“One of my biggest frustrations with marketing is the cost of creative services and that it can become the stumbling block for any new or fledgling business. I decided to set up ‘iLove’ as I wanted to offer a unique and simple service to businesses in the UK.”
Read Sarah Mitchell’s story below… she gives some great advice!
What does your business do?
iLove UK, a new concept for free town & city guides that will combine quarterly printed directories, web, social media and smartphone apps.
Myself and business partner Janet McKillop of Jay Creative, are set to launch our first guide in Manchester in November, supported by Smooth Radio.
iLove promises to be different to other guides by playing an active role in supporting local businesses and charities, with 10% of net profits put back into community causes.
iLove has already received backing from major brands such as John Lewis, Next and Spa 303 at The Hilton. It is also being supported by Smooth Radio, with on-air and web promotions starting in October and running through November when the first guide is launched.
What made you decide to start your business?
I have worked on the other side of the fence both in corporate business and as a sole-trader.
One of my biggest frustrations with marketing is the cost of creative services and that it can become the stumbling block for any new or fledgling business. I decided to set up ‘iLove’ as I wanted to offer a unique and simple service to businesses in the UK.
I understand the creative process and the cost implications of getting a product, service or business concept to market. With my background in design, marketing and creative communications, I have built a concept that will help business small and large to be seen and heard by hundreds of thousands of people for a small amount of investment.
With thanks to my network of business contacts I have built over the years I now have a fantastic team of independent business all working together all supported by Smooth Radio.
Not only will iLove offer new and cost effective routes to market, it will open up doors to opportunities for radio, online, social media, free networking and free creative services PLUS give something back to the local communities through donations, auctions and fundraising events.
I could go on for hours (but I won’t) as this is my passion, my mission and my vision to help UK businesses and improve their offering so they can survive the current economic climate!
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge so far is getting my foot in the door and speaking directly to the decision maker. To share with them my vision and passion and to convey my understanding of their position as I used to be sat where they are (metaphorically speaking!).
Marketing Managers, business owners and directors all avoid talking to anyone who is trying their hardest to sell them something! Emails are deleted or ignored and efforts to make appointments are few and far between.
I have a new found respect for sales people that I never thought I would have.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I will be honest – I haven’t yet overcome these challenges as they happen to a lot of businesses. My strategy is ‘persistent and consistent’!
Network marketing and networking groups are invaluable in these times as referrals are king. (I sound like someone from the BNI!!)
What advice would you give to other business owners?
Get a good support network – this can be business contacts, friends or family. People who will help, understand and support you.
Get your brand right – a good design goes a long way but a great design goes even further!
Get advice, talk to your target market, ask their opinion and don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t like what you stand for or are promoting.
Believe in yourself – no matter how tough it gets and if you are starring at your computer at midnight asking ‘why me’ – i suggest you sleep on it and start again tomorrow!
What’s your favourite quote?
“To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.” ~Bette Davis
Who inspires you?
Jane Kenyon & Claire Young
I have worked with these fantastic ladies on the branding & website for Girls Out Loud (www.girlsoutloud.org.uk) a brilliant scheme for girls aged 13-18.
Jane Kenyon of Well Heeled Divas – Serial Entrepreneur & Head Diva!
Claire Young – Finalist in BBC’s The Apprentice, Business Woman and Inspirational Speaker
They are fantastic women, entrepreneurs, motivators, ambassadors for women in business, inspirational and I am glad to say my friends.