Latest News

What They’re Saying

“Diane has helped me to collect some really old debt that I’d given up on. I will continue to use Bespoke Partnerships and would not hesitate to recommend them.”

Mark's Milk

“Getting Bespoke Partnerships in to get on top of our admin and outstanding debt was the best decision we ever made. ”

Carrick Roofing Contractors

“We have been using Bespoke Partnerships for a year now for all aspects of credit control. We are very happy with the company and find them very trustworthy and would recommend any business to use the services they provide. ”

CP Innovations

“Very helpful and well networked!”

Lancaster Community Sports Hub

“I used to get back from site and then sit for a couple of hours every night getting my invoices done and trying to get on top of the paperwork. Getting in touch with Diane and Bespoke Partnerships was the best idea ever. They made everything sound so simple, everything gets done and I don't even have to think about it anymore.”

Direct Garage Doors

“Within an hour of going through our invoices they had found us £18,000 we had overpaid to a supplier, and they got it back for us.”

Jay Whittaker

GDPR

By | Business | No Comments

GDPR for Small Businesses

With the May 25 deadline looming upon us, it is really easy to start to panic about making sure you are ready and having all the information you need about GDPR for  small businesses.
There is so much information and conjecture floating about it is really easy to get confused.  There are also training sessions ranging from free to hundreds of pounds, how do you know which one to go to?
There are already thousands of GDPR blogs out there, so this isn’t going to be one of those.  I just want to share with you a really handy link that has everything a small business needs to know about GDPR.  If you use this as your starting point you won’t go far wrong.
This guide has been produced by the Information Commissioner’s Office, especially for small business.  It is called Getting Ready for the GDPR, and has some great blogs.
Our own statement on GDPR is below.

GDPR Statement

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a significant piece of European legislation which will come into force in 2018. It builds on existing data protection laws, strengthening the rights that EU individuals have over their personal data, and creating a single data protection approach across Europe.

How will Bespoke Partnerships comply with the GDPR?

Our GDPR preparation started in September 2017 and as part of this process we are reviewing, and updating all our internal processes, procedures, data systems and documentation to ensure that we are fully compliant when GDPR comes into force on 25 May 2018.

Our GDPR Principles are:

  • Data is processed fairly and lawfully
  • Data is processed only for specified and lawful purposes
  • Processed data is adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Processed data is accurate and kept up to date
  • Data is not kept longer than necessary
  • Data is processed in accordance with an individual’s consent and rights
  • Data is kept secure
  • Data is not transferred to countries outside of the European Economic Area without adequate protection
This ensures we adhere to stringent processes for keeping our data and our customers’ data secure.

Is your gatekeeper costing you thousands?

By | Business, Support | No Comments
Having been a gatekeeper, and now owning my own small business, I have a unique insight into this.  I used to pride myself on the fact that no one got past me, and that my boss let me use my initiative on deciding who and what she heard about.  I mean that’s what makes a gatekeeper after all!
However, now, as a business owner, looking back, what qualification did I use to make that decision?  What if the person that couldn’t get past me actually could have made the company thousands?  What if what they were offering help that could have made a real difference?
I’m not about to tell you how to magically solve this, I’m just going to ask you to think about this scenario…
Imagine we are sitting opposite each other on a train and just get chatting, I ask you what you do, you ask me what I do, and during that conversation you say to me “did you know about this allowance that you definitely qualify for?  You’re probably looking at being able to claim tens of thousands of pounds, and it’s really straightforward.”  At that point, as a business owner, I’d be wanting more information and already have my diary out, but those are the calls your gatekeepers take every day, and that you probably never hear of.
No matter how big your company, no one says no to more money, but each time that phone gets put down that’s what you could be doing.
The experience I have means that my wonderful PA is still a hell of gatekeeper, BUT she gets every caller to email her the information, and most importantly, she then forwards that to me so the decision of if that opportunity will benefit my business is mine.
Maybe I am going to magically solve this after all, just show your gatekeeper this!

New year, new career?

By | Business, Start-ups, Support | No Comments
As 2017 draws to an end a lot of you will be thinking of making the change into running your own business, this article will provide business support and advice for anyone mulling this over.
This was going to be a two-part piece written with you in mind, to give you some pointers, and somethings to think through, but we decided to keep it all together, so it is in one place for easier reference.

Getting started

Successful businesses are built from proper planning at the start-up stage, unless you have unlimited funds, as much as your trial and error should take place before you launch as possible.
Once you’ve made your decision to start your own company, it’s really tempting to do just that. Many of us decide to set up on our own to break away from our current careers, to walk away from being a wage slave, to be our own bosses.  However, if you are in employment, and if you can bear it a little longer, I would recommend staying in paid employment while your business takes off.  If you have the chance of regular income coming in take it, you may need it.  As the business grows you can scale back your hours, and, eventually, give up your job altogether, but as tempting as it is, don’t resign straightaway.
If you not currently working and have a great business idea, you can get support with this from the Department of Works and Pensions.  They have a scheme called New Enterprise Allowance, which is set up specifically to help people in receipt of some benefits become self-employed.  As it currently stands you can continue to receive your benefits, as well as receiving an additional weekly payment for the first 26 weeks of trading.  You have a year to show your business is viable before your benefits are fully withdrawn.  You can find out more information about this scheme on the Government website.
Always research what help there is for new businesses from your local authority.  It can be a daunting tick-box exercise, but it could benefit you and your business by thousands of pounds.  The Enterprise Growth Manager at your local council will be able to help you with this and point you in the right direction.

Getting going

A quick Google should also bring up a lot of free support, courses and seminars local to you.  Eventbrite is a fantastic resource for this.  Even if you think the actual session won’t add much to your knowledge, you never know who is going to be in that room.  There are always brains to be picked, experiences to learn from and new contacts to make, and you normally get a free cup of tea and a cake.
One important thing to remember is that people do business with people.
That is true no matter what industry you are in.  People need to be able to trust the people they are doing business with.  As much as an all singing all dancing website is fantastic, and thousands spent on advertising will bring in business, there is no better advertising than word-of-mouth recommendations.

Getting customers

The fastest way to get recommendations, leading to customers, is via networking.  Now, you could spend every day at a different networking event but that isn’t necessarily the best use of your time.  What you need to do is network with the right people.  This is where your trial and error comes in.  Get along to as many networking events as you can for the first month, and from those decide which ones are relevant to you, that can benefit you and that you can benefit the other attendees.  If you get it right you will soon develop your own network of people that you will be recommending and that will be recommending you.
I know some people panic at the mere thought of networking, but there is nothing to be scared of.  You will be in a room full of people that are there for the same reason as you, remember though it is not a time to sell.  It is a time to build relationships and chat about your business.  If you want the sale then arrange to meet that person away from the event.  There is nothing worse than being cornered by someone trying to hard sell you something.  Talk to as many people there as possible, you never know who else is in the room and what opportunities they can open up for you.  There will always be someone there who looks uncomfortable and out of place, and if you feel that way too then start your conversation with them.  As people see you chatting they will gravitate to you.

Getting ahead

Lastly, and most importantly, get your cashflow under control and keep it that way.  People find it hard to ask to be paid, but if you don’t ask you won’t get.  Your customers won’t think any worse of you if you pick the phone up and ask them to pay you.  As long as you do it in a professional way it can even improve your relationship and open up new sales.  If it’s not for you, or if there are other parts of your business you know you are not so great at, there are people out there to do it for you, leaving you to do the bits of your business you do best.
The strongest businesses know their weaknesses and know where to get help for those.

Google comes to Lancaster

By | Business, Support | No Comments
Google Logo
Bespoke Partnerships team are joining forces with support providers and Google to help businesses in the local area grow and prosper.
The Google Digital Garage Tour will feature at the Bespoke Partnerships’ Support for SMEs seminar at the University of Cumbria, Lancaster Campus, on 22 November 2017.
The seminar promises to be an invaluable event, providing all manner of information and support to small and medium sized businesses in the Lancaster area.
Bespoke Partnerships Director, Diane Chambers, has partnered with the University of Cumbria, Boost & Co, Crossbay Marketing, Jamrock and Natwest Boost to raise awareness of the support available to businesses throughout Lancaster.  As well as key note speeches from these partners, there will be a range of exhibitors at the event. Already signed up are Halton Mill, the Ethical Small Traders, the Chamber of Commerce and MIND.
A representative from Google will take to the stage to provide two 1-hour training sessions designed to help businesses raise their profiles and grow their presence online, followed by an invaluable Q&A session.
Diane Chambers said: “I am passionate about helping companies to realise their full potential, as well as getting Lancaster businesses firmly on the map.  This seminar is the perfect opportunity to let people know what support is already out there for them and to give them the tools they need to grow.”
“It’s brilliant that we’ve been able to partner up with a company as prestigious as Google to provide some top end advice and training for local businesses and I’d encourage anyone who is considering coming along to make the most of this fantastic business-boosting opportunity.”
Places are limited, so click here to book your tickets.

 

Small Business Seminar

By | Business, Support | No Comments
Imagine is there was a seminar locally full of great speakers, and exhibitors all geared up to let your business know what support there is out there for you.  What if there was an opportunity to network with other businesses over a breakfast bite as well?  Handmade cupcakes served with coffee? Sounds great doesn’t it!
How about I also casually throw into the mix two 1 hour training sessions with Google…
Yes, that’s right, we have Google signed up to speak at our seminar, in Lancaster.
You can find all the details here:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/google-digital-garage-on-tour-support-for-smes-tickets-39025513361?aff=es2

Google Digital Garage, Business Support

Enterprise Vision Awards 2017

By | Awards, Business, Support | No Comments
I was ‘blown away’ to have been a finalist in this year’s Enterprise Vision Awards.
Even though we didn’t win on the night, the fact that we were helping businesses in a way that made them want to nominate us in the first place meant we had already won.  I also got to meet some amazing women in business on the night.
Thanks to everyone who nominated us.

Enterprise Vision Awards Finalist, Business support

Keep expectations real

By | Business, Support | No Comments
What do I mean by that?  Well my dream is to take Bespoke Partnerships national and to be employing an entire workforce of stay at home parents, and ex-servicemen, and taking on apprentices from the care system.  That I will be earning so much money I can retire to Mallorca and leave the firm to run itself, and do a whole boatload of pro bono work with Department of Work and Pensions getting people off of benefits and running their own successful businesses.
But, if I expected that to be a reality in my first year then I’d quickly have become very disillusioned!
Your expectations for your company have to be realistic.  Think about the national lottery.  If you bought a ticket every single week, the dream would be getting the jackpot but your expectations would be that you would get an occasional small win.

Helping to Boost Lancashire

By | Business, Support | No Comments
The team at Bespoke Partnerships Limited is excited to announce they are now part of Boost & Co – working alongside Boost to help businesses across the North West grow.
 Boost & Co are the professional partners of Boost Business Lancashire.  Through Boost, Lancashire businesses, from start-ups to large companies, can get access to a number of funded programmes in areas such as mentoring, product development, leadership development and accessing finance.  Founded in 2013, Boost has already helped over 2,400 business to grow, creating over 1,200 jobs.
Bespoke Partnerships is the perfect partner for Boost & Co.  Our offering is something not currently available to local businesses that require all manner of support services to help their companies prosper, at the right cost.

Spreading Our Wings

By | Business, Support | No Comments
Having already established themselves in Ayrshire, Bespoke Partnerships are expanding their client base further afield, now offering support to companies in Lancashire and the North West.
Bespoke Partnerships provides a multitude of essential services to new and existing businesses, including credit control, invoicing, negotiating improved rates with clients, setting out office procedures and maintaining regular payments.
The company is especially keen to work alongside local authorities and agencies to assist companies requiring business support who don’t currently have the resources to employ a full-time member of staff.  Too many companies struggle when they do not need to and Bespoke Partnerships is there to support these companies and new companies in the North West.
Company Director Diane Chambers said: “We are here to pick up the phone on behalf of local businesses to ensure their bills are paid on time and that day to day necessities, which are required for a business to run smoothly, are being fulfilled.
Bespoke Partnerships is the perfect solution for companies that require all manner of support services to help their company prosper, at the right cost.”
The company is currently offering free no obligation business reviews to firms in Lancashire and the North West.
For more information, please call 01524 941 377 or visit the company website at www.bespokepartnerships.co.uk

Recent Posts / View All Posts

GDPR

| Business | No Comments
GDPR for Small Businesses With the May 25 deadline looming upon us, it is really easy to start to panic about making sure you are ready and having all the...

Is your gatekeeper costing you thousands?

| Business, Support | No Comments
Having been a gatekeeper, and now owning my own small business, I have a unique insight into this.  I used to pride myself on the fact that no one got...

New year, new career?

| Business, Start-ups, Support | No Comments

As 2017 draws to an end a lot of you will be thinking of making the change into running your own business, this article will provide business support and advice…

Google comes to Lancaster

| Business, Support | No Comments

Bespoke Partnerships team are joining forces with support providers and Google to help businesses in the local area grow and prosper. The Google Digital Garage Tour will feature at the Bespoke Partnerships’ Support…

Small Business Seminar

| Business, Support | No Comments

Imagine is there was a seminar locally full of great speakers, and exhibitors all geared up to let your business know what support there is out there for you.  What…

Enterprise Vision Awards 2017

| Awards, Business, Support | No Comments

I was ‘blown away’ to have been a finalist in this year’s Enterprise Vision Awards. Even though we didn’t win on the night, the fact that we were helping businesses…

Keep expectations real

| Business, Support | No Comments

What do I mean by that?  Well my dream is to take Bespoke Partnerships national and to be employing an entire workforce of stay at home parents, and ex-servicemen, and…

Helping to Boost Lancashire

| Business, Support | No Comments

The team at Bespoke Partnerships Limited is excited to announce they are now part of Boost & Co – working alongside Boost to help businesses across the North West grow.  Boost…

Spreading Our Wings

| Business, Support | No Comments

Having already established themselves in Ayrshire, Bespoke Partnerships are expanding their client base further afield, now offering support to companies in Lancashire and the North West. Bespoke Partnerships provides a multitude of…