I had big shoes to fill when I started working for Local Puzzle a couple of months ago. As members of the Catalyst Team, Jack and Chris had doubled the number of premium businesses by the time Jack was ready to move on and they had taken Local Puzzle towards a period of strategic expansion. I was the new Jack and I was going to be an ambassador of Local Puzzle and a part of the two-man sales team. Two months later I’m a devout Puzzler committed to spreading the initiative together with Chris and we’re only just getting started!
Local Puzzle is the brainchild of its founder and CEO Anthony Stonham, who was concerned about the fate of his home town Horsham. During the credit crunch in 2013, Anthony witnessed numerous local shops closing down only to be replaced by large soulless chains. What made Horsham special was not going to exist soon and something had to be done. Anthony left his top-level job in London as a renowned IT consultant and created what was to become Local Puzzle – a gamified loyalty program encompassing every independent business in the UK.
The concept is simple yet genius, as spending in independents accumulates Puzzle Points for shoppers that puts them in line for a cash prize. To earn more points and bigger prizes, shoppers are encouraged to leave reviews, share content and spread the word about the initiative as a community. The idea took off in Horsham and soon shoppers started showing interest all across the country. Local Puzzle needed a solution that would allow them to keep up on top of their growth and expand their territory to their next target, Brighton.
The solution that provided the flexibility that a small start-up like Local Puzzle needed was the Catalyst Team. Getting two Catalyst members, Jack and Chris, on board to work in Brighton demonstrating Local Puzzle to businesses turned out to be very successful. They started from scratch in a town with no existing member businesses, representing something few people had heard of. After five months of hard work, Brighton has become a Local Puzzle hub with nearly 40 premium members and that number is growing every week.
Now that Jack has moved on to work for another company, Chris and I make up the sales team. We currently spend two days a week working for Local Puzzle – a number of hours that can be tailored to Local Puzzle’s needs. Our mission is to solidify Brighton as a Local Puzzle stronghold, sign up more businesses and most importantly recruit more players. While we mainly focus on Brighton, networking events have seen us travelling to Worthing and other surrounding towns multiple times this month. Even though we are busy touring the South Coast, it’s extremely rewarding seeing the network of businesses and our community grow.
The future of Local Puzzle looks promising. An app that will ease the process of uploading receipts should be out in the summer once more funding is secured. And if everything goes to plan, we might even have a three-man sales team. In the meantime the two of us will carry on creating a united front of independents to keep our towns vibrant and help fight off the corporate invasion. Modern Robin Hoods in the making.