And here’s to the calibre, ambition and business growth potential of the entrepreneurs on our current pilot Back2Business project, our latest Edition project and new partnership with Tree Shepherd. We developed and are delivering the results-oriented enterprise project for Lambeth’s visionary Working for Business initiative, and the entire project is funded by Lambeth Council’s Cooperative Investment Fund (CIF). As with all our Editions, B2B is also made possible thanks to our amazing network of brand expert volunteers, whose invaluable advice and insights further drive home our signature training and curriculum. As we enter our halfway point of the programme, already in its 4th week, what better point to tell our readers about the intensive business and branding journey our Rising 50s and Breadwinners collectives have enjoyed so far. These ambitious Lambeth residents won a spot on the programme through application and pitch panel to judges, because they are ready and inspired to launch their own businesses as a solution to unemployment.
Back2Business 2016 kicked off in early January, with the high energy that our Editions are known for, and as the year is new and fresh and most of us are reaching for the stars personally and professionally. Our first ever 8-session course runs across the following 2 months between POP Brixton’s groovy event space POP Box and the fabulous Karibou Education Centre. We welcome each collective of 20+ Breadwinners each Tuesday and our Rising 50s each Wednesday, building strong business networks and future trade opportunities, a fantastic and serendipitous outcome of absolutely all of our Editions so far.
Brand Amplifier and Tree Shepherd advise and train participants on a wealth of branding and business matters, respectively, delivering thousands of pounds’ worth of business advice for FREE to beneficiaries looking to come off benefits and create their dream job and business. Our learners have consistently enjoyed pin dropping moments while gaining a new perspective on how to take their businesses to the next level of success.we’ve had four great impressions made via engrossing presentations from an enviable list of presenters giving their time to Back2Business.
Workshop 1 began with a compelling session to discuss the value and role of ‘branding’ for all businesses. Marketing and loyalty analytics specialists Aimia (http://aimia.com)’s team Jill Dougan, Matt Blantern and Sam Choi led discussions on brand positioning, vision and what gets customers interested in brands they have never heard of before. They challenged participants to kick off their Back2Business journey by drafting a winning brand positioning statement for the brands they plan to bring to market, register with company’s house or build a stronger trade for by the end of the programme in March. Maya Angelou’s compelling quote summed up the workshop’s outputs that: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Learners left the session with a new understanding of what ‘brand’ really means.
Workshop 2 served up an intensive and enlightening guide to building brand voice by “Storytelling on Social Media”, hosted by Brand Amplifier’s Jeannette Whiting, getting participants comfortable with Twitter and Instagram, and urging them to explore their potential for attracting new customers, building rapport with influencers and launching free marketing campaigns that boost trade. She revealed the superpowers as well as the ‘down side’ of each platform, encouraging participants to step out of their comfort zone, get familiar with digital marketing and stand up and be counted as digitally savvy marketeers. Her aptly named workshop focused on the power of storytelling as a business growth strategy, and the, the often misunderstood and misdirected role of brand communications, which she emphasised should always and only serve to boost a business’ bottom line. Any other focus is just adding noise to the fray and potentially confusing customers. She wrapped up with the classic quote made famous by legendary beatnik author Jack Kerouac and later an iconic Apple computer ad campaign: “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Proving that finance really can be enjoyable, Mark Yablsey from Pod Garden Design (http://www.podgardendesign.co.uk) delivered Workshop 3 on ‘Turning aspiration into achievement’, an interactive session that delivered invaluable financial advice with a heavy dose of humour. Mark worked his magic to convert a fair few previous skeptics to the joys of embracing the ins and outs of P&L. Aha moments and laughs abounded in a highly enjoyable and on-point training session to encourage each ambitious business participant to master finances and keep business plans current and an active ‘road map’ for future growth. After all, you wouldn’t expect to blindly arrive at an unknown, unfamiliar destination if you blindly set out in your car, and your business direction should be considered in the same respect. Mark closed with the timeless words of American author Zig Ziglar: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Indeed! But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what some of the Back2Business participants had to say about the programme so far:
- “As a social media user, I have now gained further understanding how social media (esp. Twitter) can work for my business.”
- “Outstanding delivery of a complex and very important subject. I could have stayed ALL day and I left feeling Jeannette had so much more to offer. Very grateful and thank you!”
- “Really well delivered – good content. Very inspiring, direct + I’ll book a Business Clinic to further my understanding on branding on social media. The workshop was dynamite, energised, and gave lots of insider knowledge, thank you!”
- “Very interesting workshop – will adapt these tools to enhance my business.”
Watch this blog space to see more Back2Business stories unfold over weeks to come and follow us @brandamplifier and #Back2Business.