A little case study example of how micro business collaboration can create something really rather special.
Prologue: For this of you who have followed Simply's journey to this point, you might be well aware that it started as a simple way of bringing micro business owners together in my home county of Staffordshire. As a corporate escapee, I was very much in need of people who appeared to be traveling a similar journey to me for community, comradeship & ideas.
As I was building up a career as a trainer, coach & mentor working with businesses & organisations all over the UK, it became apparent that there were some significant gaps in support, celebration & understanding of Britain's largest business sector.
This lovely gang of businesses needed more than I could offer.
It became increasingly obvious that micro businesses and their founders, owners and managers needed some affordable support, a trusted place to turn to just, a spotlight to shine under and the connection that a truly committed community can bring.
Chapter 1: And here starts the real story.
I never forget talking with Andy from A Spark, A Flame, A Fire outside the Village Green Cafe in Eyam, after we had just hosted a Meet Up of micro business owners over delicious coffee. He said, 'the thing is Emily, what I see here & the essence of what you say, just isn't what I see on your website'. It was one of life's moments. I never forgot it.
Despite the fact that I taught marketing, worked with businesses on brand and communication, I somehow wasn't fully expressing the magic that I saw and and experienced in the micro business world. I wasn't really saying what I really felt.
The pandemic presented the opportunity, & the pressing need of micro businesses at that time, for me to go to Andy and rebrand Simply GB to reflect what we were creating in Meet Ups and member experiences.
Andy and I had a series of long Zoom calls where I faffed and waffled and Andy listened & listened some more. I wasn't sure what any kind of brand might look like but completely trusted that Andy would somehow get it. After all, he had understood what was missing.
This trust has been the basis of our work together, after all there's something deeply vulnerable about opening up your business and your ideas to the scrutiny of someone else.
With shared Pinterest boards, discussions about the personality of fonts and the what colours really said, Andy was able to, not only build a new visual brand identity for Simply, but inject new purpose and confidence into the way I thought about the future of our story.
Why am I sharing this story?
I guess I'm trying to draw out the essence of the working relationship that's created when working with a fellow micro business. And relationship is the key here. There's no denying Andy's exceptional talents of graphic design, vision and dedication to getting things right. There's no denying that Andy has a real gift of listening and extracting the core elements from a waffling client. But the key is that working 121 meant that Andy got to another layer where the magic lay. Like all great micro business owners, Andy slowly, carefully and dedicatedly developed something just for me/us/the community. There was no dilution by sharing workload with colleagues. Nothing was lost in translation by delegation. Our new Simply brand was the foundation stone of this brand new website and allowed us to bring the brilliant Nancy from PeakNet Web Design in to build the next Chapter.
And I've seen this happen again and again with other work he has done with fellow micro business owners. Two current members of the Simply Club, Jane Kent Studio and Sculpted Steel have both benefitted from the Andy magic as he helped them realise their vision for their businesses.
The moral of the story? Relationship is everything. Trust matters. Whether you're doing a rebrand with Andy or buying a gift for a friend, data shows us that nearly 80% of customers need to trust a brand, align with the values of a brand and feel in relationship with a brand to buy from them. Micro businesses are able to offer us that more easily, to help us build relationships that we trust. When we spend our hard earned pounds with a micro business, we're able to do that with more confidence and peace of mind. What magic that is.
Want to know more? Head to our Directory to discover the work of Andy (A Spark, A Flame, A Fire) and other micro businesses. Are you a micro business owners yourself looking for a sense of community and comradeship as you travel your journey?
Head to our next blog & Chapter 2 of this case study and find out how we developed the visual identity of Simply to tell a new and clearer story about micro business Britain.