My Buzz

This year is going to be busy - we're currently having a new website design developed which I'm really excited about; we also decided to produce a printed leaflet for the first time in summer 2018 summarising briefly things not to miss and useful information when visiting. From feedback, in particular accommodation providers, we're producing another for 2019, out soon. So, to receive the news of winning #sbs on 6th January was totally amazing! Especially with everything happening at the moment. I've always had huge respect for Theo Pathitis and am still am avid watcher of Dragon's Den. I have been spurred on and motivated by the Dragons and the businesses pitching on the show.

I look forward to meeting everyone at the #sbs event in February!

My Bio

Having moved back to my home town of Buxton in 2008, following 12 years in Nottingham working in various sales positions and then in the public sector, I decided I need to pursue my passion - a career in tourism. I'd noticed changes in Buxton across the town in general and the University of Derby Buxton campus now was here, having opened in 2006.

I had no idea what to do for a job at this stage but did have a few ideas floating around in the very back of my mind. I needed to find out more so I attended public meetings about The Crescent and became involved in different local community
groups. I also participated in a tourism planning consultation with the local council and it was at one of these meetings that I met a mature student from the University, studying Tourism Management. This chance meeting was a stroke of fate and she encouraged to enquire about a degree. I did just that, attended an open day and my journey in tourism began. I graduated in 2012 with a First Class Honours degree in Tourism Management which I was very proud of. During my studies I noticed the lack of information online about Buxton. On nights out (yes, I did have the occasional 'student night out'!) or finding things to do, it felt disjointed and I couldn't believe there was no one central online place for Buxton - to serve not only locals but more importantly visitors to the town. Buxton was changing at a fairly quick rate - new, upmarket bars and shops were beginning to appear. Pubs were getting makeovers going for a gastro feel. In 2012, The Crescent development gained traction with more funding and it looked like it was finally going to happen. There was a definite buzz about the town and I could see the huge potential with a really decent online resource. I wanted to be part of the 'new Buxton' that was emerging. The increase in visitors needed to be catered for; after considerable time being glued to a computer, was born along with an accompanying Facebook page.

Over the course of a few months I must have visited every pub and bar, restaurant, café and almost every independent shop in Buxton to ask owners what they thought of my concept and to discuss their own ideas. The feedback was overwhelmingly supportive.

The Facebook audience grew quickly and gave us a much needed place for people to share personal experiences of Buxton. I wanted to create an all-in-one hub for Buxton with the website - things to do, interesting ideas for exploring places locally and events listings - and I think we've achieved that now. With a large audience every month of over 25,000+ unique visitors, we have become the leading online presence for Buxton and forged partnerships with various local businesses. We offer really affordable advertising packages in various forms - Full Page Features, Display Advertising and Premium Listings. As a small business, I know only too well that promotion and marketing can be expensive and I was keen to offer affordable advertising that works.

My brother, Will Francis, has played a key part in the growth of Explore Buxton - he's the tech guy and the man of all knowledge and helps when something breaks (!).
He runs his own digital marketing agency as well as doing social media training and coaching so to say i'm lucky to have him helping with his skills is an understatement, plus he's just awesome anyway.

So, five years on from creating Explore Buxton, the highest market town in England continues to transform with even more new businesses - an exploding array of new independent shops, more upmarket bars and restaurants and The Crescent is set to open later in 2019.

You can find out more about Explore Buxton here:
Or, you’re on Facebook – stop by and say hello and give us a ‘Like’:

My Business Tips

Don’t give up at the first hurdle! Building a successful business isn’t easy and it comes with challenges for everyone and it's hard work. If you're having a tough day, Just grab a cup of tea, take five minutes away from your computer and think about something else. Your hurdle will seem a little smaller when you step back into the office.

Keep up the momentum and don’t stop updating your social media channels – a break for two weeks isn’t on. Get someone to cover for you if you go away. You’re soon forgotten in the digital world.

Be obsessively organised - use a diary and plan out pockets of time for the week ahead and try to stick to it - unless something urgent comes up. Planning out your time effectively can give you lots more time...

You're onto something and your product or business idea seems to popular? Be nice to people and matter how good your product is, people sell to people :)

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