Lorraine was managing her own business making artisan cider.
Lorraine manages and runs every aspect of the business. However, the maintenance of her website has previously been outsourced to another company.
As a result, this has therefore made Lorraine to feel that she has had no input or hands-on approach and the costs have been high to the business.
Since taking the course, Lorraine has been able to overcome these hurdles and is now able to physically take control of the business’s website and prides herself on the confidence and skills that she has gained. The results have been fantastic, with the business having increased visibility in a competitive market and the costs that otherwise would have been spent on the website, have been invested back into the business in other areas.
Lorraine says “I wanted firstly to gain an understanding of how WordPress worked and to enable me to do simple changes on my own website. What it did do was to revolutionise my thinking about the internet and marketing and gave me loads of confidence to sell myself on the web”
When DPN asked Lorraine how much she felt that she had learnt from the course and how the course has helped her develop, she replied.
“LOADS. - confidence, an opening of my mind, seeing what else was out there and realising I could do so much more with my business, control! I’m now running 2 websites - one for the smallholding and one for the cider. The cider has become my main thing and this business has expanded by 3 times in this last year”
Lorraine attended a training course at DPN where she learned how to use the free online software WordPress to build and manage a website. As part of the course Lorraine completed a level 3 unit in website software.
Lorraine had been recommended to attend the WordPress course by colleague, who had previously attended it herself and rated it very highly.
Lorraine was thrilled by what skills she has achieved since starting the course and the overall increase in confidence.
“The mix of hands on, hand-outs and expertise ready to help, worked extremely well. I love the staff who are always friendly and helpful. The tutors have all been brilliant. Class sizes are small - this means more individual help”
When Lorraine originally enrolled on the course, her goal was to complete the course, with enough skill and knowledge to make adjustments to the company website. Her ultimate goal has been exceeded and Lorraine now feels that the course has revolutionised her way of thinking about the internet.
Lorraine says that she is now running two websites to promote two areas of the business. This has helped her to focus on tailored specific marketing of each of the areas and has led to one area expanding 3 times in the last year.
Lorraine is now keen to review the business structure and look to expand further. The course has opened her eyes to ways of boosting her business and she says
“social media has made a HUGE, difference to my business”
Lorraine has been able to see the positive impact the previous course has had on her personal development, which is therefore reflected in the business.
This has now increased Lorraine’s confidence and she has enrolled on another course, with the intention to do more in the near future.
Lorraine is reviewing her business in light of the expansion and is keen to expand the business further, she can see the positive results in the short space of time and is determined to build on that.
Through her newly developed skills and confidence, she has been able to see where to apply particular focus and this has resulted in one area of the company expanding by three times in this one year.
“Spotty Dog Cider came about as an offshoot from our small orchard here at Killibury (our smallholding) and also as a result of running some Cider Making workshops through the Rural Business School and Cornwall Adult Education Service.
Everything just came together in a natural progression and was encouraged by our local EHO.” Lorraine is the cider maker and the apple grower, but she is overall responsible for everything within the business.
Lorraine wanted to be able to develop her skills and knowledge so that she could have a more hands-on approach to the management of the website and therefore the digital marketing of the business.
Lorraine could foresee that this would in return not only be more profitable, but would also be less frustrating, as she would be able to make important marketing decisions on behalf of the business and be reflective of the true company brand.
The teaching style of the course is innovative in the sense that it takes a very hands-on and practical approach.
Each of the learners work individually at their own laptops, whilst being given guidance by the tutor.
By the learners each being able to physically build their websites and graphics themselves, this helps them to develop their confidence and solidify their skill base for the world outside of the classroom.
Also, by identifying particular gaps of skills and knowledge in learners, courses have been developed to naturally progress to other topics and levels which complement each other. This therefore enables learners to be able to keep on moving up the development ladder steadily and stretching their abilities.