Social media helps challenges faced by rural workers and farmers

6th March 2019

Sue Harbottle-Sear

A survey by Sussex company Konzepts has highlighted the fact that a lack of local jobs is the main barrier to those living in rural Britain gaining employment.

Out of the 433 people who responded to the Twitter poll 56% of respondents said there was a lack of local jobs while 23% said the lack of public transport was a barrier to rural employment. The survey also revealed that more than one-fifth of respondents struggle with travel costs.

Facing similar challenges herself, living in rural East Sussex, Konzepts founder and social media expert Sue Harbottle-Sear struck upon the idea of franchising her thriving digital marketing business and giving other rural people the opportunity to run their own business.

Sue explains: “Farmers are increasingly diversifying by adding a ‘second’ string to their businesses and others are now selling direct from the farm gate in order to increase profits and keep their farms viable. My franchise operation is a win-win for the rural community and I believe that, however Brexit goes, farmers need to harness the benefits of social media in order to survive.”

From Christmas tree farms to dairy producers and rural businesses, Sue discovered that rural enterprises are increasingly wanting to use social media to reach out to and carefully target consumers in a way that hasn’t been possible until recently.

Sue added: “Consumers are benefiting too because they know exactly where produce has come from and when it was shipped - so it will be as fresh as possible.

“There has been a 13 per cent global increase in social media usage since January 2017 and now even the smallest businesses can harness the marketing benefits of social media. It’s a very exciting time and means small business can cut out the middle-men and keep more of their hard-earned income.”

Rurally based people who have a keen interest in the digital world and running their own business are an ideal fit for Konzepts’ digital marketing franchise.

Sue’s business model was endorsed last year when she reached the regional finals of the Rural Business Awards in two categories. She is a member of the Rural Business Group and last year was part of a delegation that visited 10 Downing to attend a roundtable discussion. The meeting focused on the challenges currently being faced by rural businesses.

The Konzepts franchise is a ready made business offering affordable social media management and web design services to the rural business community. Franchisees have the opportunity to earn round £3,000 per month by the end of year one. They can work from home and can fit their lifestyle around their work. Two people can even share a franchise to fit work around childcare – or someone who is struggling to make ends meet on a small holding may find the franchise is just what they are looking for.

Konzepts is currently looking for franchisees in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. Applicants will have to meet certain criteria and have an ethos that fits with Konzepts’ own ethos of uncompromising quality, personal service and social responsibility.

Anyone interested should get in touch with the franchise recruitment team via www.konzepts.co.uk/franchise-opportunity

Rural business owners who need help with marketing should email shs@konzepts.co.uk

Notes to editors:

Background on Konzepts founder Sue Harbottle-Sear

Originally from North West Germany, where she spent much of her childhood on her grandmother’s family farm, Sue’s career has included selling classified advertising, marketing and working in high-end international business development. Her life has been full of challenges but the past few years have been particularly tough. In January 2016, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent debilitating treatment.

Two years ago Sue lost her job while recovering from breast cancer and realised she needed work that would be flexible around her treatment, use her extensive experience and, importantly, allow her to support herself.

During her treatment and recovery, Sue became acutely aware of the lack of local support for our rural communities - whether it is the unemployed, people with mental health problems or simply insufficient income. Hence, it is part of Konzepts’ ethos to give back to the rural communities it works in by funding and/or donating to relevant local projects. Developing the business model and starting to work with it became a major factor in her eventual recovery.

ENDS

For more in depth information and interview requests and images, please contact Suzi Christie: suzi@blueberry-pr.co.uk or call 07590 591140.