The Business Owner: James Sandwell, Sunshine Events UK

The 'fun expert' talks about sharing responsibility with his staff and the importance of marketing to promote his business

The Business Owner: James Sandwell, Sunshine Events UK

Name: James Sandwell
Company: Sunshine Events UK Ltd
Location: Preston
Proposition: The Fun Experts
Size: 11 full time staff

How is your business different from what’s already out there?

We are recognised as ‘The Fun Experts’ and work really closely with our clients to ensure they get the best advice and best equipment for their events.

How did you finance your business?

It has been done through cash flow over the years which has helped us remain stable and strong.

What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?

We focus on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) at the heart of the business that work for our team. It’s important for us to understand whether our business is on the right track for success and establish where improvements can be made and focus more attention. These goals not only reflect the importance of teamwork in achieving company goals, but allow us to provide a quality service for our customers.

What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?

Our biggest challenge is to stay on track with all tasks we set out to achieve each day. This includes making sure all Sunshine Events enquiries are picked up straight away to meet customer expectations.

We’re the UK’s leading supplier and owner of fun event equipment and this is reflected with our leading premium service. This means always providing professional and expert advice for our customers including both the highest quality fun day equipment and services.

What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?

We have been strongly focused on our website as the main part of our marketing. We receive enquiries  from all areas of the UK and our website caters for the needs of these customers with the design and setup of regional landing pages for different areas of the country. This gives customers the opportunity to enquire about events in all corners of the UK.

Our blog is also a great way to introduce industry updates, company news and promote our recent competitions. This gets a good response and gives us the best exposure. It also helps us populate the website with fresh, unique content and build a relationship with readers.

Finally, we send out regular newsletters to our existing customers. This encourages people to book more events with us as we often introduce new, exciting products and competitions. We attract new customers by giving our existing customers incentives to refer their friends and family, like discounts off products and services.

Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?

It would depend on the percentage of profits that can be achieved – don’t get distracted!

What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?

We don’t have a go-to-app that is used every day, but we find having a dedicated system to keep on top of all tasks is key. With the amount of enquiries  and bookings we receive on any given day, it’s essential to keep a to-do list handy for planning our priorities and structuring tasks.

Describe your company’s culture in three words:

Fun, fluid and fast

What would you like the government to do for small business?

Realise the input that small businesses have in the economy.

Where do you want the business to be in three years?

Continue our growth (both organic and acquisition), maintain our reputation and make it enjoyable.

What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?

Share your numbers with the team so they take responsibility of both their part and other parts of the business.

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