training is great for complete beginners, those looking to upskill or those just looking to hire in the future.

They already have a wide variety of clients. They include people with their own boat who are new to boating and might need help in first navigating the harbour and learning about boat safety. They will often take out the client’s whole crew or family for this. They may also work with people wishing to work towards becoming instructors or working commercially on the water. Other clients might be people who have had their confidence shaken a little bit, and they need some training and help in getting to love the boat again or those who upsized their boat. Others will train on the centre’s boats and may be new to the water, thinking of buying a boat or want a formal qualification. The majority of their customers are leisure boaters but there is a mix of commercial clients too.

Some want a certificate and some just want to improve their confidence, so before any training starts, they find out the specifics of what the individual wants to achieve and then customise their training to the client’s individual needs.

On the water as well as ashore they offer practical RYA courses so that their clients can achieve a certificate as well as bespoke training. Many people are looking to hire boats abroad and to do so they now need an International Certificate of Competency.

GetSet provided the marketing and business advice that was lacking

Sarah and Dom’s skillsets are in instructing, so they needed some help on the business side of things, e.g. getting the word out there to find new clients, the financial sides of things and generally being disciplined about running a business. That’s where GetSet came in to help.

Sarah first met GetSet at a female networking event (hosted by DWIB) at the Poole Boat show as part of the Maritime Festival. GetSet said they could help even at the beginning stages of their journey. From an initial one to one with GetSet, Sarah says that she gained confidence that their business idea was a good one and also that it was OK to love their business and idea.

“Through initial one to ones with GetSet, they gave me the confidence that my business idea was a good one and to keep going”.

Poole harbour and quay Dorset England UK on a beautiful calm day with boats and blue sky

On the practical side, she went along to a lot of the free GetSet workshops, particularly the ones dealing with social media, in which she had no experience, and was actually suspicious of to start with. Now she is on all the social media platforms and is particularly active on Twitter and Facebook. She thinks that this is helping to drive the traffic to the main website, which is essentially their shop window. Social media also allows people who did not think that they were looking for boating to find them and see that it is accessible to everyone to participate in.

The marketing support and the reassurance and motivation to keep going, and that it is OK to love their business, is what GetSet provided. She says she has gained a great amount of confidence from that. The workshops gave her a regular event to go to and provided her with a constant focus, particularly important in the early stages of starting your business, which can be quite isolating. Going along to workshops also meant that she met other people who were in a similar situation to her. It did not matter that they were in different fields, they were either facing the same challenges or they could trade insight into challenges others had already been through or were facing.

Their vision for the future is for the business to be sustainable as a Training Centre, and to carry on providing quality training and offer professional training in a relaxed and personable environment.

“I would definitely recommend other people to go along to GetSet. Without help from GetSet, I would have struggled more with the confidence to carry on and survive”.

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