"There’s a whole raft of very capable people out there, women like me, who have a small business or even an idea for a business but who feel left behind by technology. That’s why this support has been so important; it’s offered me a way to bridge that gap, to step up."
Jacqui Grocott creates luxury hand drawn and illustrated stationery, greetings cards and prints from her home in rural Herefordshire. After designing for a number of years, Jacqui finally went full-time with her business JacMac Designs in October 2015.
"I was beginning to feel like technology was not my friend but these sessions have taught me so much about promoting my business and selling my products online."
Jacqui has attended a range of digital training sessions run by the Faster Women and Faster Business programmes covering topics like social media, selling online and data management.
"One of the key lessons I’ve learnt is about scheduling my social media posts, and how’s it’s important to achieve the appropriate frequency, use a variety of content, from pictures to video, and also to think more creatively about the ways I communicate.
"As a result of the training I managed to increase my reach with social media to help grow my business, I’ve made improvement to my website, I’ve made a promotion video, and ultimately, I’ve managed to used IT and digital technology to improve my work-life balance."
Benefits of expert advice
Jacqui also had a one-to-one Business Review with a Faster Business advisor.
"The review was fantastic because it was completely tailored to my business. The advisor came to my house and we went through every aspect of my business. Having someone there who really understands what they’re talking about and has an objective eye is so helpful.She was able to not only to point out areas where I could improve and develop but also to let me know what I had done well which was fantastic for my confidence."
"Simple things have made such a difference. For example, I hadn’t mentioned anywhere on my website that I illustrate all my products. Since I’ve added that simple message to my website and all other areas of my marketing, including the events and exhibitions I attend, I’ve seen my sales increase dramatically. I’ve also improved my logo and branding and that has helped me to orientate my business towards new markets."
"The advisor helped me optimise my search engine ranking as I didn’t really understand anything about SEO before. I set up my Etsy page and my website about two years ago and I thought that was it, I thought that customers would just come, but it doesn’t work like that!"
The future’s looking bright
Improving how JacMac Designs functions online has also given Jacqui the confidence to do more offline.
"Despite my initial terror at pitching my business, I recently travelled to London to a small business workshop and pitched my products to Country Living magazine, something that would have seemed unimaginable a year ago.’"
"I’m so grateful for all the help, support and training I’ve received. My business has really benefited and I would thoroughly recommend getting involved."
Find out more about
JacMac Designs: www.jacmacstationery.com