• Kim Bailey

Meet Ellen Cole of the Little Seed Group

Ellen Cole is the talented business owner behind the Little Seed Group – based at Tribe in York city centre - which provides award winning PR, Marketing and Social Media services to a diverse range of businesses.

Here, we find out more about Ellen’s work to ensure businesses grow and thrive; from securing television slots for clients on ITV’s This Morning, to dressing up as a goth and performing sensory marketing campaigns during Whitby Goth Weekend to drive tourists to a clients' venue.

She also highlights her plans to introduce more training workshops and consultancy services aimed at small business owners.

Establishing the Little Seed Group

The Little Seed Group was originally a side project which I did - alongside my full-time employed job in heritage marketing - to help businesses to grow and thrive.

My self-employed work continued to grow each year, however I never felt brave enough to do it full-time. I had been unhappy in my full-time role for a while, so when the business decided to restructure, I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me to request voluntarily redundancy.

I got a job working in retail (to ensure the bills were paid each month) and then started building up my business from there. Within eight months I had a full roster of quality clients on long-term contracts which resulted in me becoming a full-time business owner.

Becoming my own boss

Being my own boss has provided me with the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects, from sensory marketing to providing full social media packages and public relations services to training and consultancy.

Over the last two years the business has evolved considerably; I have a mixture of clients from independent businesses to large corporate organisations. The beauty of working with a diverse range of businesses means that I (metaphorically) get to wear lots of hats and adapt my skills accordingly with the needs of the business – it’s great to be in a position where no two days are ever the same.

Stand by your values

I adore working with my clients and I am known to them as “an old-fashioned grafter with a contemporary twist”. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty, I genuinely care about the businesses I work with and I am honest at every given moment.

Integrity and building good working relationships is important for me. Standing by these values is why my business continues to thrive and is why my clients stay with me long-term, I keep them happy and do what I say I am going to do.

Working with a variety of businesses

I love the fact that I can work with so many amazing businesses who are open-minded and provide me with the opportunity to fulfil their business objectives. One day I could be on a boat by the coast, the next redesigning menus with a Graphic Designer or analysing, reporting and developing digital campaigns to increase my clients’ online growth further.

Some of my major business highlights include securing a television slot for client on ITV’s This Morning and increasing sales long-term through Social Media for a struggling Yorkshire restaurant chain which is now thriving. I also dressed up as a goth and performed sensory marketing campaigns during Whitby Goth Weekend (WGW) to drive tourists to a clients' venue and this led to them being nearly 40% up on sales compared to the previous WGW event.

Challenges of running a small business

There will always be challenges in business, however, you must find solutions in order to overcome them. An example of mine is that I use to work alone a lot and missed the social aspect of going into the workplace each day. I rectified this by joining Tribe, a co-working space in the city centre of York.

Being surrounded by different people, whether they are speaking to me or are just background noise really helps me in terms of not feeling isolated. I feel it is important as a self-employed person to not isolate yourself and to work within the community to maintain and enhance your own social well-being.

Goals for the year ahead

My major plans during the next twelve months is to introduce more training workshops and consultancy services which have been designed with small business owners in mind.

I regularly host events, all which can be found on my website. I currently run a Facebook Functionality Workshop and, in the future, I will be offering workshops in Mailchimp, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram.

York, UK

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