I started Wright Ideas 4U in April of 2015. I had spent the previous two years trying to establish a new and different kind of café in Eastbourne. The Cartoon Café was an idea created by a guy called Tim Benson who wanted to promote a gallery with political cartoon exhibitions. He bought the premises, in Seaside Road next door to the Royal Hippodrome Theatre and spent thousands of pounds making the place into a really well-decorated space. I came on board to run the café side of things and also spent quite a bit to stock the café with top of the range equipment and all the necessary fittings to be able to showcase the foods. I rented a coffee machine from a lovely company based in Hastings, The Rye Bay Coffee company; a family business that not only rents out the machines but also supplies brilliant coffee beans and wonderful teas.
We opened to a big fanfare in July 2012 and with the local MP doing the honours and the local newspaper taking photos, we really thought we were going to be onto a winner!
Unfortunately, despite our absolute best efforts, running quiz nights, inventing new and exciting coffee menus, (more about those later) and hosting networking meetings, we never got into the black.
After eighteen months and £20,000 loss, I decided to call it a day.
However, all was not lost. During my days, sitting idly waiting for customers, I was able to catch up on all the research and learning that I had been putting off for the previous year.
I spent hours reading and researching as much as I could on marketing.
And in April 2015, I launched Wright Ideas 4U.
The first thing I did?
Join 4Networking. It is a countrywide networking group that runs meetings daily. I joined the Eastbourne group and started to attend meetings in Eastbourne, Brighton, Shoreham, Battle, Horsham, Uckfield and Gatwick. During every meeting, I was greeted by other business owners as an old friend and very quickly made new friends and acquaintances.
I was so impressed with the set-up I asked if it would be okay for me to start a group in Seaford and yes, we did, and now have a thriving group that meets every fortnight on a Wednesday for breakfast at the Seaford Golf Club in Blatchington.
As a result, I have slowly built my reputation and started to gain new clients. I thoroughly recommend business networking to any new business start-up or indeed, any business that needs new clients. Networking allows people to get to know, like and trust me and this in turn allows them to either feel ready to use my services or to refer my services to their friends.