Tag Strategy

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David Pratt & Louise Blunden – Eschmann Technologies

The Eschmann name has a long heritage reaching back to the 1830’s manufacturing medical and dental equipment in the UK. Initially established in London, the company has evolved through the years as a leading inventor and manufacturer of sterilising equipment including the autoclaves for which it is well known today. 

Eschmann Technologies now manufactures and supplies healthcare products and services to clinical professionals worldwide, both direct and through a network of distributors. With a strong family ethos, the company is led by Chairman George Kennedy, CBE, with his elder son Philip as Managing Director, and Philip’s brother George as Commercial Director. 

The business is now based at Lancing in West Sussex, the company having moved to the South Coast in the late 1940’s. It has a strong reputation as a market leader in its field and is now developing growth plans to expand their product range for the overseas market as well as harnessing technology to connect with its wide network of customers. 

It was these plans for growth which prompted the company to seek potential investment and David Pratt, Chief Operating Officer and Louise Blunden, Financial Transactions Manager explained to me via Zoom how the Invest4 grant available through The Business Hothouse Programme is helping them. 

“Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, we were busy setting up the systems and processes for the company following its transition to private ownership. We were also looking at which parts of the Lancing site we needed to make our operations more efficient moving forward,” stated David. “Many of our clients, specifically dentists, were closed for a short period which had an impact on our business, but luckily, most opened again although demand for our product and maintenance service was temporarily reduced.”

Louise was the person responsible for co-ordinating their application for an Invest4 grant and both she and David attended a number of workshops run by GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital to help them prepare the paperwork. “As an established company, who had previously been owned by a large corporation, we already had many of the required documents in place, but it was fascinating to hear the experience and views of other businesses also engaged in the process,” said Louise. “What was invaluable about the support from GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital was the knowledge and advice shared by Nicola Wiley, the Programme Director – she helped us to ensure that we had the right level of detail and how to present the information on our application.”

David explained that the availability of the Invest4 grant gave them the impetus to put their growth plans in place. “It forced us to bring the timetable for the project forward, which has been a good thing as it will enable us to bring to market the new product developments sooner than previously anticipated.” He also praised the support provided through the 1:1 sessions with Nicola which assisted them through the whole process, and in August 2021, they were awarded their grant. “It was a real team effort with a strict deadline helping to make us focus on what we really wanted to achieve in terms of growth as a company,” he added. 

With the grant money, the company have plans to develop two projects – the first is to develop a new version of one of their leading autoclaves with a voltage suitable for the overseas market, which they are keen to enter. “We hope to make our products available to more markets as well as increase our market share in the UK,” explained David. 

Little Sister SES 3020B Autoclave

The other project is based around developing the software to enable the readings from their machines to be stored in the Cloud, enabling easier access for customers and the company itself to provide a more efficient and accurate record of performance by the machines, as well as speed up recording and improve the ability to diagnose faults. There will also be a web portal developed as part of this project where records can be stored and training resources made available. “This will give us more sophistication in the service we provide for both the UK and overseas markets and enable us to grow more effectively – thanks to the Invest4 grant,” commented David. 

The company has recently launched a new website which has a clearer offering for its customers, focusing on key areas of the business and the benefits they bring. David stated, “We would have worked on the two projects anyway but the application process galvanised us to work faster towards our objectives and the support available will really help us to achieve our plans in a shorter time-frame.”

The projects are now underway and whilst David and Louise reflect that the process has been demanding, it has been worth the effort, in order to kick start the company’s plans. “We would probably have still been in the planning stage,” admits David, “but now we are at a really exciting stage of product development and feeling confident about our growth plans going forward.”  

For more information about Eschmann Technologies, visit their website or follow them on FacebookTwitter LinkedIn and YouTube

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Nina Squire – The Pastel Artist

When the pandemic hit, pastel artist Nina Squire, from Blandford, knew she’d have to change her way of working and fast – suddenly the professional artist of 20 years couldn’t go to the shows she loved so much, meaning less commission work, so she pivoted her business to go online.

She said: “Suddenly everything changed, and I had to quickly learn lots of new technology fast. Luckily, I think we were all learning at that point, so everyone understood if there was a technical issue.”

Nina was accepted as an Associate Artist with Unison Colour, a UK-based handmade pastel producer, during Lockdown One. This led to her workshops being given a global platform. She will soon be travelling to London to represent Unison Colour as part of a series of videos on art techniques for a series of ‘in conversation with’ workshops with Jackson’s Art.

Stuck inside during Lockdown One, Nina started streaming live draw-alongs, where she would draw her favourite views, so that people could join her and draw with her. The idea was so popular that Nina has been able to pivot her business and now has a thriving community of budding artists from across the world.

She said: “It’s been wonderful to see this community develop and watch their amazing art works come to life. It has been brilliant to bring a bit of joy to people’s lives throughout the past year. Lots of people have said how much they enjoy my workshops each week. It’s given people a bit of escapism – it’s a lovely activity to get lost in for a few hours”

With all the new skills she had to learn and needing to suddenly restructure her work and have a shop on her website, Nina reached out to Get Set for Growth East Dorset for help and advice. Through one-to-one mentoring Nina was able to get help and advice about how best to change her website so that she could use it to sell her art courses through.

She said: “It was really helpful, having someone else to listen, bounce ideas off and get advice from has been brilliant. It gives you a different perspective and that’s what you need.”

Whereas before Nina would teach 15 people in a village hall in Wimborne, now she regularly teaches hundreds online from as far away as New Zealand, California and Australia. She also has regulars from Dorset joining in or watching back later. She said: “I think people love the convenience of being able to do art from the comfort of their home at a time that suits them. I love to see everyone’s work in the community group.”

For more information about Nina’s workshops visit thepastelartist.co.uk. For more information, free mentoring, workshops and events, visit getsetforgrowth.com/east-dorset

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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. 

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International Marketing Tips for Manufacturing SMEs

We discussed in a previous blog how UK manufacturers have seen the benefits of lower commodity prices on world markets due to the devalued Pound. With the levels of economic uncertainty likely to continue for the next two years at least, the enthusiasm and optimism of exporting UK manufacturers is largely based on their view that Sterling will remain devalued against major currencies like the Euro and the US Dollar, helping keep their prices competitive in overseas markets.

Below we provide our five top tips to help manufacturers sell more products internationally online, and to capitalise on the current economic conditions.

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Modern marketing for manufacturers – Part 3

This is the third part in our series of blogs for manufacturers where we provide tips on in-bound marketing activities that will help you meet your top priorities, such as:

• Generating more high quality leads
• Controlling marketing costs and proving return on investment
• Staying ahead of your competition

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Modern marketing for manufacturers – Part 2

This is the second part of our blog for manufacturers where we provide tips on in-bound marketing activities that will help you meet your top priorities, such as:

• Generating more high quality leads
• Controlling marketing costs and proving return on investment
• Staying ahead of your competition

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Modern marketing for manufacturers

We continue our series of blogs for manufacturers where we provide tips on marketing activities that will help you meet your top priorities, such as:

• Generating more high quality leads
• Controlling marketing costs and proving return on investment
• Staying ahead of your competition

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How well do manufacturing companies know their customers?

Customer and experience are two words that you don’t often encounter in the manufacturing industry. On the whole, manufacturing is an industry focused on the product – rather than how it is presented to the customer – and to some extent, rightly so. Much of the insight usually found within the boardroom walls of a manufacturing giant are typically applied to product design or R&D.

In our previous blog, we have already identified that a key stage in putting together your marketing strategy is to define the key markets in which your business will operate. This includes the markets, locations and types of customers you will target.

71% of B2B companies are at risk of losing customers by not being fully engaged with the companies they do business with. (Recent research by Gallup)

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Manufacturers need a modern approach

Traditionally, marketing was always a linear path – people saw an ad, they were interested in the product, so they went to their local store and bought it. However, with the rise of digital and social media, customers are now researching information on their own. The same goes for engineers and technical buyers, who do most of their research, evaluation and final selection of a vendor very differently today than in the past.

Buyers are looking for information online and will only interact with sales people on their own terms. Your lead generation and marketing therefore needs to evolve to meet their needs. Otherwise you are going to struggle generating qualified leads that turn into sales opportunities.

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Sustain manufacturing growth through modern marketing practices with customer focus

The most successful businesses strive for growth, embrace digital and are constantly looking for ways to deliver and exceed customer expectations. Digital transformation and evolving customer expectations now combine to create a more transparent operating and trading environment than ever before.

Customer awareness is not enough in the modern world. Businesses are rapidly shifting towards customer-led models. High-growth organisations focus on their customers in every aspect of their business and allow them to provide insight that supports the future development of the company. Customer-obsession, and the business growth that follows, is not possible without first considering a customer’s expectations. Today, the modern customer expects a digital presence from the suppliers they use and expect prompt responses to their queries

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