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July 2013

Update

Tirelessly working to make your business the best it can be...

You’re Unique

Just Like Everybody Else! As I left the house this morning, the sun came out. No really, it did! I kid you not! I even took my jacket off! There’s a funny thing about the sun. It doesn’t matter what kind of day you’re having, the feeling of the sun on your back just makes everything that little bit better.

Take a look at your Business The people behind the business New members this month Tip of the month

an d M ore...

www.thebestof.co.uk/hitchin

Interestingly enough, amazing customer service can make you feel the same way. A friend and I recently visited a coffee shop I hadn’t been to before. Although there wasn’t table service at this particular shop, once we’d finished our drinks the waitress came over and asked us if we wanted a refill. Less than five minutes later our order arrived with biscuits on the side. As I reached for my wallet, the cheery waitress said ‘No need to pay now, just see Mark at the till when you’re ready to leave; the biscuits are complimentary, enjoy your drinks.’

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Rather pleased with the attention (and quite frankly the trust) we received, I watched the waitress in action and noticed that between serving drinks at the counter she quietly buzzed around the floor. To tables where families with small children sat, she brought extra napkins, as well as pointing out the pile of brightly coloured toys on a low table in the corner. To tables where people sat alone, she brought a paper. To tables where couples sat, deep in chat, she offered refills. Every table was served according to the people who sat there, and in doing so, that waitress brought a little bit of sunshine to every customer, making their day just that little bit better. There are lots of reasons why I will visit that coffee shop again. The coffee is great, and the environment is lovely. But, in truth, there are lots of great coffee shops out there now, and I could choose any one of four and get a similar experience. None of them, however, have that attention to detail or cater to individual requirements

in the same way. That waitress behaved much like a modern day business owner has to. Her attention to the individual needs of her customers made them feel special. To me, that makes that particular coffee shop stand out from the crowd. We all know that when it comes to marketing and customer service, one size does NOT fit all. When it comes to customer service, independent businesses actually have a major advantage over chains. We have an ability to be flexible with our service and make each interaction we have with our customers truly personal. Those small touches don’t just make a difference, they are often the difference.

e s i u o L d n a K e it h

Offer of the Month Free Video Voiceover worth £300+ Video is the ultimate marketing tool because potential customers can see what you are describing. - Products promoted with video increase the probability of being bought by 85% - On average we visit a web site for 48 seconds. If it has video we visit for 5 minutes 50 seconds Your free voice over with up to 200 spoken words comes free when you purchase either our 1 or 2 day video packages.

Please call Ian or Chris at Film Infinity on 01462 642251 or visit www.filminfinity.co.uk *t’s & c’s apply

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The People Behind The Business Meet Nicola Prebble, Owner of The White Wardrobe Bridal Shop in Hitchin

Nicola is fast approaching her first anniversary as Owner of The White Wardrobe. She was manager for 8 years and then took the plunge to be her own boss. Happy Anniversary Nicola! 1. What do you love most about your job? The satisfaction you get when you can help so many people on let’s face it one of the most important days! I like to think I make people feel comfortable no matter what age size or gender they are.. 2. Your claim to fame? I recently sold a dress to the stunning Gina Beck who stars as Glinda in Wicked the musical 3. What sort of training did you have before going into business? I have done everything, from floristry to area management but I most enjoyed working for Robert de Keyser at the Christian Lacroix store as a personal shopper, that’s what got me started all those years ago.. I love fashion, but I also love quality and great cuts and as we all know, you do not always find that on the High Street, so I knew I would always work with Designer or higher end products which is why I stopped being an area manager and started my bridal journey. 4. What advice would you give someone who wants to set up their own business? You have to do it when the time is right for you, do not go into it thinking that it is going to be easy, it isn’t, even if you are the best at what you do, competition is healthy, stay focused and always try to improve, get as much feedback and criticism as you can, it’s the only way to make things better. Never take things too personally (hard in this trade) but you have to try. You get out what you put in.. 5. The one local business you couldn’t possibly live without? Can I have 2.. Irene Isaac my Seamstress and my friend, she is amazing and I could not do this without her! But also Charlton at Taste Buds in Bancroft, If you have not been there to refuel at lunchtime, do. The food is delicious and the team are so friendly!! 6. Hindsight is a wonderful thing – what one thing would you do differently? I wish I had done it sooner.. 7. How have things changed for your business over the past 10 years? You can no longer hard sell, anyone who does will fail! You need to adapt to every customer in different ways, everyone is important. Remember that, and if you can not help, send them to someone who can, it looks much better for you.

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8. What are your plans for the business? I want The White Wardrobe to be talked about by brides to be for all of the right reasons; I want us to be one of the best in the area. And to work with local business and help each other by networking , and one day who knows we could even expand to bigger premises. 9. How do you rate theBestof Hitchin?! I honestly do not know what I would have done without the support of Keith and Louise over the years, I was one of the first few that signed up and I am so glad I did.. I love being able to collect testimonials but that is a small part of what they offer, if anyone is considering joining..DO! Bestof-Hitchin-July2013.indd 3

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Working Well... Making the Most out of your Bestof Membership” workshop was run in June with 20 of our members attending. Helen and Adam Wilson have been with thebestofhitchin since BEFORE we took on the business back in 2007 and are still very much involved with us on a regular basis. We also had new members Pure Stoves & Fireplaces attending who had only just joined the week before. The workshop covered topics such as:• why reviews are so important

your e r a h “S d let n a s e ss succe nd Louise a Keith hat bits w know stof are be of the rking wo u.” o y r o f

• special offers • Blogging • Videos Here’s what one member had to say “I found the work shop to be really useful we have been members for a number of years but due to business work schedules we have needed to make time to attend these events and I am so glad I did. Not only was it great to meet local businesses and have open discussions and network with them but finding out exactly what the Best of Hitchin can do for us as a company to grow was brilliant. The enthusiasm from the Best Of is fantastic! I am excited to tell my colleagues how easier it is to make our business grow by using the skills spoken about at the Best Of work shop!” Big thank you to Chris and Ian from Film Infinity who videoed the session for us – see our YouTube channel!

Members Feedback It’s good to hear what aspects of bestofhitchin membership is working. Here’s what 3 members told us recently. “We had 2 new clients come to us recently as a result of reading our reviews on thebestof hitchin” – Tilehouse Dental Clinic “Within 20 minutes of you sending your e-newsletter last week, we had an enquiry for bookkeeping and within the hour we had an appointment booked” – Cloud Bookkeeping “keep putting our events onto your website, we had 2 new clients book onto a class as a result of seeing it on your e-newsletter” – The Pilates Pod

Buy Local

At thebestof Hitchin we are on the lookout for other great members. This month we are looking for....

• Printers • Solicitors • Kitchen Design and Installation • Tattoo Studios If you know a business that fits the bill please contact the team...

01462 759 700

3-9 June saw the first Buy Local Week where we encouraged local people to support local businesses in Hitchin. We ran our #Cuppa Connect Networking event at The Victoria with a Buy Local theme and held a Buy Local Event in Hitchin Market Square which was supported by lots of local businesses and organisations including The Radcliffe Arms, The Car Agents, Cloud Bookkeeping, , Humanitas Charity, Asset Fixings, In a Real Pickle, Nuffield Health, Pure Stoves and Fireplaces and The Victoria

Fame at last! We were delighted to have been recognised at thebest of national conference in May for being “Achievers” and were welcomed into the “Achievers Club” - tell us why you should be recognised so we can SHOUT about it for you!

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We’ve uncovered more hidden gems over the last few weeks. A big welcome to the following businesses who have joined us recently:

Give them a call & make them feel welcome Wells Property Maintenance

In a Real Pickle For the very best in homemade chutney, pickle, jam or relish, visit Gary at ‘In a Real Pickle’ on Hitchin market.

Mike offers a comprehensive property maintenance service including decorating, plumbing, electrical services, carpentry and kitchen and bathroom installations.

Give Gary a buzz on 07738 906773

Call Mike on 01462 450185

Pure Stoves and Fireplaces

Asset Fixings

Pure Stoves’ showroom in Hitchin offer a wide range of wood burners, fires and fireplaces to enhance the look and feel of your home, no matter how modern or traditional

Suppliers of tools, power tools, workwear and fixings and fastenings, with a large trade counter. Operating in Hitchin for over 20 years, Asset Fixings have a vast experience of supplying professional high-quality tools.

Ring Hannah on 01462 427507

Ring Angela on 01462 427500

Home Xperts

SM2Communicate

With years of experience in estate agencies and an extensive knowledge of property, Andy from HomeXperts Hitchin will help you to buy, sell or rent your home.

Social Media experts SM2Communicate can help devise a successful strategy for increasing your online visibility to shape your online business voice through the most appropriate social media channels.

Call Andy on 01462 887371

Call Dawn-Louise on 07557 526550

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The Importance of BEING ERNEST No, I’m not referring to the play… although it doesn’t matter how often I see it, the line “to lose one parent is unfortunate, to lose both is carelessness!” always makes me laugh. I’m actually referring to something very close to our hearts, fondly known as the G.A.S factor. “People buy from people. In this choice-filled, transparent world customers engage by recommendation and relevance. You can advertise until you’re blue in the face, but if you’re not part of your customers’ lifestyle and culture why would they want to spend time with you.” Sam Wilson, Wolff Olins

And how our culture has changed! Mobile phones and the internet mean we really do have a more transparent world. Celebrities cannot hide from their indiscretions, banks cannot pretend that they weren’t greedy and certain politicians cannot deny that they felt themselves above both the law and the populace. The hypocrisy and ‘cost to people’ will not be forgotten for a long time.

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So what’s that got to do with this here G.A.S factor? Well the truth is, people are now looking for businesses to display the same values as they do. They want you to prove that you’re not ‘just like all the others’.

They want you to ‘Give a S*!t’ “Never has there been a more exciting time for all of us to explore this great next frontier where the boundaries between work and purpose are merging into one, where doing good, really is good for business.” Richard Branson On saying that, there’s caring because it’s profitable, and only because it’s profitable, and there’s caring because you do, and as a consequence it’s profitable. Believe me, people can really tell the difference and this is why the banks pouring money into social causes does nothing to improve their public image.

We all care about something.

We all care about something. It may be a charity that’s close to your heart, maybe you’re a butcher whose passionate about British beef, maybe you’re a picture framer who loves to collect old images of the area where you live. Whatever it is, letting your customers know about it not only shows your human side, which can only help to strengthen your relationships, but also makes you stand out from the competition.

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Thebestof Hitchin is run by Keith and Louise Yexley

Our aim is to provide the best businesses in Hitchin with a

world class marketing service. We’ll raise your profile, connect you to new contacts and customers - and maximise your business potential. We really do care about every one of our Business Members and we are there every step of the way to ensure that thebestof works for you.

1. Testimonials 2. Dual-branded postcards 3. Mix and match 4. Commercial photos 5. Certificates 6. Brand Awareness 7. Campaigns 8. Call Tracking 9. An Evening with 10. Social Media 11. Blog 12. Events 13. Video 14. Special offers for members 15. Quote me

Our 17 marketing tools

16. Mobile Website and App 17. Website feature

We hope you have enjoyed reading this quarters newsletter. If you would like to find out more about becoming a member please do get in touch. Or if you are involved with a local club or organisation use the website to promote your events. You can also visit us on our facebook page and LinkedIn Group or follow us on twitter. We would love to hear about your business and how we can be of help. Call Us: 01462 759700 Email: hitchin@thebestof.co.uk Tweet us: @bestofhitchin Join us on Facebook: /thebestofhitchin

Coming Soon Are you using social media as part of your overall marketing strategy? We have teamed up with new member SM2Communicate to run some social media training throughout 2013. Here is what we’ve got planned (subject to minimum numbers booking) 23rd July - LinkedIn - novice 10th Sept - Google + - novice 17th Sept - twitter - beginners 1st Oct - Pinterest - novice 8th Oct - Facebook pages - intermediate

15th Oct - LinkedIn - beginner 5th Nov - Google+ - beginner 12th Nov - Pinterest - beginner 19th Nov - twitter - intermediate 3rd Dec - Facebook pages – advanced

RRP for the courses are £95+VAT but Early Bird Rates available and if you book two courses you will also qualify for a further saving. Please call 01462 759700 or email hitchin@thebestof.co.uk or info@sm2communicate.co.uk www.thebestof.co.uk/hitchin Update July 2013 Bestof-Hitchin-July2013.indd 8

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Bestofhitchin july 2013