Staircase designer is climbing to new heights superfast

Digital Business Support Programme helps firm clinch £60k deal. 

A Helmsley-based design and manufacturing company has transformed the way it does business thanks to Superfast North Yorkshire.

Bisca, which designs and builds bespoke staircases, says completing an innovative digital business support programme and signing up to superfast broadband has helped the company find new business and expand its operation.

The company is one of more than 1000 Yorkshire small businesses to have signed up to the specially tailored programme - run by the Superfast North Yorkshire programme - offering free business support and advice on a variety of topics designed to help businesses harness the potential of high speed fibre broadband.

Director Richard McLane, says completing the programme marked the beginning of a new chapter for the company.

He said: “Just weeks after completing the programme we were already reaping the benefits. A potential client found us though our LinkedIn web page, which we’d created following advice from the programme. As a result we are the named supplier for a £60k contract to design and build a staircase.”

The business signed up to the programme in the Spring to learn more about how to use social media and digital marketing more effectively.

He said: “What the programme taught us was not how to get online – but how to have a comprehensive online presence. In this digital age that is your shop window. Like a lot of businesses, we already had a lot of the tools like social media but had no real idea how to use them. It was like having a big shop window but with the curtains closed. Doing the course was like being able to draw back those curtains. It taught us what to put in that virtual window display and how to make it attractive.”

Richard added that armed with the right technical knowledge and knowhow, the business had seen the number of sales enquiries almost double in the last six to eight months.

“The changes we’ve made as a result of the advice and support have really started to make a difference and with the increased number of enquiries we have been able to take on a new member of staff.”
Richard said advice from the programme had given the company a competitive edge by teaching them how websites and search engines like Google actually work.

“The course taught us valuable tricks of the trade, like how people read webpages and what key search terms to include in your content. The biggest lesson was that you have to constantly work at it in order for it to work for you. Everything has to be regularly refreshed and updated, content has to be dynamic and interactive to have a real impact. For example, content has to be written in a certain way to get your message across because people read websites differently to how they might read something in a book or newspaper. Doing all these things is the only way to properly ensure you are making yourself visible to the all important internet search engines,” Richard said.

The company has been given a further boost after signing up to superfast broadband earlier this year.

Richard said: “We do a lot of sending and receiving of heavy files - design plans, drawings and photography etc. Before we had fibre everything was painfully slow, even sending emails took time. People used to have to work out of hours so they had enough bandwidth to send files quickly. Now everything is instant which saves countless lost hours in waiting to send or download things.”

Work on the Superfast North Yorkshire project is well underway across the county with more than140,000 homes and businesses with access to fibre in addition to around 164,000 premises enabled as part of BT’s commercial rollout.
Business advisor Amanda Rowan, who worked closely with Richard to help him find the best classes and courses to help his business, said: “What Bisca’s experience shows is that being digitally savvy is not the preserve of hi-tech industry or big corporates, new online ways of working benefit everyone – especially when they are powered by faster fibre broadband.

“As the Superfast North Yorkshire rollout gathers pace the issue is becoming less about whether or not a small business has access to the right technology and tools and more about how best they can use them as they become more widely available.”

Amanda urged other eligible businesses to follow Bisca’s example and get in touch with the programme to find out how they could benefit. The programme aims to attract 2,100 businesses to the scheme by June 2015.

North Yorkshire businesses wanting to find out more and to check whether they are eligible for the Business Support Programme should call 0845 0020021, email enquiries@sfny.co.uk or visit www.sfny.co.uk

Superfast North Yorkshire, a partnership led by North Yorkshire County Council and BT, has already enabled more than 140,000 homes and businesses across the county. BT was chosen as the private sector partner in the project following an extensive selection process by the county council. The company is contributing £10 million towards fibre deployment in “non-commercial” areas whilst the county council is using its £17.8 million share of BDUK funds and a further £8.6 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund. The project is investing an additional £8m in funding to push the deployment of fibre even further with the aim to connect an additional 11,100 homes and businesses across England’s largest rural county with high-speed broadband by 2017.

The high-speed network installed by Openreach is available on an open, wholesale basis to all communication providers, therefore offering North Yorkshire households and businesses the benefit of real choice from a highly competitive market.

For further information on the Superfast North Yorkshire programme visitwww.superfastnorthyorkshire.com

Notes to Editors:

Photography illustrating the Superfast North Yorkshire project is available here: