The Nook On The SquareHave you been watching The Restaurant Man series on BBC2?

This is where restaurateur Russell Norman helps people who want to set up their own restaurant.

I admit I haven’t watched the whole series, but this weeks’ was of particular interest because it featured a new business not far from me, in Dunchurch, near Rugby, called The Nook On The Square , about which I’d heard lots of good things from my foodie friends.

Kate and Alex, who own it, are obviously pretty savvy, having already worked out: a niche in the market, the numbers of covers they would need each day and what their daily spend would need to be, in order for the business to break even, a unique selling proposition (USP) -selling square scones as part of their afternoon tea – plus lots of other yummy sounding homemade food.

Russell took them to The Goring Hotel in London for tips on engaging with the customer and serving afternoon tea as well as to Paris (lucky them) to a bakery that makes square quiches fresh every day.

Despite family and other business commitments, they gave it their all to get the business launched, with a taster day in Dunchurch to determine their pricing and customer preferences.  They also leafleted the village houses prior to launch.

So, how did launch day go?  Did their research, knowing their numbers, recognising the need to delegate tasks and having a unique menu (including square quiche) with locally sourced ingredients pay off?  I hope you are noticing all of the business essentials in that last sentence.  

Well, yes, it went rather well actually, and no doubt the programme will have their cafe bursting at the seams again, I shall certainly be going very soon I can promise you that.
If you didn’t see it then I recommend catching up with it on iPlayer

So, how can you incorporate these business lessons into your business?

  • Do you know your numbers to break even and then make a profit?
  • Do you know what your customer wants?
  • Do you delegate tasks that you don’t need to do, e.g. bookkeeping,   leaving you time to focus on what you’re good at or what is essential that you do in your business?


sWell they would wouldn’t they?

When I first launched More Than A Bookkeeper I had a spate of bookkeepers sending me direct messages on Twitter complaining about what I’d written on this blog about the reputation of bookkeepers in general.

I’ve only spoken about experiences that either I or my clients have had and it is the reason they now pay me to do their bookkeeping.

In my almost 30 years of accountancy my experience and those of various accountants of my acquaintance, both now and over the years, has been exactly the same.  It is why bookkeepers have such a bad reputation amongst accountants – because good ones are hard to come by. So what am I to do?  Keep quiet so as not to upset the few who take umbridge at my plain speaking?
Hell no!  I’ve never been like that in any aspect of my life and I don’t intend to start now.

Only last week, I had a bookkeeper on Twitter suggesting, quite rudely as it happens, that my tweets were a bit strange because I recommend spreadsheets for bookkeeping and was stating that accountants do too. She thought that I must be mad or stupid and didn’t mind telling me so…. Nowt as strange as folk, especially online as it happens

Of course, she thought that the answer to every small business’ bookkeeping was to use bookkeeping software.  Now that is mad.  As with any software program first you need to understand what the end result is telling you e.g. the financial reports that the software will give you, because if you don’t, then you can easily make mistakes when inputting information.  Most (not all) business owners don’t fully understand the software they purchase, or subscribe to, and then they struggle and panic and then they don’t do anything and all the while that £10 or £20 per month is being paid for software they’re not using.

Spreadsheets are perfectly adequate for a lot of small businesses and I stand by that statement whether they are small sole trader businesses or limited companies who are VAT registered.  To my mind the turning point comes when the number of transactions increases beyond what is manageable with a spreadsheet and therefore you can’t easily see who owes you money and who you owe money to.

Let me know what you think below (but no more abuse from bookkeepers please) and if you need some help make sure you download my free ebook.

Gill Brabner

Gill Brabner

Resound Training and Development are a company that provide drama based learning for a wide range of organisations.

Gill Brabner is the director of the company, which will be celebrating it’s 10th anniversary in 2014.

Resound specialises in creating high impact learning experiences, providing the wow! factor at industry conferences is something that Gill has had lots of positive feedback on both from the organisers and the delegates. They provide humour, fun, impact and learning all at the same time and the audience create the solution. At conferences forum theatre is a great energiser after lunch.

You can clearly hear how much the audience are enjoying it in the video clip from the Independent’s Day conference from the Resound website at the link below:

Gill says it is of utmost importance to understand her clients’ needs, know them and provide value

She has developed a great team of professional actors who are highly skilled in improvisation and reflecting back to learners, but who also have a clear set of values.

Gill loves working with her team and the work that they do together and the audiences love it too.

The company is now reaping the rewards of their hard work and as a result are now working with large organisations and growing a sustainable long term business.

So what are the future plans for Resound Training and Development?

To coincide with their tenth anniversary next year the company are developing video based learning products.  These will focus on strong pieces of drama on work related topics and issues.
As well as the video clips there will be discussion questions, learner guides and facilitator notes to reproduce the workshop environment within the workplace, so a complete set of supporting materials.

These products have all been informed and developed as a result of the learning they have received from delivering their workshops and engaging with delegates.

After the initial roll out and feedback from some of their existing clients these products will be available early next year both as online downloads and hard copy DVDs and workbooks.

Gill and I have been working together since September 2012 and I asked her how More Than A Bookkeeper is helping her business to succeed.

She replied that she was asked recently, by a friend just starting up in business, what one thing she would do differently if she was starting over and her reply was that she would have had a bookkeeper right from the start.

She says that since working with me it has made a huge difference to her business.

The financial information she gets on a regular basis informs her on the business’ progress and ensures that everything is paid on time. She can then focus on her business: developing client value and support as well as developing her business without having to constantly worry about getting her accounts done and she has confidence that everything will be done on time. She says this has taken an immense weight off her mind and she wishes she had done it sooner and the business is thriving as a result.

Gill recognises that her value in the business is not sitting doing her accounts and in this competitive market offering good value is more important than ever and therefore she can put her focus totally where it needs to be.

You can contact Gill at

 Page 2 of 14 « 1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »