The pace at which things are moving can be intimidating for small business owners. The good news is that a focused online marketing strategy where content is king brings SMEs onto a level playing field with some of the big boys.
Small businesses play a key role in the economy, providing 48 per cent of private sector employment. So much so, the Government is actively seeking ways to support them and aid growth. Lord Young in his February 2015 report acknowledged more support needs to be given to small firms to enable them to operate and compete in a digital world. “Small businesses have the potential to become even more sophisticated in the way they operate and interact with customers but this will require them to develop their digital skills and capability,” he said.
What’s it all about then?
My entrepreneurial idea is to launch ContendEd MK, an online training hub specialising in online story-telling and content/digital marketing.
My target customers are small business owners or sole traders in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas, not least because I’ve lived and worked here for over a decade, but it’s pretty handy that MK is also the 22nd best place (in the UK) to launch a start-up.
A quarter of small business owners lack basic digital skills and this mini enterprise will deliver a range of online training courses to help local small firms or sole traders create their own digital marketing materials across a range of channels. The training will be informal, online and accessible at a time, place and pace convenient to the customer. Courses can be tackled on a ‘dip in dip out basis’ and clients won’t be constrained by dates and venues. Anyone who signs up for a course will have access to an online training portal to share ideas, ask questions, network, and get personal feedback and support. Training packages will also include a ‘Skype surgery’ – a face-to-face online tutorial/brainstorm or Q&A.
This idea has been inspired by TeamTwoBees and Janet Murray who offer online and offline content and digital marketing, albeit in different guises; both are London-based. But my biggest competitor is probably the internet – there’s a mass of online training out there, including everything you need to know about creating content to boost your brand. With that said, I can add value – ContentEdMK offers informal, trusted, MK business-to-business expertise based on years of experience in content creation and online story-telling as well as personal contact through Skype surgeries, available to anyone who signs up for training.
What are my next steps?
As I write this post I’m already sitting on interviews with Jennifer D Begg, as mentioned above, and local digital marketing storyteller, Fiona Storey (cool name, huh?) as well as local business owner Maxine France. Then I’ll be publishing a short survey aimed at small businesses in Milton Keynes and ‘testing’ the idea by offering a free online training session.
What do you think?
If you’ve read this post and think I’m a) mad, b) way off the mark, c) possibly onto something or d) anything else, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me or catch up with me on Twitter. I’m particularly interested in hearing from small businesses, digital content experts and anyone who conducts training, especially online.
If you want to know how to create your own video content (and to see what I did right and wrong in my video pitch above), read this post.