Cerys Keneally chats to us!
Cerys Keneally is the category sponsor for the Arts, Literature and Dance Club of the Year award and one of our 2022 judges. We caught up with Cerys to find out more about her business, her involvement with our awards and to pick her brains for business advice!
Can you tell us all about what you do Cerys?
I help children's activity providers to get into schools and nurseries without cold-calling so they can grow their business with confidence and have a bigger impact on children's lives. I do this through my online group programme, the "Approaching Schools Academy" and via bespoke training for national franchise networks. My work is essentially about helping providers to have an additional income stream for their business without needing to get a 'day job' so they can just do more of what they love.
Can you share any exciting news for 2022? What's coming up for you?
This year for me is all about scaling the business - I have some big goals for the number of children's activity businesses I want to create an impact with through my work in the Approaching Schools Academy and I'm also looking forward to speaking at several industry conferences/franchise AGMs this year. I'm honoured to have been invited to be one of the judges for three separate industry award events in 2022, including Wales CASA.
Why did you sponsor the Wales Children's Activities and Services Awards?
As a former children's activity professional who now lives in Wales and supplies services to the industry, I was delighted to come across an event that brings children's activity providers in the country together in celebration of their commitment to the sector. It was a no-brainer to sponsor the "Arts, Literature & Dance Club" award, given my background in running dance clubs and now helping many different types of providers to grow their own clubs in schools.
What are you most looking forward to about the event?
I'm really looking forward to meeting so many people in-person who I have only connected with online until now. This will include some of my lovely clients of course but also so many providers that I've worked with through my free "Get Your Business Into Schools & Nurseries" online challenges - it'll be great to be able to finally put faces to the names.
As an expert in the kids activity sector, what advice would you give our
applicants on growing their business in Wales?
If you're looking to grow an additional, reliable income stream for your business, there really is nothing quite like working with schools or nurseries. With education reforms and a new curriculum for Wales being introduced this year, it's a prime time to be contacting your local schools. Aside from that, partnering with your local settings is also a great way of filling your community classes that you already run.
Here are some tips to include in your next communication with schools or nurseries:
- Always personalise your communications - I don't know about you, but I never read emails that start with "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir/Madam." Do some research and find the key decision maker's name - it makes the world of difference to how well your email or letter is received.
- Think about what problems you solve for your local settings. The biggest mistake I see children's activity and service providers making is using the first paragraph to talk all about themselves. Said with love, they don't care about you yet but they do care about how you can help them!
- Never try to sell in your initial communication. Schools and nurseries need to see the value of their potential investment first and how you will deliver outcomes for the pupils with impact for the setting before they will make buying decisions. Your job is to communicate how you will demonstrate this.
- Always include some evidence of the results you can deliver for the pupils or staff. If you've worked with other local settings, reviews from them can bring in the 'bandwagon effect' but at the beginning of your journey, including a simple testimonial from a parent can help.
- As I always say "Approaching schools is never a one-and-done thing" so be prepared to follow up and then follow up some more. It's a long game but I promise you it's worth it!
How can we find out more about you and what you do?
Go to www.ceryskeneally.com to download my free guide on "How To Grow Your Business Through Work With Schools And Nurseries"....you can also take my free scorecard on the 'freebies' page of the website to discover how likely you are to get into new schools or nurseries this year.