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It has been reported that women in business will assist, increase and boost the economic recovery of the UK. The start up and growth of businesses where women play an important role has increased over the years. It is recorded that there are 170 000 women-owned SME in the UK, an improvement on past times.

If this is the case  why are women are still invisible in the business arena, in the media and on influencing policy? Is it the fact that the % is still too small to make a difference or is it something we are missing?

I spoke to Richard Sullivan, Director of  Navillus Print Gifts who specialise in branded merchandise and promotions.. He pointed out that their industry is growing, despite the use of social media above conventional advertising and that the requirement for bespoke merchandise had increased. The diversity of orders were changing and the need for consultations on value for money were increasing.  

With women-run businesses mostly setting up as social enterprises and networking based businesses, the need for unusual products and promotions was increasing. The old style businesses tend to stick with the mouse mat, USB memory sticks and coffee mugs, whilst women were using their imagination a lot more. The need for women running businesses to do something unusual to get noticed was on the up. 

I took a step back and it made so much sense... Start up businesses often need to work on a very tight budget. Women tend to work part-time or start with smaller work forces, so the need for something the client would remember and keep at the front of their minds was never more prominent.  Navillus said for orders of mobile phone desk holders, branded rubber ducks and make up dispensers had increased over the years. 

Marketing is a very old tool and if executed right it can increase and improve your reputation  and recognition in the market place. It was pointed out by the Navillus that the need to know your market, opposition and your message was the most important part of obtaining the right product.  

So how do you do all of this, on a tight budget?

Especially with the importance on getting it right the first time. Simply plan ahead and use the SWOT analysis....

1. Analyse your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities and your treats, Once you have done this you will have a good idea on what the gaps are in your company and most importantly, your chosen market.

2. Explore the ideas behind your message, get it clear...then you can create an impact.

3. Don't try and do it yourself. Anyone can make an order.

4. Use the experience of a promotional company.


Working with Navillus gave me an insight into the advantages of pulling down on 30 years in the advertising and  promotions industry. They have researched the prices, the quality and most of all they have had feedback from 1000's of companies who have done it before. Richard pointed out that, its not always the product but the presentation.

Aleka Gutzmore CeMap