'I need to review my client list'

I can remember having a conversation a few years ago with the franchisor of a successful  franchise. He explained to me that his franchisee recruitment policy had changed dramatically over the years. When he started his franchise, with no franchisees on the books and a whole raft of costs to recoup, his franchisee selection process was roomy and expansive! If the potential franchisee had the funds and was keen to start, he was more than happy to sell them a franchise. …

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'The bad news is that our customers hate us. The good news is that we have far fewer of them.'

Sometimes it leaves you with a sinking feeling and you just want to ignore it… other times you feel like standing in the middle of a bustling networking event announcing the glowing accolades. Yes, customer feedback can generate these intensely contrasting emotions. But the fact is that if you want to grow and prosper through continually improving and enhancing your customers’ experience, you need to listen to it. …

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'I don't want to pester. He'll ring back in his own time.'

During a conversation with one of my clients recently I was curious to find out what he thought were the reasons behind his many business successes.  Interestingly, (but not unsurprisingly given he is a bullish Yorkshire man), he conceded that tenacity – not giving up until the miracle happens – combined with an unswerving belief in his service are what fuels his success. He illustrated this with a case study of a second meeting he had …

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'No way am I leaving my comfort zone.'

Something I talk frequently about is the need to push out of our marketing comfort zones.

What do I mean by this?

Well, in the last 20 odd years I have spoken to thousands of small business owners and invariably once we’re in conversation, I like to find out how they market their business; what works for them, what less so. What often comes across loud and clear is that the business owner has fallen into a comfortable but often unproductive …

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'There are two rules to staying an expert. 1 - Never tell anyone everything you know.............and that's it.

Forgive me for repeating a somewhat timeworn tale but I’m confident you will identify with it. It’s about what can happen when you become so effortlessly expert at what you do that folk think it’s as easy as falling off a log!

The tale is about the industrialist whose production line breaks down at a cost of many millions per day. After a long search he finds an expert who upon investigating his machine takes …

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'I'm trying to daydream but my mind keeps wandering.'

I am a huge advocate of the compelling power of daydreaming. Finding a comfortable space in which you can drift into superstardom without those all encroaching ‘what ifs’ blotting your landscape. I don’t know about you but when I daydream I visualise myself in a place where I want to be even if attaining that coveted place entails a huge amount of effort and overcoming of obstacles. I’d like to share with you how one of my dreams has …

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If there’s one brand that really knows its onions when it comes to branding brilliance, it’s Pret a Manger. I was reflecting on this last week whilst sitting in the Pret outside Vauxhall Station.

Firstly, you’ve got the Pret passion facts – framed images on the wall with quirky little sayings about the attention to detail and the lengths they go to in order to create a fabulous customer experience. Even the napkins have jaunty slogans and  the food is presented with labels that combine nutritional information with quite charming copy, …

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'Hang on, just have to put this customer on 'ignore'.'

I had an interesting conversation with my mother-in-law yesterday which prompted this blog. She was telling me about a good friend of hers who is very generous, and is always buying presents for friends and family. In particular, there is one shop that she has been frequenting until recently. The shop retails baby clothes – not your usual baby-gros but pretty special top of the range baby clothes. Every month my mum in law’s friend …

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'Employee of the Month, eh? I wonder if they've rumbled me.'

I don’t know whether you watch The Undercover Boss, the series on Channel 4 in which the managing director of an established brand goes undercover working on the shop floor in a number of his outlets or territories. What usually happens is that the boss discovers that amongst his team – the people he has not seen for many years – there are some real gems; employees flying the flag for his brand, often in dire circumstances. …

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Some of you will know that just a few days ago I launched my second book, The     Ultimate Small Business Marketing Book. My book launch was a delightful event; an opportunity to catch up with many lovely people. I was very lucky in that the entire event was paid for by one of my clients keen to raise his profile through being my sponsor.

The generosity of my sponsor enabled me to support two charities – Ovacome and The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. It showed me just how easy it can …

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