How do you turn piggy- and donkey-walking into a profitable business, whilst supporting charities and the local area?
Find out how, with online support from Superfast Business Wales, Good Day Out is creating feel-good experiences in Wales and reaching more customers to target a 25% growth in turnover.
My name is Julia Blazer, founder and director at Good Day Out Ltd.
It just struck me that what would be really, really nice to do is to create a framework of bringing people to the area, engaging them with local resources, local conservation, animals, wildlife, rural skills, and make some money out of people having a good time.
We also set up that some of the money goes to charities which actually makes it a real feel good thing for people to come on the experiences. The experiences I do at the moment are primarily animal-based. They don’t have to be, it’s just worked out that way at the moment, and we have little dinky donkey walking with miniature Mediterranean donkeys, and you take a little picnic up a hill in their panniers and watch Pen Y Fan, it’s beautiful.
We have piggy walking with a friend, Helena. She has little pigs that just love going for walks. Sheep-trekking, which is a bit odd but that’s lovely. It’s a working farm and you just take sheep for a walk on a lead around the farm.
We also do lambing and shearing there, rural skills are fantastic. People just adore being part of it.
When I first started, I actually was lucky enough to have some funds to create a very good website which I paid for and very good web designers. It was a good boost, I thought that would do most of the work for me but it was a bit of a long, uphill struggle and it took a very, very long time to really establish.
I went on a particularly good course with Superfast Business Wales which really, it just went through absolutely everything. It was excellent, I can’t say how good it was. It dealt with not only the individual websites around the room of the people who went along, and kind of how, highlighting what particularly was wrong with them but also how they could be improved, very, very specifically. So that was great for me.
And then also it went through social media methods, styles – it went on as far as looking at newsletters and cloud solutions. Everything technical. So it was a three hour session, absolutely action-packed but everything made sense.
After the course, what I specifically did in the first instance was what I’d actually been thinking of doing, is changing the website and update it, and it gave me the confidence that I could actually do this and do this properly and what I was looking for in how it would be updated. I did have help technically in doing but we moved to a WordPress platform, something that I could then change elements very easily and then I’ve also been looking at more cloud solutions which have included DropBox. It’s been particularly good for me because I have lots of images that I’m pinging out to the press a lot.
I’ve moved now to Stripe which I’m finding much better than PayPal. The fees are about half of PayPal solutions’ and I find it very easy to use. It’s great, it’s a really nice platform and I haven’t had any problems with it at all.
With MailChimp I now do email marketing and newsletters. This has been enforced really by the Superfast course that I did. It’s really brought home to me how important it is to keep in touch with my regular customers because they’re already on board with me. It’s to keep them on board and keep them excited about the new things.
I think this year I am expecting to have an increases in about probably 25% of turnover – and I would expect that at least 10 – 15% of that is jut purely as a result of the changes I’ve made after the course that I went on.
I think that the advice that I’ve received from Superfast Business Wales has just been invaluable to my business. It’s just been amazing. The quality of the tuition that I received, the one to one instruction, the analysis of my specific business and my specific website has just been amazing and it’s given me such confidence that I can carry on and keep growing.
For the last year, I kind of shrunk back a bit, just to make sure what I’m actually doing is working and fine-tuning it a little bit so hopefully next year, we’re up for a bit of expansion!