News Release: Kenilworth winner drives away with Smart Car prize

Kenilworth resident Ruth Vaughan scooped the top prize in the Win A Smart Car competition organised by Birmingham-based Finesse Windows. The winning entry was drawn at a special fundraising gala for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The Smart Fortwo Pulse car was presented to Mrs Vaughan by the Managing Director of Finesse Windows, Russell Bridge. Mrs Vaughan lived in south Birmingham before moving to Kenilworth, so returned to a familiar name when looking for home improvements.

Commenting on her win, Ruth Vaughan says: “I was shocked and thrilled to received the news that I’d won. I entered when I visited the Finesse showroom with my daughter, but you never expect to actually win!”

Russell Bridge says: “We hope that Mrs Vaughan enjoys many happy miles of safe motoring in her new Smart car. The competition generated so much interest, that we were keen to use the prize draw to divert some of that attention to the Motor Neurone Disease Association – a cause very close to our hearts.”

Motor Neurone Disease is a progressive disease that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. This means messages gradually stop reaching muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting. It can affect any adult at any age and there is currently no cure.

Russell Bridge explains: “Held in honour of my father, David Bridge, the co-founder of our family business, our fundraising gala raised over £2000 to fund vital research and support for people affected by the disease. We’d like to thank everyone who donated their time and money.”

Kenilworth residents are invited to enter the latest Finesse Windows competition, to win one of the company’s range of ultra-secure Palladio doors. Entries can by made by visiting www.winyourdoor.co.uk or by calling Finesse Windows on 0121 433 3027.

ENDS

Photograph available:
File: FinesseSmart1.jpg
Caption: “Smart Car winner Ruth Vaughan is presented with the keys to her Smart ForTwo by Russell Bridge, Managing Director of Finesse Windows”

For further information please contact:

Russell Bridge – Finesse Windows Ltd
Kings Norton Business Centre, Kings Norton, Birmingham, West Midlands, B30 3HP
Email: russell@finesse-windows.co.uk
Tel: 0121 433 3027

Andrew Hemmings
Andrew Marketing & Communications
Email: hello@andrewfm.com
Tel: 0121 288 5224

Media Coverage

News Release: Stourbridge mum’s bookkeeping business is a Dragon’s favourite

Dragons’ Den star, Theo Paphitis, has chosen Stourbridge-based Bookkeeping Boutique as one of his favourite small businesses. Bookkeeping Boutique’s owner, Sarah Lewis, was selected as a winner of Theo’s Small Business Sunday review on the popular social networking site Twitter.

Although famed for his role as an investor on the BBC show, Dragons’ Den, as well as the revival of retailers including La Senza and Ryman, Theo Paphitis is also a keen supporter of small businesses. Each Sunday Theo provides an invaluable publicity boost to his six favourite small businesses, by promoting their details to his 172,000 followers on Twitter.

Commenting on her win, Sarah Lewis says: “I was shocked to be selected as it was the first week I’d entered Theo’s review. It’s great to receive his support, as bookkeeping doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves as a means to boost business performance.”

Having spent 15 years in industry-based accounting roles, Sarah established Bookkeeping Boutique following the birth of her second child. Sarah explains: “Setting up my own home-based business has enabled me to find a better balance between work and the needs of my young family. I really enjoy working with some fabulous local businesses and it’s been a real bonus to be recognised by a famous entrepreneur like Theo.”

Anyone interested in finding out how Bookkeeping Boutique can help their business are invited to visit www.bookkeepingboutique.co.uk.

ENDS

Editor’s Notes:
Sarah Lewis was announced as a Small Business Sunday winner on 25th September 2011 – Theo’s ‘tweets’ can be found on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TheoPaphitis

Photograph available:
File: SarahLewis.jpg
Caption: “Bookkeeping Boutique owner, Sarah Lewis, with daughters Ava (l) and Lily (r)”

For further information please contact:
Sarah Lewis – Bookkeeing Boutique
4 Ashdene Gardens, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 5JQ
Email: sarah@bookkeepingboutique.co.uk
Tel: 01384 404318

Andrew Hemmings
Andrew Marketing & Communications
Email: hello@andrewfm.com
Tel: 0121 288 5224

Promote your business more effectively – don’t just talk about you

Have you ever met Mr or Mrs “me me me”? They attend dinner parties, family functions and business events, cornering people and talking entirely about themselves. Their house, their children, their car, their business, their views on the world.

You nod politely, but can’t seem to get a word in – and when you do, they look beyond you, clearly just waiting for the next opportunity to talk about themselves. It’s time to spill something down yourself in a desperate bid to escape.

Now think of the people that you actually enjoy talking with. Not only is the conversation flowing in both directions, but they actually listen to you and take an interest in you.

So how does this basic observation of human interaction help your marketing? Well, look at your website, leaflets, brochures, adverts, etc. Are they just talking about you?

“We’re this, we’re that, we’ve been in business x years, we’re the best, we can do this, we can do that.”

What’s so wrong with that? You’re promoting yourself, you’re bound to talk about yourself? To some degree, yes, but there’s still a very big danger of you appearing to be like Mr or Mrs “me me me”.

Promoting your business isn’t just a matter of telling people about you. The world is full of businesses talking about themselves, it becomes a noise that nobody is really listening to – just like you switched off when stuck with the “me me me” people. It could be the very reason more people aren’t taking notice of you.

As with the more engaging and enjoyable conversations you have with people, you need to pay your audience some attention and take an interest in their interests and objectives. Why would they buy into what you’re selling? What objective are they trying to achieve with your product or service?

Look at my business as an example. How many people wake up in the morning with a burning desire to hire a marketing person? Exactly! But how many more have a business in need of more customers and sales? So that’s what you see on this homepage – the objectives people actually want to achieve.

Some may encourage you to to spend more to “shout louder” in order to be “heard”, but that is unlikely to make much difference if you’re not saying the things that your target audience are actually interested in. A little thought about your audience can therefore spare you the expense of waffling about yourself, to yourself, like Mr and Mrs “me me me”.

Attracting customers – does your website mention your biggest asset?

It is often said that the close links and relationships that small businesses can build with their customers provides a key advantage over their larger rivals.

Also, in the absence of huge advertising and PR budgets, this people element can define how small businesses are perceived by their customers and be a key factor in winning new business.

So it greatly surprises me that many small business owners don’t mention themselves or their people on their websites. It’s like walking into a shop and finding all the staff hiding behind the counter.

It’s particularly odd when the business is offering a personal, creative or craft service. Here potential customers would be buying directly into a business person’s particular personality, skills and talents.

Sometimes little hints are dropped, such as “we’re a family business” or “the founders have more than x years of experience”, but that information alone lacks substance and isn’t useful. Introduce this family, their roles and experience – profile these founders and their experience.

Think of it from a potential customer’s point of view. Unlike the big names, they might have never heard of you before, or have any idea of your reputation and what they can expect from dealing with you.

Their questions, doubts, hopes and fears would no doubt be answered if they engage with your business. However, if your website is the first point of contact that a potential customer has with your business, it might be the only chance you get to convince them to do business with you.

Why leave these people wondering? You don’t need to provide life histories – and should avoid self-praise – just give your audience a summary of who you are and why you’re good at what you do, so they have some idea of who they’re dealing with.

Although you might have put a great deal of effort into showcasing your products or services on your website, the people element of your business could well be the key to winning that new customer.

Don’t hide behind the counter….or website.

News Release: Solihull Producer’s new comedy exposes the Pied Piper’s centuries old secret

PiedPiperIISolihull theatre producer, Richard Frazer, is staging a comedy sequel to the legendary tale of the Pied Piper, at Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College’s new campus in Highgate, Birmingham, between the 28th and 30th of October 2010.

Whilst the original tale famously tells of the Pied Piper clearing Hamelin’s plague of rats, the Pied Piper II explores a flaw that has gone unnoticed for centuries.

Richard explains: “Since rats can swim, the Pied Piper couldn’t have drowned them in a river. So after a year-long march back upstream, the rats are determined to wreak revenge on the people of Hamelin.”

The rat’s unscrupulous plots include a bank heist, sheep rustling and a crime wave that sees Hamelin stripped of essential pie and beer stocks. With the Pied Piper now in retirement, the townsfolk hold a talent competition to play his magical pipe, whilst the town’s cats plot their own counter-attack, fearing a loss of privilege if they don’t tackle the rat problem.

Created as a comedy for all the family, The Pied Piper II will feature over 30 characters, played by a local cast of new teenage talent and experienced amateur stage performers. Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College’s student hardship fund.

Richard says: “The show promises to provide great value, laugh out loud, family entertainment. The audience will also be helping us to continue to take theatre into the community, as well as supporting our host’s students.”

Solihull-born Richard joined his first drama group whilst studying at Solihull Sixth Form College in the mid-nineties. He now combines a career as a vehicle fleet sales manager, with the demands of running the Rat Productions community theatre group. As well as producing the Pied Piper II, Richard has co-written it with the show’s director, Andrew Rowley.

Pied Piper II tickets are on sale now, priced £8 for adults and £6 for children. They can be booked online at www.musiconstage.co.uk or by calling the box office on 0121 742 3021.

ENDS

Editor’s Notes
Rat Productions is a Music On Stage (MOS) theatre group. Established in 1972, MOS encourages community involvement in the arts and supports local charities. Our last event, a 22 hour marathon of all thirteen Gilbert & Sullivan operettas in Birmingham’s Town Hall, raised over £10,000 for the Lord Mayor’s Charity Appeal.

Photograph available:
File: PiedPiperII.jpg
Caption: Stars of Pied Piper II (L-R) Ben Connolly, Natalie King, Richard Frazer, Amy King and Clare Harwood

For further information please contact:
Richard Frazer
Email: frazerr@musiconstage.co.uk
Mob: 07875 699 394

Andrew Hemmings
Andrew Marketing & Communications
Email: hello@andrewfm.com
Tel: 0121 288 5224