Reflecting on my first 6 months as a new Business Owner…
In December, just 3 months on from starting my business and not long after I wrote my first Blog, the reality of being self-employed hit me with a BANG!!
I don’t know why I didn’t see it coming, I know the industry in which I operate, I understand my target customer and had written and rewritten my personal survival budget a million times.
Trouble is, my Clients are all mad busy in the run up to Christmas processing orders, meeting delivery deadlines and selling direct to consumers at Christmas Markets, Fairs and any kind of event which encourages the great British Public to part with their cash. This means their focus is on maximising existing business and not on driving new business.
So when faced with the prospect of no work and therefore no income, I had to change my thinking and call upon my transferable skills.
A friend of mine works for an agency and mentioned that they were looking for catering staff in the run up to Christmas. Whilst this was not a line of work I had every considered before, the prospect of some short term cash to invest back into my developing business was very appealing.
Why should I do this was the questions I asked myself? The answers were simple: I love being part of a team, I’m a hard worker, I get on with people, I can lend my hand to most things, I needed the CASH and the fact my son had broken his ankle playing rugby the week before meant my weekends were looking quite free.
When I turned up to my first shift on 14th December, I had mixed emotions and I’m ashamed to say, I felt embarrassed! The shift went well and I turned up again the next night for more of the same. This time, my head was held a little bit higher and I was able to smile when faced with the teachers from my children’s Primary School, my husband’s barber and two members of my running club who kept asking me to join them for a glass of wine.
4 months on and I am still waitressing on the side, not because I need the cash as my business is doing well but because it has taught me so much about myself and how resilient I can be. I have a deeper understanding of the catering industry, I can carry THREE plates at a time, I have met some really interesting, hardworking people and I have learnt that if you are prepared to swallow your pride and lend your hand to anything, there is always work available.
As for those shoes…as a waitress, the dress code is black and white. Those shoes are a silent nod to the non-conformist within me and I am complimented on them every time I work.
Sally Davis, Managing Director of Award Winning Field Marketing Agency, Logobrand shares her views on the importance of on shelf availability and how securing additional off shelf
feature should not be to the detriment of in aisle sales
Why is on shelf availability so important?
As consumers become more hungry for promotions and manufacturers negotiate more off shelf feature for these deals, the shelf and indeed the aisle can get forgotten about.
Ensuring a product is on shelf and available to buy AT ALL TIMES is important for the following reasons:
Full value sales
Improved product visibility
Maintaining on going listing
Driving repeat purchase
Does off shelf feature impact on shelf availability and if so how?
Absolutely!! Without question, the focus on off shelf display and ensuring Gondola Ends, Side Stacks and FSDU’s look good can have a negative impact on shelf availability. There are 2 main factors which impact on shelf availability during promotions:
Stock allocation – not enough stock is allocated to store to fill both the off shelf display AND the shelf. The result of this is that the display takes priority and the shelf is left either with limited or no stock.
In store merchandising – with 2 or more sites to merchandise, store staff will prioritise off shelf feature meaning the shelf is often the last place to be replenished.
This in turn leads to availability issues as a product can be OOS at shelf but available in other locations in store.
How can manufacturers help to improve the on shelf availability of their product?
Check shelf capacity – how much stock is needed to fill the shelf and does the in store system reflect this?
Ensure each product has an accurate SEL – this should include information that the customer sees such as price and an accurate product description and also information for store staff such as number of facings and shelf capacity
Merchandising – make sure all selling space is fully merchandised
Stock – make sure an accurate stock allocation has been agreed at Head Office, this takes into account promotional space AND shelf fill
In summary, don’t forget about on shelf availability when driving additional points of distribution in store.
If you would like more information about Logobrand and how they can help improve on and off shelf compliance for your brands in store, please give Sally a shout -‐ 07971 670 364
Trade Show season starts in a matter of weeks. As an experienced exhibitor, I thought I would offer some top tips on how to capture customer information at trade shows and what to do with it once you’ve got it. Most important is that you a] do it and b] use it!!
Have more than one person on your stand
To ensure you don’t miss anyone
To enable you have time to enter into conversations
To make sure your stand is never left unattended
Decide in advance what medium you are going to use to capture information
Barcode scanner from Event Organiser
Pen and paper
Mobile phone with camera
Spreadsheet populated via computer
Pen and paper works best in my opinion
More opportunities to engage – ensure correct spelling, details, etc.
Ability to add supplementary information, e.g. flavours sampled, existing supplier, RTM, range review timings
Collate at the end of each day
Input into a readable format and fill in any gaps
Prioritise which ones to follow up first
Take action if needed, i.e. did they ask for samples NOW?
Follow up ALL leads after leaving the show
Decide who is going to be in charge of following up
Do it in a timely manner – leave it too long and they will have forgotten
Decide how to follow up – email, phone, samples, all 3
Do it more than once – preferably until a decision is made
If you are reading this before heading to IFE, please come over to stand N2977 and say Hi, I’d love to hear if these tips have been useful.
It is now just over 3 months since I started actively trading as Find me the Leads Ltd. I thought I would take some time to reflect upon what I have learnt so far.
Know your strengths
I am very clear about what my strengths are and have built my business around them. Doing what you love and are good at every day is really empowering and provides clarity when delivering your “Elevator pitch” and winning new business. If you haven’t done so already, I urge you to complete the Gallup Strengths Finder, it’s truly enlightening!
Access to free resources
I have been blown away by the quality and professionalism of the training and development I have received from a number of local organisations completely FREE OF CHARGE!! The Digital Growth Programme managed by East Midlands Chamber. NBV Enterprise Solutions for startup support and 1-2-1 mentoring. My Economic Growth Officer at Newark and Sherwood Council for pointing me in the right direction. Google Digital Garage for advice on how to get noticed on Google.
Networking or Notworking?
Networking is key to building a business and expanding your contact base. I have been to LOADS of networking events over the past 3 months, all at different times of the day. What I have learnt about networking is that you get out of it what you put in. It is important to set clear objectives to get the most out of each event. Networking is definitely not a quick fix to expand your customer base and win new clients, the most success I have had so far has been from events I have attended on more than one occasion. Find an event that you like and stick with it!
Optimistic, realistic or pessimistic?
It is really important to maintain an element of all 3. An optimistic outlook will enable you to sell yourself and your services and win other people over. Being realistic enables you to set goals and objectives which are achievable and being pessimistic ensures you continue to ask the question “what if” and put procedures in place to overcome obstacles and setbacks.
We all have dreams
“But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” The words of Jesse Owens not Leisa Pickles. Come back in 3 months to find out what I’ve learnt 6 months in to my journey. Thanks for listening Leisa
Last night, I was lucky enough to be one of only a handful of local businesses invited to exhibit at the annual FEAST Supper hosted by the Food & Drink Forum.
The event happens once a year and serves to bring together and showcase food and drink manufacturers from the East Midlands, the highlight being the amazing Supper which consists of a wide range of products, most of which are made in the region.
I was asked to attend to raise awareness of the support available to SME’s who are either starting out or looking to grow by acquiring new customers. The response to my service was amazing and reinforced why Find me the Leads Ltd come to be!
I am really grateful to Trudi, Bryony and the rest of the team at The Food & Drink Forum for the opportunity to talk to some of their members.