The brief:

Catherine approached me via email, having known me for many years in my previous role as a Local Authority advisory officer.

She informed me that she had a specific budget for carrying out a review of current promotional materials and marketing and asked if I would be able to carry out the necessary work to provide advice and recommendations for improvements.

Her objectives were for the setting to be more structured and proactive in their advertising and with their methods of contacting potential customers.

The offer:

A full marketing review and report;

I was able to respond immediately via email with my offer. The proposal was a totally flexible offer as follows;

  • To initially send Catherine a questionnaire to help ascertain exactly what the current methods were and to ascertain business plans for the future and perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • To then review the materials and current methods used by the organisation, through analysis of client questionnaire (preparing for face to face meeting)
  • To hold meeting, seek clarity as appropriate, discuss and advise
  • To then carry out ‘Gap Analysis’ and work on report to make recommendations for changes and improvements in marketing and promotion of the business
  • To produce and send a report
  • To hold a feedback meeting, and clarify any further points as necessary
  • Timings for each task were written in to the proposal and Catherine was asked if she wished to amend in any way and if she wanted to go ahead with the service provision.

She advised that she wanted longer for a face to face discussion so I amended my proposal slightly to accommodate this client preference. A contract of work was then drawn up and agreement made for the work to start immediately. The fee was paid in advance.

The Solution:

The solution followed ‘the offer’ according to the proposal detailed above, but with discussions along the way to ensure that Catherine was happy with all aspects of my approach and that she could lead the discussions with issues that were a priority for her;

‘Debra’s Early Years Advocacy has really helped me understand the strengths and weaknesses in my setting’s promotion and advertising. Her knowledge of the local Early Years Sector means that her analysis is very focused and relevant.’

Catherine was clear about what she wanted to gain from my support. Being a bespoke offer meant I could tailor my support to the specific needs of this client. I used my expertise and experience as both an EY business owner, having been a leader and manager myself, but also as an experienced advisor.

The practical ‘tools’ acquired from completion of my L7 qualification in Management and Leadership a few years previous also put me in strong position to address Catherine’s business needs.

Sending out the questionnaire before the face to face meeting meant I had a good picture of where my client felt her strengths and weaknesses lay and I was able to question her on these when we met and really drill down to help her to identify for herself what might work better.

Pertinent and detailed questioning helped Catherine to realise how she could utilise her unique skills and the areas of the business that made Kindling stand out from others in the same field.

The outcome:

A simple but detailed and structured written report was produced following the preparatory work and discussions with Catherine. This was produced to include a ‘gap analysis’; basically identifying what exactly was missing from current promotional methods and engagement with potential clients; how what was currently happening could be improved. Also a full SWOT analysis, in which strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats were highlighted, enabling Catherine the opportunity to be able to share the findings from the review with her team if she wished.

This was a succinct piece of work but I structured it in a way that would enable me to pick up on other aspects of business weakness.

Additional benefits:

Additional benefits for this client was that the review helped her to identify that she needed to carry out better planning to be more strategic and dedicate more of her time to do this, as well as gaining a better understanding of the services which she could focus on based on demand and the expertise of her team; ‘I have realised that I need to have more of a business head’.

She received ‘top tips’ (as handouts) and serving as prompts for action on ‘the customer’s journey’ and ‘branding’ to help her and her team to identify how they can better engage with potential customers and how they can strengthen the promotion of their USP (unique selling point).

Catherine was also signposted to other organisations that support small businesses and was given optional ‘special offers’ for additional support as a new client to Early Years Advocacy, should she feel this was needed in the future.

‘Thanks to Debra’s advice and detailed report I have a clear improvement plan and useful overview of my business.
It’s been a real pleasure working with Debra, and I would definitely recommend her service to anyone wanting quality support to improve the management of their setting’.

Would a fresh look at marketing your business be useful?  If you would like to know more please contact me.