Keystone Posts by Hayley Williams

To coincide with the recent relaunch of The Hunts Post and its milestone of 125 years in print, Keystone’s Hayley has been announced as one of the new monthly columnists for the paper.

A local newspaper has a significant role to play within a community – a powerful communication tool, reflecting the place in which you live. Despite the growth around digital, there’s nothing quite like flicking through its printed pages to understand more about what’s going on around you.

As a long term St Neots resident and a small business owner in the town, Hayley will be taking a look at local business insights and unlocking examples of community spirit from across Huntingdonshire. Observations gained from her day to day work within the Keystone marketing consultancy, and also from here experiences from living in the town.

The first column was published w/c 8th February 2021. Read here.

As we approach the end of any year, it’s natural to reflect on the last 12 months of our lives, both personally and in business. We all know that 2020 has been a year like no other, and this year’s reflections are somewhat different in light of what we’ve all experienced.

The biggest reflection we have here is one of being grateful. Our wholehearted thanks go to Keystone clients and partners; those who have continued to put their faith in us to deliver, and those who have asked for our help for the first time. We send a big thank you and our strongest best wishes to each of them, and all of you, for the festive period ahead.

This year, instead of sending Christmas cards and presents to our network, we are dedicating trees to them. Trees that will be planted in new forests, to stand for years to come. And when it came to choosing the variety, it had to be Oak. A symbol of strength and survival – traits that so many individuals and businesses have shown this year.

And that’s it from us for 2020. Keystone will be taking a break from Wednesday 23rd December, returning on Monday 4th January 2021 ready and raring to go. Is marketing strategy development or community engagement activity on your list for 2021? Let’s show you what we can do.

A new community engagement campaign is set to run in the Bedfordshire town of Potton this autumn, with communications executed by the Keystone team.

Potton is a thriving town of approximately 5000 residents in the heart of rural Bedfordshire, and Keystone’s work centres on the potential new community facility for the town, Potton Hall for All.

Running from 19th September to 23rd October 2020, the campaign will share more details as to how the funds for the new facility have been identified and asks Potton residents for formal agreement to enable the final funds for the Hall to be secured.

Keystone was chosen to develop and roll out the five-week community consultation during a competitive pitch process run by the registered charity set up to build and run the hall (Potton Hall for All), in partnership with Potton Town Council.

The campaign launches with a stand at the Potton Seasonal Market on Saturday 19th September and includes online and offline communication to residents, as well as dedicated stakeholder engagement activity. The campaign messaging and plans for execution were built following a bespoke workshop with key Potton Hall for All stakeholders; an event facilitated virtually this summer by the Keystone team.

Orchestrating community engagement impact is a core skill at the heart of Keystone’s approach, which was evident to the Potton team during the pitching process. Experience also comes from similar community focussed campaigns delivered for St Neots and Huntingdon Town Councils, as well as Huntingdonshire District Council.

Further information on Potton Hall for All and the Keystone led campaign can be found on the Potton Hall for All website or by following the campaign on Facebook.

On Tuesday 28th July, a live webinar sought to support solo businesses that hoped to grow post Covid19, despite the challenges that the new landscape may bring – and Keystone was part of it.

The EU Erasmus+ Ambition to Employ project brought together a number of experts to share their own stories for growth, as well as sessions that talked through the Ambition To Employ resources that are now available.

Keystone founder Hayley was interviewed by Orla Casey from Momentum (an Ambition To Employ partner) as part of the webinar, sharing the Keystone story to growth, and offering insights for those also looking to undertake the same business growth journey.

The full recording is now available to watch back on YouTube – and if you’d like to hear Hayley’s interview specifically, you’ll find it at 1 hour 18 minutes in. The webinar is designed for solo entrepreneurs, business support agencies and those interested in economic growth, especially in the context of COVID-19.

Contributions also included:

  • Susan HayesCulleton, Strategist, author, presenter and co-founder of The Positive Economist, shared ‘The seven secret questions that every new employer secretly asks themselves
  • Laura Campbell from the Centre for Entrepreneurs (the UK’s leading entrepreneurship foundation) who shared new entrepreneurial insights from its research work, and also introduced its NEF Fast Track programme
  • Peter Ibbetson from JournoLink (the interactive PR platform designed for small businesses) highlighting how microbusinesses can gain access to the skills they need to grow in a rapidly changing technological world – as well as how to maintain the confidence, flexibility & energy to pivot

The importance of being able to adapt, how to deal with uncertainty and the valuable role of business support were all key themes throughout

A number of Ambition To Employ project resources are now available to support those solo businesses looking to grow; as well as those in business support or economic development roles, to pass on to businesses that they are working with.

SELF ASSESSMENT TOOL – Enabling businesses to quickly assess their readiness to hire a first employee – and helping to identify any areas to improve knowledge and skills to capably and confidently welcome new staff member to the business.

CURRICULUM AND OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES – Resources aimed directly at entrepreneurship training providers, private consultants or as part of business courses in colleges and universities. They are designed for use in classroom learning sessions or for small group or one-on-one coaching, but as open resources, they can be adapted to individual circumstances

ONLINE COURSE – The Ambition to Employ course has a clear goal: to enable self-employed individuals to hire their first employee. The course covers the practical, legal and financial aspects of employment and sustainable business growth, but also apply new insights to help overcome the psychological barriers and risks involved.

Ambition to Employ is an EU Erasmus+ project bringing together project partners and experts from the United Kingdom, Poland, Spain, Denmark and Ireland. The project has developed a new training model to enable self-employed owner-operators to hire their first employee with knowledge, ability and confidence. The Ambition to Employ programme team has also published a related eBook, available to download here.

Hasn’t it been a strange week. One that none of us is likely to forget. And I know everyone is braced for more disruption too.

If you need us, we’re here for you.

Yes, like lots of other businesses, we too are all now working remotely as we continue to deliver for our clients. But we are as available as we’ve always been. And as a long-standing marketing consultancy, we’ve got this teamwork and communication thing well pinned down.

Communication and visibility, at a time like this, is so very essential for all businesses, and we’re on hand to offer any advice to you if needed, just get in touch. You may not sure how to communicate with your audiences right now. You may be at a loss to understand how you can continue to market in these circumstances. But in business, there are always challenges to overcome – and we can look to do that here too.

We can’t wait to be back out and about again – but until then each of us in the team sends our very best wishes to all our clients, partners, suppliers and the wider business community.

We’re ready to book a chat or jump into our virtual meeting room whenever you need us too. The chances are you’ll see Suzanne’s cat (Lola) jump on her shoulder like a parrot, which is a reason for a meeting all on its own!