A Warkworth based Microsoft trainer is on course to quadruple her turnover during her second full year of business after relocating to Northumberland.

Despite being established for two decades, Lara Mellor, whose business Lara Mellor Training & Consultancy specialises in delivering Microsoft software training, found herself starting from scratch after moving her family and her business to Northumberland.

Lara said: “We had spent our holidays visiting Northumberland and loved returning to the area year after year. We reached a point in our lives where we had the opportunity to move and we jumped at the chance. I still feel lucky that I live in such a beautiful area and I can walk the dogs on the beach or by the river every day.”

But moving her business has not been without its challenges.

“It was essentially like starting all over again. Although I had all my content and my experience, I had to re-establish myself as a business and build new business networks from nothing. When I first moved, I was only getting a limited amount of training work booked each month, so I decided to focus on building my brand and developing my network across Northumberland and the wider North East.”

Lara joined the Business Northumberland programme in April 2017, designed to provide businesses with fully funded advice and support, and has since attended a number of workshops covering topics ranging from marketing and social media to websites and business planning.

She added: “The workshops have taught me how to promote myself on a much wider scale and allowed me to put my business in front of a whole new group of potential clients. My business is now active across Facebook and LinkedIn, I have developed my website and I have even started doing live videos! The workshops in themselves have been fantastic networking opportunities too, and I have met so many great local businesses who have, in turn, also referred me when opportunities have arisen.”

Lara has experienced first hand the difficulties of working business to business in a rural environment, but has tailored the marketing support that she has received to make sure that she is able to make the most out of every opportunity.

“Businesses often worry about employees taking time out to focus on training but its important to focus on the overall time-saving benefits. I recently delivered a one-hour training session which, when implemented, will save that employee approximately 3-4 days a month, just by working more efficiently with the software. I have learnt how to refine my marketing message and make it appropriate for my target audience.”

As a result of her continued efforts, Lara’s turnover in the first three months of this year has been the equivalent of the previous twelve months, putting her on course to quadruple her turnover in her second full year since relocating.

“I’m incredibly grateful for all the support I have received and although I have much less time now to work on my business, I am continually implementing new things that I have learnt. I would highly recommend the workshops to any business, even if you have been established for a long time, there’s always something new that you can learn.”

The Business Northumberland programme is a support programme delivered by a team of experts, who provide businesses with 1-2-1 support, to help them to understand their growth needs and implement an action plan to achieve their growth aspirations.

Business Northumberland is match funded by the England European Regional Development Fund and Arch, so there is no cost to eligible businesses.

The £1.3m funding secured for Business Northumberland includes Arch’s own funds and match funding of £698,599 received from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.