What does it mean to be part of the Business against Poverty movement? Can membership make a tangible positive difference to your company, your team and your future? In our latest member interview, we speak with Anita Jaynes Founder of The Business Exchange about being built on purpose – and positively impacting lives and livelihoods.
1. Can you tell us a little about your business – who are you, where you’re based and what you offer?
Based in Corsham, The Business Exchange South West is an independent publishing company established in 2013, serving Swindon and Wiltshire and Bath and Somerset. In print, online, through networking, special events and awards we’ve built a community of followers with a shared goal, to make our local economy thrive. Everything we do champions the areas we serve, helping businesses and organisations to grow, flying the flag for the region and promoting the message that the South West is home to a dynamic and thriving business scene.
The Business Exchange was founded by me, Anita Jaynes and we’re celebrating eight years in business this September. Having worked in media and marketing for ten years prior to setting up The Business Exchange I was frustrated by other media outlets. Many still sell like it’s the 1980s – “I’ve got a half page available; can you fill it?” when actually the world has changed a lot since then. No one wants hounding sales people on the phone and to buy advertising on a whim, it’s about creating a joined up marketing plan which tells your story and why people should work with or buy from you.
2. What does The Business Exchange do best?
We take time to get to know our clients, what sectors they work in and who their targets are. We understand that marketing budgets are not infinite, and they have to achieve results, that’s why we work hard to make sure clients are introduced to new people through working with us and have the opportunity to build new meaningful relationships. I believe that’s the key to our staying power and success. We’ve been key to passing a lot of money around our local community in the last eight years. I wish I could find a way of quantifying it!
3. What types of customers do you work with?
We work predominantly with businesses in the professional services sector, law firms, accountants, IT providers, anyone who has a product or service aimed at people in business. We have a 56% business owner/ director level readership profile, and the rest is made up of senior partners, managers, or senior executives, so if you’re trying to reach out to these people in our area, we’re a great vehicle.
4. How long have you been a Business against Poverty member?
The Business Exchange has been a member of the Business against Poverty community for about seven years. I met Val and Bill at a networking event and was inspired by their work. I’ve been on one of the trips to Romania and seen first-hand the need of the people supported by People against Poverty’s projects. Since I’ve been a member it’s been amazing to see the charity grow and develop. It’s wonderful how it continually changes life’s pattern for so many people, enriching lives.
5. Why did you choose to join the Business against Poverty movement?
The Business Exchange is passionate about purpose and being a force for good. Paying it forward has always been important to me and I wanted The Business Exchange to echo that. I pride myself on creating a business with community at its heart, promoting diversity, equality and inclusion and Business against Poverty aligns perfectly with our ethos.
We regularly give charities and not-for-profits free space in print and online and we also encourage other businesses to send in their stories about their own charitable activity, to hopefully inspire others.
6. What would you say are the biggest benefits of being part of this community?
I love being part of a warm, welcoming community which has the same values as me. All the Business against Poverty members have the same ethos and are passionate about ethical business and leadership.
In my opinion, many businesses embrace ‘charity’ or CSR activity as they feel they need to, to tick a box. It’s not a genuine exercise, whereas with Business against Poverty members it’s completely different. It’s not just
about wearing the Business against Poverty badge; it’s about echoing its values and what it stands for through a business’s actions. Walking the walk, not talking the talk. It’s not about just paying the membership. That’s why so many members have visited the projects, read with interest all the family updates, and feel that they ‘know’ who they’re supporting.
7. Would you recommend Business against Poverty membership?
We regularly fly the flag for the team and hope that new members sign up. I think the last year has been particularly tough for charities that work overseas when so much of the messaging in the press and on social media has been about supporting local. We need to remember how lucky we are in the UK that in general we have a very supportive welfare system, other countries don’t have this, and the pandemic’s effects are going to be felt for a long time adding to other societal issues. Our membership is needed now more than ever.
8. Lastly, as a successful business owner, is there any advice that you’d give to other businesses right now during these uncertain times?
Remain visible. It doesn’t matter if that’s through social media, networking, or other marketing activity. People need to know you’re there. The companies which made sure they were visible in the depths of lockdown last year are reaping the benefits now. And remember, people buy from people. Be authentic and build meaningful relationships.