The Manufacturing Growth Programme Grant scheme has been live since the end of 2016 and provides free advice and support to established SME manufacturers who want to grow by increasing turnover or jobs and/or introduce new products/services/processes.
Another hat tip to the FSB magazine for highlighting the Repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
It's a bit of a buzz word in the Manufacturing world, yet most businesses only innovate in one part of their company, and it's usually their machinery.
However, being innovative isn't about being able to churn out somebody else's new products, it's about introducing new ideas that are original and creative to your business.
So why not be creative and look to innovate in a new area of your business - your website?
OK, so this isn't new information. Strategy has always worked far better than individual tactics.
Wars are not won using just tactics. Nor markets conquered with single ideas. A well thought out strategy is the answer to all of your marketing problems.
For example, do you remember the last thing you ate?
What was the tactic behind eating that food?
Put it in your mouth, chew and swallow? Or was it part of a broader healthly lifestyle choice?
Now look at your stomach, is there a rippling six pack there?
If there is, I'm willing to bet you have a strategy for your diet.
If there isn't, this could be an awkwardly personal metaphor for your business.
Jon and I made our first visit to the FIVE tent at Farnborough and the Southern Manufacturing exhibition earlier this month.
It was a three day event but we chose the Wednesday, which was just as well as the weather had quietened down a bit by then.
The poor exhibitors, like our clients Axis Precision Engineering Components - see Andrew and Peter below - had a torrid time driving down from Essex and setting up late on Monday evening and the early hours of Tuesday morning thanks to the high winds and torrential rain of Storm Imogen.
It's fair to say that most UK Manufacturers have failed to embrace digital marketing. Many have out of date websites or no website at all. Clearly, these companies are missing an opportunity to eek out a competitive advantage over the many other manufacturing Luddites stuck in the 20th century!
There's an opportunity to be digital marketing leaders and to stand out from the crowd.
The trouble is, even those companies who have a modern website are struggling to use their website effectively. All too often UK manufacturers follow the competition rather than strive to be leaders of the pack. Again there's an advantage to be had, a competitive differentiation advantage. This blog post gives you simple to use tips that will make YOU stand out from the competition.
However, if your website is not set up correctly, all it does is amplify a broken sales funnel.
After having spent many months getting a fantastic conversion rate of more than 5:1 on the PPC campaign for one of our clients, he invested in a new website.
The design company charged with managing the website upgrade answered all our questions about the URL redirects, landing pages and Google Adwords and Analytics positively; neither we nor the client had any clue of the fiasco that was to follow.
The top 5 mistakes for your PPC campaign in a website redesign
I list the main mistakes we discovered here so that any other business owner who is considering upgrading their website can really grill the website design company as to whether they know what they are doing/fully understand the implications of any design decisions.
To start, let's define a Static Brochure Website.
These websites contain nothing more than a list of products or services provided by the manufacturer. There may be contact information and an 'About Us' section, but apart from that there's no real substance to the website.
Unfortunately, most manufacturing websites fall into this category.
You may be wondering what the problem is with your website listing your services, people go there to see what you do don't they?
Jon and I went to the Sprowston Marriott in Norwich last week to attend the Energise Your Business event run by the New Anglia Growth Hub and featuring presentations from Brian Hull of Business Doctors, Alan Highet of the UKTI and John Ransford, Richard Garwell and Fred Mead from the Business Growth Service.
The focus of the event was how manufacturers could become part of the supply chain for both the nuclear and offshore wind industries.
For many businesses, both of these major construction industries seem beyond their scope - this is the realm of the big boys, requiring public tendering after putting in place a myriad of processes to achieve the correct accreditations.
Certainly, the current climate makes many manufacturers feel they want to don a suit of protective armour before getting involved in what could be a very bruising process.
However, as John and Fred were quick to point out, the rewards of some really long term contracts make it worth the investment.