Anne Scott – Auberge du Chocolat

There are two huge areas of concern with a small business, versus a large one.

First, there is the day-to-day: a small business owner has to be an expert merchandiser, networker, planner, packaging expert… No one is all these things and we don’t have a range of departments to talk to. This is where the Chamber steps in. Between us we have all of the skills that are needed, and can help each other on a regular basis. This is a two-way street.

Paul Batey and Mimi Harker have both helped Auberge over issues with Social Media – a really important issue in today’s world! I have been able to give other members support – for example Mimi with packaging. Here I’m not talking of huge investments in time – odd e-mails, quick chats… like one big family we support each other.

Then there are the big issues which suddenly hit you. For us it was the thorny issue of dilapidations when we were closing our Gerrards Cross shop.

We didn’t just require a sympathetic ear, or even an opinion from someone who has been there – we needed an expert. We were able to find an expert in the form of Vee who was able to hold our hand and advise all the way through the process. Although we were capable of researching and checking into the details, we needed an expert to correct our e-mails into legal speak. Thanks to the Chamber we succeeded! This didn’t just help put closure to the area of business we were leaving, but due to the money we saved it, has helped secure the business going forward.

I have a small business which requires more customers. I had decided to venture into e-mail marketing, so with that in mind attended the Chamber’s “May the Fourth be with you” meeting on digital marketing. I was inspired by the practical talk given by Ralph, of Web-Clubs. He explained how a small business, who couldn’t afford to pay skilled help, could use Mail Chimp to setup an e-mail campaign. He also gave quite a bit of advice on actually running a campaign! I have now setup Mail Chimp

However I was still unsure how to proceed. Fortunately I was able to get help from another Chamber member. Paul Batey, of Clarks of Amersham, sat with me today and guided me through a campaign – it really isn’t difficult, I just needed that bit of confidence that Paul gave. Tomorrow my first campaign goes live!

I don’t know how well it will work and I know I’ve still a long way to go before I’ll be running really good campaigns. However, I do know if it hadn’t been for Chamber putting on that event, and a member (Paul) being prepared to help me, I wouldn’t be launching a campaign anytime or possibly ever!

Speaking as a small business this is what we need – real practical help. Thank you Chamber!

Anne Scott, Auberge du Chocolat