6 Inspirational tips for the small business owner

6 Inspirational tips for the small business owner

We asked 6 successful entrepreneurs – what is the one piece of advice or inspirational tip they would give to a small business starting out or wanting to grow? This is what they told us ….

Inspirational tips #1

 ” When I started out my mindset was insecure about everyone else’s opinion. Since then my motto has been: become a rock the river cannot wash away. So if it’s possible, get some coaching to help overcome any insecurities that may be holding you back – it’ll be worth it. ” Kam

sanzen digital 6 inspirational tips for the small business owner

Inspirational tips #2

”When I started out there was no internet and it was possible to wear all the hats. I don’t think you can do that now because of all the changing technologies. If I had to start again, I would look to invest in skills and outside expertise a lot earlier”. Claire

Inspirational tips #3

 ”If you believe in something strongly enough you should take the risk and go for it. But sometimes the voice of reason stops you from taking certain financial risks. If it’s possible, make sure you are the majority stakeholder in your own business. ”. Sam

sanzen digital 6 inspirational tips for small businesses

Inspirational tips #4

”We always said yes first and then started to think of how to actually do it – meaning we were able to embrace opportunities and grow quickly. Had we spent too long analysing those opportunities, we may have found ourselves paralyzed by the unknowns and potential mishaps”. Paz

sanzen digital 6 inspirational tips for small businesses

Inspirational tips #5

 ” I think the one thing I’d probably tell people starting out is think about what it is you want to do and achieve. And don’t be afraid to bring other people in to help you, because you can’t achieve it all on your own.”. Paulette

sanzen digital 6 inspirational tips for small businesses

Inspirational tips #6

 ” I wish someone had told me to think bigger and believe more in yourself – you would be amazed how much you can achieve and how much other people believe in you”. Jen

sanzen digital 6 inspirational tips for small businesses

Bonus tip!

” Invest in the areas you’re not the expert in so you can focus on your core service. We knew from the outset we needed an accountant! Otherwise, you’ll find you’re not as effective as you need to be and ultimately wasting resource in the long run”. Lina

sanzen digital 6 insprational tip for small businessess

To find out more about how Sanzen Digital can inspire you and help your business grow online – just drop us a line!

How to get Facebook followers and engage them

How to get Facebook followers and engage them

Getting started on Facebook and building an audience can be a scary challenge for a small business. Many struggle to kick off their social media presence because once their account is set up, they don’t know how to. Furthermore, most will not have the budget to get a head start by advertising online.

Former HR Business Partner – Harry Purewal launched her business – House of Colour Huddersfield –  in March 2016.  With no prior experience and limited knowledge of using social media for a business, she is managing to successfully build a Facebook audience with relative ease. However – being seasoned digital marketers – we know there has to be more to this story!

So we caught up with Harry to find out exactly what she is doing to build her audience – and her top 3 tips for keeping her followers engaged.

Be pro-active. Start building your networks early.

 

‘‘I have to say Facebook is probably my favourite social platform because I’ve always been on there regularly with a personal account. So I had already built a good network of friends and family” explains Harry.

”Also when I launched the business last March,  I was really blatant. I put out a post with a clear call to action to all of my Facebook contacts:  Go-Like-My-New-Business-Page-And-Share! This doesn’t always work, especially if you haven’t built up a network elsewhere.

I  would recommend to get your personal networks going 6 months to a year beforehand to get that engagement going and increase your network of friends.

 

The other thing I do is invite people to my page when I’m networking. For instance, during a pitch I ask for support. And when I see somebody is a really good networker, I build up a bit of a relationship first and then ask them to invite their network to like my page. Plus if anyone likes a post of mine, I invite them also to like my page. You just have to be very proactive and genuinely enjoy connecting with people!”

However, she warns that from her own experience, try not to solely rely on family and friends to move you forward –

” I was lucky to have some real superstars who like and share often but others who are just not interested in even tapping the like button. Don’t take it personally, develop a thick skin and focus your energy on those who will support you”.

Be generous. Support each other’s business pages.

 

Harry comes from a family of people who are self-employed, and this she stresses has also been a factor in helping her to build an organic audience on Facebook. It’s because she knows how tough it is for a start up to get itself out there and how vulnerable a small business owner can feel.

”I have always made a point of supporting others pages long before knowing I would set up on my own, and this has inadvertently helped me. There is a lot of truth in the old adage givers gain”.

 

In addition, she’s also set up an informal support group with other franchisees and entrepreneurs across the country who are not her immediate competitors. They have an informal agreement to like each other’s posts as well as comment.

To her there is another important reason for this, “It’s a lonely thing running your own business – and so it’s great to have a support mechanism which is so easy and accessible because it’s through social media”.

Be visible. Boosting posts and Facebook Advertising increases reach.

 

When asked if she has tried promoting on Facebook using paid advertising to generate leads, she replies, ”I’m not convinced I’ll get clients through Facebook – but it’s probably because I haven’t been doing it long enough and I certainly haven’t used all the sophisticated targeting tools available.  For me, the little paid advertising I have done has been about the exposure it brings me.

 

When I have boosted posts, the reach I get is far wider.  For example, a post can reach 2K people or more. I don’t know if it translates into bookings, but it has got me page and post likes”. And with Facebook advertising – it’s been a bit hit and miss:

I did a Facebook ad for last Father’s Day ‘’No socks for Father’s Day’’ campaign. I didn’t have men call to book but I did have women get in touch for themselves having seen that ad!

I believe that people just need something quick and easy to go and look at.  Your Facebook page is the best portable business card you can have. And even though it’s not an indicator of how much revenue your page is generating – people do look at how many likes you got!”.

Be patient. Generating Facebook leads can take time.

 

Like most business owners who persevere with their social media, Harry has found that to get leads through Facebook is a slow burn. ”People will be following me for a while who haven’t committed to liking my page, but I will after a while receive a message saying that they’ve seen what I’m doing on my page and are interested in a consultation.

What I’m discovering is that the people who do show an interest to book a consultation, tend to be friends-of-the-friends who received likes and shares from people who support me regularly on my page”.

Harry’s 3 Top Tips to engage your Facebook followers.

 

1. Publish posts which are authentic and in your voice

 

My whole business is about clients embracing their authentic self and to empower them with real confidence – I have to be as honest with my clients as I am with my friends. So my posts need to reflect my voice.

As social media is about having a conversation, I try and publish posts in a way that comes naturally to me. Often it shows different aspects of my personality: the professional; a friend; and being a mother.

I’ll do a little bit of self-deprecating stuff at times which really does come naturally to me! Such as the whole thing about being stressed out by your teenagers!

 

2. Mix it up with the type of posts you publish

 

I try to publish a mix of posts. For example I’ll do a few boasts – sharing some good news such as a testimonial, which always gets a lot of engagement.

However, when you do too much of  ‘Hey look at how brilliant I am; how much fun I’m having’, people will start to think – oh god there she goes again! So it’s about getting a good balance. 

 

Also I make sure to post useful and interesting information and not just sales promotions. If a post is all text, then I make sure the first two lines get my message across as they don’t want to read the rest of it. Of course, videos get the best engagement and whenever I publish photos of myself, clients and colleagues.

 

3. Post and react to posts at the right time

 

You will need to test different times for a while to get an idea of when your audience is likely to be active on Facebook. I’ll react to other people’s stuff during the peak times – mornings after the school run and then after tea time. That way I am in their notifications throughout the day.

It doesn’t matter how often you’re going to post, just commit to sustaining the frequency. Your followers won’t commit to you if you can’t commit to them. 

For my own posts, I actually only post once or twice a week. I find Sunday evening and Saturday morning are good times, when my particular audience of women tend to be online; and late at night when the competition is asleep!

Thanks Harry 😀

If you would like to know more about how to get started on Facebook or get more engagement on your Facebook page, just drop us a line. For the latest updates from Sanzen Digital follow us on Facebook!

 

Get Inspired: Sanzen Digital talks to Jennifer Peart, MD Of ClockSpeed Marketing

Get Inspired: Sanzen Digital talks to Jennifer Peart, MD Of ClockSpeed Marketing

Consultant and CIockSpeed Marketing MD, Jennifer Peart, discusses the business models and pricing strategies she uses to achieve her financial goals. She advises when to walk away from a prospective client and when to take a chance. She also explains how networking and digital marketing play a vital role in sourcing clients; and how she successfully scaled up her business whilst remaining a sole entrepreneur.

So whether you’re an aspiring consultancy or a growing business in another sector – read on and find out how she has achieved her success and get inspired…..

Why we think Jennifer Peart rocks:

Jennifer is a fantastic example on how to achieve your goals and then some. Her success is down to her ability to add real value; work with a genuine team ethos; and her vivacious personality!

Business Description:

Product Marketing and Marketing Consultancy

Size:

Herself and a virtual team of talented freelancers

Location:

Office is based in Kings Cross, London

Career path:
  • Over 20 years interim and permanent experience in the development and execution of product management, commercial propositions and marketing strategy:
  • Silicon Valley (USA) for 2 years. Matrix-management of international teams.
  • Product manager in ISPs, software and managed service organisations
  • Marketing Director, Product Director and CMO within technology organisations
  • Product and Marketing Consultancy for 14 years: PE backed companies; private and government / regulated organisations; B2C and B2B in blue-chip multinationals, SMEs and start-ups.
Current projects:

None that can mentioned by name due to confidentiality.

Special recognition:

None – yet!

Sanzen Digital’s interview with Jennifer Peart

 

SD: When did you decide you wanted to become a marketing consultant?

Jen: I describe my decision to become self-employed as an ‘accidental interim’. It was sometime after I returned from a two year secondment in the US. There came a point where the thought of doing another marketing directorship in the same type of company in the same sort of sector didn’t appeal. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I took a bit of time off. Those were the days when you could walk into another role quickly so it didn’t seem a big risk to leave a job.

SD: When you became a consultant how did you figure out your rates?

Jen: When it came to the charging rate there was almost two sides to the coin. If it was someone senior I knew, I could go in and charge what I knew I was worth – but outside of the network it was a bit of a battle in the beginning. Because, even though I was relatively senior – I was new as a consultant. I then had mentoring from a seasoned consultant, and I when I started working with other consultants, they would tell me that I was way too cheap. So sometimes you can naturally know you’re worth and other times it’s when people make you realise your worth. It’s knowing that if somebody wants your services then they have to pay for what you value your worth is.

 

” I quickly learnt that there is a ‘scientific’ approach and an industry expectation as to how you work out your rate. For straight consultancy work, going on a day rate, is where I find prospects will try and beat you down easily.’’.

 

SD: Can you explain more about the pricing model you use as a consultant?

Jen: The initial pricing model I used was a straightforward 1 to 1 relationship model:  I’m going to charge the client an x amount. And because I can only charge one of me – it was like – oh my gosh – how much do I charge for myself?  Because you definitely need that belief in yourself. Thankfully, I quickly learnt that there is a ‘scientific’ approach and an industry expectation as to how you work out your rate. For straight consultancy work, going on a day rate, is where I find prospects will try and beat you down easily.

So for a consultancy project I would generally charge for the value of the project. If I was going to charge a day rate on a project, I’ll estimate the amount with some contingencies and that way it’s not valued on the number of days. As long as you yourself know how long it will take, you’re not losing money, and you’re delivering value to your client, then that’s fine. So that was valuable learning I got early on.

SD: Are there any exceptions when you don’t stick to your pricing model?

Jen: Some projects may have a small budget but if I find the project really interesting or I can see it as a stepping stone to future projects, I’ll consider it. I still have to make it work for me as well as for the clients and sometimes in those scenarios I would say ok this is really interesting and I would normally charge this but I’ve got quite a strong belief in what you’re doing so I would like to be involved in the project, let me understand how I can work with you so I can get involved.

So there are different ways of being able to flex your model without giving away your value. It’s really tough at the start to walk away because you’re not prepared for doing it for that amount – I simply let them know that it’s ok if you can’t pay this right now – I’m just not the right person for you.  It’s only in the later years that I felt comfortable to say ‘’ I’m not going to do that’’.

 

”Sometimes you can naturally know you’re worth and other times it’s when people make you realise your worth. If somebody wants your services then they have to pay for what you value your worth is”.

 

SD: How does your business model work from a scalability point of view?

Jen: The model from a scalability point of view works well for consultancy. It does vary but I tend to average about 3 or 4 projects at any given time. I’ll aim to work on XYZ projects and I’ll commit set amount of time/days to each project. I’ll charge an x amount for the deliverable in set amount of time but how I manage my time is up to me – that means I can also see other clients.

The more challenging model is to block out an extended period of time for one project – it really doesn’t work on a scalability as it takes you out of the marketplace and your network. And the only way you get a certainty of work in order to forecast your income is longevity. And that’s by having a good business model.

 

”Outsourcing to freelancers is a very easy model to follow and I definitely recommend it if you want to grow your business and scale up as a consultant”.

 

SD: In order to scale your business further, you outsource. How does working with freelancers fit in with your business model?

Jen:  Outsourcing to freelancers is a very easy model to follow and I definitely recommend it if you want to grow your business and scale up. You save on overheads, and you don’t have to deal with the requirements associated with having employees. At some point you may need to take on someone permanently but from the outset you’re not accruing costs unnecessarily. It’s important to know their rates upfront but it’s an easy conversation to have.  The freelancer will give his/her rate and I’ll add that to the project costs with a desired mark. This is then what I charge the client.

SD: You also freelance for other consultants. How do you navigate around any conflicts of interest?

Jen: Yes on the flip side I get other consultants asking me to join them on projects – so I become their resource. I tell them my rate but I never ask the question how much the project or what they are charging is – it’s none of my business – my relationship is with the consultancy not their client. I also always go in under their company brand for instance.  I never go in as my own consultancy when operating as part of their team. It’s also my personal thing to make that distinction. And it also instils a level of confidence in the other consultancy.

The other side of the coin is that it protects my brand integrity as ClockSpeed Marketing and when I take on freelancers I need to know they meet the mark as it impacts my brand identity also. And when you’re assessing new freelancers you do need to trust your gut and see and know if they are as good as you want them to be.

Whilst you are reaping the benefits of new projects, you are always looking out for the next range of projects. With a small team, it can be difficult to manage and also difficult to scale – but it isn’t impossible.

SD: How does networking play a part in growing your business?

Jen: I network like crazy. There’s the personal networking (meeting for dinners etc.) where I tend to put on the weight! And the networking events, which don’t yield any clients but it expands my network of like-minded connections – and gives me valuable exposure – otherwise you can feel quite isolated as consultant.

 


ClockSpeed and Digital Marketing

 

SD: What role has digital marketing played in the success of your business?

Jen: Over the years it’s increasingly playing an important role. I focus mainly on LinkedIn, my website, and pay for click advertising (PPC). The latter, especially, has helped increase my visibility amongst my peers and when I’m seeking prospective clients.

SD:  How much of your digital marketing do you outsource or do inhouse?

Jen: It’s all handled in-house by myself. However, I did  use an associate web design agency to update my website. I am often asked to undertake digital marketing on behalf of clients. Depending upon the size of the project I will do it myself or if much larger, engage one of my associate organisations.

 

And finally…

 

SD: What has been your biggest challenge as a consulatnt and SME – and how have you met that challenge?

Jen: Feast and Famine! Whilst you are reaping the benefits of new projects, you are always looking out for the next range of projects. With a small team, it can be difficult to manage and also difficult to scale – but it isn’t impossible.

SD: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who are starting out or wanting to grow?

Jen: I wish someone had told me to think bigger and believe more in yourself – you would be amazed how much you can achieve and how much other people believe in you.

SD:  What’s the most exciting thing in the horizon for you and ClockSpeed Marketing?

Jen: Some exciting projects which expand the current offerings – more into the app development space. Also I’m working a lot more with the start-up community as well; which is quite a change of pace from the standard corporate businesses!

SD: What can you tell us about yourself that we wouldn’t get from your resume?

Jen: No matter how difficult the task may seem, I will always rise to the challenge

End of Interview.

Sanzen Digital helps businesses to grow and flourish on-line. If you’d like to know more about how you can use digital marketing to achieve your business goals – connect with us today.

How Networking Paved The Way For This Nordic Walker

How Networking Paved The Way For This Nordic Walker

First, a full disclosure that we’re  members of business networking groups – the Athena Network; Business Biscotti; Chamber of Commerce; and the FSB. And Sanzen Digital wouldn’t have got off the ground as quickly as it did without having networking as part of our launch and growth strategy.

In our experience, the benefits of networking have far outweighed the cost of the membership fees. Having said that, if you google your local area, you will find free networking groups. And often fee charging networks also have informal groups – where for the price of a coffee – non-members can also attend.

So why should a small business consider attending a network group? Well, because whether you’re a start-up or looking for ways to grow your business – networking opens up opportunities to share knowledge; raise your profile; make meaningful connections; and for many small business owners – increase their confidence. So in our opinion, that’s a lot of bang for your buck!

Debbie Atkins gives her Top 5 Networking Tips below

Debbie Atkins is a fantastic example of a small business owner who is growing her many business streams (which include -DA Fitness; Rev5; Synergy Worldwide consultant; and Nordic Walking Instructor!) primarily through networking. Almost 80% of her business is through networking referrals and within a year of joining, she was invited to become a Regional Director for The Athena Network – one of the most successful women only networks in the UK.

Networking helps you to raise your profile and make new connections

 

Debbie explains:  “My success has been down to networking and women empowering other women. I joined at the beginning of 2013 when a friend, who is a financial advisor, had been to an Athena networking event in Reading and told me how useful she found it and that I should join also. It took a month for me to pluck up the courage to go to a meeting and ofcourse when I did – I loved it!”

Debbie Atkins gives her Top 5 Networking Tips below

For Debbie, her work and networking are a great fit; when she’s not running her Athena groups – she’s still networking for herself and her members. As she points out:

 

”With my Nordic walking classes (a sport involving walking across country with the aid of long poles resembling ski sticks!) I’m walking and talking with my clients throughout and often things come up – about possible connections – if not for me then for someone I know who might benefit from an introduction or a referral”.

Networking helps personal development for big and small businesses

 

Debbie’s guiding philosophy (naturally derived from her fitness training background) is that for a business to be healthy, you have to be healthy in yourself.  And that a reputable networking group will not only have quality membership but also provide genuine support within the group with plenty of opportunities to train and develop.

“I see amazing journeys unfold. For so many entrepreneurs it’s about having the confidence to do things. For example, to stand up and give a solid pitch without being terrified; being able to have positive 1-2-1’s with other members; and even present in front of other members. So I don’t think there is any business that networking can’t help when it also includes training and development.”

Debbie Atkins gives her Top 5 Networking Tips below

She also acknowledges that sometimes there is a misconception that networking is just beneficial for small businesses and start-ups. This is not the case says Debbie:

”I’m passionate that Reading Athena brings the personal development into the mix through the network strategy training and business development training within every meeting.

In addition, as part of your membership there are separate network strategy training workshops – another great way to network with members across two regions. So whether you’re a corporate or escaped corporate life – networking is still useful.”

 

Debbie’s 5 Top Tips on effective networking at Athena

 

1. Networking is about building relationships using a three step approach of  Know – Like – Trust. When this is established, the business will flow from it but be prepared, as it could take a few months for this to happen. It is not about attending your first few meetings and hard selling!

2. Do prepare beforehand. For example, prepare how you’re going to introduce yourself. What’s your story? What is it about your business that you want to share? Why would they want to engage in your services? It’s about having that edge and enthusiasm, because this is what people will latch onto – your passion and interest!

3. You may not think that there is a connection between you and the other persons business – you need to explore who they know – it is referred to as ‘networking through the room’. Sometimes the least strategically linked business owners can provide the best connections and clients.

4. When you are sharing your knowledge with someone at a one to one meeting, it is your choice as to how much you share for “free” and it’s their choice about what they take from it – with no obligation. What I would say is that What you give – you do get back – but it might not be from the same person you gave it to – and it may be many months or even years later for that to happen!

5. Don’t forget to pick up the phone! It’s a brilliantly personal way of connecting with someone if you are not able to meet them face to face. Sounds obvious but it’s surprising how many people do not follow up with a simple call. If the phone isn’t possible, then of course there is always, email, Skype; and online platforms such as LinkedIn; not forgetting that Social media is great for building relationships and staying connected.

Sanzen Digital Marketing helps businesses like yours grow online! To find out how just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help. 

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Get Inspired: Sanzen Digital talks to Paz Sarmah – Director of Bad Brownie

Get Inspired: Sanzen Digital talks to Paz Sarmah – Director of Bad Brownie

Friends Paz and Morag have used their branding know-how and a mutual love of chocolate to set up Bad Brownie – the unruly rebellious cousin of the humble chocolate brownie . Theirs is a story of successful brand development which was literally created at the kitchen table. We talk to co-founder Paz and find out how within a couple of years, Bad Brownie has gone from a single market stall in Camden to several across London’s key markets. And how their gourmet brownies and the Bad Brownie brand has caught the eye of Selfridges; Pret a Manger; local and national press; and even a Dragon from the Den -Touker Suleyman.

Why we think Paz rocks:
Along with business partner Morag, Paz left a comfortable job with a london brand agency to make a dream come true; and they did this without any prior baking experience or having worked on a market stall before!
Business Description:
Production bakery of gourmet brownies for both retail and wholesale.
Size:
A team of 10 in the kitchen and office; with around 15 additional staff who work on the markets.
Location:
The production bakery is in South East London (Forest Hill) but from there they sell across markets all over London throughout the week, such as in central London for office lunches through to residential markets at the weekend. They wholesale to various partners around London including Selfridges and Pret a Manger.
Career path:
Studied law at Warwick University, but decided not to pursue a career in law. Opted to work at L’Oreal in their management scheme before doing stints with a few branding agencies. Met Morag at brand agency Brandhouse in 2009. Came up with the idea of bad brownie in May 2013. Set up  first market stall 2 months later followed by a second stall a few weeks later.
Current projects:
The next stage is to open up a Bad Brownie Cafe! Infomercials on QVC and other exciting wholseale opportunities.
Special recognition:

In 2015, they were asked to take part in Dragon’s Den (it aired in 2016) when a producer found them at their Maltby Street market stall. They are one of only 200 companies to have won an investment since the programme started when several thousands have applied.

Sanzen Digital’s interview with Paz Sarmah, Bad Brownie

 

SD: What made you decide to set up Bad Brownie?

Paz: I always wanted to set up a company but I never got round to it or had that big idea or the bravery to do it. But it was when I left my last agency, Bloom, to figure out what I wanted to do –  that I went through an exercise of self-discovery to find out what my skills set were, what was I good at, what did I enjoy and what it would be useful for.

I realised that being my own boss would allow me to do a lot of things I loved – copy writing, photography, organise things, interact with people and I concluded that the only job that could do all of that was a job I had to make up myself! And then I met Morag for dinner one evening and we discovered we were wanting the same thing as she was already looking into setting up a microbrewery with someone else.

SD: Why Brownies?

Paz: Morag and I are both foodies and had a mutual love of chocolate. While at Brandhouse we actually worked on a contract with Mars – Morag on Galaxy and me on Minstrels and Malteasers!

From the outset we knew we wanted to focus on one product with different flavours – so we considered lots of options: popcorn, choux pastry, eclairs – but brownies seemed to have the most resonance. Because neither of us are trained bakers or were those kids who grew up baking and so we concluded – well you can’t go wrong with brownies surely! And it hadn’t at the time been done before – perhaps a few companies but no one with any stand out really – so we went for it.

SD:  How have you used branding to differentiate Bad Brownies?

Paz: We simply positioned our brownies to be the really dark naughty side to the really good but boring brownie. On hindsight we put a lot of thought into stuff that most small businesses got away with not doing. But we got hung up on little things like: let’s do a naming brainstorm, let’s do a positioning exercise and work out our key USPs. We could have got away with not doing any of this but it has actually (of course) seen us in good stead.

And it actually started as ‘Bad Ass Brownie’,  but people didn’t really get the imagery and logo that went with it. So about a year and half later we embarked on a re-identity project with my old designer colleague at Bloom and we removed ‘ass’ and came up with our ‘Bad’ stamp. It can now be easily translated to lots of things and also it’s honest about the fact that our brownies are really bad by nature; they are packed full of butter and so are a very indulgent treat – and we want to celebrate this!

SD: How have you found working in a partnership?

Paz: What we quickly realised is that everything we knew about each other as friends was completely different when it came to work! We thought it would be a perfect partnership because we got on as friends but actually when it came down to it we had completely opposite points of view and even to this day we’re learning how to smooth over stuff we disagree on.  But ultimately, we both know it’s because we’re passionate about what is best for the company so we’ve learned the art of compromise – and are still learning!

We’re kind of complementary but it took us a while to get to that. I’m gut reaction led and Morag is like ‘well you may be right but let’s put some numbers to it so we can see if it can work’. She is thankfully more cautious and I’m the opposite – so we tend to end up in the middle.


“A lot of (market) traders struggle because they’re unable to let go and trust someone else to help the business grow. The problem when you do this is that you’re limiting the business; because it can only grow as much as you can grow and as far as your exhaustion holds out”


SD: What has been your biggest challenge as an SME and how have you met that challenge?

Paz: The biggest challenge is always budget – and making tough decisions based on what is the appropriate thing to do and spend money on even though we might really want something else. So it’s about what is best for the business at that particular time and pursuing that route instead of another which may make our lives easier.

Staffing has also been a lot more difficult than we thought because, for a small business like ours, every single person we hire is  integral to the business and we didn’t know how to interview. An interview would go well and we thought what’s the point of getting references – and now of course we look back and think how could we have been so naive! Another early mistake we made was that we didn’t let go of people when we needed to – we tried to make things work – but actually when you’re a small company you just haven’t got the  time or resource to do that – we need staff to perform well from the get go. Now that we have more people, they train with other staff on the job and they are a fantastic team.

We can’t help but ask a few questions about digital marketing…

SD:  What role does digital marketing play in the success of your business?

Paz: Digital marketing has been crucial in getting our brand to the place it is now. Luckily we have an amazing product that tastes great and at the same time looks great. We have tried to leverage this through interesting and exciting photos which we post across social media platforms, especially Instagram. Instagram is made for amazing photography and people love to like and share photos of great food which we have been lucky to have been part of.

SD: How much of the digital marketing do you outsource or do in house?

Paz: We do everything in house for the moment. We have a fantastic sales and marketing exec, Bridget, who does a brilliant job with our social media. She is based on site so she can take some lovely photos of the brownies being made, or the team getting on with their work; and this I feel gives our social media authenticity.

And finally…

SD:  What’s the most exciting thing in the horizon for Bad Brownie?

Paz: Even after 4 years there is still so much for us to do and explore – our mission is world domination by brownie and so far we have made a decent start but only in London.  While we’ve fed thousands of people our brownies there’s millions more out there – and getting to those others is the exciting part now.

SD: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who are starting out or wanting to grow?

Paz: The most important thing we’ve found so far is in being as flexible as possible. It’s valuable to plan things out and analyse pros and cons carefully but ultimately it’s important to not become so fixed in the pursuance of a set course of action that potential opportunities en route are disregarded. We always said yes first and then started to think of how to actually do it – meaning we were able to embrace opportunities and grow quickly. Had we spent too long analysing those opportunities, we may have found ourselves paralyzed by the unknowns and potential mishaps.

Also a lot of market traders struggle because they’re unable to let go and trust someone else to help the business grow. The problem when you do this is that you’re limiting the business; because it can only grow as much as you can grow and as far as your exhaustion holds out.

SD: What can you tell us about yourself that we wouldn’t get from your resume?

Paz: I have a dog who thinks she’s my owner.

End of Interview.

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