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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

How social media helped me turn a passion for healthy food into a successful brand

 

Livia's Kitchen is a social media sensation with thousands of followers. Founder Olivia Wollenberg explains how she created a healthy food brand that is satisfying everyone's sweet tooth

Olivia Wollenberg set up Livia's Kitchen in June 2014, just months after she had been diagnosed with several food intolerances, including dairy and wheat.

What started as a personal mission to create healthy alternatives to traditional sweet treats quickly turned into a going concern. To get it off the ground, Olivia took an eight-week business course at UCL that culminated in a successful pitch for funding; Livia's Kitchen was born.

A few years on and Livia's Kitchen is selling products such as its popular Raw Millionaire's Bites in health food stores and through big retailers including Selfridges; Olivia blogs and posts widely on social media and has an enviable following, including almost 100,000 fans on Instagram. And she has published her first recipe book.

Secrets of success

"It has been really hard work; you definitely need a great work ethic," says Olivia. The secret, she says, is that she is "completely passionate about every aspect of the business".

But there's no doubt that it is Olivia herself that has struck a chord with consumers. "There are two branches of my brand," she says. "There's me and what I am about and there are my products, which are the core of the business. But because I focus on both, my personality comes through in everything I do, from the brand values to the packaging."

The emphasis is firmly on enjoyment; Olivia's recipes may be healthy but they are also indulgent and delicious. "I am offering a new way to enjoy your favourite treats. The recipes are nourishing and wholesome but it's not about clean eating, something clinical. The last thing I want to do is preach."

Social media star

Undoubtedly, social media has been the driving force for Olivia's personality-driven brand. " I would say 90% of my success has derived from social media. I don't know how we would have done it ten years ago; we would have had to pay a fortune in marketing and advertising costs. I have not spent a penny on any sort of publicity or advertising. So I have been able to spend the money on other things such as product development."

Instagram has been the most successful social media platform to date for Livia's Kitchen. "Because it is visual, it's like inviting people in to see what you are up to. For that reason I am also focusing on Snapchat."

The images on Livia's Kitchen Instagram feed are certainly appealing, but Olivia is clear that she is looking for authenticity above all. "I don't have time to make things look polished. I just take a picture of a cake with my phone and it's hard to get that wrong when it's oozing with caramel and chocolate. It speaks for itself."

Olivia is also active on YouTube. "I have really enjoyed growing my YouTube platform. I can also show people what I am up to. It allows them to see who I am and what I am about, so they become invested."

Building relationships with her audience is crucial, says Olivia. "I know how important it is that I engage with all the people that follow me. I work on building relationships by asking for advice or asking people what they want to see next."

Future plans

"I have three full-time staff and a couple of interns, but it has got to the point where I could easily have six or eight people working for me, which is pretty quick in 18 months," Olivia says.

Recruiting like-minded people is vital, she adds. "I advertised an internship on Instagram recently and got 100 applications in two days, and the great thing is that these are people who are already invested in the brand. That's how to keep the buzz going as we grow the team - we will have 40-50 employees one day, but we will still have that buzz."

Livia's Kitchen by Olivia Wollenberg (Ebury Press) is out now.

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