Highlights: Voom tour in Cardiff

Cardiff is the home of Joe Kawasaki, Charlotte Church and the late Roald Dahl, and this week it was the latest stop on the Virgin Media Business Voom Tour.

Once again, experts from across the business industry, including London Media, JCDecaux and Cardiff City Council were on the big red bus to offer their advice to local entrepreneurs in a series of one-to-one sessions.

Martin Dyan, London Media’s PR guru, was impressed with the quality of the aspiring business men and women from the region.

"They all understood the need to have really clear and crisp messaging. It was great to work with them on the bus to help them put some structure behind how they communicate their ideas, products and services," he explained.

"Many businesses think it's all about 'how do I get in the media?' but PR is also about how you communicate to your other stakeholders, like investors and employees. PR can really help your business grow if you take the time to think about your audience, what you want to say to them and the channels you use to say it to them."

An afternoon panel session saw Dawn Bebe from Crowdfunder, Pinkspiration's Lisa Marie Brown and Mark John, the Co-Director of Tramshed Tech, dish out business advice to a captive audience, and the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Bob Derbyshire, sung the city’s praises as ‘a welcoming city’ that celebrates and supports local businesses. 

The afternoon's pitching competition was a great way to further celebrate the business minds from across the region, as six entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to a panel of judges including Tracey Smolinski from Introbiz, Peter Price from Cardiff Council, and Mark John. The trio listened to a range of ideas, including a modest clothing brand, an app for travellers, a monthly subscription fitness box, a disability discount card, a farming solution and a beauty product.

After much scoring and deliberation by the judges, Daniel Swygart was the winner of £5,000 and brunch with Richard Branson with his app Trekin Herd. The app aims to connect travellers and adventurers with each other and support the work of environmental organisations.

Before the bus closed its doors and headed to the next city, we asked Dyan for three PR actions that any business could implement immediately. Here's what he said:

1. Practice describing your business in one sentence. Small business owners need to articulate what their business is and what it does succinctly. Think about what you'd say in your elevator pitch.

2. Write down all your audiences and think about the best way to grab their attention - is it the local paper or radio station? Or is it the local fete or community fair?

3. If you're on social media, think about visually engaging posts; a great photo or video can work wonders.

For those not able to make it to one of the remaining stops, you can keep up to date on all the latest from the tour via the Voom Podcast - available on all good podcast apps.

The next stop on the Voom Tour sees the big red bus pull into Hampshire on October 19th, to find out more head over to the Virgin Media Business website.


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