Business Matters by Denise Roberts

Drinking Coffee Where Business Buds

Meet Georgina Wilson Kamara, a woman with a passion for business and property so strong that it led her to enrol for a PGCE teaching degree.  “It was a means to an end to get onto the property ladder,” she confesses, “but 18 months into the course, I got married and bought a property with my husband, so I left that.”

Georgina and her husband, James, then set up their estate agency in 2007. At the time, they were both working for estate agents and had planned for her to keep working, while he built up the business. Then God spoke to Georgina’s heart.  “I felt that I should leave my job, but it didn’t seem logical. I would pray and get peace, but I couldn’t do it. I did this three times. When I finally decided to leave, my employer begged me not to because I had literally transformed her business.”

Smelling the coffee

Georgina and James have now been providing property management, investment and other estate agent services in the south London area for more than seven years.

They did remarkably well during the recession and, in 2012, opened their second branch – a bright and large venue on Norwood High Street. It would feature a coffee shop to the front and estate agency to the rear but, it seemed, God had other plans.

“It was quite slow and very difficult, and many times we tried to give up the lease, but each time something would happen. Favour would come from nowhere; for example, the landlord would give us a rent-free period, or people who had opposed our plans would be shut down.”

She adds: “That’s why I think there is something special about this venue.”

Business begins to bud

Business began to bud when they decided to focus on the coffee shop instead. Today it employs three members of staff, and is home to a number of events and activities, like after-school kids’ karate, dance sessions for tots, and ladies’ discussion nights. It also caters for private functions.

Most importantly, James Wilson Coffee Shop is home to the BUD, short for ‘Businesses Under Development’. It marks a transition that allows the couple to do different things, and Georgina to use her passion for business to support others to fulfil their dreams.

“I work with those in need of coaching, single parents, and people who need to build their confidence, to name a few,” she said. “It’s not just about business. It’s about pulling out what is already inside somebody. When I do my consultancy sessions, they are never normal.”

Marketing Jesus’ Way

Toward the end of August, Georgina will launch her new book, Marketing Jesus’ Way, thus entitled because, as she says, “Everything taught in marketing is in the Bible. Jesus did all of these things, and we can duplicate them in our own businesses and ministries.”

The book starts at the foundation, at the reason for going into business in the first place, and encourages readers to believe in who they were created to be.

The journey has not been easy. “There have been lots of ups, downs, left and right turns,” Georgina says.  “But I have learnt that God is the Director, so I cannot make a decision without Him, even if I think something looks logical for the business. When I trust Him, it always works out.”

Find out more about BUD at www.bizbudee.co.uk and James Wilson Coffee Shop at www.jameswilsoncoffeeshop.co.uk

How to be more appealing to customers than your competitors

Business

1. Find out as much as you can about the people you are trying to appeal to. How old are they? Where do they live? What sort of work do they do, and what do they earn? Are they married or single? Do they have children? What media do they consume?

2. Personify your audience. Create a profile on the type of person, who might buy your products or services. Now plan everything around their needs.

3. Don’t ignore your competitors – find out what they are doing.

4. Aim to do things better than your competitors, and then to improve on your own products or services.

5. Provide customers or clients with ways to give feedback, comments and suggestions, and act on complaints speedily.

So what makes your business so special?

Your brand defines your service or product, so building a strong identifiable one is key to business success. It is what makes you unique.

This event provides an overview of what branding is, alongside case studies of successful companies that have built a strong brand. It will cover: Developing new or refining existing USP and key messaging; Identifying what differentiates you and your offer from what is already out there; Defining your core brand values; Developing a narrative to define your brand; and Techniques to ensure branding is constant in all areas of communication.

It is free for small- to medium-sized creative businesses (less than 250 employees) in London, and takes place on 16th July from 2pm to 6pm at Radisson Blu Edwardian Grafton Hotel, 130 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 5AY.  Visit www.creativehub.org.uk for more details.

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