Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Wayfarers Travel on an upward path thanks to St Helens Chamber

Business plan drives growth of mini-bus hire company in year one of trading.

With a passion for sport and in particular his beloved Aston Villa, Wayfarers Travel Director John Morris knows plenty about getting from A to B on time.

For over a decade, John had been organising transportation for friends to and from various sporting events, including regular trips down to Birmingham for the North West Lions club.  

It was his enjoyment of organising these trips and driving his fellow passengers to various events, that gave John the idea of owning and operating his own travel business. However, with the commitment of a full-time job, John recognised that there were some barriers to overcome when starting his own company and that he needed some professional advice on how to plan his next move.

Looking for expert support and a sounding board for his business idea, John approached St Helens Chamber.

John commented: “I knew it was really important that the business had a plan, and I needed to work out if my business idea was feasible before committing to it.  Working with Steve Mather at St Helens Chamber, we put together a detailed business strategy that looked at finance, marketing and business administration and as a result, Wayfarers Travel was born.”

Initially running the business part-time, alongside his day job, the plan produced in conjunction with St Helens Chamber enabled John to gain his PSV Operators Licence, as well as acquiring his first 16 seater mini-bus.

Focusing on minibus hire for nights out, sporting events and airport runs, Wayfarer Travel has been steadily growing in its first year of trading, with John supplementing his business knowledge via various courses run at the Chamber.

John continued: “The support I’ve received from St Helens Chamber has been essential.The demand for our service has increased so much that I’m delighted to announce that as from December this year the business will be full-time.

“Without support, it would have been really difficult to transition from being employed to running my own company. It’s been challenging, but equally, it’s immensely rewarding to think the hard work is paying off and I’m doing something I love.”

As well as his core areas of business, John is keen to work more in the education sector, with local schools being made aware of Wayfarers Travel, in particular transportation for school sports teams and tournaments.

Steve Mather, Business Start up Adviser at St Helens Chamber commented:
“It’s great news that John is taking Wayfarers Travel full-time and this is a testament to his hard work and dedication. His business can certainly look forward to a bright future.”

St Helens Chamber is part of Enterprise Hub, the enterprise gateway for business start-up support in Merseyside. Offering expert advice and support to anyone thinking about starting a business, including help to:

  • Understand the process of starting a business
  • Research a business idea
  • Build a comprehensive business plan
  • Develop a marketing plan
  • Create financial forecasts to understand the costs of running your  business and potential income
  • Identify sources of finance to get started

Enterprise Hub is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

For more information about Wayfarers Travel, visit www.wayfarers-travel.co.uk or contact John Morris on 07751 000115.

For more information about the support available from St Helens Chamber to start or grow a new business, call 0845 340 9980 or email startup@sthelenschamber.com.

Enterprise Hub support is available across the Liverpool City Region. For anyone outside of the St Helens area, please contact Enterprise Hub directly on 0151 706 8113, or e-mail enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk to find out about the support in your area. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

All systems are go for Gavin's business - thanks to a little help from Wirral Chamber!

Working with our Enterprise Hub partners at Wirral Chamber of Commerce, Gavin received the start-up support to get his business, GUI Compus Ltd, off the ground. 

Thanks to this support, Gavin's business is today helping businesses manage change through the provision and simplification of IT systems and processes. Here's how it all began...

If Gavin Crompton has learned anything from his 20 years in IT and project management, it’s that change can bring risk … and opportunity!  And it’s this ethos that has equipped Gavin with the skills to not only tackle important changes in his own life, but to start a company that can help other businesses do the same! GUI Compus Ltd is all about helping businesses to manage change effectively.

Heidi and Paul from Wirral Chamber of Commerce with Gavin (centre)

So, where did this appetite for change begin? Well, it all started at Plessey’s in Speke. 

It was here that Gavin first cut his teeth dealing with the early incarnations of information technology and rather large computerised assembly equipment! He also developed a keen eye for detail and a fascination with technology and systems which shaped his career from then on.  

From here, he became heavily involved in supporting ‘transformational change’ in the motor industry, working for companies such as Toyota, before moving down South to work for Johnson Controls, a supplier to Ford Motor Company.  Moving back to Wirral, he then decided on a career change, working in the social housing sector for many years until the opportunity came to take redundancy and pursue fresh challenges. 

In taking calculated risks at every crossroads, Gavin has taken control of his career along the way, treating every opportunity as a chance to grow and acquire new skills.  And this has led to his most exciting and challenging opportunity to date – the chance to start his own company, GUI Compus Ltd!

So, how can GUI Compus Ltd support your business? Well, in a nutshell, it can provide a whole range of change-management solutions through the ‘provision and simplification of IT systems and processes.’ From initial diagnostics to product development and implementation, GUI Compus Ltd can help your business to optimise and streamline its IT and systems/processes to not only promote effective change but to enable your business to flourish whilst doing so!        

Gavin is quick to concede he needed help in forming his company along the way. “There’s hidden treasure and always something new to be learned,” he said, crediting the support he received from Wirral Chamber of Commerce for adding structure to the chaos and complications associated with setting up a new venture. 

And he encourages others to “not be afraid of change, but to take the knocks and expect the unexpected, as tenacity gets you to where you want to be!”

If you would like to find out more about how GUI Compus Ltd can help your business manage change and grow effectively, contact Gavin at: gavin.crompton@guicompus.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/gavin-crompton-a678849a/

And if you have an idea for a business and would like some advice and support contact Enterprise Hub via 0151 706 8113 or enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk

Enterprise Hub is part funded by European Regional Development Fund and free to access for those living in Liverpool City Region looking for support to start a business, or running a business locally that is up to 3 years old and ready to grow.

Back Her Business: Supporting female entrepreneurs starting new businesses through crowdfunding

The Women's Organisation are hosting a 'Back Her Business' event with Crowdfunder, to show you how together with NatWest, they can help you raise money for your new business through the power of crowdfunding.

What's more, if you're a new female-led business which has not yet crossed an annual turnover of £1,000, then you could be eligible for a special grant funding opportunity from NatWest to receive up to £5,000 for your business!*

This session is for new or young female-led businesses who have not yet crossed an annual turnover of £1,000 at the point of application.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Think you're ready to GROW your business? 📈

So, you think you're ready to GROW your business. But how do you really know? 

Growth can mean different things to different businesses. For some, it can simply mean that they want to increase their sales turnover, profits, or their share in the market. For others, it might look like taking on more staff or even expanding into offering new products or services. Another example of a growing business is one that's ready to increase its physical presence with more premises or shop outlets, while those selling online might look at increasing their virtual presence.

As you can see, growth can take many forms.  

But how do you know you are ready to grow YOUR business? Here are some ways to tell...

  • You have regular repeat customers that proves your product or service is of a good quality and, most importantly, in demand! This gives you a stable base to grow your business from.
  • Your customers WANT you to grow. Perhaps they've been asking for more products or services form you, or even more of your time.
  • If your industry is growing, now might be a good time and low risk opportunity for you to grow with it. Are there any new products or services you could offer?
  • You actually have too much business! Perhaps you have more business than you can handle at the moment and risk over trading. Now might be a good time to take on staff to help you grow sustainable.
  • You are stuck at a certain turnover and want to increase it - now is the time to get a serious growth plan in place.

This might be a daunting prospect for some business owners, but the key thing to remember is that growing your business is about working smarter, not harder. 

It is about thinking outside of the box and putting new ideas into action to get your business to the next level faster.

So, how do our team of experienced business growth advisors work out the best route to grow your business?

  1. We simply look at where your business is currently at through our unique business diagnostic methods.
  2. We listen to what your growth ambitions are and where you realistically want your business to    be in the next 12-36 months.
  3. We then work out a realistic and achievable strategic plan to achieve your growth ambitions as   quickly as possible.
Here's our client Cheryl Grogan, founder of AJ's Playdays, on how we helped her to scale-up her business...

If you are a female-led business based in the Liverpool City Region which has been trading for under 42 months and you'd like to explore how we can help you achieve your business growth ambitions, then we could help!

Our partners at The Women’s Organisation are running a series of Grow & Thrive Business Masterclasses to help you GROW. 

These are:

When & How to Take on Staff 

Tuesday 8th October, 10am - 1pm, at 54 St James Street

Here's how we helped our client Laura Richardson, founder of The Beauty of Business, get to the stage of taking on her first employee...

Master your Sales & Marketing strategy

Wednesday 16th October, 10am - 1pm, at 54 St James Street.

We worked with Claire Morton, founder of Ell & Dee Consultants, to refine her marketing strategy and brand...

If you'd like to speak to a member of our team to find out more about the support on offer, please contact us at enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk or 0151 706 8113.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Grow & Thrive Business Masterclass Series - for women with a business ready for serious growth 📈

We're excited to announce a brand new series of business masterclasses, designed especially to support women with high-growth businesses. 

Delivered by our partners at The Women's Organisation, this series of expert-led training sessions has been developed to support women-led businesses with high growth ambitions.

Two fully-funded sessions will be happening throughout October, covering topics including taking on staff as well as developing your sales and marketing strategy.

Come to one, or join us for all three!

**This training is fully-funded under the Enterprise Hub programme for female-led businesses under 42 months in the Liverpool City Region. Please see below to find out if this training is right for you at this stage** 

The sessions are:

When & How to Take on Staff

Tuesday 8th October, 10am - 1pm, at 54 St James Street (L1 0AB).

If you're ready to take on staff to help support your next phase of business growth, then this session will equip you with the skills and practical knowledge to do so. You'll also be able to hear from local entrepreneurs who have done it.

What is covered in the session?

Local entrepreneur Anna Slater, founder of North West Linen Services, will be sharing her journey and experiences of taking on staff for the first time. From tackling imposter syndrome, the importance of mapping out affordability and strategy, to becoming the employer of 26 staff members.

Expert recruitment consultant, Elaine Courtney, founder of  Courtney Recruitment, will be on hand to help you understand the main stages of recruitment and how to find the right people for your team.

Enterprise Hub business expert, Bernie Cox, will guide you through the legalities and practicalities of taking on staff. From liability insurance, to setting up a payroll and arranging new employee inductions.

Visit the Eventbrite page here.

Master your Sales & Marketing strategy

Wednesday 16th October, 10am - 1pm, at 54 St James Street (L1 0AB).

If you're ready to take your business into an exciting new phase of growth, then a watertight sales and marketing strategy is vital to building valuable and lasting customer relationships which translate into sales. This expert-led training session will equip you with the skills and practical knowledge you need to master your sales and marketing strategy.

What is covered in the session?

Be Your Brand
Nailing your brand is vital to building valuable relationships with your target market. This session will help you understand how to build your brand persona with confidence. Sue Kelbrick from Wigwam Coffee Shop will be joining us to share her experience of developing their business story to grow their business.

How to set & reach your sales goals with Claire Philliskirk
Experienced Sales Leader Claire Philliskirk (Winner of European Women in Tech Sales Europe 2016) will be on hand to tell you how to set and reach your sales goals. From setting realistic SMART targets, to implementing your sales strategy and monitoring your progress - learn the tools for a winning strategy.

Personal Growth & People Performace with Nikki Cross
People performance expert Nikki Cross will be sharing the importance of aligning your strategic goals with the goals of your team, offering a "how to" guide to setting a people performance strategy which effectively develops your people and grows your business.

Visit the Eventbrite page here.

Is this training for me?

  • Are you a woman-led business registered in the Liverpool City Region?
  • Have you been trading for under 42 months?
  • Do you have high-growth ambitions?
  • Are you looking to further grow your business turnover?
  • Do you already, or are you thinking about taking on staff?

Then this training is ideal for you! These sessions aim to equip you with the practical skills and knowledge to lead your business into its new stage of growth. 

If you'd like to book onto any, or both, of these sessions then please get in touch with our team. You can reach us on 0151 706 8113, or e-mail enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Case Study: Breaking down barriers with Helen Clarke Autism

Helen Clarke Autism is a specialist autism training and consultancy service, dedicated to improving the lives of autistic children, in particular autistic girls. With support from the Enterprise Hub programme, Helen is taking her business from strength to strength.

Helen provides educational and consultancy services for schools, parents, health services and other organisations that support autistic children.

As an autistic woman herself and having previously worked with autistic children for over twenty years as an Art and Design teacher, Helen is passionate about sharing her own life journey to improve the experience of others.

Her mission is now more important than ever, with recent reports suggesting that the number of autistic women and girls may have been severely underestimated due to historic gender biases.

Experts explain that early assumptions of the condition meant that it was predominantly thought to affect men, with the real ratio in fact coming in at approximately 3:1. This means that the number of girls and women with the condition has been vastly underestimated with thousands going undiagnosed.

As might be expected, this has taken its toll on the mental health of many girls and women across the country as living without a diagnosis often means that people are not accessing appropriate support in terms of health and education.

Thankfully, there is now a growing recognition of the issue and Helen is one of the professionals at the forefront of this battle to help autistic women overcome the barriers they face and improve the services available to them.

With such an important task at hand, Helen decided self-employment was the best way for her to reach and support as many girls as possible – and so she founded Helen Clarke Autism consultancy services.

Having worked with business advisor Huda Mamoun from The Women’s Organisation to start her business, Helen was able to put together a business plan and attend a range of courses to help get her started in business. After a successful start it wasn’t long before Helen needed to put a strategy for growth in place, returning for further Enterprise Hub support to help grow her young business.

She says: “I am indebted to The Women’s Organisation who have provided me with valuable support, guidance and high-quality training. I learnt an incredible amount thanks to their expertise, with specialist training covering business planning and how to set up my business, as well as useful sessions on book-keeping and marketing.

“I’ve also been very fortunate to have the guidance of my business mentor, Huda Mamoun, and have greatly benefitted from her knowledge. She has encouraged me to succeed and has believed in me from the very start, encouraging me to keep going and guiding me through the aspects of business which I found particularly difficult.”

Just one of Helen’s aims is to make sure the needs of autistic girls are better understood in schools.
Having an autistic daughter herself, Helen has experienced the education system from ‘both sides of the fence’, so she is fully aware of the issues that autistic girls face both in gaining a diagnosis and receiving an education that fully meets their needs.

She says: “Many autistic girls are labelled “school refusers” because they find it hard to cope in schools, resulting in having a poor attendance or having to drop out of school completely. I want to work with schools to help them better understand the needs of autistic children - the school system needs to change, not the autistic child.”

With a master’s degree in education, Helen is well equipped to tackle these issues first-hand.

Helen believes that autistic people possess many strengths including an ability to see the world from a different perspective and to be able to pay extraordinary attention to detail. Many autistic people are highly creative and others very logical, each being unique and individual.

“Spectacular Girls” – Helen’s series of well-being workshops – was designed to help autistic girls understand how autism might affect them as individuals, while equipping them with valuable life skills and helping to build strong, personal identities.

Helen explains how these sessions are working to improve the lives of autistic girls: “The current academic curriculum often doesn’t include many of the important topics that autistic girls need to explore, such as how autism affects them as individuals, about their own identity and about safety.

“Autistic girls are at greater risk of exploitation and abuse, according to current research in this field, and so I wanted to work directly with girls to address this concern. What’s more, adolescent girls are also most likely to self-harm and in Sefton this number is higher than nationally. I’m working to improve the mental health of girls by helping them to better understand themselves and equip them with practical strategies.”

She has also worked with organisations like The Atkinson in Southport to help promote inclusion in its services and has compiled an adapted Community and Life Skills Curriculum for autistic children.

So, how has Helen found the process of starting and growing a business?
She says: “Being autistic there are many aspects of setting up a business that have been daunting. Many autistic people have social anxiety for example, but business depends on developing contacts and networking so I’ve had to push myself far out of my comfort zone and will continue to do so.”

“There are also many positive aspects to running a business; being a role model for my daughter so she sees that even individuals can help bring about change in society, helping autistic girls to better understand themselves, improving their mental health, as well as challenging stereotypes of autism and what autistic people are capable of!”

To find out more about Helen’s consultancy services, you can visit her website at www.helenclarkeautism.com or find her on Twitter using @HelenAutism. She can also be contacted directly at helenclarkeautism@gmail.com.

If you’ve been inspired by Helen’s story and are interested in starting or growing a business of your own, then Enterprise Hub could help!

Get in touch if you’re thinking of starting a business in the Liverpool City Region, or have a new business under three years old. You can speak to our team via enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk or 0151 706 8113.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

📢 LINE-UP ANNOUNCEMENT: Start Up and Grow Week 2019

We're excited to announce the line-up of events for Start-up and Grow Week this September!

Running from 16th - 20th September 2019, this week long programme of training, workshops and events is designed to equip you with the skills and know-how to start or grow your business. 

You can follow all the action using #StartUpAndGrowWeek on Twitter!

The line-up for Start Up and Grow Week 2019 so far is as follows...


"Let's Talk Business" - drop-in for business start-up advice

Monday 16th September, 10am - 2pm, at The Women's Organisation (54 St James Street, L1 0AB). FREE.

Thinking of starting a business? If you have an idea or a hobby you could turn into a business, drop in for an informal chat with an expert Business Adviser at The Women's Organisation. You'll find out more about the logistics of going self-employed and discover what support is available to you.

Open to men and women who are thinking of starting a business in the Liverpool City Region. Booking essential. Secure your slot by contacting hello@thewo.org.uk or calling 0151 706 8111. More details here. 

Research your market: introduction to business information

Monday 16th September, 6 - 7.15pm at Liverpool Central Library's Business & IP Centre.

Are you exploring a business idea and want to know if there is a market for it? Do you want to find out more about a particular competitor, supplier or a potential customer?

This free workshop will help you utilise the wealth of business information resources available at Liverpool Business & IP Centre to help you find:

• Up-to-the-minute data on company financial performance

• Lists of companies to contact

• Important questions about the demand for a product or service

• Major players in your sector

• Trends in the industry


Building a Social Media Strategy
Tuesday 17th September, 10am - 1pm, at The Women's Organisation (54 St James Street, L1 0AB). £50 or fully-funded*

This informative workshop will guide you through the different social media platforms suitable for your business, explore time saving techniques and help you build a social media marketing strategy to promote your business and build an online presence in a cost effective and efficient way.

You can book your place via Eventbrite by clicking here, or by contacting the team on 0151 706 8113 or enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk. *If you're a woman living in the Liverpool City Region and thinking of starting a business, then you may be eligible for a FREE place on this course through the Enterprise Hub programme. Call the team to find out more.

Merseyside Expanding Horizons Business Brunch

Tuesday 17th September, 10am - 12pm, at Merseyside Expanding Horizons, Mill Lane, Old Swan, L13 5TF.

Our partners at Merseyside Expanding Horizons are hosting a business brunch for aspiring entrepreneurs this Start Up and Grow Week.

Contact staceyrobinson@expandinghorizons.co.uk for more info and bookings.

Protect your brand: trade marks and trade mark searching

Tuesday 17th September, 6-7pm at Liverpool Central Library's Business & IP Centre.

An essential guide to understanding how trade marks can help your business succeed.

Trade marks distinguish the goods or services of one business from another and can take many forms, for example; words slogans, logos, shapes, colours and sounds.

In this workshop we will explain the key facts about trade marks and how to use our free web databases to see if this form of protection is available and suitable for your business idea. It is ideal for you if you are an entrepreneur, inventor or innovator with an idea or product you are looking to protect with a trade mark.

Click here to book your free place.


Planning for Success - business planning course
Wednesday 18th September, 9.30am - 4pm, at The Women's Organisation (54 St James Street, L1 0AB). £50 or fully-funded*

This one day of training is for women who have a clear business idea. It covers all the basics of business planning, looks at market research, promotion, advertising, pricing and financial skills helping to establish whether your business idea is potentially profitable.

You can book your place via Eventbrite by clicking here, or by contacting the team on 0151 706 8113 or enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk. *If you're a woman living in the Liverpool City Region and thinking of starting a business, then you may be eligible for a FREE place on this course through the Enterprise Hub programme. Call the team to find out more.

Be Your Own Boss
Wednesday 18th September, 6 - 8pm, at St Helens Chamber (WA10 1FY). FREE.

‘Be Your Own Boss’ events are designed to give you the information you need to decide whether starting and running a business is for you. It’s informal, free and the best way to find out everything you need to start your own business. 

Book your free place online by clicking here or call the team now on 01744 742096 for more information.


**Business Start-up Conference**
Thursday 19th September, 10am - 1pm, at Liverpool Central Library's Business IP Centre (William Brown Street). FREE. Supported by Natwest Business.

We're excited to see the return of our hugely popular business start-up conference, which will be a cornerstone event this Start-Up and Grow Week!
So far, we can confirm that two inspiring Liverpool entrepreneurs will be joining us to share their start-up journeys - Ruth Hartnoll, Founder of digital marketing agency J&R Agency, as well as Claire Morton, founder of Ell & Dee NLP Consultants - with more speakers still to be announced.
Book your free place via Eventbrite by clicking here, or you can contact enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk or 0151 706 8113 for further information and bookings.

Digital Skills Training - Social Media Marketing & Web Presence
Thursday 19th September, 2.30pm - 4.30pm, with The Extraordinary Club in Liverpool Central Library's Business IP Centre (William Brown Street). FREE.

Following the start-up conference, we will be joined by The Extraordinary Club for an afternoon of Facebook certified training, talking all things web presence and social media strategy for early stage businesses. not to be missed!

Book your free place via Eventbrite by clicking here

Entrepreneur in Residence drop-in advice session 
Thursday 19th September, 1 - 4pm, at Liverpool Central Library's Business IP Centre (William Brown Street). FREE.

Cllr Gary Millar and his team of business experts will be on hand to answer to your business start-up questions in this friendly drop-in session.
No need to book - just pop to the first floor!


A Beginner's Guide to GDPR and Information Security
Friday 20th September, 9.30am - 12.30pm at The Lauries (CH41 6EY).

This informative, half-day workshop helps you to keep your company safe and compliant by:

- Outlining the key principles of the General Data Protection Regulations in terms of the rights of your customers and the obligations of your business.

-  Explaining what should be considered when developing or reviewing your Privacy Policy

Identifying techniques employed by hackers when attempting to breach your company and introducing some simple steps will help mitigate 80% of the most common threats faced… as well as providing some useful tips on how to keep you and your family safe online

Book your place via Eventbrite by clicking here. 

Open Business Drop at The Onion
Friday 20th September, 10am - 4pm at The Onion cafe, Bootle Strand Shopping Centre.

The Merseyside Expanding Horizons advice team will be on hand at The Onion cafe for anyone looking to start or grow a business to drop in and get some initial advice and information about the Enterprise Hub programme. 

No need to book - just drop-in!

For more details you can contact us on 0151 706 8113 or get in touch via e-mail at enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk

You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using @MerseyEntHub to be the first in the know about #StartUpAndGrowWeek.