Small Business Month helping to showcase the value of SMEs to the UK economy

  • 16 May 2022

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Celebrating small businesses

May is Dell Technologies’ #SmallBusinessMonth, and to mark the occasion First Voice has been showcasing the value small businesses bring to the economy and just what makes them tick.

Initially London specialises in personalised, monogrammed accessories, linens and gifts. In an exclusive video, its founder Jane Weist explained how she built up the business after a previous career as a banker.

What were the biggest challenges of starting a business?

The most intimidating challenge was the funding because when you’re starting up you need to invest in equipment and, if you’re a product business, in working capital. Those working capital needs get bigger all the time.

Are you studio based or out and about?

We do all the work in the studio and people do come in and shop with us but we love to go out. Now we can we’re doing lots of pop-ups all over London.

Where do you find inspiration for your ideas?

All over. We love it when clients bring us an idea but we also go to places like New York, Morocco and Europe, to trade shows and markets. We look for great products that would wear a beautifully embroidered monogram well.

What proportion of your business depends on online sales?

The retail side, so selling our own products online, is the overwhelming majority. We also have a trade side though, where we white-label monogram products for clients.

How many people are there in your team?

We have eight at the moment; four on the embroidery side and four on the admin. When the Christmas season comes we’ll also bring in some seasonal help.

What bit of technology couldn’t you live without?

Our embroidery machines and our laser etching machine produce what we sell. But we’re very much driven by graphic design software and we have a Dell laptop that powers all our graphic design programmes for both those machines.

How important is networking, particularly for women?

Women’s networks aren’t generally as big as men’s are, so I’m constantly looking to meet other businesswomen. I’ve just joined DWEN, which is the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, and it’s been an amazing opportunity to share ideas.

What prompted you to join FSB?

I met the FSB team at a business exhibition at the Excel Centre when I was at the very early stage. They offered some really tangible business benefits like the free banking and the insurance, but also great resources of documents and advice. I couldn’t run my business without it.

Initially London came top in the digital ecommerce category at this year’s FSB London Celebrating Small Business Awards. Were you surprised?

I was! It was a great shot in the arm for my amazing team because as a small business we all work together. We’ve been plotting away at putting the SEO we needed into the website, doing the digital marketing, and taking pictures of the products. All of that is essential, but I never thought we’d win!

What excites you most about the future?

The future looks good, after two years of lockdown. I’m really excited about bringing all the great ideas we had during lockdown to life.

What advice would you have for other small business owners starting out?

Just believe in yourself and your business idea. Put one foot in front of the other and it’ll happen.

Watch the full video here

There will be further videos to come in this series, so make sure you keep an eye on the First Voice website and newsmails!

Small businesses of all sizes can also benefit from our five tech top tips:

Improve cybersecurity

Small businesses are being targeted more than ever by cyber criminals. Now is the time to invest in your security software, provide your staff with cybersecurity training and put a contingency plan in place in case of any breaches that may occur.

Invest in your technology set-up

Look to upgrade your tech and stay on top of emerging trends. Products such as Dell’s Vostro 3681 can bring your desktop PC set-up up to speed

Stop putting off your updates

Make sure to update your software regularly to the latest version to protect your system against any bugs

Look to automate your workflow

Using technology and software to automate some of your processes or help with productivity seems like a no-brainer, but as well as helping you save valuable time, automating your workflow can also reduce the risk of human error

Consider moving to the cloud

Store your data and information in the cloud to provide you with access any time, anywhere

FSB members can access exclusive discounts on the latest products including PCs, monitors and accessories during #SmallBusinessMonth (until 31 May). To take advantage, enter the following codes at Dell Technologies:

  • 7% off all Vostro (coupon code SBA7FSB)
  • 14% off all Latitude, Precision and OptiPlex (coupon code SBA14FSB)
  • 10% off all XPS, Alienware and Monitors (coupon code SBA10FSB)
  • 20% off all Accessories (coupon code SBA20FSB)

For more tips to help your business meet the challenges of today – and seize the opportunities of tomorrow – sign up for the second First Voice Tech Summit event on June 28: bit.ly/FVTechSummit

 

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