Launching and growing a business can feel like a huge achievement, but graduates can still face an uphill struggle on the road to success.

Even the most successful founders have a tough time tackling managing a business when it comes to marketing strategies.

To help you tackle these challenges, Plusnet have partnered with to bring together some of the UK’s most exciting start-up founders at a round table discussion, where they offered students their tips to help sales and raise brand awareness.

The roundtable was held as part of our new Plusnet Pioneers campaign enlisting some of the UK’s top entrepreneurial talent to create helpful tips small business grow in competitive industries such as retail.

Read on for their dos and don’ts for marketing and funding, as well as advice on how to keep momentum up when the going gets tough.

Dos and don’ts for marketing success

  • DON’T expect your marketing efforts to bear fruit straight away
  • DO have a focused marketing strategy from the start
  • DO prioritise social media and make it a priority to your business
  • DO put the customer first in your marketing strategy
  • DON’T rush to get your product or service to market

DON’T expect your marketing efforts to bear fruit straight away


Cathy White: founder of CEW Communications

CEW Communications is a PR and communications firm which works with growing tech and digital start-ups such as Blooming Founders and Gift Wink. Launched earlier this year, the start-up has grown without investment to date.

“A number of companies come to me and talk about a need for PR and needing the press to get their name out, but actually when you ask them what they’re doing with social, no one necessarily has an idea about what their strategy should be.

“Social media is generally considered low hanging fruit and low-priority, but it should be one of the higher priority marketing channels.

“Whoever takes care of your social media should have a really good idea of what they’re doing across each social media channel and have an idea of why they’re doing it. If you just fawn social media responsibilities off to an intern you’re never really going to see what that social channel can do.”


Riya Grover, co-founder of Feedr

Feedr is an online marketplace that enables Londoners to order artisan food for delivery to their home or office. Launched in January 2016, the company now works with over 100 vendors and has raised significant funding from high-profile investors such as Wonga founder Errol Damelin.

“We’re a marketplace, so we’re placing other people’s products. And a big consideration for us is how we get out own brand presence on the site. We can wrap things physically, we can get labels, but actually what’s very effective is trying to use social media for people who are engaging with products on both sites to engage with us.

“Another realisation I’ve had is just how much content you have to do as a business for social media. There’s just so much to put out, whether it’s marketing campaigns or blog posts or website copy that needs working on – it’s something that we hired for much earlier than I would have anticipated.”

– Search Lab


Welcome to the theatre

This work experience bursary not only gave me an insight into the career path I want to take, but also allowed me to spend 3 weeks with the fantastic theatre company, that is Fingersmiths. This theatre company creates unique, bold and incredible pieces of theatre, connecting with audiences through multi-layered approaches to language and physical expression, with the aim to attract new Deaf practitioners, audiences and participators.

Throughout my time, I was luckily enough to work with some incredibly talented actors and director’s who all have experience in theatre, TV and film. I was able to gain an insight into how the theatre company works when rehearsing for their seasonal shows, picking up on some British Sign Language, which enabled me to communicate with the deaf actors, which was a personal goal of mine. I was given the opportunity to shadow both the Company Stage Manager, in which I gained knowledge into all the ‘behind the scene’ preparation that was needed for the show, and the Director, acknowledging what rehearsal styles and techniques were used in order to create a captivating and unique performance.

This internship has now enabled me to come away from Fingersmith’s and given me the passion to research into the accessibility within theatres and find ways of how we can all make ‘theatre for the masses’ and without this bursary none of this would have been possible. This internship has opened my eyes to a new type of theatre, I only vaguely knew about, and this theatre has now become something I want to pursue in my future career.

– George Callcut is a 3rd year Drama and Theatre student

Advice on getting your first tech job – from an IT recruitment agency

This guest post was created in collaboration with Venturi Group one of the UK’s top IT recruitment agencies.

As an IT recruitment agency, we work with recent graduates everyday. For many students, getting that first foot on the career ladder after finishing university is a daunting prospect. While some nerves are unavoidable, fortunately there are things to can do to give yourself a headstart in today’s competitive job market. Below we have outlined some advice on what to do before beginning your search for your first role in the tech industry.

Get involved in projects outside university

You’ve probably heard this one a few times before. Employers look fondly upon students who are engaged in technical projects outside university. After all, it’s a clear indication of a genuine passion for technology. In a market saturated by graduates, having that extra something on your CV will inevitably make you stand out from the crowd. For example, being able to list coding projects you have worked on, hack-a-thons you have entered, or internships you have undertaken are all major advantages when it comes to applying for jobs.

“When looking through graduate Software Developer CVs, candidates that have a side project always grab my attention. Ideally, they’re doing some web development outside of the classroom to put in to practice the theory they are learning. Those that have pet projects they are really excited about usually perform better at interview and get placed sooner than those who don’t. It’s hard to fake that kind of enthusiasm and interest,” said Adam Ferguson, Principal Consultant at Venturi.

Work on your ‘soft skills’

Some may be rolling their eyes at the mention of ‘soft skills’. But in tech many employers put a premium on them. A CV that reads like a long list of programming languages is unlikely to engage a recruiter or hiring manager. This is not to say that technical skills aren’t important. Obviously, if the development job you are applying for requires a lot of Java-based coding, then you’d better know your Java. However, much of what separates average graduates from those that are truly outstanding is not their technical expertise – it’s their ability to work well with others. Tech companies now put skills such as communication, teamwork, and leadership on an equal footing with the amount of code you can write in a day.

Think of ways to demonstrate these softer skills on your CV by mentioning times you’ve solved problems through communication or detailing summer placements where you worked as part of a team. By putting an emphasis on communication and teamwork you’re showing not only can you master the “nuts and bolts” of the role but you’ll also be able to articulate why you’re doing what you’re doing to other departments and how that will ultimately benefit them.

Research all potential avenues for employment

The tech sector spans across all industries and includes a wide diversity of roles – from Big Data Analysts to Security Architects. As well as deciding on which roles and industries are a good fit for your skill set, you should give some thought to what sized company you would like for. The experience of working at company with more than 10,000 employees is very different to working for one with 50. Do you want the structure and support of a large corporate company? Or the freedom and responsibility of a tech startup?

Always be open to learning new skills

One thing all hiring managers like to see is a candidate who has a demonstrated ability to adapt to new challenges. The pace of change in tech is relentless. Therefore, you need get comfortable with the idea of continual learning after graduation. A programming language that is a hot topic now could fade into obscurity six months later. Keeping up to date with the latest trends and developments in the industry will come in handy at interviews. Hiring managers are always impressed by graduate with an eye toward the future.

– Find out more about Venturi .

Work experience in Property Law

I found this experience to be extremely valuable in helping me to determine my future legal career path. Prior to undertaking this experience, I was unsure as to whether I wanted to be a barrister or a solicitor. This was my first experience within a solicitor’s firm so it helped me to understand the type of environment I would be working in, as well as the type of work I’d be expected to carry out. This allowed me to draw a comparison with the mini-pupillage I undertook earlier last year. Additionally, the firm I chose specialises solely in Intellectual Property Law which relates to the optional module I chose to study this year. I could therefore apply my existing knowledge and develop a further understanding of this area law in practice.

I sat within the secretary and paralegal department which allowed me to learn the mechanics of the office. On my first day I was introduced to everyone in the office which was effectively a great networking opportunity, particularly as I followed up by making connections via LinkedIn. I was given current case files to read in preparation for client phone calls, where I shadowed Partner’s advising their clients and discussing plans of action. I was also given the task of researching for various cases, for example comparing client and competitor patents in order to establish whether there had been infringement. In addition, I drafted a client’s cease and desist letter from scratch for trademark infringement, which was accepted with very minor amendments.

Overall this experience will prove to be invaluable, particularly as it demonstrates my interest in the field, and will ultimately be a significant addition to my CV when applying for Vacation Schemes and Training Contracts this year. The skills I have learned will put me at an advantage when applying for further work experience in the legal field too. Finally, it has cemented my desire to go pursuing a legal career and given me an introductory insight into the profession. I have also made very useful connections, should I decide to pursue a career in Intellectual Property Law specifically.

– Emily Morgan is a 2nd year Law student at the University of Kent

Gain Employability Points! – come to #humsforhire18

Humanities for Hire: 5-16 March 2018

A two-week series of employability events designed to link humanities students with a variety of opportunities to widen their employability.

Over the next two weeks, students studying a Humanities subject at the University of Kent can gain Employability Points by attending various events all under the ‘Humanities for Hire’ series.

Hums for Hire will see a variety of experts talk to students, covering topics ranging from archaeology, freelance translation, working in museums and galleries, Film and TV as well as a discussion called ‘Writing History and getting published’.

0A Week 20 Calendar

What about if you’re interested in taking a Year in Industry as a Humanities student? A session is being held on Thursday 8th March at 1pm in KLT5 to find out what students have done on their year out. Come along and find out more!

To book go to Target Connect and select the events you are interested in. All you need is your Kent login and password – the first time you log in you will need to fill in some preferences but after that you can book onto other careers events throughout the year in the same way.

0B Week 21 Calendar

Email if you have any questions – looking forward to seeing you there!

Why I wanted to become a teacher

I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher. Mainly for three reasons:

  1. I loved my geography teacher at school. He inspired me and I wanted to be like him.
  2. I want to do a job where I can make a difference in people’s lives.
  3. I didn’t want an office job. I wanted to be excited by my role. I wanted something fulfilling where every day was different.

I decided to go straight into my teacher training after graduating this summer because I knew what I wanted to do and was just keen get out there and get on with it! I knew I wanted to teach, so why wait?

I was lucky enough to get some school experience whilst I was still at university. I started regularly volunteering at my local school during my free periods and got to know the school and the students. I also attended an Insight Day organised by Ark Teacher Training at Ark Globe Academy in south London.


When I was at Globe, I saw first-hand the unparalleled support offered by both the school and Ark Teacher Training. What I really liked about Ark Teacher Training was the opportunity to learn from so many experts. You’re able to get feedback from at least four different great teachers on a regular basis and that will make you a better teacher, and quickly.

Summer school was a great opportunity to start to understand how everything links together. The subject specific sessions have been really helpful as well. I’m not too far removed from my subject having studied it at university, but it was a handy reminder.

I am looking forward to my first day and just seeing how it will go. I know not everyone day will go well, but I’m prepared for the challenge to try again the next day. I’m hoping to make my students love geography as much as I do and am really ready to get started now.

If you too are inspired to become a teacher, Apply today and join us in transforming lives through education.

Questions of science, science and progress

I was lucky enough to get further work experience at the UK’s largest NHS trust. For two weeks I moved around the haematology and blood transfusion departments beginning in blood transfusion. Having previously been in the clinical biochemistry department it was interesting to see how there was greater urgency within the blood transfusion lab. The phone was constantly ringing as blood was requested for emergency and routine transfusions. One thing that stunned me was the price paid by the NHS for each blood pack being over £100.

Later in the week I moved to coagulation, the department responsible for monitoring and identifying patients that have abnormalities with clotting. The diagnosis of severe haemophilia patients in this specialist department was rare, with around 3 cases per year. On my second day in this department a doctor reiterated the importance of the results produced by biomedical scientists as they believed a patient had severe haemophilia but relied on coagulation to identify which clotting factor was abnormal, so they could efficiently treat the patient and prevent a life-threatening bleed.

Unfortunately, I was unable to handle the samples due to caution of Hepatitis B, a robust virus which can survive on surfaces for up to 3 months and often survives after the surface has been bleached. However, I was still able to take so much information from this work experience, including slide making techniques, malarial testing protocols and blood typing protocols.

After graduation, I must complete a portfolio approved by IBMS in order to officially become a biomedical scientist. Whilst on work experience the difficulty in finding a year placement was reiterated again and again. These warnings did not put me off working within a lab, but instead further motivated me to apply to as many trainee positions as possible and push to get a placement; even if that means moving out of London. Comparing both my experiences within a NHS lab, I have decided I would be more likely to go into a role of haematology rather than clinical biochemistry as I enjoy the fast paced, hands on role it offers.

The bursary really aided me within these 2 weeks. London travel is not cheap and furthermore I wanted to look my best to make a good impression. The bursary allowed me to do just that.

– Jasmine George is a 3rd year Biomedical Science student at the University of Kent.