Finding time, where once there wasn’t enough, has helped this incredible business partnership develop and enhance a unique community.
Building a community of independent businesses takes time – especially when you’re passionate about supporting every member.
Anne Beamish and Steve Linford wanted to celebrate the individuality of Cambridge’s independents. Recognising them as a tangible piece within the fabric of Cambridge. Our wonderful city is swimming in fantastic independents. And gathering them all up to form a one-off peer group was a significant undertaking.
All small businesses will be familiar with the struggle to find time to do everything. When you have a membership group, you need to make sure they all continue to feel valued and looked after. It can put a stretch on your time and resources. Which may leave you feeling frustrated that other elements of your business aren’t getting the focus you’d like.
Entering into a collaboration with an experienced business developer gives you clarity and direction. Allowing you to see a way forward. With the bonus of giving you precious time to work on your business.
Time was the most significant aspect blocking progress for Anne and Steve. And this is what I stepped in to help them resolve. A shared passion for indies made this a particular pleasure!
I took time to understand their plans for building Indie Cambridge. Getting to the heart of their business goals and what impact they wanted to deliver. Because of their honesty about the challenges facing them, I could clearly see where I could help.
I tied up my shoelaces and got to work!
Results & the future
Meeting each member in person, I got to know them and their businesses, and the personal approach was appreciated. Our meetings resulted in a written member feature with photography for a new publication.
Memberships were renewed, and the process attracted new business owners to this unique community. Awareness of local indies is much better within the local population, who can now get a better sense of how valuable the indie scene is to our city and beyond.
The publication of the Indie Cambridge book showcasing over 200 local, independent businesses and events was a proud culmination of our collaboration. But it didn’t stop there…
We began to host events for members to bring them together. Their time to share ideas and have supportive conversations. Collaborations and friendships were born and have continued to grow.
When the business model changed, so did our conversation. The online presence is more effective, and a full-colour magazine, “The Indie”, is produced three times a year. Thousands of copies are distributed throughout the city, and it’s available on subscription. Packed with incredible stories from indie owners, every edition helps share that special indie love.
Because of its strong foundation that I was so pleased to help reinforce, Indie Cambridge came into its own during the pandemic. The benefits of being in a community all coming to terms with what lockdown would mean for their business quickly became apparent. A peer group like no other!
Our relationship continues to this day, and I’ll always be a huge supporter of their work with the local indie population, ready to step in again at any time.
“Our message and membership impact were substantially improved with Clare working as membership coordinator and champion of our cause. Clare really did her homework while working with us, knowing our goals and message and always showing great passion, which undoubtedly helped us gain better visibility and members.”