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10 August 2018

How winning an FSB award led to Cabinet Secretary Derek Mackay MSP learning to snowboard!

With applications now open for FSB’s 2019 Small Business Awards, Jamie Smith, owner of Ice Factor Group that incorporates Snow Factor Braehead and Ice Factor Kinlochleven, tells us how winning the Digital Business of the Year category at last year’s FSB awards positively impacted on what are two of Scotland’s leading adventure tourism destinations. 

Winning the award even stimulated a request from one of Scotland’s top politicians to visit Snow Factor, Scotland’s urban snow-sports centre, to try snowboarding! 

Cab Sec swaps his sums for a snowboard

“As one of Scotland’s leading adventure tourism destinations and operators, Ice Factor Group is passionate about ensuring our customers consistently enjoy the highest standards of service. Our digital first strategy is an integral part of how we conduct business. Derek Mackay at Snow Factor Braehead

 “After Ice Factor Group won the award, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance Derek Mackay paid a visit to Snow Factor Braehead to congratulate us on our success and to learn more about our business model. Not only did that allow us to talk to one of country’s top decision-makers about issues of importance to our business, it also resulted in considerable positive media coverage. 

"As Snow Factor Braehead is Scotland’s only indoor urban snow sports centre, we offered Mr Mackay the chance to take a snowboarding lesson that he thoroughly enjoyed and of course also made for a fantastic photo opportunity."

Team recognition

"Getting nominated and then winning the award for best Digital Business of the year at the FSB awards in January, certainly gave our team a massive morale boost. It was a substantial piece of work to introduce online bookings and to do more to promote our business online. In winning the prestigious FSB Award, judges recognised that at Snow Factor our online sales had achieved over 60% growth year-on-year since 2012 and after adopting a digital first strategy across its businesses. This included launching new websites, introducing new online booking structures, improving management of SEO and PPC and maximising customer engagement through social media channels.

"Consequently, it was fantastic to see the hard work of our team recognised. Of course as we look ahead, our mission remains the same. Whether you’re visiting as a guest of Bar Varia and Baltic Ice Bar Glasgow, wishing to experience the thrill of skiing, snowboarding or ice-climbing for the first time or as keen snow-sport enthusiasts, our aim within Ice Factor Group is always to maximise the quality of our customer service and to ensure all patrons can safely enjoy year-round winter fun. Why not come and visit?"

Building our networks

Snow Factor Article 2“As fairly new members of the FSB family it is always invaluable to meet other successful businesses and the FSB team in Scotland. Such connections are incredibly useful – especially for ambitious, growing businesses like Ice Factor Group.

“Given that FSB’s awards are free to enter, I’d simply ask businesses thinking of submitting an entry, ‘what have you got to lose?’ There’s a real opportunity to showcase your business and for your hard work and ongoing success as an SME to be nationally recognised."

Entries for the Scottish 2019 FSB awards close on the 11 January. The awards are free to enter and there are 11 award categories from which to choose.

*Ice Factor Group owns and operates both Ice Factor Kinlochleven (home of the world’s largest indoor ice climbing facility and National Ice Climbing Centre) and Snow Factor Braehead.  The multi-award winning business continues to be owned and operated by mountaineer and entrepreneur Jamie Smith. /