I know, the term coach fills so many people with dread. And I get it. A lot. But if you ignore your ideas of what a coach could be, and think about the ‘proper’ definition, things get a load clearer. Add the word business in front (as in, business coach) and you’re halfway there. So here’s five ways a business coach can help you and your business. There are more than five, of course, but to get you started…

Five ways a business coach can help you and your businessWhat does ‘coach’ mean?

So, let’s think about sports coaches. These people have experience in what they’re doing, they help bring the best out of you, they guide you, they help you, they have your back. Sound good? Now, when I use the term coach here, or anywhere else on this site, THAT’S the kind of attitude and service I’m talking about. I won’t get you doing star jumps or running around a football pitch in all weathers, but channel that idea. So, with that in mind, here are five ways a business coach can help you.

Five ways a business coach can help you

  1. They’ll work with you to set goals. These might be for a year’s time, or for next month, or what you want to achieve in a certain timescale, but they should help you set goals.
  2. They’ll help you achieve these goals. Thinking of a goal is one thing, achieving is another. A business coach should be able to help you create a plan that will allow you to achieve your goals.
  3. They’ll help you look at other options. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and not see the full range of what’s available, whether this is in terms of how to promote a product, people to work with, new ideas to promote your business. Having someone on the outside looking in can be really helpful.
  4. They’ll listen to your concerns and your current position and help you overcome your issues. And, if they can’t, they should be able to point you in the right direction, so you move forward.
  5. They’ll keep you accountable. Not in a way that makes you feel scared or worried, in a way that motivates, inspires and keeps you moving forward. They should be able to review your progress, with you, see what worked and what didn’t and address why and ways around it.

How could business coaching help you and your business?

Business coaching can be really useful for you and your business. It should inspire and motive, help you improve you business in whatever way you want, achieve things you didn’t think possible and work with you to achieve your goals. It’s an exciting process for the person being coached, but it’s also a process that should be exciting for the coach if they have a real interest in their business and their clients. I know I get a real ‘kick’ out of when my clients achieve, and they achieve often.

And is it expensive?

Have a look at the article I put together all about this very subject – is business coaching expensive?

If you’d like to find out more about the business coaching services I offer, have a look at the website, or why not get in touch?

Why a great product is essential for your marketingSounds obvious, doesn’t it? You’d be amazed at how many people don’t appreciate that this is so important in their marketing plan – actually – it’s the foundation….let me explain…

Let’s set the scene

You have developed, I don’t know, let’s say a jacket. It’s a great jacket. It’s clever because it’s made from a technical fabric that’s super lightweight and really breathable. It has a stunning design that really shows off the wearer’s shape (in a good way) and disguises all the less desirable bits. It’s brilliant. It’s going to revolutionise the jacket world. You find a PR and marketing agency to promote your product. They’re good. They have lots of happy clients, lots of testimonials, they have form in the area. Your product is going to be a huge success, isn’t it?

Imagine that all the above is correct, but actually the jacket is made badly. You’re aware that the quality isn’t there. Some of the stitches are loose. It’s just not right. It’s still made of the quality, technical fabric, and it’s still got a really good cut to flatter, but if people wear it and wash it ,you know that it will disintegrate and you’ll have unhappy customers.

Does it matter?

Your marketing agency could play a blinder and get you in all the relevant magazines, blogs, websites, etc. etc. You could make a lot of sales, but when the jackets start to fall apart, not only do you have a lot of, well, peed off customers, you have people who are actively badmouthing your brand to their friends because, in their experience, their jacket that you made is a joke. They will never buy from you again. Ever. And if you’ve sent your jackets away for tried and testeds or magazines, and they have featured the products, and they hear how monumentally rubbish your product is, do you think they’ll be as keen to feature you again? No. You can bet that they won’t, and if they are, you really have to think about the integrity of that publication and what they are happy to tell their readers…see what I mean?

Does everything has to be perfect?

Now. Don’t confuse what I’m saying here. The odd faulty product is expected and, actually, how you deal with this can endear to your customers (honestly), but if you know your product has a flaw, or actually you know that the design could be improved, perfect your products FIRST. Don’t waste your time and money marketing a product that you know is substandard. The damage it selling well could do to your reputation could be very costly to fix.

Are you small & supercharged?The irony of starting a Facebook group with the word ‘small’ in the title has not been lost on me. At 6ft 1, I’m far from small! However the name, Small & Supercharged (which took a lot of thought to get to) reflects the lovely small business owners that we have the pleasure of dealing with each day. Their businesses maybe small in size, but their ambition, their focus and their dreams aren’t – hence the supercharged bit. It makes sense, now, doesn’t it?

Here, we’re (and I say we because although it’s mostly ‘me’, I work with a number of talented people who have expertise in certain areas, like video production, SEO, etc) all about helping small businesses promote themselves well, without having to sell any limbs or organs to do it. Advertising in printed media can be seriously expensive and, whilst is can work, the investment needed to place even a small ad in some of the more popular titles will wipe out an ad budget.  In one hit. Honestly. HOWEVER, don’t worry. Before you put your first born on eBay (do not do this…it’s an amusing comment and not a suggestion!), you need to be aware of everything else that’s available to you – the numerous opportunities that are at your fingertips for little or not cost that can generate as good, if not better, results. Honest. Definitely have a look at the ‘what we do’ section on the site for more about that…anyway…

So, we love small businesses. We’re all about helping them get out there. And that’s why the Small & Supercharged Facebook group came to be. This little corner of the internet, well, of Facebook, is there to help inspire, motivate and educate. The plan for the group is to provide a ‘safe’ space (as it’s a closed group!) to learn, to form real connections, to push comfort zones (we’re putting out challenges – oh yes, this isn’t your average group!) to enjoy. In the first few hours of starting a group, one small business owner ventured onto Facebook Live for the first time (actually, it was video for the first time) despite being terrified, and someone connected in a way that led to a sale. In a few hours.

As any school teacher will tell you, there have to be rules. But they’re simple. We don’t like SPAM and ads (who needs more of those clogging up their timeline, right?), but if you have news and exciting stuff to share, you for it! We don’t like unpleasantness and it just won’t be tolerated. There’s no need. And content posted inside the group shouldn’t be shared out of it as it’s a closed group and, therefore, it was not posted with the thought that it would be shared. It sounds like a dictatorship and it really isn’t, but ‘rules make games fun’ and all that.

So, if you’re a small business going places, if you want to improve what you do and take your business to the next level, why not join the group? Taking part in the random challenges set and just being part of our Small & Supercharged adventure could be really, really good for you and your business, just click here and request to join!

Equestrian PR and marketingYou may have noticed that we’ve updated our website to include a whole raft of other services, but don’t worry, equestrian PR and marketing is still an important part of what we do! Here’s a bit more info.

In the beginning…

Originally, when Rhea Freeman PR burst into life, the focus was entirely on equestrian PR and marketing. As time moved on, the client list grew, and many equestrian clients also had interests in country, shooting and agriculture, so the contacts lists expanded to accommodate other areas of business that were connection to equestrian,

Equestrian PR and marketing was changing

Now, alongside this, the way equestrian PR and marketing ‘worked’ was changing. While the magazines were still very much part of the mix, social media exploded and started to play a hugely important role in a brand’s overall promotion and marketing. In fact, nowadays, social media is some people’s only method of promotion…and they have very good businesses from it! However, with the different platforms and the nuances of each of these, it became important to expand and develop our learning and understanding, to be able to offer a more comprehensive service our equestrian PR and marketing clients. And we did this. And then some. And we continue to learn all the time – as platforms evolve and develop and technology improves.

And then there was the overwhelm

Many businesses of all sizes can feel overwhelmed by this – by the rate that things are changing and how the old way doesn’t cut it anymore. They feel they should be ‘doing more’, but they’re not really sure what they should be doing or how to do it. They know what they want to achieve, but getting there seems like a mammoth task and they don’t know where to start. And that’s before you even think about how to plan content, be innovative and post natively in the spaces you want to be known and visible on. Sound familiar?

And then there was coaching

Demand grew for a ‘helping hand’ kind of service. Something that after a lot of thought (way too much thought!), we’ve called coaching. So now, in addition to offering equestrian PR and marketing, we also offer marketing and business coaching services. A lot of clients come from the equestrian sector, but we also work with people in food, retail, country, fashion and lifestyle. To date, most companies have some link to equestrian and rural, but as the way social media works is not all that niche, again, it made sense to open up the area we operate it. As we work WITH businesses and individuals through the coaching and consultancy services we offer, we’re able to combine our knowledge of marketing and social media with the client’s knowledge of their industry…with great results.

So, there you have it – a little explanation about the new website, the new look and the new services available. Find out more about our coaching services and equestrian PR and marketing services on the main website, and don’t forget to contact us here if you’re interested in finding out more!

The 2016 John Lewis Christmas advert was nothing short of a triumph – in my world, it’s the official start of the festive season and it was brilliant. But it’s brilliant in ways you might not imagine. See, as much as I love to see a Boxer called Buster and a load of woodland creatures have a great time on a trampoline, the complete campaign was nothing short of a work of genius. Actually, I loved it so much, I made a video about it…

What the John Lewis Christmas advert can teach us

On face value, the advert ticks all the boxes – it’s relatable (putting up trampolines is hard. Really hard), it has product placement (everywhere), it was funny (who doesn’t love a bouncing hedgehog?), it had an unexpected twist (who knew Boxers were so good on trampolines). The soundtrack was lovely, the #tag was lovely, everyone was talking about it….tick, tick, tick, tick, TICK.

Now we delve deeper.

Did you know that a whole product range was created around the ad and that 10% of sales from the cuddly toys went to The Wildlife Trusts? That they employed Oculus technology in some of their stores to allow people to explore Buster’s garden using virtual reality? That they had Snapchat filters created for Buster’s garden? That they worked with The Wildlife Trust to allow us normal folk to get a better understanding of what’s going on in our back gardens and, to do this, they products a shed load of free resources on their website? No? It’s more than a bit clever. It’s genius.

I read that the John Lewis Christmas advert cost £1million to make the ad at that by the time the ad campaign ends, they will have spend £6million on it. If you don’t have that kind of spare cash in your back pocket, fear not, there are many, many things you can still take from it. The link between the TV ad and the product range, the collaboration, the additional resources, the way they’re pushing it all across social media using the #bustertheboxer hashtag on Twitter and the Snapchat filter. John Lewis has joined all the dots and created a campaign that works across so many different areas of their business. And that’s what clever. And that’s what you can do. Depending on when you read this blog, you might think it’s too last for Christmas (or too early), but it doesn’t matter, don’t limit yourself to the time people bring on the tinsel, think of how you can create joined up campaigns at other times of the year…yep- it takes more thought than shoving an ad in a magazine, but could yield a far greater ROI when you put a little bit more time into it…

I made a video all about the John Lewis advert – have a look at it on my Youtube channel here.