Inspired by her natural environment (wherever she happens to be), photographer Johann Knox began her photography retail business ‘Biglight Photography’ in September 2020. Johann describes her business as one which is focused on producing high quality photographic prints, canvases & greetings cards. These are sold online and through other local physical retailers.
Johann was initially introduced to the Business Start Up Support Programme & through her business adviser Adrian Luckham, she discovered further business support was available to her via the Cumbria Business Growth Hub.
When questioned about how she had benefitted from support provided by her adviser, Johann responded; “It would be easier to explain how Adrian hasn’t supported me in the development and growth of my business! He has helped me develop ideas that have grown into a solid business strategy, has provided strong advice, been a constant sounding board, and has supported me in moving my business forward. He has talked to me a lot about marketing and the importance of branding, specifically brand consistency. I now have a great logo which features on all my business materials & social media platforms and reflects what my business is about. Adrian has also advised me on financial matters, such as pricing strategy, costing and negotiation. I can firmly say that I now negotiate more effectively & have developed more confidence in dealing with suppliers.”
Johann outlined that Adrian has also assisted her with regard to accessing a business support grant and identifying other resources including signposting her to additional sources of support such as the government online Business Support Toolkit and other tools available on the Cumbria Growth Hub website itself. “Adrian is able to link me up with other people including fellow traders who have the potential to positively impact on my business and its growth. If I were to describe the support I have received from Adrian in a nutshell I would say he has been like a safety net and a ladder.”
Previously reluctant to use social media in general, & unsure about how powerful it could be, Johann explained; “Since working with Adrian I have undertaken a complete turn-around in terms of my understanding of what social media can do for my business. Effectively, social media provides me with a huge ‘shop window’. I have learned how to post and share information to help people engage with who I am and what my business is about, whilst at the same time understanding how to protect what is personal and what I consider to be part of my private life; something which is important to me.”
Johann concluded; “I could not have achieved the things I have without the support of the Growth Hub and Adrian. Without hesitation I would recommend that anyone planning a new venture should contact the Chamber and the Growth Hub to find out about support they can access for their own business. It costs nothing is an amazing opportunity.”
The funding that supports the Growth Hub comes from a range of sources including Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the European Regional Development Fund, Sellafield Ltd., Carlisle City Council, South Lakeland District Council, Penrith Industrial BID and Cumbria LEP. The Growth Hub is receiving up to £2,528,767 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The BSUS project is receiving up to £1,112,686 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information, click here.