FEBA: The Fens Magazine's Natasha Sheils on winning new business of the year award

PUBLISHED: 07:11 13 June 2018

Natasha Shiels from The Fens Magazine won Business Person of the Year and New Business of the Year at the Fenland Business Awards 2017.

Natasha Shiels from The Fens Magazine won Business Person of the Year and New Business of the Year at the Fenland Business Awards 2017.

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New Business of the Year 2017 winner - The Fens Magazine

• What has happened at The Fens Magazine since winning the New Business of the Year Award in 2017?

We’ve had a really busy year launching our second publication, The Fens Wisbech. We now have a new saleswoman, Cassie, who is busily introducing our publication to new clients and have expanded our circulation to reach more readers.

• What have been the company’s main challenges in 2017/18?

Our biggest challenge probably was finding the right sales manager for our family-run publication.

• What has been your biggest success in 2017/18?

Definitely launching The Fens Wisbeach. We now have twice the readership and it’s been really well received.

• What are The Fens Magazine plans for 2018 and beyond?

Further growth! There’s so much of Fenland to cover, so far we are just scratching the surface.

• What did winning the awards mean to you and what would you say to businesses thinking about entering the awards for the first time?

Winning the awards meant the world to us. As a really small business, it meant so much that fellow business people thought we were doing a good job.

It validated everything we were doing and gave me the confidence to grow our publications.

Collecting our award in front of so many well-respected business mean and woman was a moment I won’t ever forget.

My advice for anybody considering entering the awards this year is simple: do it. I didn’t think a small business like ours would even be finalists, let alone winners.

If you’ve got a great business, let it shine. Sing from the rooftops about it and most of all be proud.

The judges said: “The Fens Magazine is a successful local publication produced by a small dedicated team led by Natasha Sheils who has a clear vision and drive producing a high quality magazine.

“Under leadership and with her vast experience as an editor / designer the magazine has achieved a circulation of copies in its first year with a second magazine being planned and due to launch in early 2018.

“This is clearly a sustainable business with a bright future and a worthy winner of the new business.”

This category is open to any company of any size, including sole traders that have been set up since January 1, 2017. The business does not have to be registered for VAT.

Entry criteria

• State name of organisation, type of business activity, number of employees (if any), date of first trading

• Provide a summary of business plan to demonstrate the strength of business model, explain how the business has performed against that plan and how it has been modified to reflect changed economic circumstances

Judging Criteria

• Does the business seem viable and likely to survive in the short term?

• Does it have the potential to develop, grow and become established?

• How well does the business understand its marketplace and its prospects?

• What potential is there for expansion of the employment base?

• What plans does the business have for the next three years’ trading, and how do those plans take account of potential uncertainties in the short-term?

• Has the business positioned itself to take optimal advantage of wider economic opportunities?

• Does it have the potential to be a rising star?

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