This month we are in discussion with our newest member The Business Exchange South West. Thank you to Director Anita Jaynes for taking the time to answer some questions.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I worked for a local business publication that went into liquidation. I didn’t get paid on pay day and thought what next? I knew there was a gap in the market for a modern take on a local business magazine model and set to work.
We offer joined up marketing campaigns for our clients and our products are accessible in print and online, as well as supported by a strong social media offering. Like many other publishers we have diversified and offer networking opportunities as well as bespoke awards. We recently hosted The Techies – Tech Awards for Swindon & Wiltshire,here in Corsham at Hartham Park.
What was your mission at the outset?
We are called The Business Exchange because from the beginning I wanted to have a reciprocal relationship with readers and advertisers. I think many publishers have lost their way and it’s not about what the client or reader wants or needs. We’ve built our proposition around what people want and I believe that’s the key to our success.
How many employees?
Our model is slightly different. We don’t have an office or a huge team. We’re a modern media business. We have a team of highly experienced freelance staff. Some may say, doesn’t that attribute to a gig economy? But I would say, not at all. Most creative minds like diversity and all of our team work for a real mixture of media outlets. Some of our writers’ work for BBC TV programmes as producers when they’re not writing for us and others work for publications as diverse as France Today. All of our team have become advocates for our brand and that’s something I’m really proud of. They all enjoy working for The Business Exchange and adding their unique voice.
What service(s) or product(s) do you offer?
We offer print and online advertising via our magazines The Business Exchange Swindon & Wiltshire (bi-monthly) and The Business Exchange Bath & Somerset (quarterly) and their supporting websites: www.tbeswindonandwilts.co.ukand www.tbebathandsomerset.co.uk
We also offer featured stories or adverts in our monthly e-newsletter. We have a strong database of over 10,000 regional contacts who receive our local news.
As previously mentioned, we also host networking events. Our next Business Exchange Big Breakfast is at Cumberwell Park, Bradford on Avon on Wednesday 25thJune. To find out more and to book tickets visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-business-exchanges-big-breakfast-tickets-59880476116
How do you advertise your business?
Each issue we print 5,000 magazines. In Bath & Somerset we deliver to over 2,500 outlets and in Swindon & Wiltshire we deliver to 2,800+ outlets. Our publications can be found in head offices, business centres, professional services firms and places that business people frequent. In Corsham you can pick up a copy at Guyers House, Hartham Park or the Methuen Arms. We’ve worked hard to ensure our product is visible in all the right places for our clients and this in turn works for us too.
How do you advertise your product/service?
We are highly visible in the local community. I am a judge in the South West Business & Community Awards and this year judged the Chippenham Business Awards. This gets The Business Exchange aligned with all the right things. We are media partner for the Bath Business Expo, Bristol South West Expo and Swindon South West Expo. And we are also the Bath Half Marathon’s dedicated business media partner. In the past we have provided Corsham Means Business with media support too.
To what do you attribute your success?
Listening to our clients and readers and building an offering built around them. My business satisfaction isn’t driven by money, it’s customer satisfaction. I love nothing more than connecting people and building marketing campaigns that achieve results. We will celebrate six years in business this September and the majority of our clients have worked with us from day one.
Do you use the services of a professional accountant or solicitor?
We work with our client AMS Accountancyin Swindon. They became one of The Business Exchange’s first customers and we decided to give back and work with them too. Every penny we spend we like to keep within our region. It’s all about keeping it local. Why go outside of the area when we have such great companies on our doorstep?
When we’ve needed legal assistance in the past, we’ve worked with another Business Exchange client, Thrings.
What made you choose your current location?
I grew up down the road in Bathford and when searching for a new home looked at Corsham. It’s a great location for the patch I cover. It’s easy to jump on the motorway to visit clients in Swindon and it’s equally easy to get into Bath and the surrounding towns and villages. I work in an office at home. Since moving to Corsham just under a year ago, I’ve got really good at closing the door on work in the evenings. However, I do start work really early! I can often be found online at 5am and walking my dog, Prince, the Rough Collie across the Corsham fields by 9am.
What kind of Corporation is your business?
We are a Limited Company.
Do you work locally or nationally?
Locally. We currently don’t have an ambition to change this. In a few years’ time, we may look at franchising.
Does your company help the community where it is located?
Yes, we have Positive Business pages – space for local charities to share their current campaigns and local companies to talk about their fundraising activities or commitment to corporate social responsibility. If you have something to share email email@example.com
Have you ever turned down a client?
Yes, we are not right for everyone! We are a bespoke business-to-business magazine. We once had a lady who wanted to market her bouncy castle business with us. Some may have taken the money, but I would see that as fleecing someone! A product/ service like that needs to be promoted in a community magazine or similar. It’s all about honesty. A client isn’t going to return if they don’t see a return on investment or has been ill advised…We’re in it for the long haul, not quick wins.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Make use of the Swindon & Wiltshire Growth Hub and find out about free government funding available for start-ups. There are also subsidised workshops around finance, marketing and creating a business plan. Visit it online here: https://growthhub.swlep.co.uk