Being Ready… is your business retail ready?

 Being Ready! Is your business retail ready?

Being Ready for the business of Retail

Is your business ready? Is it ready and poised to accept all the opportunities which may come its way?

As Business Owners there are times of the year when you need to be ready, you know when you have to submit your accounts, pay your VAT, Corporation tax or PAYE and the list goes on. We ensure we don’t miss these deadlines as there are usually financial implications/ penalties.

But, have you ever considered  how much not being business ready for the impromptu PR or Sales opportunity may be doing just as much damage to your business by not being in a position to seize and capitalise upon them?

As a company I would like to think that we are generous with our knowledge and expertise, not always profiting from them, but understanding and working towards the bigger picture. The bigger picture in this case being able to work with the brands of today who will be the industry leaders of tomorrow.

So how does a business prepare themselves for these opportunities?  Well, below I have identified a few keys points on being Sales Ready and a link to how to be PR ready…

 

 

 

 

You and your business presence:

  • Do you have a profile story for you and your business?  (this may be two separate documents?)
  • Do you have quality and relevant  photos of both yourself and your products?
  • Does your company have a positive, up to date image online and offline?
  • Do you have a fully functioning website?
  • Is there consistent activity on your social media?

Knowing your business:

  • Your customer profile, how well do you know your customer?
  • Where have you previously traded?
  • How successful is your brands, quantify it?
  • How do you communicate with your customers, what channels do you use and frequency?
  • Have you received any press or media coverage about your brand? if so is it readily available?
  • Any celebrity endorsers, clients etc?
  • Have you advertised or promoted your products if so where / when?
  • Have you or your business won any awards if yes which ones and what for?

Knowing your Locations;

  • Have you done your research, both location and stores, where would you like your products sold?
  • What are the values of the stores you wish to approach is it a natural fit?
  • Do you have a track record of trading, if so where? Online / Offline, both?
  • What is your USP, why should a buyer take your product over the next business, what need in the market does your business satisfy?
  • Be realistic, what size orders is your business able to fulfill if it was to get a bigger order than usual, does your business have the capacity in place to deliver?
  • Know your numbers, how much are your products and what kinds of deals are you willing to enter into? In an ideal world a company would just put in an order for a shed load of your products, you deliver and they pay. However this is not always the case.
  • What kind of branding / POS material can you supply to the stockist.
  • Will you be contacting the retailers yourself or go via an agent?

The list above is not an exhaustive list and your experiences may vary depending on the type of stores you supply to.

However, you decide to approach it, the above bullet points are highlighted to give you food for thought and prepare you and your business.for sales success.

Be Ready, Be Bold and Be successful!

 

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Come trade with us at… The Caudwell Children’s Charity Ladies Lunch

The Caudwell Children’s Charity will be hosting their Ladies Lunch on the 22 October 2015. RedBorder Ltd are proud to be the shopping partner for this event, bringing together a variety brands to introduce their products to the guests. To find out more information please contact info@redborder.co.uk or if you would like to book a space, please scroll down to the links below.

For more details of the event please click Caudwell Charity Ladies Champagne Lunch


For more details of the event please click Caudwell Charity Ladies Champagne Lunch

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Come trade with us at… Brent Civic Office

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Be part of our monthly trading opportunities. RedBorder Ltd is linking in with local authorities and other leading organisations to provide businesses with the opportunity to trade at a variety of high footfall / captive audience locations. Join us on the journey which allows you to take your business to the consumer.

We are always on the lookout for ambitious business owners who have high quality, unique and inspired products which would benefit from this type of retailing. If this is you please contact us at info@redborder.co.uk

mailto:info@redborder.co.uk

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It’s ironic that in order to gain more energy you should exercise.

Isn’t it  ironic that in order to gain more energy you should exercise?

However this is true, it really does set you up for the day, whether it is a little or a lot of exercising, starting the day with some form of exercise can really do wonders for productivity.

This year has been about reassessing how I approach and appreciate things. What I have taken for granted and what needs to be addressed.

Run before you can work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First up is my health and Well being and the quest to achieve the ultimate foundation for development and growth, both in my personal life and career. Along the way what my eyes have been opened to is that actually as well as the physical aspect of my being, I have been woefully neglecting my most intuitive thinking tool, the brain.

I have set about to make a conscious change and it hurts, but the progress out weights the pain and now GOALS are now the focus of everything that I do. This I would attribute to adding exercise to my daily routine. I am truly at my best when I am FOCUSED!

Ron Friedman’s article as published in the Harvard Business Review titled ” Regular exercise is part of your job” states why this is the case highlighting the benefits and positive impact it can have which includes:

  • Improved concentration
  • Sharper memory
  • Faster learning
  • Prolonged mental stamina
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Lower stress… read more of this article here 

In my line of work and the businesses that I engage with motivation is the most common topic of discussion, especially at the early stages of any business. Exercise is not a new concept, but sometimes I feel those of us in the business world (or entrepreneurs) as we are referred to ought to remind ourselves just how beneficial setting the foundation for your business and our general well being is.

If any readers have any experience of how incorporating exercise into your daily routine to boost productivity levels has helped your business please do share either via this blog or email: info@redborder.co.uk  it would be most appreciated.

You may also find this article helpful  Path Alive Health

 

This month’s July 2015 what I like about your business goes to:

@leonalewis

Who: Leona Lewis

What for: EMPOWERMONTH  (inspirational and positive messages put out to the world) Can’t hurt…!!!

Why: Some people say timid and shy i say she comes across as authentic, very talented and she is 1/2 Guyanese.

 For more info visit: Lee & Loy

Until next time

DMx

 

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Ambitious businesses need join & New blog feature…

 

AMBITIOUS

 

 

 

 

 

At RedBorder Ltd, we work with ambitious businesses. You know the ones that live breathe and sleep their businesses. The ones where you see they have a real passion for what they do and are generous enough to share their talent with the wider world. They also punch above their weight, which is a good thing!

There is a fine line between boasting and celebrating ones success and these businesses know how to walk that fine line with great poise and ease.

Often we admire people from afar for what they may accomplish. You may never meet them, which I think is good thing as it adds to the mystery of the person. For one split second they act as an inspiration or a motivator for the reader and very often than not they are unaware of the impact that they have made on an individual.

Ambitious small businesses have the same impact on me, i really admire artist of all genres, they are inhibited, fearless and always relevant.

To this day, So solid Crew Video of 21 seconds is one of my all time favourite video, it is just so damn clever for these ambitious and inspiring  group of young individuals as they were at the time to produce such a timeless video.

Now whilst So Solid crew achieved mass success, accolades and high praises, not everyone who acts as an inspiration in society gets recognised for it.

So Solid Crew 21 seconds

So Solid Crew 21 seconds

 

 

 

 

 

 

So every month as I go about my business, researching and networking, I intend to acknowledge anyone who has been a source of inspiration for that month, it is just my way of saying thank you.

Starting with this month June 2015

What I like about your business goes to:

@SoniaMeggie

Who: Sonia Meggie

What for: Inspirational U

Why: Just  follow her on twitter to admire her relentless work ethic, no surprise she has been awarded an MBE

 For more info visit: http://inspirationalyou.co.uk/

 

Until next month

DM x

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If the customer isn’t coming to you… then you take your business to the customer.

Gone are the days when setting up on the high street could be considered the bread and butter revenue stream for a business.

Whilst it is still the ultimate aspirations for any discerning retail brand to be situated on the high street, the way consumers shop has changed. Customer power is back in full flow and they are the ones dictating how they wish to shop. As business owners , we have to and must adjust, it really is as simple as that.

Consumers have choices and they choose to exercise it at your peril;

They may opt to shop online if it is more convenient to do so, they may even opt to seek out the best deals all at the press of a few buttons / keys on their smartphones. The Qwerty keyboard is now the arch nemesis of the high street, so now the high street has to fight back.

Since I started RedBorder Ltd  in 2006, the bulk of my clients have been small business.  I am often posed with the question is the high street dead, is there any point trying to have a unit on the high street, when they can’t afford marketing, PR to get the customers through the doors. I am a proud optimist / glass full kind of sentimentalist and therefore my responses to these FAQ’s generally reflect that.

In answer to those questions:  No I don’t believe the high street is dead, in fact, it is patiently waiting for the community to come back together. The high street has evolved, it is no longer the place simply to pop down for a pint of milk. The high streets stakeholders are no longer just the businesses which trades from it, but also the residents, schools and community groups. They all have a vested interest in the high street thriving as the knock on effect of this will be felt by all who choose to buy in. There is an increase in local high streets opting in to the BID (Business Improvement District). These are a great way for businesses to take control of their high street and have a real stake in it.

For more details on the BID, please click the image below…

Business improvement District

 

 

 

 

In response to the second question, I am a strong advocate of taking your business to the customer if they are not coming to you., Whilst it may take a lot more effort on the business part, businesses small, medium or large, should never underestimate the power of engaging with customers at the back to basic grassroots of retailing level.

Politicians do it when they are canvassing for votes, knocking on doors speaking to voters, in the retail world the same voters are your customers. Whilst i am not suggesting to go knocking on doors, unless that is a viable business opportunity for your business, mobile trading opportunities should be included in the marketing strategy of any retail business,

In my line of work, I communicate with clients and colleagues via various methods, however I do find face to face is the most effective and instantaneous, whereas email and telephone calls often pose delays to a process. It is this school of thought which is applied to the theory of mobile trading opportunities and the possibilities it presents.

I was recently invited to take part in a radio interview, regarding my experience of working within the retail industry and my thoughts on the decline of the high street and how it can be reinvigorated.

You can listen to the interview below.

Knowing your business Deborah Millington

 

 

 

If you would also like to be kept in the loop about our various retail trading opportunities please register here

 

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10 things I learnt when I stepped away from my business for 18 months..

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and my 18 month tenure working on a career enhancing project was no different,

For the past year and half my knowledge of the retail industry and working with small businesses has matured ten fold. it reinforced the good decision I took to step away from my company, to gain additional knowledge of my trade  to hopefully make me a better entrepreneur, colleague, client and company Director.

I started on the project from the embryonic stage, to say it was a culture shock would be an understatement. Coming from someone who had been so involved in their own business and being able to make decisions without having to go through any approval channels, was something which I had to adjust to very quickly, not to mention working for a local council which comes with it’s own challenges.

To summerise my role over the past 18 months from:
administering a grant programme, setting up a Christmas shop, working with designers, architects, senior project managers, contractors on the build of the unit, branding,. setting up of the unit, introducing additional revenue streams for the businesses, Managing up to 33 businesses at it’s busiest period to the implementation and operational management including achieving sales increase to its optimum of 1677%,

I am not surprised at how far this project has come and as it enters this next phase of sustainability it has been given the best possible foundation to go from strength to strength.

Pop up shop Retail Marketing and Sales

Pop up shop Retail Marketing and Sales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, following a few weeks R&R, I am ready to reinvest the knowledge gained back into the company. RedBorder Ltd is going through a minor re-branding, with changes to our service offer, which will become evident over the next few weeks.

Taking a break away from your business may not be for you but if you are reading this blog post and  falling out of love with your business have a read below before you make a decision about your company:

  1. Finding a project, role or hobby  which can add value to your business, but which is not directly linked to your business can be an absolute God send.
  2. Local authorities are a great source of help for small businesses, connect with the economic development team
  3. It is OK to be annoyed with your business and not have the initial passion you had when you first started, that will always come and go, don’t be disheartened if you want to step away a hiatus is better than consciously uncoupling
  4. The UK is a huge enterprising nation, with some fantastic small businesses out there, find them and connect with them
  5. Not all public sector staff work the Civvy hours. it was not uncommon to be exchanging work emails with my colleagues at 11 pm at night
  6. It isn’t how you arrive, but how you leave, I arrived with trepidation and reservations as to whether the decision I took was the right decision and left with an abundance of knowledge, lifelong friends and good memories.
  7. Cliche alert: teamwork really does make the dream work, surround yourself with the right people who thrive off each other and who enjoying working to a common goal and successful outcomes.
  8. Never allow your business to get into a comfort zone, keep on pushing it  at every milestone and sometimes before you even get to a milestone
  9. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, make the most of the situation and turn it around into a positive.
  10. Renewed sense of purpose for my business, new business opportunities and an invaluable contact list.
Retail pop up, Sidcup & Co

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sidcup on the Up!

So apparently Sidcup is on the up, this lesser known London Suburb has had a major injection of regeneration fund courtesy of the Mayor of London (OLF) and Bexley council matching their contribution.

£1.8m was awarded to Bexley council to help revive this once bustling high street.

A programme designed to help:

  • Existing businesses who were struggling to stay afloat
  • Expanding businesses: to increase the occupancy rate on the high street by helping small and established businesses who are ready to take that next step into occupying a shop of their own
  • New Businesses: who are just starting out, possibly selling online, but wished to test trade in a safe retail environment with very low risks or overheads or for a service style business like a graphic designer or animator who would benefit from working alongside like minded businesses to share skills,  knowledge and best practices.

The team, which was  pulled together by programme manager Rod Lean, were all committed to the vision of the project and understanding the lasting impact this would have for Sidcup worked tirelessly to ensure a positive delivery was achieved.

The BBC featured the project on the 5th September during both their 1pm and 6pm news, which highlighted exactly how far Sidcup has come and the impact the regeneration has had on the high street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with most regeneration projects, getting local  community buy in is always going to be your best ally however not always achievable.

It is to be expected that  even carefully planned regeneration projects of this scale will pose some disruption, however the business person in me believes that it is a small price to pay in order to achieve long term growth and restore vibrancy to a once bustling high street.  The customers are there they just need to be encouraged back to shop local.

Sidcup is one of the shortest high streets I have ever walked along, but the businesses are really friendly, from the likes  of Kaz, from Kaz”s restaurant who would always keep a little look out for you if he sees a traffic warden sniffing around your car, to Jan at finally framed who is more than happy to lend you an easel for a window display, Mizen’s shoe repairs and key cutting service who would add extra holes to a belt or shoe strap for a simple donation into the Jimmy Mizen foundation fund, to Sue Batmaz a business tour de force who owns several businesses on the high street. .These are just a few of the 30 + businesses which have benefited from the Instore for Sidcup project in one way or another.

Saturday September 6th marked the celebration of all the regeneration work in Sidcup and the opening of The Learning Centre (TLC) formerly Adult Education.

My colleague who is too shy to be named and who would probably kill me… did an amazing job in organising the Big Dance Bus coming to Sidcup. The Big Dance kept us entertained for 4 hrs and even did the Electric Slide, yep the Electric slide  came to Sidcup!

One of the many legacies of this project will be Sidcup & Co and one of the advantages of having a shop on the high street is being able to quantify the sales impact that  events like these brings to the area, if Sidcup & Co  sales were an indication of how much people and residents enjoyed themselves then the big dance bus coming to Sidcup was a resounding success.

If you would like to find out about the Instore or Sidcup programme please click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Creating a sustainable pop up shop…

So I have been MIA (Missing in action) for a little while, and whilst it has pained me to not update this blog on a monthly basis it has all been for a good and positive cause.

I have had to put RedBorder on hold momentarily to manage this project, but I saw it as an opportunity to acquire additional knowledge and skills something which I would have had to pay handsomely and take time out for, so the pros massively outweighed the cons. I swiftly realised that working on this project is akin to a fast track masters in project management.

The project which is part of a wider scheme to regenerate Sidcup High street, focusing on helping small businesses to have an opportunity to test trade on the high street, something which currently comes at a premium.

Sidcup & Co is set up to be a  multi purpose space, incorporating the  provision for Retail, Business and Events

 

 

 

During the latter part of 2013 and following 3 test phases, we invited applicants to apply for funding to help their small businesses, in December 2013, 15 grants were awarded.

The successful  businesses ranged from Ladies wear retailers, Jewellery makers, cupcake maker to electricians and graphic designers.

Each business received up to £5000 worth of support this was provided in the form of

  • Business support and training
  • 6 months of retail space
  • Capital sum to invest in to their business
  • Match funding
With their capital investment each business was encouraged to purchase stock or something that is an asset to their business, invariably this will help them generate revenue in order to make a profit, which they would then reinvest in their business.
The aim of this was that after 6 months, if their business is truly a viable one for Sidcup they would have accumulated sufficient monies to pay for rental of their space.
As the initial 6 months support draws to a close we have several business in a position to still continue trading with us, but most importantly they are growing and expanding their business internally. They are creating a customer base, which bodes well if they wish to take up occupancy in a unit on the high street. This all contributes to positive outcomes for the project
Whilst the overall funding for Sidcup & Co is guaranteed until October 2015, the aim is to make this a sustainable venture allowing for more entrepreneurs to benefit from the programme. The project continues to prove a success with local buy in, current crop of traders wishing to expand, positive comments form customers, a waiting list to occupy, good sales figures and footall, retail space currently at capacity and expansion plans underway, it is a positive indication that this project has legs and with careful  and clever operational management could be a success.
As we enter the next phase of this project which is the governance, I momentarily reflect on when I started this project, initially I  would have appreciated some lessons learnt tips so for anyone who is currently setting up a similar venture and reading this blog I have listed a few  below for you.
Key lessons learnt from assessing applications:
  • Assess the person behind the business and not just the business: request CV’s
  • People will tell you anything to get what is essentially free money to them
  • Give yourself enough time to assess the applications
  • Have a strict and fair process for judging the applications
  • if you don’t have enough credible applications either open the applications process again or  invest more money into the other successful applicants.
Key lessons learnt from setting up the operational aspect of a pop up
  • Everything is not going to fall into place over night irrespective of how much planning you do
  • You will encounter a variety of personalities, with different needs. This will challenge you to assess how you do things and gain an understanding of human behaviour.
  • Ensure what is required of the businesses in order to trade in the environment is realistic
  • Concentrate on the businesses who truly have a desire to succeed the others will either raise their game or fall by the wayside. Do not see this as your failure!
  • Utilise and help develop the skills of the traders to support the operational aspect of the shop
  • Ensure you are able to set up credit card payment facility, #Izettle helped us with ours

Initial lessons learnt from setting up a pop up shop under the constraints of local authority

  • Ensure all due diligence is done with regards to lease and other legal matters
  • Ensure you understand how procurement works or at least work with someone who does
  • Understand how the tendering process works or work with with someone who does
  • Understand the approval channel you need to go through and plan for the various stages of sign offs.
  • Work with consultants who truly understand your vision (have a clearly defined vision)
  • Don’t be afraid to change or amend your strategy if it isn’t working, business is all about change in order to survive. The sooner the better in some instances
  • Work closely with communications to ensure the right message in the correct tone is being communicated
  • Be prepared to work outside of the core hours

As I continue of this journey, I shall keep you posted, but for now have a look at our brochure by clicking on the image below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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£190k and you didn’t enter the Revive & Thrive challenge… well fortune favours the brave and here are the Magnificent Seven!

Revive and Thrive for all people passionate about place.

The Revive and thrive Challenge the initiative designed to help  a winning town centre with £190k of business support, revved up a few gears when it was announced of the successful 7 town centres that have made it through to the final at Earls Court.

The finalists are: Blackburn BID, Broadstairs Town Team, Ipswich Town and Waterfront, Kidsgrove Town Team, Melton Mowbray Borough Council, Uppingham First and Wyre Borough Council. They will all be at Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) in Earls Court on 12 March 2014 to present their ideas to the judges.

The Challenge is supported by the Historic Towns Forum (HTF), Essential Retail and The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA).

Colin Munro, CEO of miconex and one of the judges said: “We had almost 50 entries from towns and cities across the UK and getting down to the final seven was a tough exercise. We believe we have shortlisted the best examples of innovative approaches to reviving destinations and those who were able to demonstrate how much they wanted to improve their town and bring their ideas to life.”

The winner of the Challenge will receive tools and training from a team of experts who can really make a difference to the future of our towns.  Additionally, this will offer a new model and direction that can be delivered in communities around the UK.

As a member of R&T  RedBorder Ltd would like to congratulate you all on reaching the finals and I look forward to meeting you and hearing your presentations on the 12th March.

Best of luck!

 

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