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  1. I was watching Rene Redzepi on Saturday Kitchen, possible because he said he was going to make his own Marmite but that is another blog post! My ears pricked up again when I heard him discussing how he used the seasons in his restaurant. This is a topic I bang on about a fair amount of time, but to hear someone else talking on the same topic, I had to find out more about Rene.

    rene redzepi

    "Our menu will have three distinct seasons that we feel really fit our part of the world. In the cold months, like right now, we look towards the waters and serve only seafood, then when we go into the growing season, which typically starts in Scandinavia around June, we'll have a vegetable menu and everything will change, even the ceramics we serve the food on. Then from early autumn to January it's the game and forest season - the only time when meat will play a starring role."

    You can read the whole article here

    So what about you? How to do you integrate the seasons into your planning? Do up you pump up the marketing or do you use the quiet times to recharge and plan? Tell me what the seasons mean to you ?


  2. Charlie Williams on Golden Shot low res

    Once upon a time I live in the People Republic of South Yorkshire. I lived and work there for nine years. Being a young person living alone there was never enough money for me to have a nice car! So I took a second job. I had worked in bars before so when I saw an advert for bar staff at a night club near by called " Charlies" I went along to try it. The Charlie is question was the much-loved local comedian Charlie Williams. Life there was fun, always someone new on the stage and I met many famous faces. We worked are a team, but more about that another day. The bar was run by Charlie's daughter who had the most amazing eye for style of anyone I ever met. I went on to work for them even when they moved pubs. 

    I also learnt a lot more about business. 

    1. Keep it simple. Any offer that is too complicated for the buyers or the staff to understand will only cause problems and will not promote buying. Simple pricing is also important.

    2. Give them time to buy. We had many of Charlies friends did comedy slots at the club. However there were people he wouldn't want there. Much as he thought Ken Dodd was a great bloke and very funny his was well-known for his act running over time. 45 minutes Charlie said was long enough. They need to have time to buy a drink or two. Remember to work in buying time to your workshops/events

    3. Smile. Most of our customers were lovely people, but as in any bar we had some challenging ones. Charlie had the most amazing smile, it made me smile. It also disarmed the worst of customers. Being behind a counter most of my early life smiles and being polite to customers come naturally to me. It like a switch in my brain. 

    We can learn lessons from many different people in your life. Most people who come into your life will teach you at least one thing. I hope that I can teach you many things to help you sparkle in your business.

    I would love to hear about lessons you have learned for someone outside your family, so use the comments to share that.

  3. When the letter landed to telling me I had finally come to the top of the list for a minor operation I had been waiting for I was pleased. 

    1st of February, great I thought, I cleared my diary for February as I was told I may not be able to drive for 4 weeks, although I could be lucky and it just be 3 or 5 days.

    I thought of all those online courses I have stacked up, I thought of all the family history had planned. I filled the freezer with simple meals for the family to re heat. ORGANISED! I was so ready for this.

    Yep you guessed it, there was so many things I hadn't thought about, it wasn't just not being able to drive! I can't write and eating those meals in the freezer isn't that easy too.

    Add in how much extra effort it is to get dresses or how hard it is to butter a slice of toast for myself! 

    Yep six days and in and I feeling frustrated at how little I can do to keep my business ticking over. "I will do lots of lives" I thought, but having issues washing and styling my hair and restricted what I can wear has meant no lives yet. Using my voice has made it easier to send texts, write emails, or even post on Facebook. I will do more of that even when my hand is better.

    This is not a post for your sympathy, this is a post to say can you business survive if you are suddenly out of the equation?

    Do you have a plan for if you laptop breaks down?

    Can you carry on without your phone? 

    Be prepared my friends.

    Do what you enjoy, Enjoy what you do!




  4. If you want to experience success you need to focus on where you aim. A good shot is someone who reviews and adjusts their aim constantly.  <blog_break>

    This piece of art is from Kettle Courtyard that you can find HERE on Etsy 

    Back to your aim, do you know exactly what you are aiming for?

    I think this can be really hard to get specific about your aims and targets. Your desires and aspirations are important and it can sometimes be hard to put the emotional side of how you want to feel into words. It takes time for reflection and examining where you are now and where you would ove to be. Maybe you have grown up not to expect every thing you want. 
    Remember being told "I want never gets" ? It can lead to feeling like you dare not decide or say what you really want or else it will never happen.

    You can get past this stage, you really can. Let's do it together.

  5. engaged!

    As part of my work with other businesses I spend a lot of time on social media. It is such a wonderful resource for the small business, to help them spread the word about their wonderful products. 

    For me social media is away a small business can be suddenly visible in a mass market world. So I have as passion for seeing small businesses use it to the best without spending their whole life posting.

    This last week I have seen far to many post from small businesses which just send their tribe to somewhere else, someone elses website! No it is true, people are posting links to other people website. Now I don't mind the sharing kind of post where people spread the word about another small business and maybe get a reciprocal mention. I mean the  post where I sent off to some big website somewhere else often selling the same product as the person that posted.

    Posting on social media can eat your time, but I would say you are better to post less often and post something that sends people to YOUR website than post everyday a post that does not serve you. 

    If you are finding this hard get some help. I am happy to help you create a content stream that sends people where YOU want the to go!

  6. I know my husband, my son, my postman, my optician are not people who are likely to buy my stamps. This is just the same as being at a business network. But they say the average person knows a 100 people. So every person you meet every day know a hundred other people who might buy what you sell.

    So am I saying every person you meet has to understand the minutest detail of what you do? of course not, but would be great if they know what you do in general terms and know how to contact you, have you made that easy?  

    I wrote the above post several years ago, but it is still true today. How can you make it easy for people to refer their friends to you. Do you always have business cards with you? on your personal Facebook page are you listed as working at your business page so people can click through easily? 

    Each person you meet every day may know someone who needs your help. On Saturday I was doing a quick dash for food in my local supermarket before going to a Macmillian Coffee morning. As I came out of the store I walked into a lovely group of people setting up a stand for  local support group for people with diabetes, I stopped to pick up some information and wondered why I didn't know all this when I was diagnosed. I came home and looked at their flyer, it wasn't brilliant. I put the food away with my son and we decided I could very quickly use the same words that they had used and just present them a whole lot better. So I went up to my office and did just that. I printed a 200 copies and trimmed them up, packed them in a box and took them back to the lovely man who had spoken to me earlier in the day. I had a buisness card for him so that he can ask me next time he needs a flyer. I am happy to donate a little time doing what I do daily to help a local group who are trying to support so many people. Watch this space because I am going to be shouting more about this group. Who could you easily help with your skills

  7. I know many of you struggle with the design side of your brnad. You know your brand values and your vision for the future, you know what colours you love but translate that into a visual website or product packaging and it starts to get more complicated. You love your business and you want to stay in control. 

    One option is to employ some one to help you translate what is in your head to a formal brand brief you can shar ewith your web designer and other professionals. If that appeal cheack out Vicki Nicholson at Branding therapy or Sally Roydhouse at Wicked Poppy Designs.

    If you, like me want to be more in control you may want to sign up to study with a professional like Vicky  or Sally. I have spent time with Sally and that really helped me with Oak House Studio. When I started to work on The Sparkling Business Club I wanted to go back to first principles, and as often happens in my life, Vicki, who I would have dreamed of working, with launch her wonderful Beautiful Brand Bootcamp I didn't hesitate this was a like a dream offer. I have never wanted to hand my brand over to an expert but I did need help.

    There's so much content to the course, but Vicki makes it so easy to follow and explains it all in a fun way.

    Vicki is so helpful, always on hand in our Facebook group and has given me lots of inspiration I can't wait to do more with it. 

    So, if you're looking to create your own brand, up your design skills and do it with a designer to check things over and give you hints and tips as you go, then go check this out.