November 2017 Case Study: The Work Placement Agency

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Valerie is originally from France and has made her home in Solihull living with her husband and two daughters. Starting any business is a challenge and more so if English is your second language.

Looking for assistance to get her new business venture off the ground, she made enquiries with the “Enterprise for Success” programme where she was quickly booked onto a local business planning workshop. She was then assigned a personal business advisor who assisted her with a variety of aspects of her business including resources planning and the best structure for her business.

Valerie also received support with marketing strategy, pricing strategy, financial planning as well as being provided with a number of contacts within the business support community including Solihull Chamber of Commerce of which she is now a member. She has also forged relationships with Local Authorities and other local businesses.

Valerie is fully focused and committed to her business and is determined that it will succeed to become a profitable and sustainable venture. She is now exploring relationships between the UK and France despite the vote to leave the EU and potential Brexit difficulties she may encounter.

Business Owner Valerie says:

“The Enterprise for Success programme provides a very efficient service. It helped me to build relationships, to understand the English organisations and the English culture. We worked in a collaborative approach: review of the agenda, prioritise and plan the actions, identify a problem and the action to do with regards to digital marketing, partnership, vision/purpose for the business and pricing strategy”

Valerie goes on to say:

“It was very helpful to identify the key objectives and achieve goals. It helps me to continue moving forward and become more and more confident. There is nothing more helpful than a clear guidance. It is this clarity that breeds trust and confidence.”

October 2017 Case Study: Vintage Stitches

Being a huge fan of the fashions of the 1940’s, as well as having a very talented Mother who has a flair for knitting, Sandy decided that 2017 was the year to combine these 2 passions to create a new business.

Wanting to know how to approach starting a new business in the most effective and logical way, she attended the 2-day Business Start-up Masterclass where she began to understand how to approach putting together her business plan. This was followed up with a series of 1-2-1 bespoke advisory sessions with her dedicated Business Advisor who helped bring Sandy up to speed on all the new marketing and promotional skills and techniques.

Sandy’s advisor also assisted her with applying for a £500 start-up grant, supplied by the local council, to help pay towards some useful kit to allow Sandy to promote herself more formally.

6 months on Sandy has orders of between 30-60 items per month. She has also provided items for The Museum of Cannock Chase, Bletchley Park’s Knit One project, History Wardrobe and currently provides the knitwear for the character of “Christopher Wren” in The Mousetrap, St Martin’s Theatre, London.

Business Owner Sandy says:

“My Business Advisor has been so supportive and helped me to process my business start-up in a logical way, helping me to make my own conclusions, giving me up to date information and good contacts and advice. I would never hesitate to recommend the course to anyone. “

“My advisor helped me to apply for a grant of £500 (the maximum amount available) towards start-up costs of a proper Gala Tent and Canvas Trader tent for exhibitions which has been invaluable in helping me get my business off the grounds”

Sandy goes on to say:

“I have started to be approached as a “Source of Information” for knitting history and have been invited to give talks and workshops at events, which are a further source of income or given in lieu of payment for a trade stall.”

September 2017 Case Study: The Lodge

Both Lee and Marie enjoyed high profile corporate careers, and a change in direction for both resulted in them deciding to maximise their best asset – a spacious family home which has been revamped into a luxurious and well-appointed bed and breakfast.

They accessed the Enterprise for Success programme to see what business advice was available to help them grow their business. In particular, they were looking at ways they could attract more custom to ensure a wider mix of both social and commercial business.

The business minded pair were allocated a dedicated business advisor who reviewed their business and marketing strategy and started to make suggestions on how they could implement new strategies for attracting new business.

The pair also attended one of the programmes flagship Masterclass sessions, “Monkey Marketing” which provided insights and practical support to help them implement a new way of thinking when they got back to their business.

In recent weeks, the Lodge has been awarded a five-star food hygiene rating, something they are very proud of as a new business.

Business Owners Lee and Maria Garnett say:

“We have spent some time in the company of Jane our dedicated Business Advisor, who has given us solid advice on how to appeal to sporting users, particularly cyclists, as this is a growing group using the Chase, with people coming from all over the country.”

“We have now set targets for occupancy rates, and are enjoying a good mix of commercial and social guests.”

The Business owners go on to say:

“Our Business Advisor has been invaluable to us in providing an outsider view of what we have achieved and what we can go on to successfully do well into the future.”

August 2017 Case Study: Deborah Jayne

Deborah Jayne has been trading for a few years, and specialises in taking vintage pieces and updating them with precious stones. Makes items to sell online and at events, and also takes commissions. They also provide special pieces for weddings and other occasions.

Having traded for a short while, Deborah enquiries with the Enterprise for Success programme to get some help and clarity on a number of areas including financial planning, Tax and Vat guidance as well as some general Marketing support to help her promote her business and its services more effectively.

A dedicated Business Advisor was deployed who as well as assisting with some financial planning and forecasting for the business, also sign posted the Tax and expenses queries through to HMRC to get the most up to date and accurate information. The Advisor also completed a thorough diagnostic on the business, pin pointing where there were gaps in some of the Marketing Strategies, linking into the development of some of the businesses product offers.

The Business has now launched a new “bundle package” for Wedding customers as well as having a made some new, useful contacts within the wedding sector.

Business Owner Deborah Jayne say:

“I’m just amazed at the ideas that came out of just two meetings. It was great to have external, expert input in to how I can raise my profile and generate more from the wedding sector”

“This is a relatively rare idea and quite creative. Taking genuine vintage pieces and enhancing them without compromising the original design, with the addition of precious stones and by reworking the design.”

The Business owner goes on to say:

“Having a business advisor who can listen to your ideas and offer an objective view is something that every business owner should have. I would recommend anyone starting a business or looking to grow should get the help and support available through this programme”




July 2017 Case Study: Magic Lantern

Former Health Editor of the Birmingham Mail, Paula Young has worked in PR for more than 14 years. In 2012, Paula decided to explore her love of video and undertook an MA in broadcast journalism at Staffordshire University.

Paula graduated with distinction and used her new filmmaking skills to help promote Cancer Research UK’s work.

Wanting to progress her business idea Paula met one of Blue Orchid’s Enterprise For Success business advisors at a networking event where she discussed her idea in more detail. She subsequently attended the two day business-planning masterclass and received follow up bespoke 1-2-1 support from her dedicated advisor

Since then, she has created online videos for businesses and taught others how to shoot and edit professional videos using nothing more than a mobile phone.

Her work has appeared on ITV™ regional news, on the “Made In Birmingham” local TV channel and on charity websites.

Paula offers a variety of services – one of which is filming and editing on a standard mobile phone. Useful for small businesses trying new ways of promotion

Talking about her new business, Paula says:

“This is a novel approach which helps small business owners make the most of their public relations and marketing opportunities by using their own phone technology.”

“Our mainstream services are video, public relations and a memory box which is way to utilise Paula’s photography skills to save and protect old photographs”

Paula goes on to say:

“I would encourage anyone thinking of starting a business to pick up the phone and speak to one of the “Enterprise for Success” Advisors. Their insight, knowledge and experience is very useful when you’re starting up for the first time”


November 2017 Case Study: Nose to Tail Dog Grooming

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Judy Adams has always been a lover of animals and this last year she decided to turn her love of pet care into a business.

Looking to start a dog grooming business, Judy attended a local Business Start-up Masterclass to understand the details of starting her own venture. She was then assigned a personal business advisor who assisted her with further development of her business plan alongside general start up preparation which included detailed 1-2-1 advice and guidance sessions as well as attending a Marketing and Media workshop to assist with growth of sales in her early months of trading.   Her advisor also assisted her to apply for a Business to Consumer Grant to help towards some initial Start-up costs.

Now successfully set up and trading, the future looks positive as Judy has already over achieved her initial sales predictions!

New Business owner Judy told us:

“The concept of starting my own business was daunting however, the support I have received from “The Enterprising Worcestershire” programme has been excellent.”

“I have gained considerable insight and understanding of setting up and running my own business including advice on business planning and marketing along with an awareness of potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.”

“I don’t believe I would be where I am now and running my own fledgling business without the support I have received. “

Judy goes on to say:

“The first steps in starting your own business are daunting, but the support provided by Blue Orchid has been invaluable and I would highly recommend anyone thinking of starting their own business to join the program. You will receive invaluable advice and guidance regarding your business ideas and the business support to succeed”

September 2017 Case Study: Jane Wilson – Tutor

Having been a qualified teacher for years, Jayne wanted to investigate starting her own business as a personal tutor. Having spent years passing all the qualifications and requirements Jayne wanted to understand the practicalities of setting up her own business as well as looking for any financial support to help her with some of her start-up costs.

Through the Cheshire West and Chester Start up Programme, Jayne was assigned a dedicated start up advisor who assisted her finalising her business plan and financial forecasts as well as connecting her up with and assisting with the application process for the local start up grant provided by Cheshire West and Cheshire Council.

Jayne was also sign posted to the Business Growth Team at the Council to review the series of Masterclass workshops she is eligible to attend for further business growth support.

Having been successful and now started trading, Jayne is looking forward to her businesses future and will be looking to launch new services to the area within schools and colleges in the immediate future.

New Business owner Jayne says:

“I was struggling to find possible grants for my new business, however I found that Cheshire West Council offer local grants for new Northwich businesses. I applied for the £250 grant and with the help of my business advisor who helped me produce a cash flow forecast for my business I gained the grant.”

Jayne goes on to say:

“This has helped me enormously, as it has helped me cover the costs of some of the equipment I needed to buy, such as books, computer and learning resources. It also made me feel that my business was important to the local community.”

 “I would recommend anyone who is thinking of starting a business to make contact with the programme as it offers practical support to help you get started”

October 2017 Case Study: Leana Hughes – Counselling and Therapist

Having experienced her own personal trauma in her past, Leana used this to take control of her own decisions and this led her to decide a career in counselling was her future!

Having put herself through the industry training and qualifications, she then approached the Cheshire West and Chester Start up Programme for support in exploring self-employment as she had never started a business before.

Leana attended a Business Masterclass session which helped her understand the foundational knowledge of starting a business. She was then assigned a personal business advisor who assisted her to create a formalised business plan and spent time exploring and firming up her cash flow forecasts. Following this, her business advisor helped her access some start-up capital to assist with initial start-up costs and also put her in touch with the “Business Growth Programme” for further Growth Planning Support.

Leana has now started her business and the future looks bright. Ever ambitious Leana’s 10-year plan is to grow her business to a multi-disciplinary practise, which judging by her commitment, may be realised sooner rather than later.

New Business owner Leana says:

“I have been blown away by the support available via Cheshire West and Chester Start up Programme. It has shown me how to write a business plan and the Cashflow forecast, which has been quite illuminating”

“My business advisor has connected me with the Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme where I received some very useful Masterclasses. She also assisted me in receiving a £250 grant to help me with start-up costs. What I find most valuable is that they are always available for me to come and see her if I have any questions. I feel supported and held while embarking on (what can be) an overwhelming experience.”

Leana goes on to say:

“What I equally found helpful is the events on offer. Where in the world can you receive such high level of support and this, for free? Almost unheard of!

I have already attended 2 such events.   I have the programme and the local Chambers to thank for their encouragement and true wisdom.”


November 2017 Case Study: Martin De Havilland – Braille Material Manufacturer

Having had 11 years of experience working in the Aviation industry and spotting a gap in the market where Braille materials weren’t actively embraced, coupled with recent legislation changes enforcing public-facing organisations to adopt alternative format materials, a niche in the market was found and Martin decided to spring into action.

Contacting the Cheshire West and Chester Start up Programme, Martin was supported to formalise his cash flow predictions as well as putting together his business plan. Through a series of meetings his dedicated Business Advisor assisted with a series of business related uncertainties ranging from the legal set up of his business through to how to price his services effectively to operate profitably as a business.

He was also assisted to put together an application for the local Business Start-up Grant which has now been approved.

The sky is now the limit for Martin as he actively targets airports and airlines (to produce on board flight safety cards, in flight magazines, menus etc.), local authorities (to produce information leaflets and voting cards for elections), online and high street greetings cards companies (to produce bespoke greetings cards).

New Business owner Martin says:

“When working for yourself, especially trying to sell a pioneering product to some big players, you can become disillusioned. It’s easy to feel that it’s all falling down about your ears. Having that support and encouragement is essential. Knowing that you are doing the right thing spurs you to push that little further toward your goal. Carole has been that spur, that invaluable mentor.

“Yet to receive any remittance from clients, financial support alongside general business advice is just as valued. My Business Advisor helped lodge an application for a grant from Cheshire West and Chester council which has been a massive boost to my new business”

Martin goes on to say:

“The support and encouragement I have received from Cheshire West and Chester Start-up has been exceptional – my greatest thanks has to go to Carole Shepphard. The input from Carole has been invaluable.”

Janet Rach – Food Manufacturer

After being out of work for a few years due to ill health, Janet registered at the Job Centre for support. She had previously owned a restaurant during which time her passion for food led her to blend and make her own spices and sauces. These proved so popular with customers that they started buying her spices and sauces to take home with them.   This gave her the inspiration to start her own new business, Ena Pa.

Her job centre advisor referred her to Blue Orchid who deliver the New Enterprise Allowance programme in Merseyside, who were able to support Janet to structure her business idea into a solid business plan, look at her sales forecasts in the first year and most importantly find the much-required start-up capital required to get her business going.

Fast forward to now, and having completed the mentoring programme, Janet is very positive about her new business venture and feels like she has her own destiny in her hands as she starts looking at supplying her delicious products

Janet says:

“The New Enterprise Allowance scheme is a wonderful programme for people like me with little financial means. The NEA has enabled me to go into self-employment and concentrate on my new business without having to sign on.”

“My Blue Orchid Business Mentor helped me to get a grant from Remploy towards material costs and a loan from Newable to help me support my business at the beginning.”

“Most importantly, the Business Mentor took away my anxiety for the future allowing me to fully concentrate on my business.”

Janet goes on to say:

“Ena Pa offers home-made African and Caribbean spices and sauces along with healthy snacks using, wherever possible, lots of regional and local-grown products. I sell my products at markets throughout the North West. “