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