Derbyshire farmer doing more online

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Rob Garrett is a tenant farmer on the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire.

On his 120 acre farm Rob breeds pedigree Lleyn sheep, suckler cows and store cattle. He has 50 acres of corn and 150 beehives.

We wanted the website to be about our brand, not about selling our products, so it was important to reflect this in our investment.

Rob Garrett

Palerow Farm is one of a number of small businesses being showcased as part of the Government’s Do More Online campaign which aims to help small businesses improve their digital skills to find more customers, be more efficient, and save money. The campaign has launched following a Government study which showed that more than half of the public (55%) find it difficult to support local firms – including farms – because often these businesses aren’t online.

Rob started his farm four years ago. He previously worked in hospitality, where the internet was core to the business, so on taking over at Chatsworth he immediately implemented online systems for the farm including setting up internet banking to pay suppliers, as he felt it was vital to the successful running of his business.

Rob also set up a website for the bee keeping side of the business, www.wildeandplenty.co.uk. Though most of the honey is sold through wholesalers, it was important to have a website as an information and marketing tool, to differentiate his product from other local honeys. Rob used a tool called Sitemaker from names.co.uk which enabled him to build a website, without any background in web design or coding, through a simple drag and drop tool.

“We wanted the website to be about our brand, not about selling our products, so it was important to reflect this in our investment. We decided to do something basic which would be cheap to run and maintain. We built the site ourselves, which was surprising easy to do, even for technology novices. We’re really pleased with what we’ve done. It’s extremely cheap – the website only costs about £150 each year to run – but effectively tells people the story of our honey and has a good flow of site traffic. In many ways, it has exceeded our expectations by generating some sales leads, which we didn’t expect.

“We’ve also begun using Internet banking which is much quicker and easier than doing things manually. As soon as we receive statements we can pay suppliers instantly online. We don’t have to worry about finding stamps and posting cheques and we’ve never had any security issues. Our suppliers are of course delighted with the prompt payment too.”

Doing more online doesn’t have to cost money or need digital expertise and can be much easier than you think. To find out how you can do more online visit www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/domoreonline for tips and guidance on building a website, marketing online, using social media, making the most of online finance and much more.