Small firms grasp chance for growth as first Start-Up conference held in Bury St Edmunds

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Create a niche for yourself, understand your customers’ needs and meet them face to face were the hot tips as business gurus met with fledgling firms on Monday.

Lord Tebbit, former secretary of state for trade and industry, and now a resident of Bury St Edmunds, opened the event at The Apex.

He accused the Government of lacking the courage to change the laws that were inhibiting people from going into self employment or employing anyone else.

Rachel Henke, Needham Market based author of The Niche Expert, was among a panel giving advice on marketing.

She spoke of the importance of grasping the ‘rules and tools’ of the web or risk ‘Being trampled under a cyber foot.’

“It is all about having a niche,” said Mrs Henke who advised firms to set themselves up as an expert from day one.

Paul Johnstone from Paradigm Shakers spoke of the importance of networking – regular attendance would reap rewards, he said. He also advised people to concentrate on one element of their business when making their sales pitch.

“If you have got one part of your business that is more important to you or more profitable or which gets more customers in, concentrate on that,” he said.

Mentor Christine Guy-Clarke said businesses need to work out what customers problems are so they work to provide the solution.

Start-Up Suffolk champion and organiser Tim Meadows-Smith said: “For an organisation that wasn’t formed thee months ago to attract more than 160 visitors was fantastic. I have had really positive feeback.”

Visit www.startupsuffolk.co.uk