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Carving a digital plan for Friendly Forces Courses

Local London’s E-business programme has been helping hundreds of SMEs grow using digital tools.

Our E-business programme is successfully helping small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) become more resilient and grow by using digital platforms and software.

Expert E-business Advisors work with business owners and staff to develop a bespoke programme that suits the business’s needs. Since launching in 2021 we have supported businesses in Local London boroughs put over 600 business support plans in place.

One of the many SMEs who have benefitted from the E-business programme is Greenwich-based Friendly Forces Courses, who provide wood working and carpentry courses.

Friendly Forces Courses sand down online skills

Richard Wagner the director who is originally from the USA and based in Greenwich learned his skill of wood working and carpentry in the States when he was a teenager. Wanting to share his knowledge and passion, he started the company last year.

The business fully relies on digital marketing to attract customers, so it was key for Richard to make sure that his online skills were as smooth as his sanding. He got in touch with Local London’s free E-business programme designed for SME’s wanting to succeed in the digital age.

Richard was partnered with Adiel Khan E-business Advisor at South East Enterprise who deliver Local London’s free E-business programme to businesses in Greenwich and Bexley.

Adiel Khan explains what happened next “We carried out an initial audit to understand the business and strategize a plan for digital marketing.

One of Richard’s concerns was that all the business was coming through third party platforms and that he had to pay a substantial amount to the platform whenever he got a customer from them.

A potential risk was if the business is not at the top of OBBY listings (a marketplace specifically for arts and crafts teachers and students to find the best courses and workshops). The customer rate will drop drastically, effectively shutting down the revenue stream very quickly.

Together, we looked at ways Richard could be more in control of his digital marketing at the same time reducing the risk to the business by having a strategy that he could develop around the business and build on over time.

We talked about using the Friendly Forces Courses website more to drive customers direct to the business and building the brand on social media. We also looked at improving search engine ranking with keywords and using Google Ads to drive traffic.

We discussed driving awareness through E-mail marketing and online promotion strategies. I advised Richard to use Google Console and Google Analytics to keep track of its digital performance.

Richard is very excited about the opportunities available to him to promote the business online on his own and not be reliant on third party referrals and importantly reducing the risk to the business. I know he has lots of ideas to take forward and can always come back to us or look at one of our courses to take his business to the next level if he wishes.”

Richard Wagner, Director of Friendly Forces Courses, Greenwich said “It’s been a joy working with Adiel and carving out a strong digital plan for promoting our courses. Learning is always exciting. In much the same way as we offer different levels of wood and resin-work courses, I have been taken through digital marketing in a way that makes sense to me and my business now, with knowledge I can build on.

I’m excited to tell more people about getting creative with wood, whether they want to make their own bread board or resin-topped table. I’m sure this E-business programme could help lots more businesses become better at marketing themselves.”

Find out more about the E-business programme

Contact our partners to find out about the E-business programme and current vacancies in your area:

  • Enterprise Enfield who deliver the programme to businesses in Enfield, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.
  • Newham College who deliver the programme to businesses in Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Newham.
  • South East Enterprise who deliver the programme to businesses in Bexley and Greenwich.

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