DVSC’S EXCITING PLANS FOR RUTHIN MARKET HALL

DVSC is delighted to share some great news.

In October, DVSC signed the license to operate Ruthin Market Hall on Market Street with Denbighshire County Council. And this week Welsh Government announced that DVSC was one of the successful award winners of the Foundational Economy Challenge Fund to help us on our social enterprise journey.

Helen Wilkinson, Chief Executive at DVSC says: “We are very excited to bring this Grade 2 listed building back to life after the retirement of the license holders earlier this year. This is a key opportunity for us to help support inclusive economic growth in Ruthin and the outlying area and provide a platform to engage the local community, artisans, voluntary groups, Third Sector Organisations, social enterprises and local businesses.”

Helen Wilkinson
The Market Hall will be run as a Social Enterprise with any surplus generated reinvested for the benefit of the community. DVSC intends to host a regular market involving makers, artisans, artists, local business and the voluntary and community sector. The space will also be available for hire for pop up events and activities.

Helen Wilkinson explains: “We want to work with and inspire local people as we go

on this exciting journey. We are looking to develop our plans in partnership with local people, so we are planning one or two public engagement events before Christmas. Then, in the new year, we will test run a couple of concepts, as we ask for more input from the public during further engagement events. If all goes to plan, we hope that the Market Hall will formally launch in Spring.” Ruthin Market Hall

A first brainstorm about the Market Hall is planned during the Co-Production Workshop DVSC is holding next Monday 18th November at the Naylor Leyland Centre.

Keep an eye on our social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) and follow our Eventbrite page to be notified of future public engagement events.

If you are interested in getting involved and want to volunteer by offering your time or skills please contact Mair, DVSC’s Volunteering and Wellbeing Development Officer or Gareth, #DenbighshireVolunteers Support Officer, engagement@dvsc.co.uk or
call 01824 702 441.

Better still pop in to meet us in person at the Naylor Leyland Centre, Well Street, Ruthin from 08.30am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday.

People can also get involved in Open Doors activities – which take place on Fridays from 1.00pm till 3.00pm at the Naylor Leyland Centre. Open Doors participants will be showcasing some of their work at one of our public engagement events in the Market Hall before Christmas. DVSC looks forward to welcoming everyone to this great building and to hearing people’s views.

You can see Helen’s interview with Welsh Government colleagues here:

Naylor Leyland Centre
Well Street, Ruthin, Denbighshire, LL15 1AF
Tel: 01824 702441
e.mail: office@dvsc.co.uk
website www.dvsc.co.uk

March for Business 2019

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Economic and Business Development’s business month
“March for Business 2019”

We’ve worked in partnership with support providers to offer a host of activities throughout the month ranging from networking opportunities to training workshops, which include:

  • Introduction to Exporting
  • Retail Skills Training – Social Media; Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Presenting your Product
  • Urdd Eisteddfod 2020 – Is your business ready?
  • Our joint Business Dinner with FSB

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And our two headline events:

North Wales Growth Deal – discover how the developing Growth Deal could benefit businesses in Denbighshire, to include lunch and a networking session.

Blas Lleol – A meet the producer event, matching buyers with local food and drink producers

These are a few examples of what’s on offer for businesses to access.
To find out more visit:

www.denbighshire.gov.uk/marchforbusiness

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Business Survey Results 2018

Summary of 2018 Business Survey

Businesses in Denbighshire have given their verdict on the county’s economy. Despite a difficult trading environment affecting town centres across the UK and uncertainty over Brexit, the county’s business owners remain positive for the future, according to Denbighshire County Council’s 2018 Business Survey. More than 430 respondents took part in the annual survey, conducted by the Economic and Business Development Team, which helps inform the Council’s March for Business month.

Below is a summary of some of this year’s headline results. If you would like to see the results in more detail or have any specific questions then please contact us at econ.dev@denbighshire.gov.uk

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Business confidence

Business confidence remained much the same between 2017 and 2018. 73% of businesses surveyed expect an increase in customer numbers which was up 13% on last years’ results and 65% reporting they anticipated an increase in sales, which was a small rise from the 2017 survey results.

Digital Connectivity

Respondents also gave positive feedback on improvements to mobile coverage, something the Council has been working on with the Welsh Government and mobile network providers. Respondents feel mobile reception is adequate for their business needs. This improvement has been felt across the board for all types of mobile use. With regards broadband, the proportion of businesses who are aware they have access to superfast broadband has increased slightly from 33% in 2017 to 37% this year. The number of businesses who use superfast broadband has risen slightly this year to 35%, which is a significant increase from the 2016 survey which was 20%.

Product promotion

Surprisingly, the vast majority of businesses promoting their products still use word of mouth, with all other forms of promotion have been reduced. Print production has seen the highest reduction in its use for product promotion. Denbigh and St Asaph are the most technologically advanced promoters in the county with some of the lowest uses of print media and highest use of web and social media. The use of multi-channel marketing increases with business size. Newer businesses (under 2 years) are not using print media for promotion.

Trade reach

There was little change in the trade reach of businesses between 2017 and 2018 however, in 2018 a larger number of businesses indicated that they would like to trade further. In general it is our larger businesses who are more likely to trade with the EU and less likely only to trade locally.

Constraint – recruitment

Fewer businesses recruited staff in 2018 than they had in 2017. A greater number of businesses had also expressed that they had issues when recruiting, especially when finding suitable applicants.

Training Content

Between 2017 and 2018 there has been a big increase in the number of businesses wanting training but little change in the training priorities of businesses. There has been slight increase in the interest of businesses in training for visual merchandising, export, social media and e-commerce.

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Brexit Resilience Fund

This information is courtesy of Welsh Government  https://businesswales.gov.wales/news-and-blogs/news/brexit-resilience-fund

The Welsh Government has formally launched a £1million Brexit Resilience Fund which is available to Welsh businesses, to help them adapt to the changes in a post-Brexit Welsh economy.

Business Wales is offering eligible businesses the opportunity to apply for funding of between £10,000 and £100,000 up to 50% of project costs.

The Brexit Resilience Fund aims to:

  • develop capacity
  • improve processes
  • retain competitiveness
  • safeguard jobs
  • guarantee the trade flows between Wales and the rest of the world

To apply, businesses must:

  • be registered to trade in Wales.
  • register with Business Wales and complete the Brexit Toolkit on application
  • be able to demonstrate that the funding will contribute to safeguarding jobs
  • have been trading for 12 months or more on the day of application

If your business meets the above criteria and has a project in mind that would help you build resilience and cope with the changes you may face post Brexit, this fund is for you.

For further information and to apply please call 03000 6 03000 where you will be put in touch with an adviser to complete the application process.

The Business Wales Brexit Resilience Fund is open to applications until 31 March 2020, funds permitting.

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Social Media, Helen Hodgkinson.

Social media gives independent businesses an opportunity to grow their business, to connect and engage not only with current customers, but also with potential customers. Digital technology levels the playing field and gives small businesses the same opportunities as their larger competitors. Being proactive with social media is very important so communication needs to be in real time and addressed quickly.

The most important tip for social media is to target the correct media channels and develop an informative and interactive communication strategy. This engages and drives the customers to a deeper understanding of your brand and ultimately drives them to purchase more from you.

This quick guide will help you decide which social media platform to use and how to create great content to showcase your business.

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Which ones for your business?

FACEBOOK is the main social network. It is used daily by millions of people to keep in touch, share photos and interact. View Facebook as you would view talking to your customers face to face. You can have a personal page, a business page, or set up or join a group.

Examples of use:

  • Upload photographs and a video
  • Share a paragraph about a new product and services.
  • Update your page with your latest range.
  • Share your new promotions.
  • Promote events.
  • Sell from Facebook either via posting, albums or a Facebook shop.
  • Set up competitions.
  • post live video which is a great way to showcase your brand.

 

INSTAGRAM: With 400 million users and over 80 million posts per day, Instagram has become an essential element of social media marketing for business.  On Instagram your message reaches consumers where they follow their passions and explore the world through imagery.  For these reasons Instagram is a highly relevant environment to share your business’s story or showcase your products, apps or services.

Examples of use:

  • Upload photos and videos of your products
  • Upload photos of your staff  and customers wearing or using your products
  • Upload photos of your business at different times of the year
  • Add images and video to stories which last for 24 hours, these can be customised to showcase your brand’s creativity.

 

PINTEREST: A channel where you ‘pin’ photos of products and things you like. It is very visual and great to showcase product photos. Use this channel as a visual representation of your business.  Pinterest comes up in product searches via search engines so it’s a great way to link to customers that are ready to purchase.

Examples of use:

  • Open a page as a person and set up a ‘board’ with products you like – include yours and others
  • Open a page as your business and share your images as well as those that inspire your brand.
  • Link your product images to your web site so customers can shop directly.
  • Add a pin it link to your website product pictures so customers can add these to their own boards; this means your products are shared to a wider audience.

 

TWITTER: Quick and short updates. Is often used for quick promotions, headlines from blogs, key messages from a brand and to interact with customers. Customer service issues are often highlighted on Twitter – so keep an eye on it.

Examples of use:

  • Share the latest images of your products
  • Update on daily deals
  • Share a customer’s best opinions
  • Ask for feedback on the latest adverts
  • Share the latest events
  • Link to articles your customers will find interesting

 

YOUTUBE: Shared video channel. Is very useful for ‘how to’ videos and to really showcase your business.

Examples of use:

  • Take a video of people using a rage of your products
  • Film ‘how to guides’ that explains how to use the product in real life
  • Make a film to promote your brand

 

LINKEDIN: Business networking and sharing of professional information. It is not used

extensively in marketing but used as a professional business person or as a business. Good for business to business networking and good for recruitment.

Examples of use:

  • Ensure you have a personal LinkedIn page with your history and details
  • Ensure you have a business page with your details
  • Use the page to share links to your blogs and sometimes your products

 

How to create great content?

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As you post/tweet updates, photos and more think about what your customers find interesting and inspiring.

  • Know your brand – ensure you always write in the style of your brand. Over time your customers get to know your brand style – they trust and become comfortable with it. This should be reflected in everything you do, from the tone of your emails, to the wording in your tweets, to the colours in your pictures.
  • Know your customer – knowing your customer is key. If you do not know them well enough you won’t be able to interact with them in a way that fits their wants, needs and desires.
  • Be authentic.  Share what you’re genuinely excited about and your customers will be excited too.
  • Be responsive.  When people comment, show that your business is listening and that you care.  If you need more time to answer a question, let them know that you’re looking into it.
  • Be consistent.  the more regularly you post, the greater an opportunity you have for connecting with people and building trust.  Setting a schedule for your posts can also help to maximise your team’s time.
  • Do what works. Replicate your success on posts that get more engagement.
  • Ensure keywords are included – understanding your keywords is critical to generating content – you must research them well and use them in every tweet, blog and Facebook update.
  • Impactful and enticing content – make sure your content is interesting to ensure customers read it and click through.
  • Use images and videos – ‘an image tells a thousand words’. Include pictures either that represent your business, or your business behind the scenes, or your products & services.  Use videos if you have a great story and want to share a message over a wider audience.

Remember – your recipe for success is to create page posts and adverts that are interesting and valuable to your customers, and to target your messages so that the right people see them.

 

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Facebook Tips

Self-generated content such as blog or website articles, website links, promoting your own products and services.

  • Articles others have written and you can link to – things that will interest your customers, that may help them.
  • News from local business or news about the local area that may be important or of interest to your customers.
  • Following businesses, agencies and other influencers can help you generate content, you can share and link into what others are saying.

Instagram Tips

Images have always been used for visual communication on Instagram and today we are seeing more & more video on the platform.  For brands a strong visual voice is the key to driving real business results on the platform.

  • Your visuals should be well branded, story driven, carefully crafted and, of course, well targeted.
  • Instagram is driven by #hashtags; these should be relevant to the visual and your target audience.
  • As you cannot have a clickable link in a post, drive people to click the link in your Bio.
  • If you are product based, use the ‘tag a product’ feature to link the customer to purchase directly from your website.

Twitter Tips

A concise tweet makes an impact. Keep each tweet focused on one specific message rather than trying to communicate multiple things.

  • Hashtags are a powerful tool that allow you to expand your reach and tap into relevant conversations. Focus on keywords relevant to your business. Best practice recommends using no more than two hashtags per tweet.
  • Retweeting relevant content and replying to tweets are great ways to maintain a robust Twitter presence. Positive customer feedback, helpful articles, and messages that align with your business’s authentic voice are all impactful content to re-tweet.

March for Business – You said, we did

march for business logo v2Denbighshire County Council believes it is important to listen to businesses, which is why every year we encourage traders to take part in our annual Business Survey and ask them what training and support will help them grow.

We then take that information and plan out four weeks of training, workshops and networking events as part of our March for Business month.  This year businesses asked for help with social media, e-commerce and marketing and we responded by hosting events to meet those needs.

Other results from our 2017 Business Survey, which had more than 470 responses, found the majority of businesses are more confident about the future than ever before.

The survey, conducted by the Council’s Economic and Business Development team, found more than 70 per cent of respondents said their business is stronger than it was in 2016 while only 1 per cent said it was weaker. More than a quarter expect to increase staff numbers, while 63 per cent are expecting sales to increase.

March for Business 2018 – our biggest business month yet. 

This year more than 400 attendees took part in 25 varied events during March for Business 2018.  Working with partner support providers, we held Facebook, Twitter and Instagram training, workshops on e-commerce, exporting post-Brexit, branding and marketing as well as showcase of local Denbighshire produce.

We asked businesses for feedback on March for Business and the response showed event satisfaction was very high and businesses rated events as being very useful.  From feedback the overall feeling was that events at March for Business were ‘excellent’.

More than 90 % of respondents said events were well organised, staff were helpful and the events provided useful networking opportunities.  Food producers who attended the Blas Lleol – Meet the Producer event reported  more than £25,000 of orders.

Business Survey 2018

We have launched our business survey for 2018 which means you have the chance to tell us what events you would like to see at March for Business 2019.  Do you want to see events focused around social media, branding and marketing,  financial support or exporting? Or are there other areas you would like us to focuson? By taking part in the survey you can help shape March for Business 2019.

It is also your chance to tell us about how your business is performing and what your aspirations are for the future.

This information allows us to direct our efforts to help businesses grow over the coming year to support healthy private businesses, create higher paid jobs to increase economic prosperity, a priority under our Corporate Plan.

You can take part in the Business Survey 2018 here:

www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dccbusinesssurvey

 

Welsh Government Economic Action Plan

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy has announced the next stage of the Economic Action Plan (EAP) introducing the Economic Contract, Call to Action and Economic Futures Fund. The plan seeks to grow our economy and has been developed to meet the needs of today and to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Economic Contract

The Economic Contract is the framework for a new relationship with businesses looking to access finance, requiring businesses to demonstrate their commitment to growth, fair work, employee health and skills and reducing their carbon footprint, reflecting the kind of business behaviours that many successful and responsible businesses exhibit.

Call to Action

Designed to help businesses prepare for the future and adapt to the challenges they may bring. For Wales, these Calls to Action are designed to enable more inclusive economic growth by promoting regional strengths and tackling structural challenges.

  • decarbonisation
  • innovation, entrepreneurship and headquarters
  • exports and Trade
  • high quality employment, skills development and fair work
  • R&D, automation and digitalisation

Economic Futures Fund

The Welsh Government are introducing a streamlined finance package bringing together existing finance schemes into a consistent approach, simplifying the process for businesses and allowing Welsh Government to be flexible in how it uses the resources it has to meet business need, and deliver against the points highlighted in the Economic Contract and the Calls to Action.

For further information on the EAP contact the Business Wales Helpline on 03000 6 03000.
You can view the strategy on the Welsh Government website 

Town Business. Networking & Branding in Denbighshire Towns

This article is part of a series of interviews  giving examples of the range of great businesses there are in our town centres.

Trefor Jones clothes shop

Tudor Jones is the owner of Trefor Jones clothes shop in Ruthin, a well-established family-run business which has been open for 40 years.

The firm offers a range of top-quality menswear including casualwear, formalwear, footwear, wedding hire and accessories.

Mr Jones, whose father founded the business, said: “We are a well-established local brand. We work hard and we have a diverse customer base. We try and have a diverse range in the shop, you have to move on and be flexible.

Tudor Jones owener of trefor Jones

“It is important to move forward and stay relevant, we have a very busy hire department and we have moved into footwear. You have got to have different things going on, we don’t sell as many suits as we did 20 years ago. It is about diversification and still keeping quality products, being different from multi-nationals. Having knowledge and experience and being able to help our customers helps us get repeat custom. We have a reputation and we get customers from the Wirral, Cheshire and the coast.

“There is a great business community in Ruthin. Online shopping isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. People still want to try things on, they want to touch and feel a product.

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“In places like Ruthin there are nice places to eat, there is history to the town. It is a destination as well, shoppers can come to us and spend an afternoon in the town.”

Rhyl Town Centre Plan

You may have heard that Denbighshire County Council is undertaking a programme of engagement to support a plan for the future of Rhyl Town Centre.

Businesses are a key group that we want to talk to as part of the project, as they will play a key role in shaping and supporting the future of Rhyl Town Centre. Local businesses are a vibrant and important part of our community, whether you’re based in the town centre or not, you have ideas and knowledge that can help us make it better for local people, visitors, other business and for the wider benefit of Rhyl.

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How to get involved

We’ve already spent much of March for Business speaking to local businesses from across Denbighshire, which has been great. You’ve been telling us how you’d like to see the town centre change, what you think works at the moment and what issues you’d like to see us address.

There will be more opportunities to get involved throughout the Spring and Summer. If you have a spare couple of minutes now it would be great if you could  complete our business questionnaire online.

If you have something to say about Rhyl Town Centre, we want to hear it so If you’d prefer to discuss the town centre directly with one of our team you can contact us.

More information

You can find out more about the project by visiting: www.denbighshire.gov.uk/rhyltowncentreplan

How do digital skills free up time and money?

The Economic and Business Development team embraced the information age long ago. The research data we collect from national and local sources, informs all activities that we do to improve the economic well being of Denbighshire.

Last year we completed the Denbighshire business survey for the third year running. This annual survey takes the temperature of Denbighshire’s economy and business health to find out how business owners are feeling about their situation, their future and what we can do to make things even better.

In Denbighshire we can see the digital skills gap closing as the clever businesses save time and money through new skills.

An important part of the business survey is to find out how business life is changing and what skills businesses now need to stay ahead of the competition. The business survey has shown that 8 out of 10 businesses value skills over attitude when hiring new staff. Is this because businesses desperately need new staff with digital skills in their businesses? A survey by Fujitsu has shown that 77 percent of 1,400 UK employees believe their organisation’s future success hinges on the effective use of digital technology. Yet a separate survey shows that 49 percent of UK SMEs face a digital skills gap.

In Denbighshire we can see the digital skills gap closing as the clever businesses save time and money through new skills. By looking at the ways businesses market themselves we can see that the smallest businesses, with the least time and money to spend are far more likely to use Facebook to present their business to the world on the web. As businesses grow there is more information to be shared and a business need a website; and by the time a business is medium sized, web advertising is even more popular than word of mouth.

But there is still work to do.

Most businesses can’t just hire digitally literate staff. If businesses are to close the digital skills gap it takes a little work for a big gain, and it looks like Denbighshire businesses are up for the challenge. When asked what skills businesses would like to learn over three quarters of businesses wanting training said they want to learn e-commerce and well over half want to learn social media.

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LEARN ABOUT MARCH FOR BUSINESS