Hi Kim, it’s just over 4 months since the Be Digital programme finished, how are you and how is everything for These Girls Can Run?
I’m really good, everything is going really well, thank you. Since the Be Digital course finished we’ve launched our men’s group ‘These Guys Can Run’, and we’ve also just started a new group in Derwentside. Across all of our running groups we’ve had record numbers – it’s been an amazing few months. In May we had over 100 ladies take part in the Race For Life 5k for Cancer Research UK at Northumberlandia – that was over four times the number that took part last year, it was a fantastic night and made me realise just how far we have come especially since Be Digital.
I’m working really hard and I’ve been able to catch up with Pascal online – he’s kept me on track. I’ve kept Tuesday as my ‘Be Digital’ day. That’s my day away from running when I can plan, keep up with all things digital and really put my business head on for the day.
You’ve made lots of changes to your website and it’s very exciting to hear you are trialling an online running programme that people will be able to sign up to. Can you tell us more about that and what inspired you to do this online?
Our online course is called ‘TGCR: 8 weeks to runner’ and it’s all about helping ladies take their first steps into running. Before we launch the programme formally, we’re trialling it with a group of 10 women from our Facebook community. We support them throughout the programme by using a private Facebook group and we schedule in time every week for a catch up with the ladies via an “Ask Us Anything” session in the Facebook group or Google Hangouts. This gives the ladies the opportunity to get together online and ask us any questions they may have so we can give them all the support they need. We’re providing lots of online resources in the form of downloads and handouts and we’ve also produced videos demonstrating warm ups, correct technique and and other content. I used my smart phone to produce the video and an app called Kinemaster which Pascal recommended to edit them. Although I was quite nervous about the videos I’m so proud that I just gave it a go and I’m quite proud with the results. Before the Be Digital course I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this, but I’ve learnt so much and I didn’t want to see my new knowledge go to waste.
The trial started today (1st August) and the ladies have made a fantastic start – I’m like a proud mum hearing them talking about their first run.
The idea for the online programme came about because we’ve got a very large Facebook community of about 4000 ladies, but I’m always conscious of the fact for many ladies there are still barriers which prevent them from running with the groups such as childcare, work, distance etc. This online course is a way of reaching out to those ladies and giving them the same opportunity to run with the same level of support they would get at one of our groups.
Congratulations on getting shortlisted for Northern Business Star Awards, that was fantastic news. Have you got any tips for other people thinking of nominating their business for awards?
I would say go for it! Awards are a great way of getting recognition for your business and also celebrating your hard work. Getting shortlisted was a really proud moment and all in all the Northern Business Star Awards was a fantastic experience and a great way of connecting with other businesses in the North East. I was really inspired by the other businesses involved in the awards. Taking part also helped me to see that I have room to grow These Girls Can Run and it encouraged me to keep working hard. By stepping out of your comfort zone and trying these new things, you start to see what is possible.
Just before the end of the programme you updated your LinkedIn profile and this led to an opportunity for your business, can you tell us about that and how did it go?
LinkedIn was never a platform I’d used – I had an account but it was unused and unloved. I just didn’t see how it was relevant to my business and my customer base. However, during the Be Digital programme we talked about which social media platforms were appropriate for our businesses and I started to think about other potential customers that I could engage and connect with. I started to think about bigger organisations and I began to realise These Girls Can Run could reach out to a different kind of customer.
So, with some advice from Pascal, I updated my profile and added some photographs and videos. Shortly after that I was contacted by a local organisation, and this in turn has led on to some fantastic opportunities. We’ve got a fantastic ongoing, working relationship and some exciting things are planned for the future. LinkedIn has really expanded the way I see my customer and has helped me think of new and different opportunities for These Girls Can Run.
We love your videos from your running group sessions and all the photos from the races your ladies (and now gentlemen) are taking part in – these are great fun and very inspiring. Have you got a favourite video so far that you’d mind sharing with us?
The videos have been great fun to do and people have enjoyed taking part in them and sharing them on Facebook. We did our first video at one of the Cramlington sessions of the ladies doing the Cha Cha Slide and it just took off from there. We laid it down as a challenge to the other groups and so far TGCR Wallsend, Great Park and Darlington have all taken part as well as our These Guys Can Run group. The videos have really helped to bring all of the groups together and celebrate what we’re all about, getting out there, getting active and most importantly having fun!
(Ed’s note – loving that you borrowed your little girl’s pink CD player for this Kim!)