Above: Sarah Carroll, CEO of GrowGlobal. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.
BitDepth#1023 for January 12, 2016
“I went home on maternity leave and when I came back in 1998, the Internet had exploded,” said Sarah Carroll, her face still showing some of the surprise of that life change.
Carroll had been working on brand and marketing evaluations and while learning to be a first-time mother at home, had spent some of that time building her first website.
A trilingual specialist in marketing, she had been doing work on international accounts and quickly realised that raising her son and travelling the world would be incompatible.
By 2005 she was doing website evaluations for companies and five years ago founded GrowGlobal, a company dedicated to refocusing companies of all sizes on the marketing and communications possibilities of the Internet through effective websites.
Carroll arrived in T&T last Friday as a guest of the University of the West Indies through its Centre for Language Learning. The centre launched its Language and Competitiveness website yesterday and the Internet engagement coach was also committed to a series of lectures with University staff, secondary school students, ExporTT this week and on Thursday, will present a full day of coaching for anyone interested in using their website to compete effectively on the web.
“We have a roadmap for how it’s done,” Carroll said, “it’s not a quick fix, but in six months to a year, the process can completely tranform a business.”
GrowGlobal has done 600 evaluations of websites over the last ten years and coached 3,000 people in workshops conducted around the world.
The company has worked closely with the UK government to develop not only state web communications, but also to enable a series of interventions for small and medium-sized businesses, teaching them to participate more fully in Britain’s thriving e-commerce marketplace.
“It’s a big win for a government,” Carroll said, “small companies do this programme and they increase their sales a hundred per cent, they grow, they employ more people. Governments see more revenue, they receive more in taxes.”
An important component in web evaluations for the Brighton based company is the internationalisation of websites, being able to deliver information in multiple languages and currencies and e-commerce.
“You can’t do business in the UK without an e-commerce component, there’s just no point.”
The UK does have a stable banking infrastructure and a commitment to participating in international trade, not just as an importer but as a significant exporter of both goods and services.
GrowGlobal operates with just five full-time employees but engages a much larger roster of specialist freelancers and contractors to fulfil its projects.
Coaching companies to present themselves internationally through their website presences with a focus on export and increasing sales is at the core of the company’s business.
For the UK Government, Carroll works on projects to coach selected companies and identify their markets through subsidised training and a full website audit.
“There’s no point having the website saying one thing and the company’s doing something else,” Carroll said.
“It’s often necessary to walk things back to first principles to get the right kind of alignment between the company’s mission and its execution online.”
“We did a project with a British cable manufacturing company, really the last business manufacturing what is now a commodity product in all of Europe, who had gone niche and specialist with their product but had a website that made them look like they made generic cable.”
“First we refocused their website on what they were actually doing and they are now planning to move into direct sales via the new website.”
Travelwrap, another client, is dropping visits to exhibitions and in-person sales pitches in order to put more money and energy into new web-based approaches.
GrowGlobal case studies can be found here.