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A Spoonful of Sugar: Small Business Special - Sweet on Sugar; HIS ADVICE HELPED US.

SIR Alan's column has been running in our Mirror Works section each Thursday since August 19, 1999. Here's a round-up of some of the readers who have appeared over the weeks and the effect Sir Alan's advice has had on their business ideas.


ANDY EKINS (Spoonful Of Sugar, September 9, 1999)

ANDY,a plumbing and heating engineer from Essex, asked for advice on his bathroom light dimmer idea.

Andy had spent months searching for components to meet safety regulations and had finally come up with a dimmer operated by a pull-cord.

He wanted to know how to take his product further. Andy's update:"After appearing in Sir Alan'scolumn I was contacted by a local manufacturer.

We are now working together and we will be launching my product on to the market very shortly.

There are still some finer details to sort out but the actual product is now finalised and we have samples. I'm really looking forward to getting on the road and selling it."


GEORGE GREGORY (Spoonful Of Sugar, September 23, 1999)

GEORGE wrote in with his idea for a specialised sports bag. Sir Alan told George he needed to decide whether to make the bags himself or find a small manufacturer to go into business with. George's update: "I really didn't expect the positive response I got from Sir Alan.

I was euphoric that my idea had some business merit. The article brought help in the form of Mirrorreaders Harry Garcia, Bill Webb and Ben Jones, as well as others, who have offered their knowledge and experience.

I also got help from Business Enterprise Schemes, the Prince's Trust, the DTI, LiveWire and some banks. I have since compiled a database of information with the aim of producing a business plan to present to possible investors.

I'm trying to get some investment to get my idea off the ground and am also looking for a manufacturer.

It's a slow process but Sir Alan has given me the confidence to carry on and hopefully get my bag into the shops."


STEVE BRADSHAW (Spoonful Of Sugar, October 12, 2000)

STEVE has a small company selling a curative oil with healing properties by mail order. He wanted to take the company further.

Sir Alan suggested that Steve collate evidence from users which proves the product works, and publish it in a leaflet to circulate to others.

Steve's update: "We only appeared in the column two weeks ago but already we have had a fantastic response from Mirror readers. We've persuaded some smaller sports clubs to try our product and hopefully, as Sir Alan said, this will lead to premier clubs eventually using it."


MOIRA BADEN-HINSLEY (Spoonful Of Sugar, November 25, 1999)

MOIRA came up with an idea for a new type of riding glove, got together with a manufacturer and set up her company S.E. Gear Limited in her home.

But she had difficulty juggling all the admin and finding the time to promote her product. She wrote to Sir Alan for advice. Moira's update:"As a result of the article, my manufacturers contacted me and they now do all the administration, leaving me free to increase sales and promote my gloves.

I was really chuffed to see them being worn by members of the silver medal British eventing team at the Olympics."


FRED GREENHALGH (Spoonful Of Sugar, February 10, 2000)

FRED, who's been producing hand-engraved mugs since 1990, asked Sir Alan's advice on setting up a website ( to help bring in new business. Sir Alan told him to go ahead as it would give him a whole new marketing tool for his business.

Fred's update: "The advice from Sir Alan was good. I went ahead with my website and have since updated it to an all-singing, all-dancing site.

Through this I've now got a database of customers which I never had before - and they keep coming back for repeat orders.

Plus I've extended my range of goods to include champagne flutes. My business is progressing in leaps and bounds since I appeared on Sir Alan's page. Thanks, Sir Alan, you've really helped me."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2000
Next Article:A Spoonful of Sugar: Small Business Special - Go on, have a go yourself; ANYONE CAN DO IT, SAYS SIR ALAN.

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