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Me: I like to play a word association game to break the ice; so to start with:
So, we’re going to have to start with the obvious, what does the name Awenydd mean?
It’s from the welsh word Awen, so Awenydd means ‘a person who speaks with poetic inspiration’
Why did you choose that as your business name?
I came across it, looking for inspiration, funnily enough, I’m a businessman from Wales and I wanted to combine the two.
I was looking for a brand name that reflected more than the business services I planned to offer, when I came across the reference to Awen and Awenydd it really struck a chord with me.
You are obviously a proud Welshman then?
Yes! I’m proud to be Welsh. A born and bred Welshman.
What is it like to have a business in Wales?
It is kind of the welsh way, the welsh are a creative and innovative people, they have always been behind industrial movement. I’ve come from a family of business owners and have grown up with all my family owning and working hard at owning their own business.
What was the inspiration behind creating Awenydd Business Consultancy?
My career meant that I’ve been lucky enough to fulfill a number of different roles in business services in a variety of different sectors and found that no one job utilised this range and breadth of skills I had collected. So I was looking for a role where I could apply all of them.
In every role I ever did, I got the reputation as a problem solver, if there was a job that no one was able to do, it was handed to me and I gained great pride in creatively solving business problems.
So, I set up on my own, offering all the skills I have to solve the problems that business face.
What is the biggest challenge you think faces business’s today?
It’s the complexity of business today – in that business owners have to be responsible for a huge range of different roles, that they are not necessarily equipped or have the time to fulfill.
I believe that true business development is a business strategy for the whole company and not just a short-term sales solution. It’s the responsibility of everyone in the business not just sales & marketing teams.
Often the urgent can overshadow the important, for example, somebody says we have capacity and need more sales in which case most business owners say, right we have to do some marketing or sales but this is a knee-jerk reaction and it creates a rollercoaster effect of peaks and troughs because as soon as the orders come in, something more urgent comes along and it takes a back burner again.
You are known for your strong opinions on the cost of design, why should a business not just go with the cheapest design option?
There is a well trodden saying, if you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait and see how much hiring an amateur costs.
Good design takes into consideration the core values and vision of the growing business. Not just short-term marketing objectives.
In short, I believe in Growth by Design, which is the appreciation that the similarities between a company business development and its brand are closer than most people think, for example, most marketing campaigns focus on short term marketing goals, where true business development considers the long term effect. An ill-thought out marketing campaign may yield new sales but may negatively impact on potential sales by weakening the brand values of the company. Cheap design cannot possibly address this, as it is creatively too shallow.
If you take for example, engaging in aggressive cold calling in response to an immediate requirement for sales, for every potential lead, you may have annoyed 99 others.
Or the creation of a new brochure because the last one didn’t work – maybe it didn’t work because a brochure is the wrong channel – the material should be dictated by the goal.
What is so different about your business development approach?
We need to really know who the customers are and what their needs are before we can possibly answer them – even if this means challenging the status quo.
We go back to basics, and challenge what growth is required and the scale and scope of that work and then look at the best way of achieving that. Which may include traditional methods but as part of a broader strategy.
Why not sales at any cost?
This is key – too many businesses do not worry about the cost of new business so really can’t answer how much a sale costs to achieve.
All too often a product or service price is compromised in order to close a sale and in doing so removed all margin – so you have to ask what is the value of that sale?
Growth by Design means that you know what a sale is worth so that you can plan what you are willing to spend to get it and the value it reflects when you win it. This means being engaged at a strategic level rather than a campaign, campaigns are interested in sales – strategy is interested in results.
What do you think has the biggest impact when marketing the small business?
Planning, definitely. Failing to plan is planning to fail and never is this truer than in marketing. Small business can’t afford to get marketing wrong – if the marketing fails then so can the business. Taking the time to truly understand what you want to do and planning how to achieve this is key, it can save you time and money and can make the difference between success and failure.
Again, it depends on what the person is selling, the presumption in the past has been that to market a business is to put an advert in a local directory and print a brochure or catalogue.
Some might say that is SEO, social media, PPC, Website, Brochure but the point is there isn’t a one size fits all to marketing a small business, the best solution is one that is tailored to your business’s specific requirements.
What can we expect from Awenydd in 2017?
Awenydd has some exciting times ahead, we are expanding our offering to new and existing clients.
Thank you for your time Simon.
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