History in an Hour – another of our Success Stories

15 August 2011

History-in-an-HourAfter my post Here’s one we helped earlier – Seasoned culinary courses, I’ve heard from another client of the Business & IP Centre who has gone on to great success.

Even better, History in an Hour is the brainchild of a librarian.

Rupert Colley had the idea ten years ago, but with the encouragement of his partner Annabel and help from the Business & IP Centre, he finally made a success of it.

The value of the idea has now been recognised by international publishing house Harper Collins, who recently purchased the e-book series from the Rupert.

Annabel kindly sent me a note saying;

“… had it not been for the Business & IP Centre, I wouldn’t have had the idea or the confidence to know where to start in registering a trademark for “In An Hour”, which meant that this became also an asset purchase, not just a straight multi-book licensing deal.”

Rupert also sent me a note to say they are having a summer sale. For the month of August 2011 only, the apps are 69p –  iBooks 49p – Nook 99c and Kindle 98p or less.

History-in-an-Hour-wide

HarperCollins Signs History in an Hour Ebook Series

In a major new acquisition HarperCollins has purchased the History in an Hour e-book series from the company founder and author Rupert Colley. The deal was set up by Scott Pack and the books will be published by Arabella Pike at HarperPress.

History in an Hour is a series of e-books and apps that summarise key areas of world history in digest form, with each title taking no more than sixty minutes to read. From World War Two to Black History, from American Civil War to the Reformation, History in an Hour titles have been a permanent fixture in the Apple bestseller lists since September 2010, often with 3 titles in the top ten or five in the top twenty. They recently came out on Kindle as well. The History in an Hour website and blog can be found at: http://www.historyinanhour.com

Scott Pack says: “When I saw these e-books topping the Apple iBooks charts I was intrigued as I was pretty sure they weren’t from a major publisher. I downloaded one and was really impressed, it did exactly as it promised. I was amazed to discover that they were all the work of a librarian from Enfield creating them in his spare room. I was determined to snap them up before anyone else did.”

Rupert Colley comments: “History is fascinating but it can also be daunting – huge books, a huge choice and endless websites. My aim with History In An Hour is to make it less daunting and more accessible whilst still providing a quality read. I want to offer readers a starting place in their historical reading; a platform on which to build. Now, with HarperPress, we can take it to a new level and spread the word – that History is exciting.”

HarperPress will launch the series on 4th August with six titles. A further seven will follow in October. All existing books will be rebranded and an ambitious programme to grow the series will include titles on the fall of the Roman Empire, the Gunpowder Plot, the Vietnam War, Castro and the Wars of the Roses, as well as an extension of the brand into other subject areas. More than one year on, History in an Hour is still topping the charts with World War Two in an Hour currently number 15.

Arabella Pike comments: ‘This is an incredibly exciting venture for HarperPress. In just over one year Rupert has, single-handed, created a superb brand offering great history for busy people – short, sharp, informative books to be read on a phone or e-reader perfect whilst enduring the daily commute to work. As a leading publisher of history, we intend to work with Rupert to build this pioneering series to publish some terrific titles, show how historical content can be refashioned to suit the digital age, and open up a whole new generation of readers to the delights of history.’

Launch titles:

  • World War Two
  • The Cold War
  • The Afghan Wars
  • The Reformation
  • Henry VIII’s Wives
  • Nazi Germany
  • October titles:
  • Black History
  • 1066
  • Hitler
  • Ancient Egypt
  • American Slavery
  • The American Civil War
  • The World Cup

Could you be the next Business & IP Centre Success Story?

3 May 2012

I love hearing and writing about our Success Stories, so it is great to hear that we have created a web page to find even more.

Like all good marketing, becoming a Success Story is a win-win. We get to show how our customers have benefited from our services, and they get great publicity for their business.

To apply, you just need to visit our Success Stories web page. And don’t forget to visit our BIPC YouTube channel to check out the rest.

.

Success Story: Sheila Holdsworth, Know Knockers

Benefits of being a Business & IP Centre success story

  • Extra promotion for your business and product or service to a wide network
  • Increased exposure for your brand
  • Increased web traffic to your site
  • Opportunity to use promotional images or video for your own advertising purposes
  • Invitations to networking events to meet other like-minded entrepreneurs and key stakeholders
  • Regular contact and updates with Business & IP Centre staff and business partners
  • Highlighted internally at the British Library through internal communications channels such as the staff Intranet or newsletter

Success story guidelines:

  • You must be a registered user of the Centre
  • You should be able to demonstrate that the Centre has played a significant role in the development of your innovation, product or service. Ie. illustrate specific practical advantages from using the Centre and its services.
  • You should have attended at least one workshop (run by either British Library or one of our external partners).
  • Your innovation, product, service must have been launched successfully and your company trading for a minimum of 12 months.
  • You must be able provide evidence of ownership of the IP (e.g. a patent) in the case of a new product or process.
  • The story of your innovation, product or service is likely to be attractive to the press/media in the opinion of the British Library press office.
  • Your product or service displays the best of UK entrepreneurship and innovation in the opinion of the British Library
  • The case studies cover a wide range of different business sectors.
  • The case studies are representative of all entrepreneurs, including women and BAMEs.

Dana Levy Bags & Jewellery Design – another Success Story

21 October 2011

evil_eyeMy colleague Julie Simkin has written this post on one of her success stories:

I always get excited when I hear from one of my Business Start-Up clients and hear that their business is doing well. This was the case last week when I heard from Dana Levy. I first met with Dana in November 2009 when her business was established, but Dana felt it was the right time to grow and expand into new areas.

When I asked Dana about her experiences with the Business & IP Centre she said:

‘The Business and IP Centre has been very useful in helping me move forward with my business. As well as using the library’s extensive research facilities, I have also had one to one sessions with their knowledgeable Information specialist , Julie Simpkin, and also I had  a one to one session with an ex- ‘Dragon’. These sessions were really useful as they were personal and tailored to my business needs.

The Business & IP Centre also organises really interesting lectures, events and workshops. The most recent workshop I was lucky enough to attend was on Social Networking by Kimberley Davis who featured on the Apprentice a few years ago. She was absolutely brilliant – Very informative and delivered her presentation in such a fun and interesting way.’

Dana_Levy_Backgammon_Roll_Mandala_Blue

Designer Dana Levy grew up in London and has been designing handmade jewellery and accessories for over 10 years. Her creative journey began by spending long summers in the spiritual city of Jerusalem, which then lured her to relocate there and complete a Fine Arts degree at the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design. It was while she was based there for 7 years, immersed in Jerusalem’s rich culture and beauty, that her inspiration for designing jewellery and accessories truly began.

Once back in London, the Dana Levy brand began with yoga & meditation accessories using beautiful silk damask fabrics found on her travels in the Middle East. Those damask fabrics soon became her trademark across all of the lifestyle accessories ranging from yoga & meditation accessories, to backgammon travel rolls and tote & evening bags. The careful selection of luxurious materials matched uniquely with symbolic charms is an expression of the ancient and modern worlds coming together.

As soon as the Dana Levy lifestyle range was established, the designer started her jewellery lines inspired by the exotic sights and traditions from the Middle East. All of Dana’s jewellery pieces are handmade and incorporate semi-precious gemstones, Czech glass beads and beautiful charms, amulets and talismans that have spiritual meaning, such as the ‘Hamsa’ hand, a symbol for good luck, and the Evil Eye, a symbol for protection.

All collections are designed by Dana and hand-made using the highest quality materials exclusively sourced from around the world, including the Middle East and Russia.

Dana Levy’s unique pieces have been featured in fashion magazines all around the world such as Vogue, Red, Grazia, and Elle to name just a few. They are also firm favourites with fashion editors and stylists alike.

http://www.danalevy.co.uk/

Dana_Levy_Diamante_Friendship_Bracelets_Pyramid_Oct2011


Dee Dee’s Vintage, another Business & IP Centre Success Story

27 September 2011

Dee_Dees_Vintage_logoI received a lovely surprise tweet recently. ” Hi Neil! I had a one-to-one with you  couple of years ago. Still implementing your advice – it was great!

It was from Dee Dee O’Connell, the founder of Dee Dee’s Vintage.  And after my blushes died down, I recalled the information advice clinic where we met. In particular I remember being impressed about how much thought Dee Dee had already given to her business idea, and how resourceful she had been.

Dee Dee didn’t have the delightful logo above at the time, or her partner Ian White.  But I was confident she would be successful, with her enthusiasm and expert knowledge of the vintage clothing market place, and her entrepreneurial spirit.

I get a lovely warm glow from being a small part of our success stories.

Below is the blurb from their website www.deedeesvintage.com:

Dee Dee’s Vintage is a brand new online shop, specialising in Americana and classic British vintage clothing. We began life back in June ‘09 as a stall at the Vintage Pop-Up Market at Brick Lane, East London. We can now be found at selected vintage fairs, markets and festivals all over the UK. Check out our blog for the latest updates on our events.

We’re based at The Print House in Dalston, East London – home of Dalston Roof Park and Café Oto.

They are also on Facebook and Twitter: www.facebook.com/deedeesvintage
twitter.com/deedeesvintage

Dee Dee O'Connell and Ian White

Dee Dee's Vintage with Dee Dee O'Connell and Ian White


The secret ingredient: the recipe for success as a food and drink entrepreneur

28 July 2010

Once again Matthew Rock from Real Business ably chaired our panel of food entrepreneurs in front of a full conference centre audience.

First up was Eric Lanlard, otherwise known as Cake Boy, and famous for having baked Madonna’s wedding cake.

Having given him a lightning tour of the Business & IP Centre a few minutes earlier, I can safely say that he is a charming man.

As is often the way with successful entrepreneurs (and in fact many other success stories), his passion for baking had started early. In his case from the age of six. With encouragement from his mother he began to sell his produce from outside their house. And was beginning to do well… until his mother started charging him for the ingredients.

The next stage was to take up an apprenticeship at the age of 18, after having identified the best place for him to learn his craft. From day one he knew that this was what he would want to do for the rest of his life. Subsequently he was taken on the by famous Roux Brothers who revolutionised British Cuisine in the UK, and eventually became a ‘Roux Boy’.

He finally broke away and set up in business on his own, managing to bag Fortnum & Mason as an early client.

Here are some of his business tips:
•    You have to work bloody hard to make a success in business.
•    Always refuse to take the cheaper option when pressured. Stay with quality.
•    Tight finance is important.
•    Look after your suppliers too.
•    Without your staff you are nothing. Invest in them as much as you can afford.

‘Five am tomorrow morning (like every day) you will find me in my kitchen.’

Next came Jennifer Irvine who is the founder of  The Pure Package, the gourmet food service offering carefully tailored, freshly prepared and healthily balanced meals and snacks delivered daily to customers.

I had also given her a whistle-stop tour of the Centre earlier on in the evening, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that she had been using our information at the beginning of her business eight years ago. She was very complimentary about the library enquiry staff who helped her at that time.

She said she started her business because she enjoyed food, and was upset that so many of us now associate eating with weight gain and poor health.

From the beginning she was averse to taking on loans or even outside investors, and literally started her business from her kitchen.

Her toilet became research her study, as it was the only quiet place away from her young children.

She contacted journalists who wrote about healthy eating. This resulted in a story in the Evening Standard which led to a big increase in demand for her products.

She needed finance to grow to meet this upsurge in customers, but was still against going to the bank. Instead she offered her customers the opportunity to get a discount in exchange for paying in advance. This generated enough cash to buy the new equipment she needed.

In the early days she had to do everything in the business including the classic of answering her phone as receptionist and then passing it on to herself as manager. Her response to curious customers was that ‘we all sound the same here’.
She also drove the delivery runs for the food between 12 midnight and six in the morning.

Having such a deep understanding of the business means she can still help her staff, even when away from work for a while.

Last, but by no means least came Richard Reed, a co-founder of Innocent, the No.1 smoothie brand in Europe. The business was started in 1999 with and two college friends and has grown to a turnover of over £100m today.

Richard also started in business at a young age, when he began washing windows for his neighbours at the age of eight. However, a summer job picking up dog biscuits in a pet food factory soon reminded him of the joys of working for himself, and led him to set up a summer gardening business called Two Men Went to Mow, employing his school friends.

He met the co-founders of Innocent at college. After discussing the idea of starting their own business on many occasions, they finally gave themselves one weekend to agree an idea. The objective was to make life a little bit easier and a little bit better.

They came up with the concept of ‘The Amazing Electric Bath’. However, there was a slight problem relating to combining water and electricity in one product. There was a real danger they would end up making their customers lives quite a bit shorter, instead of little bit easier and a little bit better!

When looking to develop a new product or service he said you should make sure you know your target audience well. They looked to themselves for inspiration. Their need was for healthy fast food and snacks, to replace their unhealthy pizza and beer habits. The best test is to ask if you would spend your own money on the product or service. They brought £500 of fruit and hired a stall at a music festival. Next to the stall was a Yes bin and No bin. They promised themselves that if the Yes bin was full at the end of the day, they would give up their day jobs and concentrate on the business. In the end there were only a few empty bottles in the No bin, which their parents later admitted they had put there to put them off. Even that wasn’t enough, so they spun a coin which came up tails three times in a row to convince them.

Consequently the last 12 years have been much more difficult than expected. But also the most rewarding time of his life.

Here are few of Richard’s business truisms:
•    The product is king, and has to be better than anyone else’s on the market.
•    You have to decide when to move from making yourself to outsourcing the product. Started themselves, but found a supplier eventually. Running a factory is a very demanding activity in its own right, and might not give you enough time for developing your brand.
•    Make sure you understand your numbers, in particular your gross margin and where it will be spent.
•    You have to get lucky, but you also have to be tenacious.
•    If your team share the same values (but have complementary skills), you will help each other through the tough times that will inevitably come along.

After the panel sessions Matthew managed a lengthy question and answer session due to the sheer level of demand from the audience.

How did Innocent get funding?
Richard revealed that after months of trying to get funding for Innocent they reached a last chance saloon, which resulted in a desperate email titled ‘Does anyone know anyone rich?’
There were working on the theory Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon would apply.
The email generated two responses in total, one didn’t go anywhere , and one which ended up giving them the money to get the business started.

How did Innocent get into supermarkets?
Supermarkets are generally interested in new products on their shelves.
Innocent started with a ten store listing in Waitrose. But it took seven years to reach blanket supermarket coverage by organic growth.

Can you talk about supplier relationships?
Don’t rely on one supplier. Have a plan B ready and warmed up. The Innocent bottle supplier switched to Coke at short notice which caused much grief.

Two instrumental business books recommended by Richard Reed:
Eating the Big Fish
: How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders
by Adam Morgan.
Good to Great
: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t
by Jim Collins

How did you communicate your brand?
Eric Lanlard started with Laboratoire 2000, but due to pronunciation problems (including abattoir)  it ended up as Lab 2000.
His new joint venture with Patrick Cox will be called Cox, Cookies and Cakes, partly  because it will be based in an old sex shop in London’s Soho district.

The Innocent name was designed to communicate natural, pure and unadulterated.
Simplification and exaggeration are key to branding.

Richard defended the sale of share to Coca Cola. Although they now own the majority of the shares, the Innocent founders have maintained control of the business. Selling their products through McDonald’s stores caused ten times more bad press.

<!–[if !mso]> <! st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } –>

The secret ingredient: the recipe for success as a food and drink entrepreneur

Once again Matthew Rock from Real Business ably chaired our panel of food entrepreneurs in front of a full conference centre audience.

First up was Eric Lanlard, otherwise known as Cake Boy, and famous for having baked Madonna’s wedding cake.

Having given him a lightening tour of the Business & IP Centre a few minutes earlier I can safely say that he is a charming man.

As is often the way with successful entrepreneurs (and in fact many other success stories), his passion for baking had started early. In his case from the age of six. With encouragement from his mother he began to sell his improving products outside their house. And was beginning to do well… until his mother started charging him for the ingredients.

The next stage was to take up an apprenticeship at the age of 18, after having identified the best place for him to learn. From day one he knew that this was what he would want to do for the rest of his life. Subsequently he was taken on the by famous Roux Brothers ??? in the UK, and eventually became a ‘Roux Boy’ ???

Eventually he set up in business on his own and managed to bag Fortnum and Mason as an early client.

Here are some of his business tips:

· You have to work bloody hard to make it a success in business.

· Refused to take the cheaper option when pressured. Stayed with quality.

· Tight finance is important.

· Look after your suppliers too.

· Without your staff you are nothing. Invest in them.

· 42 years old in a happy place.

· Partnership with Patrick Cox to open a chain.

· Five am (like every day) you will find me in my kitchen.

Next came Jennifer Irvine who is the founder of The Pure Package, the gourmet food service offering carefully tailored, freshly prepared and healthily balanced meals and snacks delivered daily to customers.

I had also given her a whistle-stop tour of the Centre earlier on in the evening, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that she had been using our information at the beginning of her business eight years ago. She was very complimentary about the library enquiry staff who helped her at that time.

She said she started her business because she enjoyed food, and was upset that so many of us now associate eating with weight gain and bad health.

From the beginning she was averse to taking on loans or even outside investors and literally started her business from her kitchen.

Her toilet became research her study as it was the only quiet place away from her young children.

She contacted journalists who wrote about healthy eating. This resulted in a story in the Evening Standard which led to a big increase in demand for her products.

She needed finance to grow to meet this upsurge in customers, but was still against going to the bank. Instead she offered her customers the opportunity to get a discount in exchange for paying in advance. This generated enough cash to buy the new equipment she needed.

In the early days she had to do everything in the business including classic of answering of answering the phone as receptionist and then passing it on to herself as manager. Her response to curious customers was that ‘we all sound the same here’.

She also drove the delivery runs for the food between 12 midnight and six in the morning.

Having such a deep understanding of the business means she can still help her staff even when away from work for a while.

Last, but by no means least came Richard Reed a co-founder of Innocent, the No.1 smoothie brand in Europe. The business was started in 1999 with and two college friends and has grown to a turnover of over £100m today.

Richard also started in business at a young age, when he began washing windows for his neighbours at the age of eight. However, a summer job picking up dog biscuits in a pet food factory soon reminded him of the joys of working for himself, and led him to set up a summer gardening business called Two Men Went to Mow, employing his school friends.

He met the co-founders of Innocent at college. After discussing the idea of starting their own business on many occasions, they finally gave themselves one weekend to agree an idea. The objective was to make life a little bit easier and a little bit better.

They came up with the concept of ‘The Amazing Electric Bath’. However, there was a slight problem relating to combining water and electricity in one product. There was a real danger they would end up making their customers lives quite a bit shorter!

When looking to develop a new product or service he said you should make sure you know your target audience well. They looked to themselves for inspiration.

Their need was for healthy fast food and snacks, to replace their unhealthy pizza and beer habits.

The best test is to ask if you would spend your own money on the product or service.

They brought £500 of fruit and hired a stall at a music festival. Next to the stall was a Yes bin and No bin. They promised themselves that if the Yes bin was full at the end of the day, they would give up their day jobs and concentrate on the business. In the end there were only a few empty bottles in the No bin, which their parents later admitted they had put there to put them off.

Even that wasn’t enough, so they spun a coin which came up tails three times in a row to convince them.

Consequently the last 12 years have been much more difficult than expected. But also the most rewarding time of his life.

Here are few of Richard’s business truisms:

· The product is king, and has to be better than anyone else’s on the market.

· You have to decide when to move from making yourself to outsourcing the product. Started themselves, but found a supplier eventually. Running a factory is a very demanding activity in its own right, and might not give you enough time for developing your brand.

· Make sure you understand your numbers, in particular your gross margin and where it will be spent.

· You have to get lucky, but you also have to be tenacious.

· If your team share the same values (but have complementary skills), you will help each other through the tough times that will inevitably come along.

After the panel sessions Mathew managed a lengthy question and answer session due to the sheer demand from the audience.

How did Innocent get funding?

Richard revealed that after months of trying to get funding for Innocent they reached a last chance saloon, which resulted in a desperate email with titled ‘Does anyone know anyone rich?’

There were working on the theory that the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon would apply.

The email generated two responses in total, one didn’t go anywhere , and one which ended up giving them the money to get the business started.

How did Innocent get into supermarkets?

Supermarkets are generally interested in new products on their shelves.

Innocent started with a ten store listing in Waitrose. But it took seven years to reach blanket supermarket coverage by organic growth.

Can you talk about supplier relationships?

Don’t rely on one supplier. Have a plan B ready and warmed up. The Innocent bottle supplier switched to Coke at short notice.

Instrumental business books recommended by Richard Reed;

Eating the big fish ???

Good to great ???

How did you communicate your brand?

Eric Lanlard started with Laboratoire 2000, but due to pronunciation problems (including abattoir) it ended up as Lab 2000.

His new joint venture with Patrick Cox will be called Cox, Cookies and Cakes, partly because it will be based in an old sex shop in London’s Soho district.

The Innocent name was designed to communicate natural, pure and unadulterated.

Simplification and exaggeration are key to branding.

Richard defended the sale of share to Coca Cola. Although they now own the majority of the shares, the Innocent founders have maintained control of the business. Selling their products through McDonalds stores caused ten times more bad press.


Anthony Lau and his Cyclehoop success story

26 March 2010

Cyclehoop October 2009It was great to read about Anthony Lau in this weeks Evening Standard, with the news that Camden Council are about to install his invention.

Anthony is one of the growing number of Business & IP Centre Success Stories, although we are always looking out for more.

A Revolution in Bicycle Parking

Cycling has an important role to play in making our cities more sustainable. As more and more people take up cycling, cities struggle to provide sufficient cycle parking.

The Cyclehoop is an award-winning design that converts existing street furniture into secure bicycle parking. This innovative product won the Reinventing the Bike Shed international design competition and has been installed by local authorities across the United Kingdom.

It is a quick and cost effective solution helping local councils solve the problems of bicycle theft and the lack of on-street cycle parking.

Cycling has an important role to play in making our cities more sustainable. As more and more people take up cycling, cities struggle to provide sufficient cycle parking.

The Cyclehoop is an award-winning design that converts existing street furniture into secure bicycle parking. This innovative product won the Reinventing the Bike Shed international design competition and has been installed by local authorities across the United Kingdom.

It is a quick and cost effective solution helping local councils solve the problems of bicycle theft and the lack of on-street cycle parking.


Success Story of the Month: Heather Gorringe at Wiggly Wigglers

5 March 2009

As the Business & IP Centre continues to go from strength to strength we have begun to celebrate our success stories; those entrepreneurs who we have helped to launch or grow their business.

This month’s success is Heather Gorringe who founded Wiggly Wigglers in 1990, and now has a turnover of £2.5m, selling composters, plants, tools, worms, and much more.

Heather benefited from an advice session with Dame Anita Roddick, through our Ask an Expert programme. She also used our market research to investigate her industry and find her niche.


The Gift of Inner Success book launch

15 February 2009

thegiftofinnersuccesssquare.jpg

Tuesday evening in the Business & IP Centre was the launch of The Gift of Inner Success the latest book from the British Library’s partner business coach, Rasheed Ogunlaru.

The fact that the event had been hastily re-scheduled from the snow hit previous Tuesday and yet was a full house, indicates just how popular the charismatic Rasheed is becoming.

As he says on his blog of the evening,  “The event was an evening of inspiration, celebration, connection and was attended by a rich range of spirit souls. “

Rasheed kindly gave a copy to the Centre, and using my recently acquired speed reading technique (of which, more in a later blog post) I managed to whistle through it on the way into work the next day.

The theme of the book is about how we need to give ourselves the mental space (a difficult challenge given the daily demands on ourselves) in order to listen to our hearts. Rasheed is a great believer in allowing yourself to trust yourself to let your heart rule your head.


SSSHHH! (The Best-Read Office in the World) – featuring PomeGreat

16 October 2012

Last night on Radio 4 Robin Hunt – Reader 170890 gave his very personal take on his ‘office’ The British Library. It was a lovely little programme which gave a real insight into how our readers, or customers as I prefer to call them, feel about my place of work.

Needless to say the producers of the show couldn’t resist using the oldest and lamest library cliché in the world in their title SSSHHH! (The Best-Read Office in the World).

PomeGreat_PurePlus_logo_MINII was pleased to hear that Robin managed to make it across the (academic) divide from Humanities to Sciences and included an interview with one our earliest Success Stories in the Business & IP Centre. Adam Pritchard spent six months researching his PomeGreat business which  first made an appearance on the shelves in 2003, and since then has expanded rapidly.

“Foremost in the minds of its creators was the obsession with creating a great tasting drink, which sounds obvious now, but so many others have made the mistake of assuming people will drink anything if they believe it’s doing them good!

In order to get the taste we wanted, we had to become experts in pomegranates, where to find and harvest them at their best, how to press them to preserve all the goodness in the juice, and how to blend them to create the PomeGreat drinks that so many buy today!

Being able to include PurePlus across our range is just another step in bringing the very finest products to you.”

As always happens in business, success breeds competition, in this case from the supermarket own brands. So Adam has recently re-branded PomeGreat moving it up market and using some creative television advertising.

Adam Pritchard


Our YouTube channel is now up to 341 thousand hits

22 August 2012

youtube-logo

Back in October 2011 I wrote Our YouTube channel gets 250 thousand hits.

This has proved to be a very popular topic on my blog recently, so I feel obliged to point out that the number is increasing rapidly, and today stands at 341,492.

Our BIPCTV channel has been going since the Centre opened in 2006, when we began posting recordings of our Inspiring Entrepreneurs events, and our success stories.

The most recent upload was From Battlefield to Business, and run in partnership with Heropreneurs, Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, British Legion, Franchising Works and Help for Heroes.

The wonderful Levi Roots and his Reggae Reggae Sauce still tops the charts with 25,541 views, but he has stiff competition from Success Stories Guy Jeremiah of Aquatina Ltd, and William de Lucy from  Amplify Trading.

However my favourite remains Sam Roddick, founder of the ‘erotic emporium’ Coco De Mer, and daughter of Body Shop legend Dame Anita Roddick. She describes herself as an activist first and accidental entrepreneur second.

http://www.youtube.com/bipctv

Levi Roots


Going for gold with our Inspiring Entrepreneurs – preview

16 May 2012

Stephen_FearIn keeping with our exciting new Innovating for Growth Programme, our next Inspiring Entrepreneurs event next Wednesday is Going for Gold.

It’s for people who want to take their business to the next level but aren’t sure how. Come along and hear from serial entrepreneur Stephen Fear, Mandy Haberman, inventor of the Anywayup Cup and Cate Trotter, Head of Trends at Insider Trends.

Stephen is an experienced and skilled entrepreneur, his first business was for a cleaning formula made in a garage at the age of 16. He opened his first ‘office’ in a red phone box and has gone on to work on 64 different ventures across the globe.

The evening will also give you the opportunity to learn more about our exciting new business support programme, Innovating for Growth. If you are a London-based small business looking to grow, but aren’t sure how to take the next steps, we can help provide expert advice and support on business strategy and sustainability, branding, intellectual property, developing your product and getting it to the right markets.

Stephen Fear
Stephen is an experienced and skilled entrepreneur, his first business being a cleaning formula made in a garage at the age of 16. He opened his first ‘office’ in a red phone box when he heard on the news that new laws would force food manufacturers to change the way they clean ovens. The Bristol-born businessman hung up an ‘Out of Order’ sign outside the phone box, charmed an operator into pretending to be his secretary, persuaded a US firm to sell its oven-cleaner product to him, and was soon dealing with the world’s biggest food brands.

He an his son, Leon Fear, now run a multinational trading juggernaut incorporating 64 companies with interests in everything from hotels to manufacturing.

Mandy_HabermanMandy Haberman
Starting out with no experience in product design or business, Mandy Haberman came up with the revolutionary design of the ‘no spills’ Anywayup® cup for babies, which has gained turnover of £10m per year since launching in 1995. Mandy can also give invaluable insight into more practical entrepreneurial skills such as dealing with the legalities and patenting of an invention, having fought through a court battle with a major corporation, who used her patented technology for their own range of non-drip cups.

Cate TrotterCate Trotter
Cate is the Founder and Head of Trends at Insider Trends, a London-based trendspotting consultancy. Since graduating in Design from Goldsmiths, she has worked as a marketing consultant for brands such as Lloyds TSB, Tesco and Unilever. She set up Insider Trends in 2008, specialising in demonstrating how trends are coming to life in the world around us. Clients such as Philips, Nokia, Marks & Spencer, Absolut Vodka and American Express have used its trend tours, presentations, reports and workshops to gain a tangible understanding of otherwise abstract trend theories.

Cate regularly runs workshops at the Centre and is one of our success stories.


Our YouTube channel gets 250 thousand hits

7 October 2011

youtube-logoWe are constantly telling our clients about the power of using video to market their product or service, as do our workshop presenters (Our Marketing Masterclass with Alasdair Inglis of Grow).

So it is wonderful to be able to show how our use of videos on YouTube has gained us nearly 250,000 hits over the last three years or so.

Very early on we created our own channel BIPCTV, and began posting recordings of our Inspiring Entrepreneurs events, and our success stories.

Having attended almost all of our events over the years, I am really pleased to see that my favourite speaker is also the most popular with nearly 23,000 views. I have to admit that having already seen Levi Roots and his Reggae Reggae Sauce on BBCs Dragons Den I was prepared to be disappointed. However, as a live performer with no script or PowerPoint slides, he was witty, charming and inspiring.

Another popular speaker is Sam Roddick, founder of the ‘erotic emporium’ Coco De Mer, and daughter of Body Shop legend Dame Anita Roddick. She describes herself as an activist first and accidental entrepreneur second.

http://www.youtube.com/bipctv

YouTube_BIPC


Our Marketing Masterclass with Alasdair Inglis of Grow

9 June 2011

grow_header1A couple of weeks ago I attended this excellent workshop from Alasdair Inglis of Grow, the small business marketing experts.

I liked the fact that Alasdair started the half day session by saying that his aim was for everyone attending to leave with a minimum of five concrete things they will do for their business.

I was also impressed by the way he refuses to use PowerPoint. Instead he handed out detailed notes and had lots of photos on screen to illustrate his points.

Alasdair started by briefly covering the standard elements of a small business sales and marketing strategy:
– What are you selling
– What is your USP (unique selling proposition)
– Competitor analysis
– Who are your customers
– Lead generation – which methods are appropriate

He quickly launched into the marketing ideas and concepts we needed to understand to give us a competitive edge.

The first of these was understanding the power of customer testimonials:
–    These can be the most valuable form of marketing in the long run, especially if you manage to get an influential customer to sing your praises.
–    Work out what questions you need to ask to generate testimonials
–    Make sure they include some measure of the benefit of your product or service.

Then we looked at the power of case studies and success stories
–    These are more in depth than testimonials and can include video.
–    They should include the problem – what we did – the positive result
–    When making video testimonials make sure you concentrate on the sound quality over the visuals. It is worth investing in a directional microphone.
–    We have used our Success Stories on our YouTube channel to generate 200,000 views.

The power of having a customer database
–    For long term success you should have a database with all your customers details and purchases in one place. This could be as simple as an excel spreadsheet or a full CRM (customer relationship management) systems such as SalesForce.
–    The best way to think about what to keep, is what would someone need to know to keep your business going if you were away from the office.

Know your competitors – ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’.
–    Take advantage of your competitors hard work to develop their products or services and their understanding of the customers they market to.
–    Sign up to your competitors email lists using your personal email address. Gives you insight into their marketing strategy.
–    Look at their websites and Facebook pages.
–    Use seospyglass.com to check out where your competitors are promoting themselves on the web.

Know your target market
–    Get to know your ideal customer – where do they live, shop, eat?
–    This will impact your choice of marketing strategy.

Understand the marketing funnel
–    Don’t try and get a sale straight away, build up to the sale.
–    You need to have a really good opening offer that hooks people in so you get them into your funnel.
–    Three examples
o    Free download – build up price as the customer goes deeper into the funnel.
o    First contact is a cold lead – move them from warm to hot to customer to raving fan
o    Initial enquiry from customer – build information until they become a customer.

Have an irresistible offer
–    What irresistible offer does your business have, so that people who first come into contact with your product or service make contact with you or buy from you?
–    Examples would include: first session free, money back guarantee, discount for first order, vouchers.

Understand the importance of having a clear call to action
–    Give people a compelling reason to get in contact.
–    E.G. On your website
o    Call you
o    Ask questions
o    Email you
o    Buy from you
o    Join your email list
o    Request information

Focus on benefits rather than features
– Look at all your marketing materials and re-word them.

Understand what problems do you solve for your customers.
–    What factors might make their business fail.
–    What market are they will be operating in – Information about their competitors and customers.

Be aware of approximately how much do you earn from each customer during their lifetime?
–    This will have a big impact on how you price and market your services.

‘If you sow seeds all year round, you get vegetables all year round.
–    Make sure you have a variety of customers, like a garden with a mixture of plants
–    This can help when a recession hits, or you lose one set of customers.
–    Examples:
o    Customer who buy or work with you once
o    Ad hoc customers
o    Regular repeat customers
o    Make sure you have a lead generation system in place that gives you a steady stream of leads.

Be aware of the importance of Search Engine Optimisation, especially on Google.
–    Google has revolutionised marketing, triggering a move from masculine to feminine.
–    Masculine – going out searching for customers using adverts, yellow pages and telemarketing
–    Feminine – waiting to found, by being attractive to your customers, let them come to you.

Alasdair covered quite a bit more during a very full half day, so I recommend you book yourself on and find out more.

One of the additional benefits of these workshops is meeting aspiring entrepreneurs, and it was here that I got talking to Bertie Stephens about Flubit. I’ve joined the fun Flubitron club


I’ve joined the fun Flubitron club

26 May 2011

flubitlogotaglinewhitebackgroundI was delighted to meet Bertie Stephens (Chief Flubitron) from group buying website Flubit during Tuesdays excellent Marketing Masterclass from Grow.

Their pitch is; For any product you want to buy online, tell Flubit, and we’ll work our little socks off to get you some wonderful bespoke discounts… for free!

And they already have 17,000 fans on facebook so are off to a great ‘pre-start’.

It was great to hear from Bertie how useful they have found the Business & IP Centre in developing their business and protecting their brand. I look forward to them joining the growing ranks of our Success Stories.

Having become disillusioned by Groupon, after too many 75% offers for the Ultimate Facial Using Microdermabrasion, I was happy to sign up to Flubit.

And this was the fun email I received in response:

The Flubitask Force to Manlius

To Balcombe’s newest and most wonderful Flubitron,

Honourable Manlius Buggerflub

Welcome to our world.

Now you are officially a Flubitron (an exclusive club we must add), you are one step closer to being part of a new revolution in internet buying. Soon, whenever you want something, you’ll be able to get it cheaper, just by using Flubit – how cool is that?! If you haven’t already, why not follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with what’s new?

Over the next few months we’ll be finishing off some bits and bobs, polishing the knobs and preparing to launch this Summer. Hurrah!

So what happens now?

In 2 – 3 weeks you’ll receive your official Flubitron membership card (Flubicard – don’t worry you’ll get used to the terms). With this card you’ll have access to a whole range of offline and online benefits. We’ll let you know more about this with our introductory letter, or you can have a read here:

http://www.flubitron.com/

OK, so now we’re going to go and tell our Flubitask Force to start making your membership card, and we’ll be in touch in a week or so to let you know how they’re getting on!

Speak soon Honourable Manlius,

Flubregards,

Bertie & Dan
Chief & Head of Internal Imagination


La Diosa and their right Royal wedding connection

28 April 2011

Blue_Topaz_Sterling_Silver_PendantOne of our creative success stories came from a chance meeting in a Philosophy class between Natasha Faith and Semhal Zemikael. Together they went on to create La Diosa jewellery and now have a shop in Hatton Garden.

They have a knack of attracting celebrity interest in their contemporary designs, with Sarah Brown (our previous Prime Minister’s wife) a fan, and Michelle Obama pictured wearing their jewellery during a G20 summit.

As fans of Kate Middleton (soon to be married to son of the heir of the British throne), they created a pendant called Honey-moon, specially for her. And were pleasantly surprised to receive a letter in reply to their gift, saying that Miss Middleton was ‘touched’ by the gift, and wanted to thank them personally.

Given the current media whirlwind in the build up to the wedding day on 29 April, this story was eagerly snapped up by the Evening Standard and resulted in a half-page story last Monday.

So congratulations to Natasha and Semhal for their brilliant designs, as well as a sparkling approach to promotion and dazzling use of the media.


Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Mothers of Invention

26 March 2011

Last week was a busy one for me with three events worth noting. The most memorable, for two reasons, was our Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Mothers of Invention evening.

One, because – sadly this is likely to be last of our Inspiring Entrepreneurs events for the foreseeable future, due to our funding running out. Secondly, because I got to show Natasha Kaplinsky around the Business & IP Centre. She got quite excited about our Success Stories, in particular the David versus Goliath saga of Mandy Haberman’s Any Way Up Cup.

Natasha had kindly agree to chair our session of four inspirational and pioneering female entrepreneurs.

Although businesses run by women contribute £130 billion a year to the UK economy, still only 15% are led by women. I am proud to say that 50% of the people we help in the Business & IP Centre are women, so we are doing our bit to help redress this inequality.

Mama-MioSian Sutherland the co-founder of Mama Mio skincare was our first speaker. Since starting five years ago Mama Mio is now distributed in 2500 stores and five spas in eight countries.

Their mission is very simple and straightforward – to be the most recommended skincare brand in the world.

Sian described the three key ingredients to competing – Business, Brand and  Product.

To her brand is the most important ingredient for long term business success. And that chimes with several of my recent blog posts on the subject of branding.

She explained how you need to gain brand loyalty using emotion, rather than price.

Sian’s vital ingredients for success:

  • ­        learn from the mistakes of others
  • ­        use the ‘why bother test’
  • ­        don’t follow trends or fads
  • ­        understand who your customer is
  • ­        know how to talk to your customers
  • ­        have a unique and own-able brand tone of voice
  • ­        deliver on every level to your customers
  • ­        make you customers feel special
  • ­        have a plan
  • ­        if it was easy, everyone would do it
  • ­        love what you do, and do what you love

Sara Murray is serial entrepreneur having founded the price comparison website, confused.com and more recently developed buddi, a miniaturised tracking device for vulnerable people..

She told us that success does not come overnight. It takes on average eight years for a business to become successful.

Buddi is Sara’s third business, and the initial idea was to give the product away and charge a rental. However this approach was rejected by her investors, so she went back with a revised plan which was accepted. So the lesson there, is be adaptable.

She said that luck favours the persistent, failure is good, and that you shouldn’t wait for the big idea to come along – just get on with it and see what happens.

Every product however good will eventually becomes obsolete, so you need to develop a range of products in order to have a successful business.

For funding, forget about the banks, use Angel investors, friends and family.

Vanessa Heywood created  Tiny Mites Music in 2004 to provide music and drama classes for pre-school children. By 2010, Tiny Mites Music was being performed in over 80 day-care nurseries and at holiday parks across the UK.

In November 2010, Vanessa was the recipient of the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs.

She told her heart-rending story of having to bring up two small children on her own while trying to cope with MS.

Shazia Awan is the founder and Director of Peachy Pink.  a ladies shaping and anti-cellulite underwear brand launched in 2009. In late 2010, Shazia introduced Max Core, shaping and posture-control garments for men.

Every bank she went to for funding said the business would fail, so Peachy Pink started with life based on her savings and credit card.

The great thing about starting your own business is that no one can tell you how to market your products.

Peachy PinkPeach Pink was launched with fifty women walking down Oxford Street just wearing their underwear. This generated a great deal of press coverage for free.

Now Shazia has launched a search for the peachiest bottom in the UK

Last year she launched Max Core for men, a posture control clothing, purely from demand from customers. Her initial product line sold out within a week.

She feels that unique selling points are key for new products, for use in marketing and promotional activities.

Success comes from a great product, innovation and PR.


Join our Facebook tagathon and win a Squid London umbrella

14 March 2011

This week we are celebrating some of the wonderful products made by our success stories, who we have helped in the Business & IP Centre. Each day there will be a chance to enter our competition to win one of their innovative products on our Facebook fan page.

We have made it easy to enter.  Just keep an eye on the Facebook fan page,  and at some point during the day we will post a photo of the ‘Business & IP Centre product of the day.’

When the photo of the item appears, tag it with your name, and at the end of the day we will randomly select a lucky winner who will be sent that item in the post.

We are kicking off with one of my favourites, an umbrella from Squid London which changes colour in the rain.

Squid_London

Are you fed up by the rainy days?

Imagine you are walking down the street, it starts to rain and your ordinary black umbrella interacts and changes colour in the rain, creating a walking piece of art – called a ‘wearable piece of art’ by Time Out New York. The inspiration came from Jackson Pollock who dripped and splashed paint onto white canvases creating a spectacle of colours.

Emma-Jayne Parkes and Viviane Jaeger are the co-founders of SquidLondon, an innovative product design brand based in London. The Squidders won several awards including the Deutsch Bank runners up, the Creative Enterprise Winner and People’s Choice NACUE and the Smarta 2010 award.

Currently SquidLondon stocks its Squidarellas in 8 major cities including London, New York Paris and Tokyo and work with significant artshops including Tate Museums, MoMA New York, the Saatchi Gallery and ArtBasel. The Squidarella has generated some excitement and publicity at BBC Radio, BBC Television and was voted in to the top 5 products in Instyle US.

The Squidders brighten up the wet and gloomy days. A simple idea, a fun gift – who does not have an umbrella? Come squidding along!


Business & IP Centre supports economic growth

23 February 2010

Last week I attended our annual Partner Reception and enjoyed catching up with Goretti Considine from City Business Library, Mark Sheahan our inventor in residence, and many others from the over 150 attending.

This year we also announced the publication of an evaluation report showing how we have supported economic growth in London over the last few years. The report was conducted by economics firm Adroit Economics Ltd and included how many jobs and new businesses The Business & IP Centre has helped create, as well as highlighting some of its success stories.

In summary the report shows that:

  • We have created 829 new businesses for London and sustained 632 businesses
  • We have created 786 new jobs, or 1,615 including the new business owners
  • These businesses have increase their turnover by £32m in the past two years
  • For every £1 invested by the LDA and British Library, we have gained an average turnover increase of £4.61
  • We have generated a Net Present Value of £11.3m to the public purse

The report also shows how much entrepreneurs value our services:

  • 98% would recommend the Centre to others
  • 97% will continue to use the Centre
  • 89% achieved success with the Centre’s help

Business and IP Centre launches New Business Podcast featuring… me

13 November 2009

I have to say I was somewhat nervous about being interviewed for Business Bytes. This our new monthly podcast narrated by business journalist Jamie Oliver, and designed to give inspiration and practical advice with the challenges in setting up and growing your own business.

Actually, I just do the inroduction and the really interesting content comes from designer Sebastian Conran of Conran & Partners, business expert Jane Khedair from Business Plan Services, and Dee Wright  founder of The Hair Force.

Each month, Jamie will be interviewing entrepreneurs, business experts and some of the Library’s success stories, who are just at the start of their entrepreneurial journeys. But we have hit he ground running with a mention on the Telegraph newspaper website.

Episode one: From idea to business
19 October 09
In our first pilot episode, Jamie introduces himself and the Business & IP Centre, and interviews a range of experts and entrepreneurs about the importance of ideas, how to take them to the next stage, and why you should protect them.


Business & IP Centre minor media star

13 October 2008

We are very proud of Jeremy O’Hare our minor media star in the Business & IP Centre team. His first appearance was last summer on the BBC’s Working Lunch show.

They came in to the Centre to film a ten minute slot on our wonderful and unique free sources of information and interviewed a couple of our ‘success stories’. As well as finding out how they had used our information, the journalists wanted to interview a member of our reference team. Jeremy volunteered and did an excellent job, suppressing his understandable nerves to give a clear but enthusiastic summary of our service.

In fact Jeremy’s appearance was so successful the rest of the team had to deal with several weeks of answering phone enquirers who specifically asked for Jeremy to assist them with their business information needs.

Since then he has played a staring role in our award winning interactive annual report.

Last week we received a call from the Working Lunch show saying they wanted to come in and get three British Library staff to review the latest batch of E-readers. They wanted to know if the ‘professionals’ thought we were ready to usher in the era of digital books. You can watch for yourself to see what their views were.

Once again Jeremy was pressed into action and once again acquitted himself excellently.

Who knows where this media career will lead!