Juggling a full-time job with running a small business can drive anyone round the bend, but one crafty individual is using digital to help manage his time effectively as well as power his new venture.
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Despite working more than 50 hours per week in the car industry, Paul Cammack turned an interest in craft beers into a side project that continues to grow and demand his attention. Paul converted an ice cream van into a travelling beer bus, stocking local craft beers, ciders, and spirits, and is turning heads at events and becoming a talking point at weddings.
The idea for Alfie’s Beer Bus was brewed up by Paul and his wife Holly, and the 32-year-old turned to Superfast Business Wales and social media to help deal with his bulging workload.
“The advice I received at the workshop has helped tremendously”
“It’s very tough balancing my full-time job and the beer bus,” he said. “It’s definitely my biggest challenge. However, the advice I received at a workshop run by Superfast Business Wales has helped tremendously.
“For example, we now use Hootsuite to schedule Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts, and we’ve also introduced more structure by posting specific content at certain times every day. It’s saved me a huge amount of time, as well as resulted in significant increases in engagement on our channels – it’s a win-win!
“As well as the workshop, we also had a 1-2-1 with a digital business advisor, and it was so insightful. I was worried it would be a one-size fits all approach, but it was completely tailored to our business, and I received more guidance on digital in addition to general business advice.”
The information provided also helped steer Paul’s activity to ensure his time was spent wisely.
“We’ve made our website more streamlined”
He added: “We were looking for support on all aspects of digital. We were using social media but wanted more tips on how to improve and grow the business, especially as customers are using online platforms to find our competitors. The digital marketing seminar ticked all the boxes.
“We’ve also launched Facebook advertising and it was a much easier process than I expected, with very good return on investment. Our followers and fans across all three social media channels continue to grow, which is helping our reach and brand awareness.
“The feedback also covered the website, and we’ve made it more streamlined and removed clutter to make it easier for customers to find out what we do and why they should call us.”
Paul named the beer bus after his grandad, and there is a picture of Alfie in his WWII Coldstream Guard’s uniform, which sits pride of place on the bar.
“Alf enjoyed having a decent pint of ale so it seems a fitting tribute and a lovely way to keep his memory alive,” he added. “And the picture is a great conversation starter with customers.”
“Our immediate short-term aim is to increase turnover by 25%”
And with positive reviews and new enquiries pouring in, recruitment and diversification is already on Paul’s radar.
He said: “Employing someone to work full-time on the beer bus is going to be a requirement if our success continues. Our immediate short-term aim is to increase turnover by 25 per cent and to have a full calendar of events to attend, while still maintaining a healthy level of enquiries.
“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed a taste for coffee, and we’re fortunate to live very close to Coaltown Coffee Roasters in Ammanford. There’s been early talks between me and Holly about converting a van into a mobile barista coffee shop, so watch this space!"