One of the best things about life is that we never have to stop learning. There are always new skills to hone and techniques for us to adopt. When you look at the most successful people in the world, they understand this. American business magnate, investor and philanthropist Warren Buffet spends most of his time reading. The best entrepreneurs in the world don’t act like they know everything. They all understand the fact that they have to continuously learn to be successful.
For us to live life to the fullest, we must continually look for ways to improve. If you aren’t actively looking to learn new things, there are a number of reasons why you might want to rethink your strategy. Self-growth is key for us to live fulfilling lives and to have a successful career.
Now over half way through the #Back2Business series of talks, we have more than 40 Lambeth residents committed to learning traditional and digital skills to drive their businesses to great success. Our #Back2Business entrepreneurs – the Rising 50s (in their late 40s and over) and Breadwinners (lone parents with dependent age children), are on a voyage of business discovery and this week enjoyed learning the secrets of how to finesse their brand story and using it to generate press coverage on their products and services.
Journalist, PR and Personal Trainer Patrick McAleenan (@ontheptrain) left quite an impression on his audience after his talk on handling your ‘Storytelling & PR on a shoestring’. Patrick shared eye-opening know-how on brand storytelling and publicity, focusing on the dos and don’ts of running your own PR as a small business and the right ways to effectively pitch and interact with journalists, bloggers and social media influencers.
For many small business owners, the idea of handling their own PR and telling a memorable and succinct brand story is daunting and full of risky pitfalls ahead. As a journalist and PR, Patrick understands both sides of the coin and the importance of pitching a story in a newsworthy and accessible way. He inspired and challenged our collective SME owners on set out to prove sessions. Karlene McFarlane, owner of K’Diva (www.kdivauk.com), a Makeup Bar In Brixton’s PopBrixton retail village, offers makeup ‘quickies’ for just a £5. She told us thatthe #Back2Business course and ongoing consultations give her a much needed confidence boost for her business.
“My biggest concern was to learn how to take my brand to the next level,” says Karlene. ”K’Diva has only recently had a residency at PopBrixton and I am here to learn the best ways of getting customers to know and come to me.”
Another learner, Emma Pattenden set up her business ‘Chocolates by Eloise’ (chocolatesbyeloise.co.uk) to sell her popular handmade Belgian chocolates. One of the biggest changes she faced was to grow and develop her company with herself as the face of the company.
“I’ve had a few pin-dropping moments from the sessions so far with excellent advice on profit and loss, getting a better understanding of Twitter, lots of motivation and enthusiasm from the inspirational presenters and how to remain focused on my goals without getting sidetracked.”
The programme’s strong focus on brand voice and purpose has empowered our learners to explain their brands to strangers, and sell their brand benefits. Once armed with clear, concise and powerful brand messages, social media starts to make sense and becomes strategic platform to grow their business.
Food, fashion, charity, export, gardening and interiors are just some of the competitive business sectors our learners are trading in. Fashion designer Snezana Nikolic is on the programme to build her childrenswear and accessories label Y KAIROS (ancient Greek word meaning a serendipitous, right or opportune moment) and carve out a fulfilling career as an entrepreneur. . realising quickly just how important social media is to amplifying her brand messages.
“My main concern before starting #Back2Business was how to go about using social media and how to use it effectively,” says Snezana, “and I quickly learned that it was a case of ‘Learn-do, learn-do, learn-do, NOW!”
“Social media isn’t as scary as it seems once you have something to say and get hang of how to use it. In fact, it can be great fun and has taught me about the importance of telling my own story and how best to present myself.” Now preparing for the launch of her website, Snezana is soon to open a shop on www.etsycom/uk
In today’s fast paced world, if you don’t keep learning, you’re not standing still, you’re falling behind. And our #Back2Business collective is charging full steam ahead.