The Wine Cellar (Sanderstead-based, but with a new outlet opening in Church Street)
I don’t go to a huge number of these events... but you do find one or two hidden gems every time. You only have to make a couple of new contacts and it makes it all worthwhile. It’s also nice to get out and about and see how other people view your business.
Brakes Professional Food Market
“The purpose [of us being at Expo] is to make sure the business community of Croydon is aware they can shop in store,” she said, pointing to the fact that Brakes Professional Food Market at Beddington Cross offered best-price guarantees on many lines, and free membership for businesses.
“We’ve had loads of people – loads – and a really excellent response from visitors,” she said. “The message we’re getting over is that if you care about your food, you should be shopping with us. This is a great forum; we’re meeting people face to face, and we’re getting a wonderful response.”
Brakes’ gold-coloured Prosecco bottles (Jane called them “very glam, very Towie!”) were the most popular tasting item of the entire 2014 We Mean Business Expo event, but trayfuls of canapés, cakes, chocolates and goodies were generated every few minutes... and disappeared just as quickly as they were carried around the event’s halls.
“On average a basket of our produce, including fresh produce, is 15% cheaper than our competitors,” said Jayne.
Chef Neil Smith, Brakes Professional Food Market
“The feedback has been brilliant; a lot of people didn’t know about the range of products we do... and people have been saying that it’s better than M&S!”
London Learning Consortium
“I love the concept of this show; it gives businesses large and small a chance to mingle with the public and other businesses. Our aim is to pick up potential apprentices and learners, and speak to other businesses. I talked to one printers in the first few minutes, and I’ll be calling them next week to do a bit of business.”
“I’m here to talk to as many people as I can possibly talk to; this is the first show of its kind that I’ve been to, and there’s good awareness here.” She was boosting membership numbers of the Check Out card – the loyalty card which promotes special offers and deals of town-centre shops within Croydon Business Improvement District. There are already 6,000 activated cards, with a corresponding rise in footfall and spend in shops and businesses in Croydon. Although it began with independents, the Check Out promotional card has spread to bigger businesses too.
Olivia Ellenger Answers Investigations
“We’re mainly going for new contacts, but not necessarily immediate business. It’s all about making long-term contacts.”
Emma Lodge Bibby Financial Services Ltd
“It’s our third year, and we’re looking for potential businesses and contacts. Having an accountancy firm in the stand next door to us has been handy! We help businesses with cashflow, providing funding against outstanding invoices. This show is reasonably well organised, but other exhibitions allow you to set up the day before. That would help.”
Keith Jafrato Pro Actions Business Improvement Ltd
“We’re specialists who work with SMEs to help them grow and develop. We work with the government-supported growth accelerator. I hope to meet lots of potential clients. It’s a very, very positive show. In the first couple of hours I’ve got four or five new clients. Would I change anything? No, not really.”
Gemma Alexis Precious Gems handbags
“There’s contact, but there’s not much purchasing,” she said. “I wanted to cover the expense of my table with sales, but it hasn’t been publicised that there will be sales here; it’s more about publicising services.
Simon Cripps Smart Cow Marketing
“It’s a cracking show; bigger and better. It’s the fourth year we’ve been here, so we’ve seen it expand. It’s all about keeping our brand awareness up. We’re meeting loads of people, and although we’re not necessarily doing business on the day, it’s good for building up long-term relationships through events like this.”
James Storm Countrywide Trace
& Collect Ltd For £18.95 plus VAT Countrywide will find debtors, gone-aways etc, with a 94% success rate. “I’ve been doing it for 15 years,” he said. “I came to the Expo in 2012 to see what was going on, and this year I’m back. The response and interest has been really good for me. I said to myself that if I gave out 25 business cards then I’d be flying to the moon. Well, halfway through the day I was already up to 22... so it’s great. The last time I came here, I went away with £50,000 worth of business. If I could go to something like this every day, I would!”
Tom Collins Assistant Principal, Croydon College
“I like the venue as it’s only five minutes’ walk for me! There’s been steady interest all day, and people inquiring all the time. Usually you get lulls, but not this time. We’re keeping a list of people who have inquired; we’re after employers who are offering apprenticeships, and we’ll follow up on them.”
Patrick Price Quiver Design
“We don’t tend to do shows. We’re Croydon-based, but we just tend to be too busy. But I bumped into Katharine a few weeks ago, and she chased us up. We have a couple of new products using the technology that Google glasses uses. We have new apps which have only launched this week. Before this show I’d have said ‘No, it’s not really the right place for us.’ But we’ve had some interesting people – some very interesting people – in. In fact, the very first person I saw this morning set up a meeting with people for me to see, and I’ve had three other very good leads and a lot of interest in the technology. I’m now going off to talk to a few people who can’t get away from their own stands.”
Daniel Clark Richer Sounds
“I’m more of a one-to-one person, so this has been a little uncomfortable for me, and it’s our first time of doing something like this... but it’s generated a lot of interest. It’s surprised me; it’s bigger than I thought, and it’s well laid out. In terms of potential customers, it’s been very good.”
Emma Griffiths MidTown Hub shared workspace, Sutton
“We only opened this year, so we’re raising awareness as we’re six months old. It’s not well advertised at the moment, but we’re currently working on a new website. We’ve had a few good leads from large and small companies, and freelances too.” Tanya Daye New Addington Magazine “Hopefully we’re going to double the size of the first issue, and then branch out into other parts of Croydon. We’re trying to be a good-quality, reputable magazine. We’ve been getting very good feedback from the show.” The magazine currently delivers 8,000 copies in New Addington.
Tom Sims Croydon Heart Town
Campaigning to persuade more businesses to have defibrillators, to be able to save a life... with an estimated 10,000 cardiac arrests reported every year in London. The London Ambulance Service is campaigning to get 1,000 extra defibrillators into shops, businesses and gyms across the capital. “The entry-range models are around £800,” said Tom. “There’s been really good interest at the show, and we’ve had lots of feedback. The people who have come along have been really interested, and some companies have said they’ll promote us through their publications.”