Chocolate Brownie Recipe

October 31, 2011


Delicious chocolate brownies firm exterior with a gooey middle, yum yum


250g unsalted butter, chopped

200g dark Fair Trade chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken up

80g cocoa powder

65g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

360g caster sugar

4 large free-range eggs

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line a 25cm  square baking tin with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl over some simmering  water, melt the butter and the chocolate and mix until smooth, then remove from heat. Sieve the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and then add the sugar. Add this to the chocolate mixture and stir together well. Beat the eggs in a bowl and mix into chocolate mixture until you have a silky consistency.

Pour brownie mix into the baking tray, and place in the oven for around 25 minutes. You don’t want to overcook them so, unlike cakes; you don’t want a skewer to come out all clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Allow to cool in the tray, then carefully transfer to a large chopping board and cut into chunky squares and enjoy!!

Contact Follow Up- If At First You Are Not Successful Try Try Again

October 31, 2011



Have you ever received an email or postcard from your favourite restaurant, shop or local supermarket? Probably very occasional, but it is not personal and has little interest, it probably is just offering you money off vouchers.

We should all take note of this and learn that we can never be good enough at following up with our customers.

We should not just moan about the economy and level of business we should take the opportunity to follow up each person who comes into contact with our business on multiple occasions by email, letter, postcard or telephone.

As business owners, we can’t afford to make the big, costly mistake of not following up, because one way or another we pay good money to get leads, and if we let them disappear without them becoming customers, then its money we’ve wasted.

In case you have any doubts about how important this is, here are some scary statistics:

48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect

25% of sales people make a second contact and stop

12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop

It’s staggering, but only 10 % of businesses make more than three contacts. This means they’re losing a small fortune.


2% of sales are made on the first contact

3% of sales are made on the second contact

5% of sales are made on the third contact

10% of sales are made on the fourth contact

80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

So if you’re like almost half of all businesses and make no more than one follow-up to your prospects… you’re leaving 98% of your income on the table for someone else to come along and pick up.

If that wasn’t bad enough, here’s why it’s even worse. Look at these eye-opening statistics about why people stop buying from businesses:

1% die.

3% move away.

5% follow a friend’s or relative’s recommendation.

9% find an alternative they perceive to be better quality or value.

14% are dissatisfied with the products or services.

And a massive 68% of people leave a business because of… indifference.

They take their business elsewhere simply because they do not feel valued.

How often should you send people information? Up to twice a month if you ensure that the information is personal, friendly and fun. Do not try to bombard them each time with requests to buy something just keep them updated with what’s happening in your business.

There’s a golden rule in Marketing that will make you wealthy. Once you have someone’s details keep on following up until they buy, die, or tell you to stop!

Who Are Our Customers And Do You Know What We Can Do For Them

October 21, 2011

What do you know about your customers, as a business we need to capture as much information about our customers as possible, like the large successful high street retailers do with their store card information, we should know what they buy from us, so we can target our marketing to them very personally and specific. This will also assist in selling ourselves to our customers  and creating loyalty. It is more profitable to sell to existing customers than to have to go out and win new ones.


We all trade in a highly competitive market place so what gives you the edge over your competitors, it’s your personal service, it’s that going the extra mile and putting yourself out for those customers. Ensure you tell your customers how much you will go all out for them and communicate the importance of this to your staff. Encourage your staff to follow your example and get them to make the time to make a difference. You could look at a reward scheme for staff that put themselves out for the customer. We all know how good we feel when we receive good customer service and we tell our friends about it, your customers do the same it is self perpetuating marketing. Give yourself that competitive edge and focus on the benefits for your customers and get them to do the work of marketing and growing your business, we need as many people as possible to do this for us.


Take all possible opportunities to receive customer feedback via customer surveys, feedback forms and encourage customers to feedback to you directly and your staff. This can be done in the form of a customer comment book, visible at the point of exiting your premises or following up after a purchase. The most important part of this is to act on the feedback and make sure that your customers know you have implemented their ideas. Also this feedback should be measured on a regular basis and compared to a benchmark for customer satisfaction that you have set the business to achieve. Also sit down with your staff and brainstorm how you can make things better, don’t forget your staff interact more with the customer and know what
they want and it’s amazing the results achieved from brainstorming and where the ideas come from.


Customers always want to know what is in it for them, what benefit can they receive, so can you increase perceived value by adding something on. A great example of this are the Sunday Newspapers giving away free CDs/DVDs which customers perceive to have a value of about 10 times the value of the paper, but to the paper it is very little
cost. What could you add that costs you little but gives the customers a feeling of getting value? It could be in the form of a customer loyalty scheme or bundling products together in a pricing package.


Branscombe, Devon

October 19, 2011

                                                                                                                Branscombe View

I enjoy my exotic holidays, all the sun, relaxing by the pool and drinks but as much I enjoy my week in Branscombe. We
have been going there now every year for the last seven and time really stands still.

Branscombe is the longest village in the UK, situated in picturesque East Devon, nestled on the coast between Sidmouth and Lyme
Regis. Once you turn off the A3052 you head down a narrow lane, with space in parts for only one vehicle the only place you are going is Branscombe, as the road ends at the sea. We stay in a two bed roomed wooden chalet tucked into the top of the cliff, nothing luxurious, but wonderful views out to sea. The chalet is fully equipped with kitchen, bath and shower, double bedroom and bedroom with bunk beds, lounge/dining area with satellite TV and it has an exterior decking area for sunbathing or enjoying the evening sun with dinner and a glass
of wine. It even comes complete with its own family of badgers, who enjoy coming to see who is in residence.

Branscombe is a picturesque village filled with thatched cottages, two great pubs serving local produce The Masons Arms and The Fountain Head, an all purpose shop and cafe adjacent to the beach, The Sea Shanty, 12th century church of St. Winifred, a thatched smithy dating back
to Norman times, tea room serving delicious Devon cream teas, a working watermill and even its own brewery at Great Seaside Farm, The Branscombe Valley Brewery. If sampling all of this is not enough there are the joys of the beach, it is in the main pebbly but is very peaceful and the young at heart can enjoy rock pooling.  There is also the opportunity for surfing a boat trips or just relaxing taking in the sun. Also I
shouldn’t forget the Donkey Sanctuary, situated at the top of the road to Branscombe as you turn off the A3052, the home for retired donkeys, you can even help by sponsoring a donkey and you can see all the donkeys in their field and barns for free, a donation to the charity is generously appreciated. For the more energetic there is a cliff top walk to Beer, 2 miles, starting with a steep climb to the top of the cliff. Beer is ideal for collecting some delicious freshly caught lobster at the harbour and enjoying a beer and lunch at the Dolphin before the walk back. You can also enjoy a trip to the Quarry Caves at Beer and enjoy an hour long guided tour. If you fancy a trip out in the evening Gina’s Pizzeria in Beer serves a great range of Italian food with warm friendly service, it is very popular so it is best to book.

If you feel the need to go out in the car, then a trip to Sidmouth is well worth particularly to stock up on groceries at Waitrose and particularly for BBQ supplies visit Hayman’s Butchers, who have an excellent range of sausages, burgers, ribs and steak, all of which is highly recommended. If you fancy fossil hunting then Lyme Regis is the ideal place.


                                                                                                     Branscombe Cliff Top View

Bread and Butter Pudding Recipe

October 17, 2011




10 Slices of medium white bread

100g Butter

100g Sultanas

1pt Full Fat Milk

3 Drops of Vanilla Essence

3 Eggs

100g Sugar

60g Caster Sugar


Preheat a fan oven to 130°C,
150°C for non fan oven.

Butter the bread, remove the crusts and cut each slice into four

Sprinkle a third of sultanas in the bottom of a pie dish, size approx 9”
x 5”, cover with triangles of bread overlapping, then sprinkle over a further third
of sultanas and cover with triangles of bread and then repeat process so you
have three layers of bread.

Place the milk and vanilla essence in a saucepan and warm. Mix the eggs
and sugar in a basin and add the milk gently, whilst continuing to stir. Pass
the milk, egg and sugar mixture through a sieve over the bread in the pie dish.
Sprinkle the caster sugar over the top.

Place the pie dish in a roasting tray and then surround the pie dish
with rolled up newspaper, ensuring the newspaper comes no further than two
thirds up the side of the pie dish. Then gently pour some warm water over the
newspaper, ensuring you don’t get any in the pie dish, until the newspaper is
thoroughly wet. Then place in the oven for two hours.

Customers Maintaining Existing Ones and Winning New Ones

October 17, 2011

The cost of getting new customers is a big cost and also you need to allocate time and resource to do this all of which can be better utilised in more effective ways. How do we keep our customers, there are a number of key things we need to consider.

Ensure you maintain regular communication with your customers and the most effective way of doing this is by email. Firstly we need to ensure that we capture all our customers email addresses and then when we email them ensure it is personal to them, you know how you feel when you receive a personalised email. This regular email does not always have to sell them something just keep them informed of what’s happening, so that when they do want to use your service or buy one of your products you are at the forefront of their mind.

Look at the products and services you offer and build up additional products and services to offer your customers. If you don’t have any products or services further to offer look at companies in a similar market place and set up a joint venture to extend your offer to these existing companies remember there is more profit from a relationship with an existing customer.

All forms of communication with your customers, be it websites, correspondence, emails, advertising, menus or price lists reflect on your business so regularly take a ruthless look at these and ensure they are portraying the correct image. Ensure in all your marketing material you focus on the benefits to your customers, not the features of the company, tell them how you can add value to them. The majority of our customers are coming to us via the internet so use this and your emarketing effectively, ensuring that you use the opportunities to capture email addresses. One of the most effective ways of achieving this is by offering something free. We should all look at turning our businesses into multi level marketing machines. Advertising is very expensive and not as effective as the marketing tools we all have already at our fingertips. We can also capture further customer information by asking them what they think of our services in the form of customer satisfaction questionnaires and when we receive this feedback we should always take all comments on board in our journey to improve quality and exceed customer expectations.

The people who most represent our business in focusing on the customer are our staff and used correctly they can add significant value, so keep them informed and involve them, they can be a source of valuable information. Look at their communication methods and skills and ensure like your marketing material they are portraying a positive method.

Hello world!

October 13, 2011

Hi I am Managing Director of Guineas Associates, based in the UK with offices in Cambridge and also in Limerick, Ireland. We are a small consultancy business focusing on the catering, hospitality, event and leisure industry. The business was formed in May 2008 and since then we have successfully assisted businesses in the process of change management, retail branding and implementation of new contracts. I pride myself in providing quality results that work for all our clients in terms of both financial return and customer benefit.

I am able to draw on 30 years of experience of managing the catering operations at prestigious stadiums, racecourses, conference centres, arenas and
major one off events. I have also advised on International stadia including
projects in Sydney, Paris, Monaco, Amsterdam, Milan and Dublin. I have also
managed and delivered the full corporate hospitality experience to the leading
industry and corporate buyers at events such as the Ryder Cup, European
Champions Final at the San Siro Stadium, Milan and for Rugby Internationals at Twickenham and Millennium Stadiums. The services we offer include, but are not limited to:-

  • Interim Management support
  • Auditing, monitoring, evaluation of operations and procedures
  • Identifying organic growth opportunities
  • Brand identity and development
  • Market research
  • Supplier sourcing and purchasing review
  • Production of policy and procedure manuals
  • VIP Management
  • Preparation and Management of Major Events

In the three years since forming Guineas Associates I have assisted companies
with various projects, which include managing a division of a company through
the process of management change and restructure, whilst developing a brand for
their retail operation. I have opened a new contract for a client and managed
the design and build project for this contract, liaising with client,
contractors and local authority and recruiting the team, developed the retail
brand and produced marketing materials for the venue. I have also helped a
company develop their retail offer and produced an induction and customer
service training document for a high street operator. I have assisted an Irish Event cleaning company with the introduction to the UK market, producing a template for tender documents, a framework for strategic plan and introduction to key event organisers in the UK.

 For more details and case studies visit

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