Kaye Winship has been able to hone her business acumen with help from the Captured programme. She’s a consummate professional in her field, having spent more than two decades in the eyecare industry after qualifying as an optometrist in 1993. Since 2007 Kaye has been running her own practice, S Walton Eyecare Opticians, and due to her visionary instincts the business has grown and won several accolades including Most Promising New Business, South Tyneside Entrepreneur of the Year and the Social Responsibility Award.
When the opportunity to get involved in Captured came along, Kaye saw it as a chance to explore new ideas, refine business processes and eye up new ways of expanding the venture. For her, experience was no barrier to discovering fresh perspectives that could benefit her company.
“Quite often I have some good ideas but don’t have the time to develop them,” she said. “There is always something new to learn but not always the time to take it further. Captured was a way of addressing this imbalance.
“I was looking to hire more staff, expand our range of frames, introduce more sportswear glasses and modernise our patient record systems. We were still working with a paper system that did not allow for easy optimisation of marketing opportunity to existing patients.”
Kaye was matched with Fiona Whitehurst from Newcastle University Business School and they worked together to tackle these key issues. Now Kaye has hired a business administration apprentice to help in the office, found the best software to harness her patient record database for marketing purposes, and is pressing ahead with plans to launch a sportswear glasses division.
She said: “Even though economic times are tough and discretionary spend is limited, we’re still finding that people want to buy labels and quality branded glasses. Health and fitness is also increasing in popularity so demand for comfortable and appropriate sports eyewear is on the rise.
“Captured has given me the chance to step back from the business a bit and reflect on the best way forward for my business. Through the scheme I’ve also been on a couple of social media courses to broaden my awareness of digital marketing. Now we are using our Facebook page and Twitter and Linked In accounts, which are a great way of promoting our business to potential new audiences.”