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Small business of the month: Di by Dianne Hassall

As part of its Think Small programme, Earnest is interviewing a number of small businesses to understand the changing business models, challenges and ambitions that are spreading across the small business market. 

This month we met Diane Hassall, a small shoe designer located in the Cotswolds creating high quality shoes primarily for the bridal market.

We met Di in her workshop at the bottom of her garden where she told us the story of how she set up her own small business before going to work in a larger organisation and later leaving to once again set up her own thing that she runs today.

“Things have changed a lot. There are so many new technologies, channels and ways to sell that you have to get your head around now – you have to be jack of all trades and master of all."

The Trip: Di by Diane Hassall, Cotswold

We saw this in action as we followed Di around as she worked one morning. Not only does she have to dedicate time to her extremely skilled craft, she also has to spend much of her day dedicating her time to learning new skills and updating and publicising her business on social media.

“I am now having to learn and keep on top of all the new parts of running a business which is very hard. It’s massively important for small business owners as it takes up a lot of time.”

Di is fully aware that this need to be the master of all trades doesn’t come easily, and is a real issue for all small business owners. And it’s not just about learning new skills like promoting yourself on social media – many small business owners need to face up to the fact that there are some parts of running a small business that are quite simply out of their comfort zone.
For Di this means relying on a support network of other businesses, friends, family and experts in many fields to help her learn new skills.

“There is just not enough time to do everything. Everything you do you could do with devoting more time to that particular aspect. When I spend so much time on the promotional and marketing side, I worry I am not spending enough time on the creative side which means you can lose track of something. At the end of the day, I just need all the support I can get.

“There are lot of things I am not an expert in, but you have to be an expert in. I am not fantastic at selling, which is not great in a small business, but would love to work with someone who can sell for me, or help build the website.”

What can marketers learn from Diane Hassall?

Small business owners are well aware of their weaknesses and knowledge gaps – and they’re crying out for help in a number of areas. This is where content marketing really can come into its own, just be sure to make it accessible, interesting and do not waste their time – it’s precious.

Think Small: How to market to small businesses

In this marketing success pack, B2B Marketing and Earnest offer advice, opinion and first-hand experiences of targeting and engaging small businesses owners.

Learn how to target small business owners

Think Small: How to market to small businesses image