Sitting back and thinking about EMA and how the business has grown throughout 2020despite the COVID pandemic is pretty incredible. A big part of that is the EMA values, in particular, COLLABORATE. EMA’s collaborative culture was one of the keys to success in 2020 and in the process, we have established some outstanding partnerships.
Working with companies also based in the East Midlands is a reoccurring trend for EMA,I wanted to find out if this is something important to the company or just a coincidence? EMA’s CEO, Tracey Mosley, was the perfect person to shed some light onto this:
“From the first day we opened our doors, supporting local has always played a key part within the strategy and growth plans at EMA. We are known to our stakeholders as EMA Training, very few people know that it is an acronym for ‘East Midlands Apprenticeships Training’.”
If you want to understand a business you talk to the decision makers, to delve deeper into this, EMA’s COO, James Stafford further explained:
“The Directors of the business were all born and raised in the East Midlands and everyone wants to see their home cities thrive and prosper, right? Due to our core delivery model of tutor led training through the hub, many of EMA’s clients and apprentices are based within a20-mile radius of Derby. We hope that supporting our local economy will help reduce local unemployment, attract more inward investment, and ultimately create more opportunities for young people.”
The COVID pandemic hit a lot of companies extremely hard, so I was keen to understand if it had any impact of EMA’s promise to support local. Highlighting this, James shared:
“EMA has always been about keeping it local, but never more so than the past year. SME’s are the lifeblood of our local economy, and we were keen to support as many of them as possible. As part of our re-brand project, we commissioned work to a broad range of local SME’s, with services including print, signage, insurance, video, photography, branding, technology, and facilities. We have been delighted with the quality of the products and services received.”
For EMA, working with local companies has been extremely beneficial, but what about the other side to this story? I got in touch with Yvonne from Essential Print Services, a company that worked with EMA in2020:
“We were excited to receive a call from EMA Training asking for our help with several merchandise items including, branded water bottles, lanyards, notebooks, pens, and roller banners. Once we had sight of the new EMA Training logo, we sourced product colours and styles that would complement the brand.”
I went on to ask Yvonne, as a small business owner, what does working with other local businesses mean to you?
“Working with local businesses means everything to us. There is no better feeling than receiving a testimonial from a local company. We are renowned for our customer service and when we work with a local company, we are able to personally deliver orders. Seeing a client's reaction when they see their products for the first time is priceless; it is a real motivator being able to see a job through from concept to completion. Buying from a small, independent business also means that money stays in the local economy and therefore supports business owners and retains jobs.”
In 2020 EMA also worked with Mocha Marketing. This was during our company re-brand, which Mocha Marketing helped in many aspects, one being a complete refresh of the EMA website. I was also interested in what Gemma, Mocha’s Managing Director, thought about working with local businesses:
“Working with the local business community is really important to our business. By working together, we are naturally supporting each other to not only survive, but thrive. In everything we do, we will always look to fulfil our requirements and needs locally before going further afield.”
Having now spoken to EMA’s CEO, COO and two strong businesswomen, it was clear that working with local businesses could potentially be an enormous benefit to a company. This seemed to be easier said than done. I was interested to find out what the most effective way to promote a business to other local companies would be. Yvonne answered this:
“Networking, networking, networking. Use platforms such as LinkedIn to create a professional database. The next level up would be to create an online group on LinkedIn or Facebook where you invite your most trusted contacts to act as a support group, share experiences, and promote each other.”
Yvonne went on to say:
“Post-COVID, I’d recommend networking events and meetings hosted by Marketing Derby, Derby Hub, and the Federation of Small Business. If someone is nervous about attending networking events, don’t be - Derby’s networking community is one of the friendliest in the country. Anyone reading is welcome to contact me and I will act as their chaperone and introduce you to plenty of lovely businesspeople.”
Gemma had a very similar response:
“The most effective way we (Mocha Marketing) have always found to promote our business is by developing genuine and mutually beneficial relationships. Any ‘business to business’ exchange of services comes down to the ‘person to person’ relationship, and so getting this right is super important to us.”
Something to take from each of these answers is that in the business world it is all about relationships. Genuine relationships where businesses can help each other grow. This can be done through social platforms, phone calls, networking events and so much more. It seems that the whole world turning digital in 2020 wasn’t too much of an issue when it came to reaching out to local businesses.
Now knowing all of the above, it seemed a fair conclusion that working with companies also in the East Midlands is something EMA’s CEO, Tracey would be able to take pride in. Asking her about this, Tracey shared:
“When you are in business, leading from the top, it’s tough. For the first year of trade, its long hours and very little salary reward for the many roles you are undertaking, until you can afford and justify hiring in the ‘experts’. You need the drive to see past that, the only way to do that is to be passionate and believe in the success of the business you are trying to establish. My passion lies with helping people, personally or in business. We continue to grow at a rate we can control, with a focus on quality and attention to detail. Our success is down to the local people we employ, the local apprentices we train and the local businesses we source the talent for. Keeping it local certainly helped EMA get where we are today, many of whom have become good friends.”
Being able to pick the brains off our successful people is always a great opportunity to learn something new. If or one, didn’t expect that working through a local network would have such a positive impact to a business.
EMA have found that it is crucial to the survival of a local business to ‘support local’. All of the services that EMA requires - from hand sanitisers to a full rebrand - will continue to be sourced locally. EMA urge any local businesses to connect with us, when we find ourselves in need of their services, we will certainly reach out!