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Posts Tagged ‘Cumbria’

Imposter Syndrome in small businesses

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

I had a pretty rubbish week at the end of January.  I won’t go into all the gory details, but it reminded me of an article I’d read in the past about ‘Imposter Syndrome’.  The article said that “Research from AXA PPP healthcare reveals that one in five SME owners suffer from Imposter Syndrome – the fear of being exposed in your job as a fraud, inadequate or a failure despite evidence proving you’re successful and capable.”

That week I felt just like this and it made me wonder how many other small business owners feel like this too?  What brought this about was a nasty email from an (now ex) client, slating the work that I did for them, my costs (which are extremely competitive I will have you know) and my knowledge.  It was an email that came completely out of the blue and just knocked me for six.  Communication had been good, feedback had been excellent and I’d really helped them (so they told me).  So, to get an email contrary to that was really upsetting.

I consider myself a very professional businessperson.  I treat others how I would expect to be treated myself, am honest and loyal to my clients.  I studied hard at university and continue to study with my CPD, I’ve gained over twenty years’ experience, am a Chartered Marketer with great clients and testimonials and have won several awards.  Yet, I still sometimes feel like I have Imposter Syndrome. Receiving an email like that, or a bad comment about you/your work or meeting a tricky client can really knock you down.

I never imagined that I’d run a business – I didn’t have a clue where to start, but was thrown into this situation when I was made redundant and I just got on with it.  In that respect I have to pinch myself sometimes that I’m coming up to my eight year anniversary.  There is no way I’d be doing what I’m doing eight years down the line if I wasn’t any good.

Findings in the report suggested over half of SME owners affected (52%) admit that low self-esteem led them to feeling like an imposter, with four in ten (42%) comparing themselves with others and over one in four (27%) doubting their decisions.  

So, my message to anyone out there who might feel like they have Imposter Syndrome is to just go for it.  You are good at what you do; otherwise, you would not be in the situation you are in.  Believe in yourself and others will too.  You are unique and the service or product you offer is unique to you and you should be proud of it.  You don’t need to compare yourself to others, be confident in your strengths and what you do.

Finally don’t ever feel like you’re on your own, there are so many other small business owners out there, so get out and meet them, go for a coffee with someone you trust and build a supportive network around you.  A good talking to can often sort you out (as my husband regularly does!)

So, I’m back on it this week!  Bring it on!

 

 

 

Ref:  https://www.businessleader.co.uk

 

Every day is a school day

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

There has been so much back to school marketing around recently it got me thinking and reminiscing about my old school and University days (crikey it’s 20 years since I started Uni this year!)  Everyone always used to say they were the best days of your life and anyone who has been to university will know that they really are!  However, when you leave school or Uni your education does not stop there.  I feel I am always on a continuous journey of learning whether that’s in life, motherhood or work.

When I was in paid employment, I often attended training courses to broaden my skills, whether that was health and safety or leadership management.  However, since being self-employed this has changed slightly.

A few years ago, I decided to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).  I wanted an accreditation that proved that I was a legitimate marketer.  There are so many cowboys in the industry and I wanted people to know I was genuine and I actually know what I’m talking about.  At that point, I had about 15 years of experience in marketing, which was enough to prove to the CIM that I was fit for the title.

Ever since I have undertaken a path of Continued Professional Development (CPD) whereby I attend training courses, read books, watch webinars, mentor people – generally try to keep on top of my game.  I record the work I do and undertake reflective statements on what I’ve learnt and how I will implement this in my own work.

By doing this it has ensured that I am continuously learning and developing, being the best marketer I can be.  So, for me, every day is like a school day as I learn new things about myself and my business and continue my education and gain more experience in the wonderful world of marketing.

School Marketing Acorn Marketing Cumbria CIM certificate

My 2018/2019 CIM certificate

 

Juggling act

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Running a business and being a mum really is a juggling act!  I’ve spent the day writing social media plans for next month, whilst I’ve got a roast in the oven and washing on the line.

For many years my business was my baby, I put my heart and soul into it.  It was my life.  But, since I became a mum (and step mum) things have changed.  I now have two babies to look after!  Most days I manage to do some form of work, but I’m often checking emails whilst building a jigsaw or reading a book to my little girl.

However, despite it being a juggling act I actually get the best of both worlds.  I can be at home and have precious time with my daughter, but then run a successful business as well.  So, how do I do it…

  • Be organised

My biggest tip is being organised.  There is no way I could do what I do if I was not super organised.  I have lists for each client and what we need to do, plans for social media, plans for advertising, plans for future plans.  I then have a weekly list of everything I need to get done that week with priorities, I even then have a notepad, where I write down what I need to do each day.  I know it sounds a lot, but when you’re juggling ten or so clients at a time, you need to write everything down and plan everything.

I also then have lists at home, shopping lists and lists of what we’re going to eat each day for tea.  I have a work calendar and also a family calendar, so everyone knows what they are doing and when.  My little one is only two and a half, so I think this planning is only going to stand me in good stead when she starts school!

  • Communicate

It is also really important to communicate well.  Not only does it help you to be organised, but it ensures my clients (and family) are happy.  I have a rule that I will always answer emails in 24 hours, or even just acknowledge people if I can’t give them an answer right away.  I also pick up the phone.  We often fire out emails when we’re busy and I’m guilty of that, but if I have something tricky to explain about a piece of work, or if I need a question answering urgently I use the good old telephone to sort things out – an art, which seems to be getting lost these days!

  • Support

Probably the key to my success is the support I have from family – particularly my Mam and mother in law.  Between us, we share the childcare.  If I have an important meeting to attend, I know one of these great women will jump into action, swap shifts and be there to help.  April goes to Pre-school in November, so I will have even more time to get things done!

  • Give yourself a break

I recently let things get on top of me.  I didn’t know whether I was coming or going and felt like I was doing a million and one jobs all the time with no respite.  It seemed like I put everyone at the top of the list apart from me!  I discovered a book called The Self Care revolution, which is fantastic and really gives you a handle on how to manage things, coping mechanisms, stress and how to ‘give yourself a break’.  I think we’re all too hard on ourselves to be perfect at everything whether that is work, motherhood, looks, ageing, weight loss and some times, we just need to take a step back and realise that actually we’re good at what we do.  We may not be perfect at everything, but we’re doing our best!

I now make sure I take some time out for me, cinema, spa days and a daily dose of Yoga.  Have a read…it could help you too!

  • Enjoy it 

The biggest thing is that I love my job.  I enjoy meeting clients, forming relationships, doing marketing and seeing projects come to fruition.  I also love being a Mummy (as most mothers do) and although I say I’m juggling, it’s not really juggling as it’s just life!  It’s what I do and I love it.  I get the best of both words, being a Mum whilst running a successful business.

If you are thinking of starting your own business and you’re a mum, I’d say go for it.  Yes, it will be hard, yes, there will be times when you want to go back to 9-5, but the rewards far outweigh the negatives.  There is no looking back!

Lake District brewery launches wholesale ales

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Brack’N’Brew, the micro-brewery based at the Brackenrigg Inn on the shores of Ullswater has recently launched a range of 500ml bottles to complement its existing real ales brewed on site.  The wholesale beers are being stocked across the UK and the local brewery has seen a spike in sales as a result.

Brack’N’Brew was born in March 2015 when an old horse stable at the back of the Brackenrigg Inn Watermillock, was converted into the brew house.  After a few months of trialling recipes, the first ale named ‘Boathouse Blonde’ was brewed and served in the bar at the Brackenrigg Inn.

The Brewery currently has five regular ales available at the Brackenrigg, Inn, including Alfred’s Golden Ale, The Rambling Bookkeeper Bitter, The Steamer Stout and Aira Force IPA.  Seasonal ales make an appearance throughout the year; including a Marmalade ale as part of Dalemain’s Marmalade Festival on the 17th March.

The new 500ml bottle range, has been well received locally and is stocked in a variety of bars, restaurants and shops across the county including Chestnut House in Pooley Bridge, The Sunn Inn Newton Reigny, The Kings Arms in Stainton, Glenridding Mini Market, The Royal at Dockray, Beer Shop Ambleside, House of Malt in Carlisle and Embers Bar in Carlisle.

The bottled beers are also being shipped further afield to Leicester, Nottingham, Wigan, Ingleton and Clitheroe.

Ben Clementson is the Master Brewer behind Brack’N’Brew’s Ales and has been with the brewery from day one. Ben comments,

“We always had a plan to sell our beers in other establishments across Cumbria right from the start.  The range of new bottles have been very well received and we have noticed an increase in sales as a result.  We are very much looking forward to working with more stockists across the country.”

As well as supplying their 500ml bottle range of beers to retailers and bars, Brack’N’Brew is looking to supply their cask ales to an exclusive number of pubs in Cumbria.  The Brewery wants to ensure the exclusivity of the ales, but hopes to supply a select number of establishments with their range of ales in the next year, as well as opening an online shop to sell their bottled craft ales via the internet.

 

ENDS

General Data Protection Regulation for Marketing

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

General Data Protection Regulation for Marketing

The law is changing in 2018.  It will affect all businesses and the way you do your marketing.  It will affect the way you do any email marketing, make sales calls or send direct mail.  I wrote a blog for a client recently about it (click here) and attended a seminar to try and understand what it means for marketers.  I have to say it’s not one of the most exciting things I’ve written about, but it is something everyone needs to be aware of in 2018 and implement changes.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation by which the EU intends to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU).  It is set to replace the Data Protection Act of 1998.  The GDPR will apply in all EU member states from 25 May 2018.

What do I need to do?

I would suggest you address this as soon as you can and be prepared…don’t just wait until May to sort it out!  If you want to read more in-depth, click here and read my client blog.  Alternatively here are a few things to bear in mind that might get your started…

1 – Think about what data you are collecting.  You might not think you collect any, but if you use Google Analytics, you collect data about who visits your website – even their IP address.  Quick Fix get a privacy policy on your website that indicates how you use any data you collect.

2 – You need to explicitly ask permission to send someone email marketing.  They must opt-in.  It is not OK to assume you have permission, hide it in your privacy policy, or have a box that someone must untick.  They might once have been allowed, but they’re not anymore.  get consent now…don’t wait for the deadline.  On website contact forms/registration forms etc make sure you add tick boxes so people can ‘opt-in’

3 – It is now not only their permission you have to ask for, you also need to record when they gave you permission and log when they opted in.  If you get an email notification when someone registers that may be enough, but you must keep the email secure.

4 – People have the right to tell you to stop marketing to them and you must make it easy for them to opt out of any future email marketing.  Make sure you have that unsubscribe button on your email.   If it is a printed mailer, make sure you have a phone number/address that people can contact to stop receiving things.  Make sure you keep a list of their details and stop sending them things, otherwise you could face a big fine.

5 – Is your website secure?  Does it have a little padlock symbol in the address bar, or did you get an SSL certificate?  If you store any data whatsoever on your website, you must have an SSL certificate, which encrypts the transmission of any data.  Even a contact form can be passing data, so it is safest to have one.  Ask your web designer about it.

6 – You don’t need explicit consent to send a mailer, letter or brochure, provided you make it clear how they can stop receiving them in the future and the content is relevant to them.  This comes under ‘legitimate interests of your business’

7 – there is a misconception that GDPR only applies to personal data, but it applies to business data as well, even if you only email corporate email addresses the law still applies.

As a member of the Chartered Institue of Marketing it has been important to me to try to understand GDPR for my business, but also to advise clients as well.  I don’t know everything and am still doing lots of research and learning, but I hope that I can become more knowledgeable and in turn help my clients.

Watch this space for further updates

 

New Venture For Holiday Cottage Couple

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Owners of Chimney Gill Holiday Cottage, based at Sebergham are branching out and launching a new side to their business named ‘Chimney Gill Cottage Management Services’; which provides housekeeping and management services to other local holiday cottage owners in the North of Cumbria from across Eden to Keswick and Cockermouth.

Since running a holiday cottage, husband and wife duo, Tracey and Graham Wetherell have gained a vast amount of experience and have, over the years mastered the skills needed to successfully manage a holiday cottage.

Chimney Gill Holiday Cottage, which offers accommodation for up to 12 people, was launched in 2012 after the couple decided to renovate some old buildings on their farm.  The self-funded project took six months to complete and since have had hundreds of visitors from as far away as Australia stay with them.  The cottage not only provided the farm with an additional source of income, but gave Tracey an exciting new project to focus on; as well as being a farmer’s wife.

Now with a grown-up family the couple are looking to grow their business further.  With an increasing occupancy of up to 75% for the cottage and consistently high ratings and reviews on Trip Advisor, Tracey and Graham are confident in sharing their expertise with other holiday cottage owners in the local area. The couple offer a range of services from booking management and guest relations, to cleaning duties, site maintenance and key holding.

Tracey from Chimney Gill Cottage Management Services explains;

“We understand from our own experience that it is not always easy or possible for holiday home owners to clean, manage and keep on top bookings, as well as finding the time to organise their own lives.We offer a reliable, first class service; one that we would expect ourselves, ensuring owners can relax knowing the job is in hand.”

Feedback from other holiday home owners and research that Tracey has undertaken has shown that it is not always easy to manage a holiday cottage, particularly if owners have full time jobs, busy lives, or if they simply want to take a break themselves.  Leaving their holiday home in safe and experienced hands, or delegating some of the jobs that not everyone always has time to do, should provide a welcome relief and support to owners who are feeling the strain.

Tracey and Graham launch Chimney Gill Management Services this May in time for the busy summer season ahead.

To find out more about Chimney Gill Cottage Management Services

visit http://chimneygillmanagementservices.co.uk/

Carleton Manor Park – Officially Open

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Cumbrian Homes are pleased to announce the opening of their show home at Penrith’s prestigious new housing development Carleton Manor Park, on Friday 22nd April 2016 – with many properties already snapped up before the doors open.

Carlton Manor Park The development consists of 44 luxury homes in a range of six different styles. This will include three and four bedroom houses and bungalows as well as one, two and three bedroom apartments within the ‘Manor’ and its flanking buildings that prominently overlook the site.

The houses are built using high quality materials; modern in design yet with a traditional feel offering exclusive living in this sought-after location. Many of the properties have already been reserved and for those who have already done so, they have been given the opportunity to add their own bespoke design to the home; something that not many developers offer.

One buyer who is due to get their keys very soon says:

“As soon as we heard about this development and the high quality bespoke style houses we knew it was for us.  We’ve always dreamt of building our own home, but not had the opportunity to do so.  Through buying a house at Carleton Manor Park, we have been able to work with Cumbrian Homes to alter our kitchen, add in new design features, change things around and ensure it is the perfect home for us. We can’t wait to move in.”

The houses will be the most energy efficient houses Cumbrian Homes have built to date, with many features such as smarter heating controls, wood burning/ multi-fuel stove, a high level of thermal insulation, high efficiency argon-filled double glazing units with acoustic glass and, in some cases, premium enhancements from British Gypsum’s “Rooms Made For You” range.

Cumbrian Homes has partnered with British Gypsum towards a common goal of building homes for the future by using higher quality building materials that have a true benefit to homeowners. Three plots at Carleton Manor Park feature British Gypsum magnetic walls, super-strength plasterboard and soundproofing products, allowing the families who move into these houses to get more from their rooms and really enjoy living in a creative space. Magnetic plaster brings rooms to life by making it simple to transform the look without damaging any walls. Super-strength plasterboard makes it possible to hang 15kg from one wood screw, offering homeowners the flexibility to place on the walls what they want, where they want with ease. And soundproofing gives people the freedom to make as much noise in their new home as they want to.

Construction work on Carleton Manor Park began back in September 2015, after final planning conditions were signed off by Eden District Council in August.  The development is situated to the east of Penrith, located adjacent to the Veterinary centre off Carleton Hill Road, opposite the existing “Carleton Heights” housing estate.

Nigel Pallister, Managing Director of Cumbrian Homes comments:

“Carleton Manor Park is undoubtedly the most prestigious development we have built and it is fantastic to see it all coming together. We have had many homes reserved – even before we’ve opened the doors, so we’re sure that opening weekend is going to be busy with the launch of our highly anticipated show home.”

Apartments guide price from £200,000 and 3&4 bedroom houses from £364,000.

To find out more visit the show home from Friday 22nd April or visit www.cumbrian-homes.co.uk to download the development brochure.