A virtual business is looking to have a real town centre presence after winning a top award at Rossendale Business Awards. This year will be the 10th time the awards have been celebrated and the glittering occasion, this year in December at The Riverside in Whitworth. Nominations open on Wednesday, September 18.
Digital marketing agency GrowTraffic, which won the Small Business of the Year title, was founded as a sideline in 2009 by Simon Dalley. However, it really took flight after his wife Rachel Weinhold, took over the reins in 2014. She has a degenerative back condition and was medically retired from her job in the NHS and at one stage was bed-bound. However, as she had always worked, when she was well enough she set up as a freelance copywriter and retrained herself to understand the often misunderstood world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – the core of GrowTraffic’s business.
Rachel said: “Things really took off when I went to a Valley at Work meeting and explained what we do and we began picking up local clients.”
The business helps other businesses to boost their online presence by creating content to drive up customer numbers. The company has sponsored the Creative Business category for three years and so Rachel, as Managing Director, has looked through scores of award entries. She said: “In 2017 we were nominated for the first year but we didn’t make the shortlist. Then last year GrowTraffic was again nominated and named as a finalist and I was also a finalist in Enterprising Woman. On the night we thought that was as far as he business would go and when I was on the stage, my sister Hannah nudged me when the award sponsor Les Nutter from Cassons mentioned the winning company had doubled in size. When he announced GrowTraffic as the winner my jaw hit the floor. Winning the award gave us an awful lot of kudos and a lot of people were made aware of what we do.”
At that stage GrowTraffic employed five staff, one of whom was part-time, now six people work full-time and there are plans for a further member of staff before the end of the year. Rachel said: “The awards had a much bigger impact than I was expecting and people from all over Lancashire heard about our success.”
When Bacup Business Association was reborn in January, Rachel was elected as Chair and following in the footsteps of Valley at Work, the location of business meetings moves around the town. There are around 60 businesses as members with a mailing list of 100. She added: “We have bases in Bacup and Rotherham, but our office is currently in Burnley, our next step is to buy premises in the Bacup area to give our virtual business and visible local presence.”
Story by Catherine Smyth