Posted: Wed 18th Jun 2014
So exactly how do Growth Vouchers work and how can people make the most of the opportunity? Here we spoke to Enterprise Nation member Beatriz Garcia-Martinez about how her Growth Voucher experience with Marketplace adviser Stuart Forrester.
Name: Stuart Forrester
Company Name: The Forrester Corporation
Specialist Advice Area: Marketing, communications and the retention and expansion of clients
How many years' experience: 24 years
Percentage of small biz clients: 70%
Approach to strategic advice and some tips: Our top tip - marketing strategy has to be driven by the business plan. If the foundation of the business is not secure and clearly defined, marketing will always struggle to effectively deliver awareness and ultimately opportunities.
Why does strategic advice make a difference: Strategic advice simply saves clients' money. For example, by being clear on who your target client is, you can quickly asses if an activity is relevant and be very explicit in your creative brief when commissioning work.
Tell us about the broad type of advice you gave to Beatriz and how it helped: SecurelyBe has a cracking service for the relocation market in London and recognised its potential, but lacked the focus to market effectively and generate new opportunities. Together we worked through our four key development areas, which were:
The business plan - the finances, the core services, the people, the business goals and so on
The brand - its fit with the core market, the opportunity to create sub-brands
The marketing strategy - the priorities, the segments, the channels, the return on marketing investment etc
The Growth plan aka the marketing plan - the what, where, when, cost etc
For Securelybe it was about the short-term focus of the business and the longer term opportunities to develop new market segments that utilised the same core information used in the relocation market.
Going back to the business plan we quickly established the cost base, the key market segments and redefined the service from a 'nice to have' to a 'relocation critical' service, protecting the relocation investment and delivering more productive employees.
The challenge we face as advisers is delivering strategy in a way the novice can understand and lead to a practical and successful implementation. We do this by getting our clients to do 'homework' which requires them to put things in their words within the context of our four development areas and this is much more likely to deliver success - it also means they get more strategic time with us. As Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying: "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."
With SecurelyBe we were with them as they went through a range of internal challenges about the prospect of growth and the reality that whilst exciting, change and 'letting go' is inevitable and difficult for micro and small businesses, but needs to be part of any growth strategy. Now focused and with a new 'tool kit' of marketing activities to do, we look forward to continuing to be part of SecurelyBe's growth.
And what was it like for Growth Voucher recipient Beatriz?
Name: Beatriz Garcia-Martinez
Business: SecurelyBe - Relocation Specialist in the settling in phase-London
Age of Business: 2.5 years
Growth Voucher category: Marketing, attracting and keeping customers
GV value: Â£1,050 (not being VAT registered limits the amount I could afford)
Who is your adviser and how did you find them? The Forrester Corporation I started my search through the Marketplace and I was looking for a London based firm with a wide range of experience (social media, strategy, etc), plus I wanted something small and being able to relate to my business. It took me a couple of days to short list down to three companies and I set calls with all of them to see how the approach would be and how all of that would make me feel. Stuart Forrester was extremely empathic and he was talking about my business with the depth of somebody who has taken interest to know it all about a potential client. I felt understood and off we embarked in a very intense two months of meetings, reviews and action plans.
When did you started the growth voucher training? The confirmation of the GV was on the 27th Feb, confirmation from the vendor came on 25 March and the first session with The Forrester Corporation was on 1st April, meeting every week for six weeks to keep the momentum going and having enough time to evaluate and move forward.
This was a very intense period of time but the GV was expiring on the 27th May and everything had to be done and dusted by then.
Why did you want a Growth Voucher/what did you want to achieve? I wanted to achieve clarity on my business mission, my clients and understand how to reach them via different marketing channels, both when you have Â£0 to spend and when you have a small budget.
Redoing my business plan was crucial to see where SecurelyBe is going and to put metrics along the way. Next creating the Marketing Plan in which we explore areas like SecurelyBe's brand, the meaning, how to reach the potential clients from it, the marketing strategies to put in place and lastly we looked into the growth strategy, delegation, taking people on, new products, all extremely exciting as there is a world of possibilities out there.
How did it help your business? Enormously, now I have very clear who is my client (actually I have four potential areas) and how to approach them and how to create the awareness of what we do at SecurelyBe.
Has it helped you get to where you want to go? It has put me in the right direction focusing in what it is important and what not so.
How? Having such a detailed Business Plan and Marketing Plan will make me focus and being on track by reviewing them every three, six and 12 months.
Here's Beatriz' analogy:
Before the Growth Voucher imagine my business was a lovely cute Lego car, that it was pootling along slowly, but it was fine
Then the Growth Voucher introduced me to the 'Lego-Master'
He looked at my Lego-car and took all the pieces apart and explained that with those pieces I could build anything if I had the right instruction booklet
All of the sudden my little car could be a BMW, a Mercedes, an ice cream van, whatever I wanted - and if I could afford to add new Lego pieces then I could build a police station or a space shuttle"¦now my Lego-business was going to appeal to a much wider audience, just looking at it from the basics up!