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”