How co-working is helping Get Fruitful Marketing sow seeds of success
With a new hire and a growing business, a move from home working to an office was on the cards for Anwen Cooper…and she knew just the place…
"The Business Terrace is somewhere we can focus together but also feel connected to the other businesses we work alongside"
When marketing professional Anwen Cooper moved back to Kent from London to start a family, it prompted not only a re-evaluation of her work-life balance, but also planted the seeds for a whole new business.
“With a young baby at home, I realised that commuting up to London and working full-time wasn’t going to work for me. It just seemed like being self-employed gave me the best opportunity to have greater flexibility and allow me to do what I love best – developing business growth strategies for ambitious start-up and SMEs,” she explains. “We’d been living in London for 10 years but I’d grown up in Kent and it felt natural to move back. Maidstone is ideal – it’s got great connections to London, it’s close to family and it’s a lovely balance of town and country living.”
In 2015, Anwen set up Get Fruitful Marketing, providing marketing strategy programmes to clients in the creative, coaching, consultancy, computing and charity sectors looking to use their business as a force for good. Starting out as a sole trader, the business soon took off and before long, Get Fruitful Marketing was a limited company with a small consultancy space in the town centre in the west of Maidstone. Unfortunately, Covid forced Anwen to give up her office and she soon found herself working from home again.
However, the business continued to grow steadily with the support of a freelance team, prompting Anwen to apply to Kickstart, a government scheme that provides funding to take on a young person for 6 months. Her application was successful and in October 2021, Get Fruitful took on its first payroll employee.
“It took a while to find somebody but it’s worked out really well,” she says, “I now have a new marketing assistant, Brandon, until Easter 2022. I’m also developing him into a content producer, working not only for our clients but the business itself, too.”
The hire meant that office space was once again a priority and this time, Anwen opted for The Business Terrace. Having held many events there over the years and with several clients based in the building, it was a location she knew well, as she explains,
“I looked at other shared working spaces but as well as being more expensive, none of them had the strong sense of community that I found at The Business Terrace. I like the way the space is designed, it encourages you to talk to fellow tenants. We’ve taken one of the self-contained glass pods and it’s perfect.”
Keen to help other young people in their first marketing job as well as businesses involved in the Kickstart scheme, Anwen now runs a monthly forum at the Terrace for learning and sharing ideas, thanks, she says to support from Alex and Gabby from The Business Terrace team.
In terms of challenges, home schooling alongside working was a pretty stressful time, “But I’ve been lucky,” Anwen adds, “I’ve been able to work from home as and when needed. And my business has actually benefitted from the pandemic as it’s given a lot of people time to plan ahead and reflect, meaning many have come to us for help with a strategy. We’ve been really busy - I know many people have had it far worse.”
Having helped many businesses to focus on the future, her advice to others is, “It’s really important to have a clear goal and vision of what you want to achieve and a really clear idea of who your ideal client is.”
And for any other business owners considering a co-working space, Anwen adds, “Think about your working style and whether you’re more of an introvert or extrovert. I’m a mix of the two – an ‘ambivert’ – I like to have a lot of time for writing, thinking and researching but I also like meeting people. I needed somewhere that provides a quiet space but also the opportunity to talk to other people and The Business Terrace is the ideal balance of both.”