How loving chocolate is creating a healthy business
The Chocolate Cafe is a great example of how to create a successful small business, by offering people something that is different and personal, which they will want to tell all their friends about. Based in the small, picturesque (sleepy) town of Ramsbottom, north of Manchester, it is chocolate shop and licensed cafe. Behind the rather austere exterior is an exciting business, which is appealing to both a local market and the wider world, by creating unusual and desirable products and using social media to spread the word.
The business was set up in 2008 and the e-commerce offer only eighteen months ago. Have a browse on the Chocolate Cafe website and you will find an original product range, which is beautifully presented. Take their chocolate pizza. Paul Morris, one of the founders says they are selling 500 a week! People love its originality and the fact that they can personalise the toppings. Wouldn't you want to share this with your friends and not just as 'food porn' through Facebook and Twitter?
The clever team at The Chocolate Cafe own http://twitter.com/welovechocolate! The Chocolate Cafe has nearly 2,000 Twitter followers and Paul estimates that their Twitter marketing is adding around £500 a month to the business. To quote Paul,
“Twitter has been amazing at letting people know that we exist and for engaging people, problems that all small businesses face. You can tell them what you do and what you don’t do. When you do something they like you get instant feedback and our Twitter followers spread the word for us. They also tell you when they don’t like something, so you can instantly respond. We have found new suppliers via Twittersand lots of really valuable contacts, without a doubt every small business should have a social media strategy”.
Another good idea, the Chocolate Cafe have set up a 'Friday Club', sending out beautiful chocolate boxes on a weekly basis to subscribers, In a typical week they send out around 100 boxes, but this can rise to 200 boxes in the weeks leading up to Christmas and Easter. Again, valuable extra income for a small little cafe. Paul believes that personalisation is key to their business and they will shortly be launching personalised chocolate bars, where people can specify their ingredients. Last week was 'Chocolate Week', now every week can be Chocolate Week!
The Chocolate Cafe team have created 'feel good' products, which people will continue to buy even in these difficult times.
Paul is also passionate for supporting his local community and working with other local businesses. How about this for an idea? Local restaurants, including The Chocolate Cafe organise a ‘Restaurant Safari’ where guests have a starter in one restaurant, main course in another and finish up with pud at The Chocolate Cafe. They are sharing customers and working together to create something novel! At £40 a head it is very popular and encourages people to try somewhere new. Its a great way of getting people to open their wallets and spread it amongst local restaurants.
A truely imaginative business, these guys are happy to talk about their success and inspire other small businesses.
The Chocolate Cafe is a great example of how to create a successful small business, by offering people something that is different and personal, which they will want to tell all their friends about.