Monday, 30 October 2017

Mary J Sews Is The Reel Deal

After 20 years of working in social housing, Julia was made redundant and decided to set up her own business, Mary J Sews, with the help of St Helens Chamber and Enterprise Hub.

Julia explains: “I was made redundant in 2016 and was wondering what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to go back into social housing which I’d been working in for 20 years. My brother has just become a Deacon with the church and the family wanted to buy him some vestments.

“I’d always done sewing for friends and family alongside my job and we’d noticed that there was nothing bespoke so I decided to make them for him. I bought myself an embroidery machine and started from scratch.”

It was then that Julia had the idea to expand her sewing from doing favours for family and friends to starting a business and growing a client base.

Julia was referred to St Helens Chamber by her local Job Centre Plus and made contact with the Chamber’s Business Start Up service. She met with a dedicated business Start Up adviser to discuss her business plan and also attended Business Essentials workshops, giving her the tools she needed to become self-employed.

Julia said: “I thought about sewing and repairs as a job so I approached the Chamber and got the ball rolling with the business planning process.

“The process of going through the Chamber was great. I’ve always worked in St Helens and was aware of the Chamber, but didn’t know how big it was. The whole process was seamless.

“The minute that you walked through the door, it was very professional and you can see that they mean business. The whole ethos is very encouraging from the start.”

Julia credits St Helens Chamber with helping her to take her hobby to a professional level and create a robust business plan.

She explains: “The Chamber have given me constructive criticism on my plan and have challenged me to look at things differently.

“I am proud to be associated with the Chamber and I champion what they do. If you live in the St Helens area it would be silly not to take advantage if you are in the position to be able to start a business.”

Julia’s original plan was to split the business between three areas: vestments, children’s communion and flower girl dresses and repairs but due to Julia’s contacts within the Church and the quality of her work, she has been busy making vestments and robes for Clergy members.

Julia said: “Word of mouth is growing quite rapidly and I’ve got really good links with the local Archdiocese and they have been able to provide me with some work.

“It’s about being able to move in those circles and get my name out there. It’s very exciting.”
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 the support available from Enterprise Hub, ring us on 0151 706 8113 or email enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Video Company Ready For A Starring Role In The Local Economy

Former freelancer, Mike Gittins has started his own video production company with help from St Helens Chamber and Enterprise Hub.

After working on freelance projects for the last decade, Mike decided to go into business for himself and has already attracted some high profile clients.

He said: “Sundown Films specialise in video content production which help businesses raise the profile online through video, generate brand awareness, and increase sales and SEO rankings.

“We are currently working with Holiday Inn Express for the next 12 months, producing social media and video content for them to raise more awareness about their company and what they offer to the audience.”


Mike studied TV and film production at university and has had a varied career in the sector including freelance work and teaching.

He said: “I studied video content producing at University and for the past ten years I have done freelance film work, some teaching in Geneva, short films and promotional material.
“I decided to start a business so I would have regular work coming in as I have had a family and wanted to produce something for my son’s future and the security of my family.”

Mike had previously attempted to start a business and although he managed to secure work, he felt the scope was limited due to inexperience in running a business and a lack of support available.

 “When I left University, I started a business which I think was na├»ve as we were inexperienced on the business side of things. Although we did some work, we weren’t able to take that bigger step.

“But this time with Sundown Films, the advice and support I’ve had from the Chamber has been great. If you utilise the help on offer then you can really benefit from it.”

For Mike being part of the Chamber has given him the opportunity to access a readymade business community and the support of other Members, which he feels has been instrumental to his success.


Mike made contact with the Chamber’s Business Start Up service which enabled met with a dedicated business Start Up adviser to discuss her business plan.

He said: “Going through the Start Up programme, I’ve grown my business alongside other companies. A lot of them have supported me and we help each other to grow.

“I knew how to go about networking, but I needed help with how to sustain a business, which I think is often a problem for start-ups. The Chamber helped me focus on what I needed to do to get longevity out of my business.

“I would recommend the Chamber’s Start Up programme without a shadow of a doubt, the support you get from the staff and Chamber Members is so beneficial. Whether you are a company with a number of staff or work on your own, it’s so good have the support there.”
Mike has high hopes for the future and would like to grow and establish his company as a key player in video production.

He said: “As well as looking to move into premises in the Liverpool area, I want to help businesses understand and really utilise video marketing”

To find out more about Sundown Films visit the website at http://www.sundownfilms.co.uk/
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 the support available email us on enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk or ring us on 0151 706 8113


What You Need To Know About Being An Entrepreneur

Blog from Enterprise Hub partner; St Helens Chamber

If you have never worked for yourself before, being an entrepreneur may seem a great way to make money fast. But any self-made man or woman will tell you that there is more to being your own boss.

Start Up adviser, Stella Libertini shares her top tips for new entrepreneurs:


Do what you know and know what you do

Don't start a business because it seems glamorous or boasts assumed large profit margins and returns, a business built around your strengths and abilities will have a greater chance of success. It's not only important to create a profitable business, it's also important that you are enjoy managing and growing it day in and day out. If your heart isn't in it, you will not be successful.

Focus

Many first-time entrepreneurs feel the need to jump at every opportunity they come across. Avoid getting side-tracked or trying to juggle multiple projects that will spread your time too thinly and limit both your effectiveness and productivity. Do one thing perfectly, not 5 things poorly.

Act like a startup

Forget about fancy offices, fast cars and fat expense accounts, practice and perfect the art of being frugal. Watch where you spend every pound and triple-check every expense. Maintain a low overhead and manage your cash flow regularly and effectively.


Look after your health

You will be much more productive if you take better care of yourself. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, not a 9-to-5 job. Working to the point of exhaustion will burn you out and make you less productive. Don't make excuses - eat right, exercise, take time out with family, make time for yourself and recharge your batteries.

If you liked these top tips and are looking for more, be sure to keep an eye on our blog for business tips!

And if you are looking for support and advice to start your business - get in touch with Enterprise Hub today! Email us on hello@thewo.org.uk or ring is 0151 706 8113


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Networking? Top Tips From St Helens Chamber

Blog from Enterprise Hub partner; St Helens Chamber

Networking and speaking to new people in a business environment can be daunting, especially if you don’t have much experience. However, getting to know people and promoting your business face to face could win you new customers and raise your profile.

Start Up adviser, Stella Libertini gives her tops tips on networking successfully:

Push yourself and commit

The hardest thing about networking can be getting out there. Make sure to schedule events on your calendar so you’ll go even when you don’t feel like it. You could also try taking a networking 'wingman/wingwoman' and together you can naturally draw others into your conversation and give each support.


Have two key questions ready

Instead of looking at networking as an open-ended exercise, choose one or two questions you’re genuinely interested in asking people when you meet them. If you make the questions count and make them meaningful, for example 'What inspired you to start your business?' or 'What impact do you hope to make in the industry?', you are more likely to create connections with people whose answers inspire you.

Focus on giving not getting

The best way to network is to give before you get. It’s good practice in life and generally everything you give you get back tenfold. This is a great way to network because you don’t have to be nervous about “the get” or asking for a favor. You’re simply offering your help which will almost always be embraced with open arms, just don’t offer too much.

Don't forget members of St Helens Chamber can attend networking events like our Business Breakfast for free. Membership for Start Ups, coming through our programme is priced at £25+VAT for the first year. 

If you liked these top tips and are looking for more, be sure to keep an eye on our blog for business tips!

And if you are looking for support and advice to start your business - get in touch with Enterprise Hub today! Email us on hello@thewo.org.uk or ring is 0151 706 8113

Friday, 13 October 2017

How Good Is Your Customer Service?

Blog from Enterprise Hub partner; St Helens Chamber

How Good Is Your Customer Service? 

If you are new to running a business, you may think that there are a hundred things that come before good customer service. However, word of mouth and recommendations are one of the most powerful marketing tools around.

A glowing review of a product or service from a friend will make you more likely to use the same company. On the other hand, bad reviews because of a poor product or customer service experience can be really detrimental.

People are increasingly now leaving positive and negative reviews online which can be seen by countless people so it's important to get your customer service right.

Start Up adviser, Stella Libertini gives her top tips for good customer service:



- Know everything about your product or service.

- Ensure every aspect of your business is up to standard. When you have good products, services, shipping and returns policies, etc your customers will naturally assume you have good customer service as well.

-The customer isn't always right but never be pulled into an argument with a customer, however tempted you are to prove you are right.

- Smiling and staying calm will go a long way

- Make things easy for your customer engage with you and your business, pay you and contact you. Include contact details on your website or social media pages.

If you liked these top tips and are looking for more, be sure to keep an eye on our blog for business tips!

And if you are looking for support and advice to start your business - get in touch with Enterprise Hub today! Email us on hello@thewo.org.uk or ring is 0151 706 8113


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Women's Organisation Help Jane Clappison of The Make-Up Academy To Launch!

Jane Clappison is a pro in every sense of the word! A professional make-up artist who has been working in the industry for the past fifteen years, in areas such as film and television, to make up counters and college – She has now turned her hand to another area of the industry and started her own training centre; The Make Up Academy.

Jane Clappison - Founder of The Make Up Academy
Prior to starting her own business, Jane’s most recent job was teaching as a make-up lecturer at a further education college, but found herself losing the love she once had for the job; ‘I love teaching and I love make up, but I had taught for over 12 years and it had changed dramatically in that time and not for the better.’


If like Jane you would like to access expert advice to start your own business, get in touch with the Enterprise Hub team on 0151 706 8113 or email us on enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk 




Emma Purchase And Her Business; Sweet Pea & Little Wolf Launched With Hub Support!

Sweet Pea & Little Wolf – this business name conjures up all sorts of lovely images in your mind, and meeting Emma Purchase, you’d think just the same thing! Emma, the founder of Sweet Pea & Little Wolf, who recently gave an inspiring speech at our Summer Social Business Club, is just that – inspiring and a breath of fresh air!

Just look at how she describes her business!

‘Sweet Pea brings the delicious range of herbal tea, Little Wolf brings the neat range of wanderlust themed enamel mugs, clothing and accessories. Together they make the ultimate team.’

Emma and her family!
Recently Emma received support to start her business from Enterprise Hub partner; The Women's Organisation


If like Emma you would like to access expert advice to start your own business, get in touch with the Enterprise Hub team on 0151 706 8113 or email us on enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

5 Key Inspirations We are Taking from Start Up Day At Liverpool Central Library BIPC

Start-up Day at Liverpool Central Library was the event pencilled in every local budding entrepreneurs calendar this month, as the day promised to be jam packed with enterprise expertise, and it definitely did not disappoint.  If you missed out, here is a flavour of what happened throughout the day, and some key takeaway tips to help you move your business idea forward. 

Opened by Assistant Mayor and enterprise champion Councillor Gary Millar, the day kicked of with the Enterprise Hub Start-up Conference hosted by Bernie Cox from Enterprise Hub lead The Women's Organisation.
Sabah Shams from Enterprise Hub with Councillor Gary Millar
Starting by 'thinking outside of the box' Bernie got people thinking about how they can exercise the skill of lateral thinking to the benefit of their business. 
“Advice given was a great help” said one person who attended the session. 

Google Digital Garage Session

Next up digital giants Google held a Digital Garage session looking at 'How to build a social media strategy' which proved very popular, packed out with local budding entrepreneurs hoping to soak in their knowledge. This session was closely followed by a choice between hearing from the brilliant Nicola Wass (CEO of So-Mo) talking about her journey as 'The Unexpected Entrepreneur', having a look into 3-D printing with a display by MeLT or getting serious about Business planning through a focussed workshop.
“Very useful event.  The speakers were insightful and the content was all relevant.  Well organised and I will recommend future events” said one delighted visitor.



The afternoon was packed with more brilliant inspiration for local businesses featuring talks from Barrington Powell, a profesional entertainer, Garth Dallas offering his key tips to success, founder of PLACED Jo Harrop sharing her insights, and the return of Google for another session around understanding your customer.

Thanks too to Councillor Gary Millar and the mentors who ran the entrepreneurs clinic, Peter Dunning of Digital Config who offered Website advice and Dr Les Pritchard from Culverstons who was on hand to talk all things IP. 
“Very good.  Inspirational is an understatement” said one of the thrilled attendees




The day culminated in a brilliant pie and networking event featuring pies and inspiration from the fantastic 'Homebaked' a local co-operative bakery talking about their journey from start up to success. 
Some of the comments at the end of the event were:
“Excellent and inspiring” 
“Great initiative.  Very inspiring.” 

5 Key Tips to Takeaway
If you missed the event, all is not lost.  Here are 5 useful business tips taken from the themes covered that you can apply to your business idea:


  1. Strategise your social media - Don't just add your business to every social media channel because 'everyone is doing it'. Work out where your customer can be found and focus your effort on those few channels so you can reach the right people well. 
  2. We are all in the same boat - feeling like an 'imposter' who is going to be found out, or wondering if you are alone in feeling like you may be out of your depth is typical for a first time business owner.  Just know EVERYONE goes through it, but keep your confidence growing, talk to others at the same stage and take comfort that you are not alone and that you will get past this phase. 
  3. Network - In business it is often the truth 'not what you know but who you know' that can be key to success. Get building relationships, and be specific. You never know who in your network may be the key to linking you with the right connection for your business so let them know who you are trying to reach. 
  4. Protect your ideas and your business - If you have a business name, logo, product or service that you don't want anyone to copy, then ensure you get expert advice around Intellectual Property Rights. Also check you aren't infringing on anyone elses by always asking permission before using others images etc. 
  5. Don't forget SEO - If you are going to have a website for your business, don't assume it will just be found. Look at key Search engine optimisation principals, or bring in an expert to ensure search engines like Google pick it up and it isn't languishing on page 27 of results. 
Massive congratulations to the team at Enterprise Hub Partners Liverpool Central Library Business and IP Centre for putting together an amazing day.

If you are thinking about starting a business and would like additional help then contact the Enterprise Hub team for advice and support on 0151 706 8113 or enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk. 

Enterprise Hub is part funded by European Regional Development Fund and draws together expert organisations from across the Liverpool City Region to offer a simplified approach to business support for local residents wanting to explore their ideas. 


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

We Asked 'Is Freelancing for Me?' during Enterprise Hub Start Up Week



Kicking off Enterprise Hub Start Up Week was a brilliant 'Is Freelancing for Me?' event with Enterprise Hub Partners The Women's Organisation! Local business women Heather from Blue Tang Marketing and Jenny from Jenny Ball - Life & Business Coach for Women shared their experiences of getting started and promoting yourself as a freelancer. 

If you are thinking of becoming a freelancer and missed out on the event, here are some quick tips to takeaway:

  1. Always put a contract in place - Managing expectations on both sides is key and ensuring you have a written agreement avoids any misunderstandings
  2. Take a down payment - Where possible ask for a percentage up front. It can take a long time to finish a project, so ensure you have cashflow to keep you going
  3. Showcase your work - Build a portfolio of examples as you go from previous work and ask for testimonials
  4. Ensure you are insured - Depending on the type of work you are doing you will need different business insurances. Get some advice to make sure you have everything you need
  5. Network for the next project - While you may be busy now, don't lose sight of the next project.  It can take a while to bring in new work, so plan in time to promote while you are working on other things


A fantastic morning was had by all with some real food for thought taken away.  Some of the women who attended the morning said:


"This has been the kickstart I need- everyone input was invaluable" 
"Really well presented good time to explore options" 
I enjoyed "Hearing from other entrepreneurs  their stories advice and experience" 
My favourite thing was "Being able to speak to others in similar situation in a relaxed environment" 
"Really liked the talk from new starter." 
I enjoyed the "Positive attitude and experience"

The next similar event will be the Enterprise Hub Start Up Conference on 10th October, so if you are looking for help to get started follow this link to book. 

Thank you to the DWF Foundation who match funded this event which was offered as part of our Enterprise Hub programme, part funded by European Regional Development Fund. 



Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Enterprise Hub Start Up Week: Thanks for Joining us!


September welcomed Start Up Week with Enterprise Hub celebrating self-employment and entrepreneurship across the Liverpool City Region. Enterprise Hub hosted a number of free events including seminars and workshops to support individuals in LCR considering self-employment with business advice and support. 

Enterprise Hub is THE enterprise gateway for business start-up support in Liverpool City Region, and through a network of business support agencies, Enterprise Hub is able to offer expert guidance to anyone who is thinking about starting a business.

Last year, the British Library delivered a national 'Start Up Day' to mark the tenth anniversary of the London Business & IP Centre and over 1,500 events took place across the country. This year, Thursday 21st of September marked national 'Start Up Day' and Liverpool Central Library had a whole host of events in place, including a masterclass in 'How to Build a Social Media Strategy' and 'Understand Your Customer', led by media giant, Google.

Start Up Week may have came to an end, but you can still access advice and support through Enterprise Hub if you are thinking about setting up a business.
Enterprise Hub are hosting a Start-Up Conference; a free and informative event where you can hear from business owners, learn more about the practicalities involved with self-employment and find out about the support available through Enterprise Hub. Book your place here, or contact enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk or 0151 706 8100 for more information.



Monday, 18 September 2017

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram Launches Enterprise Hub Start-up Week


From left: Maggie O’Carroll (chief executive The Women’s Organisation), Steve Rotheram (Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor), John Mathias (business adviser at Alt Valley Community Trust), Dan Hennessey (Worthy Campervans) and Cllr Marion Atkinson (Sefton Council Cabinet Member of Regeneration & Skills)
A series of free events, seminars and workshops take place across the Liverpool city region this week as Enterprise Hub Start-Up Week gets under way.
The aim of the the week, which is being co-ordinated by Enterprise Hub lead partners The Women’s Organisation, is to encourage more entrepreneurs to take a leap of faith and start their own businesses.
The Women’s Organisation chief executive Maggie O’Carroll joined with Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram at Invest Sefton in Bootle to kick start the initiative.  The Metro Mayor commented "new business start-ups are as important as large scale inward investments to growing the Liverpool city region economy and increasing our prosperity.”
Enterprise Hub offers FREE expert advice and support to residents within Liverpool City Region who are thinking about starting their own business. Find out more about the events on offer here. 

Friday, 8 September 2017

Enterprise Hub’s Start Up Week | 18th – 22nd September 2017 | Your Full Programme Of Events!

#EntHubStartUpWeek

Something exciting is coming your way! From Monday 18th September to Friday 22nd September, Enterprise Hub has a full programme of event and activities to mark and celebrate Start Up Week!

Start Up Week is a celebration of self-employment and entrepreneurship across the Liverpool City Region.


You are invited to join Enterprise Hub at a range of free events and seminars throughout the week.

Come and discover how to start and sustain a successful business, hear from the experts, and find out more about what support is available to you.

Enterprise Hub is THE enterprise gateway for business start-up support in Liverpool City Region, and through a network of business support agencies, the Enterprise Hub partners, we are able to offer expert advice and support to anyone who is thinking about starting a business!

So…

What does Enterprise Hub Start Up Week have in store for you? 

See the full programme below and remember to join in the conversation on Twitter by following @MerseyEntHub and #EntHubStartUpWeek







Remember! If you are wanting to get in touch with Enterprise Hub directly, you can do at any time! Email us on enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk or ring us on 0151 706 8111

Enterprise Hub Start Up Week | Monday 18th September | #EntHubStartUpWeek

#EntHubStartUpWeek

Start Up Week is a celebration of self-employment and entrepreneurship across the Liverpool City Region.

You are invited to join Enterprise Hub at a range of free events and seminars throughout the week.

Come and discover how to start and sustain a successful business, hear from the experts, and find out more about what support is available to you.

Monday 18th September

‘Is Freelancing For Me?’ – 10am-1pm – The Women’s Organisation


At: 54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB

The Women’s Organisation are going to help you find out if you have the skills and qualities needed to be a Freelancer? If you’re wanting to find out more about how Freelancing works, and if it’s right for you, then join The Women’s Organisation at this informative session!


‘Enterprise Hub in Halton’ – 10am-3pm – Wirral Chamber of Commerce

At: Halton Chamber Municipal Building, Kingsway, Widnes, WA8 7QF

Wirral Chamber of Commerce will be available for anyone living in Halton to come and speak to about their business ideas! So, if you are in this area, and would like to start receiving support and advice on how to get your business idea moving, there are 1-2-1 business advice sessions and 1-2-1 marketing sessions available from 10am-3pm!

Call in advance to book your place! Ring Wirral Chamber of Commerce on 0151 541 0976

‘Sales & Selling With Alt Valley Community Trust’ – 9:30am-12:30pm – Alt Valley Community Trust



At: The Communiversity, Alt Cross, L11 0BS

Join the Enterprise Hub team at Alt Valley Community Trust at this workshop which will cover the basics of how to sell yourself and how to gain prospective customers and clients!

Call in advance to book your place! Ring Alt Valley Community Trust on 0151 546 5514 and email enquiries@altvalley.co.uk 

‘Enterprise Hub At Huyton Library’ – 10am-12:30am – Alt Valley Community Trust


At: Huyton Library, Civic Way, Knowsley, Huyton, Liverpool, L36 9GD

Feel free to drop into this informal session at Huyton Library to speak to an Enterprise Hub business adviser about your new business idea and the support you can receive via our Enterprise Hub business start-up programme.

No need to book! Just drop in!

‘Enterprise Hub At Prescot Library’ – 1:30am-4pm – Alt Valley Community Trust

At: Prescot Library, 1 Park Road, Prescot, Liverpool, L34 3LN

And in the afternoon, an Enterprise Hub business adviser from Alt Valley Community Trust will be in Prescot Library hosting another drop-in session! So pop in and speak to them about your new business idea and the support you can receive through Enterprise Hub.
No need to book! Just drop in!