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How To Score High Marks In Your Business Market

 Becoming an academy school means freedom from local governance, which is both exciting and challenging. And it’s why Empine Print went back to school in order to learn how to best serve this changing market.
printing-wall-stickers“With this freedom also comes a change in public perception of the school and a new need to market itself as an attractive proposition,” says the man who saw an equally attractive proposition in serving the print needs this new breed of school

The challenge 

Business director Jacob Knowles launched Empine Print around two years ago with print director Anthony Taylor. Knowles, aged 22, knows only too well the importance of good teaching and a helping hand to get your working life off to a good start. He is the product of a different kind of academy: the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy.

Founded by entrepreneur and star of Dragons’ Den Peter Jones, the college encourages entrepreneurialism based on a philosophy of ‘learning by doing’, and the tenets of self-help and individualism rubbed off: while on the course he set up an online service for sailing clubs that offered tuition and a forum for clubs to network.

The idea won him a shortlisting in two national competitions for young entrepreneurs and the chance to pitch to Jones himself, narrowly missing out on first prize in 2013. Taylor meanwhile, who is two years older than Knowles, had also recently left college and was working in print production for a company in the North West.The printing include different industry such as wall stickers,news paper,digital printing,education etc.

Knowles was looking for a new business challenge while Taylor felt he could do print management in a better way. The two came together and Empine Print was born in Darwen near Blackburn, initially as a print management company because the two men did not want to invest in too much machinery. 

“We started to build up a network of print suppliers across the UK,” recalls Knowles. “But we soon found we were picking up occasional work from schools around the Manchester and Oldham area. The whole academy movement had created a real taste for schools to create a brand, but we spoke in the language of commercial printers and it needed a more nuanced, focused approach.”

The method

It would also mean setting up a separate brand, reckoned Knowles: “We thought a new brand would be more appropriate than just making this an add-on service because schools are totally different from normal clients. They are, in effect, closed communities with multiple print needs and their own unique language. For example, what most customers call a brochure, to a head teacher is a prospectus.

“We also felt the changing educational environment needed a more tailored service. Academies are relatively new to the education system. Parents and pupils have so much choice in terms of options, so an academy has to market itself as an attractive proposition. We felt schools needed a personal, more dedicated service. In effect we would handle brand management on their behalf.”

Materials could be tailored to each individual school thanks to a network of 30 print suppliers of all specialisms. For example, one academy required an exercise book with tinted pages to make it easier to use by children with dyslexia. By tapping into this network of printers, Empine Education, as this new entity was called, could find just the specialist to fulfil that, and any other, print need.

Knowles insists branding schools is unlike any other form of branding and goes beyond corporate glossy brochures, a snazzy logo and set of new Pantone colours. In fact the word ‘corporate’ can sit uncomfortably in education, so branding has to capture not only the ethos of the school and an entire academic, social movement, but the experience you get when you walk into that school.

The result

“From this exhibition we picked up a couple of jobs for schools in the North West,” says Knowles. “The interesting thing about educational establishments is they talk to each other, and before we knew it we were in contact with other schools. From starting out in the Greater Manchester area we have now just begun work for a couple of academies across in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

The big business dreams that prompted Knowles to put himself in front of one of the fiery beasts of the Dragons’ Den as a man in his late teens have materialised in his early 20s through Empine Print and more recently Empine Education. But he came up with a viable, potentially profitable business idea and made it work without a penny of funding from any one of those dragons, and for this “I think we deserve an A+ for effort and results,” concludes Knowles.


Identify a target customer or sector and define what your print products or services have to offer the group of people or organisations.

Learn about your target sector by talking to its practitioners to understand why they would want to buy your products or services and what they need. 

Get advice from business and branding consultancies and your local authority, which may offer mentoring and business advisory services.

Do research to see if the target market is favourable for development and your business can be adapted to include a new brand without compromising existing services.

Make sure you have the capacity both in terms of resources and the will to commit to new market development.Such the same product
wall stickers you can change process or material then it is a new product for customers,and this is your chance to get the market.

Market your new brand by ,for example, hosting an exhibition or conference seminar to get the attention of prospective clients.

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