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Making Mumpreneurs

Having had her first child, Erin Thomas Wong, started looking for a change of career. Before having children, Erin had worked in Television production, making documentary and reality TV shows for Channel 4. After the birth of her first baby, she realised she did not want to go back to working in TV, and started to look for a new venture.

After someone told her about a jewellery business that they had started, Erin says she had one of those ‘light bulb moments’ and thought ‘Hey – I could run my own business’. She had never thought of doing that before, as no one in her close circle of friends ran their own business.

Her friends and family were a bit concerned as she had been working in a lively team and now she was going to be working on her own. But she felt that it was absolutely the right thing and the idea of working for herself felt very empowering. Establishing her own jewellery company was her first experience of running a small business. That was 10 years ago and she has not looked back since!

She fell in love with running her own business and set up two further businesses in London, one to provide local business meet-ups for other Mums that were running their own businesses, and another that provided venues for baby and toddler classes. However, then she and her family moved to Abu Dhabi, where her husband had been offered a new job. She found herself very isolated as she had built an amazing community around her in London, so she decided that she needed a new business. She wanted an online business so it did not matter where she was in the world. This is where “Making Mumpreneurs” was borne, and this is now her main focus.

How GetSet helped Making Mumpreneurs scale-up

Erin and her family returned to the UK and settled in Bournemouth. Erin says she had researched the area and knew there some networking groups around, but really had no idea that Bournemouth was so entrepreneurial until she moved here

Her idea for Making Mumpreneurs was to create an online community for Mums in business, to help them feel supported on their entrepreneurial journey, and providing a feeling of being part of something where you are connected with a community of likeminded women.

It does not matter what the business is or in what sector, as they are all struggling with the same issues of running a business whilst being a Mum.

She set up Making Mumpreneurs almost two years ago, an online community designed to support and empower mums running their own business.

She created an online membership part of Making Mumpreneurs, called “The Cocoon – a Safe place to Learn, Evolve and Grow”. The Cocoon offers masterclasses, expert advice, member calls, accountability and continual support to help the mums grow their business.

Erin discovered GetSet East Dorset just before Summer 2017, at the stage where she wanted to really grow the business and to scale the membership. Her first session with a GetSet business consultant was an overall business session. She says that it was really useful to talk to someone who was really experienced about how different business models worked.

She then met with one of the GetSet marketing consultants, asking for help in how to get more awareness and press interest. GetSet analysed her website and concluded that it looked ‘too homemade’. GetSet advised that since she was running an ecommerce site, where she was talking clients’ money, they needed to be able to trust her and therefore the website needed to look a lot more professional. GetSet helped her source local web developers, one of whom offered her an affordable monthly payment plan. It had not occurred to her that this was something that she could ask for. They turned around the website really quickly, with new branding, and it launched in September 2017.

Erin says that had she not had the discussion with GetSet, she would have tried to carry on with the old website for a lot longer and probably would not have been as effective with her marketing. She now has a lovely website, with a membership back-end that is ecommerce enabled, providing security for herself and for her clients.

Everyone has been very positive about the website and it has had the desired effect in increasing membership. She feels that everything is in place now and all she has to do is to keep on pushing with the marketing.

With Facebook and Twitter accounts with over 5000 followers, her growth plan is to scale the membership by converting these followers to paid members.

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On the Menu

On the Menu Ltd is celebrating after winning the award for new best reduced-sugar and no sugar product at the Sugar Reduction Summit in November 2017. Their flagship product, Real Good Ketchup is a no-added sugar product and is certified ‘free from added sugar’ by ‘Sugar Wise’. They received this evidence-based public health prize for their new low sugar ketchup from a panel of judges, comprising dieticians and academics. This award joins the two ‘Free From’ awards they have already won, including a Gold Award from Ireland.

The inspiration for the no sugar and low salt product range comes from founder, Elizabeth Jones, and her experience in having lived for the past 20 years with an anaphylactic son with allergens, and ‘can eat’ and ‘can’t eat foods’. As a small child he could not tolerate sugar, nuts or even fish. She decided to train in nutrition and dietetics to manage, how as a family, they were going to eat and get the nutrition that they needed. This process of determining what they could and couldn’t eat formed the foundation of the Real Good range.

The current business focus is on the no sugar platform, driven by the rise in obesity in children; where 25% of all children in UK are either overweight or obese. Elizabeth explained that this would quadruple the risk of diabetes Type 2 in childhood or later in life. Her research has determined that if a child has a dollop of regular ketchup every day, this is the equivalent to eating 365 sugar cubes per year.

Their Real Good Ketchup has been developed using a plant-based natural route, using stevia leaf.

Getting a recipe right is not about just thinking about a sauce on a plate – it is all about the experience. It has to smell right, it has to look right and it also has to behave like regular ketchup – with the expectation that it sticks to the end of a chip – if you do not get the whole experience right then you will loose engagement.

“Because we have got the thumbs up from children – we know that we are on the right track”, said Elizabeth Jones, On the Menu’s founder.

It took around 20 evolutions to get to the right product profile. Having undertaken early trials with a primary school in Otterbourne in Hampshire they got received very positive feedback from parents and the children. With 80-90% of those who tried it, saying that they liked it and would buy it – so they had evidence early on that it was going to be a success.

The testers said the Real Good Ketchup tastes more homemade and of more tomatoes. Elizabeth explained how the children were very honest in their feedback and that they embraced the flavour. Perhaps intuitively they knew that this is something that is good for them.

They have received very good reaction from parents with autistic children, where sugar is not good for them. Their customers also include those who are older, with dental issues, who have been advised by their dentists not to eat ketchup due to the sugar content. They are very pleased to have found Real Good Ketchup in their local Co-op stores, and are delighted to be eating ketchup again.

After 12 months, Real Good Ketchup is now in about 180 Co-op stores throughout the UK. They are also listed on Ocado and are in Whole Food stores.

Invaluable support from GetSet and Outset Finance

Elizabeth says that she gained very good insights, advice and support from GetSet and Outset Finance in the development of her business.

Elizabeth explained how GetSet provide an effective introduction of all the things that you need to know when starting a business. Their marketing toolkit was current and relevant, and she received help in defining the structure for her forecasting and planning, which she is still using now. She appreciated being provided with insights, feedback and support from GetSet, and particularly in having another set of eyes on what she was doing.

OutSet Finance was very proactive in supporting her businesses moving forward, particularly in providing assistance with funding.

“I would recommend GetSet and Outset Finance to people thinking about starting up or growing their business –having the support of one of the local offices is very important, particularly if you have not had the experience of running a business before. They have a very good step-by-step approach for someone starting from scratch”.

She explained that the package Outset designed for her was perfect for her small business with growth potential. Outset Finance helped her gain funding for growth, which came at a time that they were launching Real Good Ketchup into the Co-op, and also wanted to get another product developed. They were accepted for a development loan, which Outset Finance packaged in a way that was very competitive.

With this, they were able to fully exploit the growth opportunity for launching their ketchup into the Co-op and were able to go ahead with their new product development and factory trials. If they had not had this support, they would not have been able to achieve the same level of success at this early stage in their growth.

An exciting future for the business

The future looks very exciting for On The Menu Ltd. They are currently in early stage conversations with another large UK retailer to take their Real Good Ketchup. Having carried out school trials and also spoken with a number of hospitals, they realise there is a market for a larger format product, so they will be developing a catering range of products next year.

They are going International too – having already started export of their products to Kuwait, where there are currently very high rates of diabetes.

On The Menu’s customers say that they are enjoying the product, and people who were told they could not have ketchup are enjoying ketchup again. It is really for the needs of those people that Elizabeth set the company up.

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Green Gardeners

Green Gardeners is a professional gardening and grounds maintenance business based in Edgbaston and Solihull. They provide gardening services such as lawn mowing and edging, hedge cutting and planting solutions to residential customers. They also cater for commercial customers, carrying out grounds maintenance at office blocks, retail parks and developments of flats.

Business owner Simon Elks started the business 4 years ago on a part time basis and over time expanded it to a point where he decided to leave his full time career and concentrate on growing the business. He was keen to find a mentor to help him do so, and got in contact with the Birmingham Growth Hub, who put him in touch with GetSet for Growth.

Simon met with Senior Marketing Advisor, Clare McKee, and initially spent two hours talking through the two main challenges he was facing; perfecting the company’s new website that he set up himself, and his plans to increase the businesses scope for commercial contracts.

The main areas of support Simon benefited from were marketing and sales strategy, and growth strategy. He received 1:1 advice from Clare on how to better engage with both current and new customers via his website, and how he could attract more commercial clients in order to meet his growth ambitions.

Simon also attended numerous GetSet for Growth workshops which he found very useful. Particularly the Search Engine Optimisation workshop, which he found extremely supportive as it gave him a great insight into how to improve his SEO performance and get more visitors to his website.

Speaking about his experience, Simon said, “The GetSet for Growth programme was exactly what I was looking for. My website is now looking better, resulting in approximately one new enquiry a day rather than 10 per month. My business has grown by about 10% in March (historically a quiet month for us) and I have had to take on one new gardener and an apprentice.”

“GetSet is an excellent tool, which provides affordable mentoring and advice, and is pitched exactly right for a small growing business with a limited budget. I now have more confidence in the direction I am going and how best to get there.”

The future is looking prosperous for Green Gardeners as they aim to continue growing the business year on year and eventually become the premier gardening business in Birmingham and Solihull. Simon told us they are now at a point where gardeners are calling up asking if they can work for them, which is a new and exciting position to be in!

To find out more about Green Gardeners, visit their website.

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The Plume

Business owners Darryl and Grace Edgar were first introduced to GetSet for Growth via Senior Marketing Advisor, Shabana Zaidi, who attended a Startup Show at Aston University that they were also attending. Their business, The Plume, provides markers that can be attached to the cars in a funeral procession following the cortège, to ensure that they are clearly identifiable and avoid other road users interrupting the procession.

The idea had been in Darryl’s mind for 8 years, having made countless mock ups and spoken with a number of companies that specialise in helping entrepreneurs. Despite a substantial financial investment, they never felt that they were getting anywhere and they were unsure how to move forward with the business.

GetSet for Growth was able to assist with their business plan and provide them with the marketing and financial advice that they needed. Through 1:1 support and specialist workshops and masterclasses, GetSet put them in touch with advisors who are experienced in their fields, and who they felt were enthusiastic about them as a prosperous business. They now have a much clearer idea of where they are going, and have been able to make contact with other start-ups who will be able to form part of their organisation.

“I have already started telling people about GetSet for Growth, and hope to influence and encourage others to join. I have been working on my business on and off for 8 years but have done more work on it, and moved further forward in the last 8 weeks than I had done in the previous 8 years.”

The Plume’s future is now looking brighter than ever as they continue using GetSet’s support to build their growth strategy. They would like to see their business as a starting point for the return of the respect that funerals deserve.

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CMA Video

CMA Video is a Birmingham-based video production company operating in the B2B market, producing marketing videos for websites, social media and business promotion. Their mission is to create effective, engaging videos for businesses looking to use video as part of their marketing strategy.

Business owner Adam Snelleksz initially met with GetSet for Growth’s Senior Marketing Advisor, Shabana Zaidi, at a networking event he organises in Solihull called Business Biscotti. The business was at a crossroads and Adam felt as though they were growing too fast for them to handle.

Adam and his business partner Mitchell Remes met with Shabana for a number of 1:1 sessions and they found it really useful to have a fresh, outside set of eyes that could look at the business objectively. These strategy sessions helped them to look internally at the business, processes and structure in a much more critical way. They also attended some of the free workshops available as part of the service, where they were able to pick up new ideas and information and network with other businesses who were in the same situation.

GetSet for Growth has helped CMA Video re-focus their efforts on the key areas for the business, to ensure they got them right before moving on and growing the business – essentially stabilising themselves, and getting strong growth foundations in place for expansion. Having now created a sound, longer term plan and strategy for the business, they are taking a ‘quality not quantity’ approach with their customers to grow revenues and profits.

I would definitely recommend the GetSet for Growth programme to other business owners and already have done! Shabana has been excellent in ‘giving it to us straight’, telling us what we needed to hear. A perfect example was when she took a highly critical look at our website which prompted us to completely revamp it and we have already seen huge dividends in terms of traffic and an improvement in site statistics.

CMA Video hopes to grow the business within the market they are currently operating in and become leaders in it. They are making great progress having already employed an additional full-time and part-time member of staff to their team.

To find out more about CMA Video, visit their website.

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West Coast Academy

Rhea Upsher launched her business The West Coast Academy in November 2013, providing dance and cheerleading clubs and classes in schools across Cornwall. Rhea grew a successful business from her passion for dance, always with the ambition of opening her own academy. The West Coast Academy was beginning to grow when Rhea came to GetSet for Growth in April 2014, looking for help with her business planning and strategy for continued business growth. It was through working with GetSet that she gained the confidence to take her business to the next level.

I don’t think I would have moved into my own premises if it wasn’t for GetSet. They’ve encouraged me, helped me with my financials and my business plan. It has really given me the confidence to take this big leap” Rhea Upsher, West Coast Academy.

The GetSet team worked with Rhea on both the marketing and finance functions of her business. Working with a GetSet Marketing and Sales Specialist helped Rhea understand her market and appreciate the external factors that could affect her business. With expertise on hand to guide her and support her, she also began to think more creatively about marketing her business

It has been great working with Rhea, she is a really passionate business woman with great knowledge of the dance education sector gained from her extensive career. With this in mind the GetSet team focussed on helping Rhea with her business plan, strategy and financials, which gave her the confidence to move into her own purpose built studio. We were really pleased to recognise Rhea’s achievements at the 2014 GetSet Business Awards where she was awarded “Young Business Person of the Year”.” Sam Winters, Sales and Marketing Specialist, GetSet for Growth

Rhea plans to continue to grow and develop her business. Working with GetSet has inspired her to investigate franchising her business model and she is excited by the prospect of increasing creative arts employment opportunities.

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Kernow Confectionery

It was whilst running a food and drink shop in Wadebridge that Andy Soden first felt the desire to start manufacturing his own products. In early 2005 he heard that a local chocolate company was for sale, jumping at the opportunity, Andy made them an offer and Kernow Confectionery was born.

Over the next nine years Kernow Confectionery built up an impressive client list that included The National Trust, Eden Project and Longleat Safari Park, but in order to grow, they needed to relocate to new premises and upgrade their manufacturing facilities. They were referred to the GetSet for Growth service in March 2014 by Natwest Business Relationship Manager, Darren Lewarne. GetSet helped Andy prepare a comprehensive business plan in order to access the necessary finance, as well as signposting alternative funding streams to supplement bank finance.

Andy Soden explains “It was great to be pointed in the right direction with regards to writing our business plan. I had the basic framework already written before attending the GetSet masterclass, but it needed work. I managed to get the ideas necessary to finish the plan and also know which areas of what I had already done were right and wrong. GetSet’s help was crucial in us achieving funding from the GAIN+ fund.

A GetSet Sales and Marketing Specialist then spoke to Andy about his marketing strategy. With a busy business Andy confessed that he had struggled to make time to implement a formal marketing plan. Andy met 1:1 with the Advisor and discussed how Kernow Confectionary could minimise marketing spend whilst maximising impact, this would be key to the successful growth of the business.

Sales and Marketing Specialist for GetSet explains “Andy was a pleasure to work with and by just putting structure around existing marketing structure he was able to see how he could manage to marketing as the company

Having successfully secured the necessary finance Kernow Confectionery will imminently be moving into their new premises; allowing them to increase production in line with current and future product demand. They are also in the process of rolling out a new retail range and have the ambitious goal of becoming the market leader in the South West within the next 5 years.

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Benson & Clegg

Benson & Clegg is a bespoke tailoring and menswear store based in London’s historic Piccadilly Arcade. Founded in 1937, they have a rich heritage, having been the tailors to King George VI, and now hold a royal warrant to HRH The Prince of Wales.

Having realised that there was a good demand for their products in the wider market, the company had reached a point where its progression was becoming severely limited by a policy of self financed growth.

That’s where GetSet for Growth came in. Their association with Benson & Clegg began when their Managing Director, Mark Gordon, attended a UK Trade & Investment presentation where Gregg Harding, Project Director at GetSet for Growth London was presenting about the various investment options available to businesses. Working with Gregg in the following months, they created a solid growth plan to move their business forward.

As a result of the support received, Benson & Clegg now have new accountants, new stock control and point of sales systems and are also in the process of transitioning to a new banking services provider. Mark says all this has ensured better business efficiency and a drastic increase in their working knowledge, enabling them to spend more time focussing on the big decisions.

GetSet for Growth has given us the skills and confidence in preparing to move the business forward so that we can be equipped to deal with the exciting challenges ahead.”

Mark emphasises that he would thoroughly recommend GetSet for Growth to any other business owner, whether someone who is new in the world of business or someone who has an established company seeking to push forward into a new territory.

My experience is that if you are keen on learning from others, listen to people who have done it before and adapt as required, then a lot can be achieved in a short period of time.

Benson & Clegg are currently working on a new business plan to present to the investors for facilitating their growth plans. Their ultimate goal is to develop the brand from a niche family business into a world-class menswear brand, competing with established fashion houses. They intend to move from a single store outlet to a multi-outlet store format, with expansion into new ranges and new product areas.

To find out more, visit their website.

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Mansa Cleaning Services

Mansa Cleaning Services is an up and coming company of commercial cleaning contractors, providing tailor-made cleaning services and solutions to businesses in London and Greater London.

The company specialises in a range of commercial cleaning services and solutions from daily to emergency cleaning. Their mission is to become the leading commercial cleaning service provider in the UK by continuously exceeding client expectations and offering effective tailor-made solutions, whilst delivering dynamic and innovative trusted services.

Matthew Wilks, one of the three directors of the business, came across GetSet for Growth London at an event organised by Hackney Business Ventures. The main challenge he was facing was how to create an effective marketing strategy to effectively promote the unique range of services offered by his company.

GetSet’s marketing advisor, Orsi Toth, helped Matthew create and implement a plan to better monitor clients and prospective clients through his website and social media marketing.

GetSet helped advise me on how to refine the data I capture from my company website,” Matthew explains. “We also discussed how to use our website to promote the services that we offer and how to manage and monitor interested customers.

Matthew says that his sessions with Orsi have helped him work harder towards his milestones for the end of business year 1, and helped them reach close to 70 leads per week and increase their turnover. They are now looking to obtain BICSc, CHAS and Safe Contractor accreditations and want to ultimately establish Mansa Cleaning Services as one among the top 50 commercial cleaning service providers in Europe.

My experiences working with GetSet for Growth have all been positive. I have been matched with the correct mentor, Orsi, who is very knowledgeable and we are working very well together.

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Silly Old Sea Dog

Alison Ballard came to GetSet For Growth in January 2014 looking for help with her fledgling business; Silly Old Sea Dog, designing and producing vintage inspired clothing and accessories that they sell online. Having generated a high level of demand for Silly Old Sea Dog’s products, Alison needed GetSet’s help to access additional funding to grow her business.

Having already received a lot of interest in her clothing range on Facebook and Etsy, Silly Old Sea Dog was launched in September 2013 by commercial fashion graduate Alison Ballard. Alison initially designed and hand-made all Silly Old Sea Dog clothing but when demand for the clothing range grew, it became apparent that she would need to outsource some production and this would require additional capital.

A GetSet Business Finance Advisor worked with Alison to complete her business plan and the financials necessary for her to apply for a small business loan. With GetSet’s help her £20,000 business loan application was successful allowing her to outsource production, keeping her hand-made credentials, whilst significantly increasing production capacity.

“GetSet’s Business Finance Advisor helped me to complete my cash flow forecast and business plan to successfully apply for a small business loan with my bank. Without GetSet’s help I don’t think that I would have secured this loan as I am not very confident with figures!” Alison Ballard, Silly Old Sea Dog

“Alison had a fantastic product and brand when we first met, however, she required funding to ensure supply matched demand. In order to apply for this funding Alison needed to produce financial forecasts including a cash flow forecast and a business plan. With our training and templates Alison was able to prepare these for the funder and is much more confident in planning for future growth” Gregg Harding, Business Finance Advisor, GetSet For Growth

Having successfully secured additional capital, Alison is now working on her marketing strategy with a GetSet Sales and Marketing Specialist, focussing on the Silly Old Sea Dog website structure to increase eCommerce sales and assist search engine optimisation. She has ambitious plans for the future, aiming to become one of the best-known names in vintage inspired fashion. With outsourced production, Silly Old Sea Dog can now look at creating different garments and expanding the current range of dresses, skirts and accessories.

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