Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Branduin's Football Focus

Branduin provided business advisory services to 3 Chief Executives of Queens Park Rangers Football Club for over 4 years.

Formed in 1882 by the old boys of Droop Street Board School, the team became Queens Park Rangers in 1886 during a merger.

The original players were members of the St Jude's Institute as they used this as the club headquarters and, in the early days, were known as St Judes. When they merged with another team, Christchurch Rangers, most of the players came from the district of Queens Park.

More than a century later, Branduin assisted the Club to access grant funding to support marketing activity then each Chief Executive asked Branduin’s Managing Director to work with them on a regular basis to provide outsourced business support for a variety of projects.

These included:

  • redrafting of presentations to Local Authorities to gain planning permission for a new stadium,
  • outsourcing of corporate hospitality sales (which led to a 40% increase in revenue), investigation of the financial structure of the Madjeski stadium building project,
  • marketing of facilities on non-match days,
  • reviewing staff roles and management structure,
  • carrying out initial interviews for new staff,
  • providing customer service training to ‘front line’ staff, and
  • reviewing sales and marketing activity.

See who else has used Branduin's Business Expertise and talk to us about what we can do for you.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Tips for Managing the Apprentice

If you're running a small business and you've appointed an apprentice, he or she will almost certainly not be as irritating as the in-mates on the TV programme but what do you do to ensure that both you and the apprentice achieve best results?

1. Before the Appointment
  • know what you want to achieve 
  • ensure staff are competent and fully briefed 
  • set out a personal learning plan for the apprentice with benchmarks 
  • check whether any government funding may be available at

2. The Interview
  • make it clear what the job is 
  • what is expected of the candidate 
  • what the long term prospects are.

3. Management
  • clear management 
  • good attitudes from other staff members 
  • regular feedback and reviews

Management Support business services from Branduin.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Help with your Internet Promotion

Promoting Your Business on the Internet
By Branduin Team member Bee Primrose

There have always been those in marketing who think that using jargon puts them in a superior position to their clients and there will always be some clients who are intimidated by these tactics. The fact is, as one generation learns and moves on, another moves in and the patterns are repeated. This article provides some insight into Internet Marketing to help dispel the mystique.

If you lack confidence in your technical knowledge or lack self-belief when presented with gobbledegook, read on. Primary advice is: Don't Panic!

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
  • First, taking a step backwards: do you need Internet presence? The probable answer is yes but there are many different reasons. You may want people to find you or you may just need a convenient place to store information in case you need to refer someone to it. It's probably cheaper than printing and reprinting. This is not the same question as 'do you need a web site?' For example, Internet presence may be satisfied by a blog that most people are capable of updating for themselves.
  • Assuming you have a web site, has it been Optimised? Optimisation refers to the quality of content and coding conventions. Your web site should be reviewed every two or three years to ensure that it still performs on the most popular browsers - what looks fine on Internet Explorer version 6 can look completely different on IE7, IE8, FireFox, Opera or Chrome.
  • You can help search engines to find your web site pages and site structure with a sitemap. This is not the same as a site map with links for people to browse your site content, it is a file that search engines use for site information, usually called sitemap.xml and uploaded to your root directory. The easiest way to create a site map is to use a free service on the Internet and follow the instructions. You can find one by searching for 'sitemap generator'.
  • Do you know how to view the source code of your own web site? On most browsers, Page Source can be found under View. Now what? You see source code but it may as well be hieroglyphics? Along the top bar will probably be a Find or Search function, which may be under Edit. Look for the word 'title' between less-than greater-than symbols, i.e. <title> which will usually describe your web site page content. This is of great importance for search engines to establish the keywords you believe are most important on this page therefore it should not just say 'home page' but rather something like this: "unique green Martian jellies and sweets for sale by UK jelly mould manufacturer and jelly confectioner, Jolly Jellies of Harwich."
  • Check some of the other pages of your web site. All the page titles should be unique and relevant to the page content.
  • Each page should have the most important information as a header between <H1> and </H1>, similarly, sub-headers can use <H2> </H2>, <H3> </H3>, etc. in order of importance.
  • If there are images on your web site, hover over them to see whether descriptive text is displayed. In the source code, Search/Find <img src (without the closing >) and in the tags there should be alt="xx" and title="xx" (where xx is a meaningful image description). These will display the descriptive text on IE and FireFox/Chrome respectively. One or both of these are commonly omitted by designers and some source code generators. Describing the image is a further opportunity to put relevant text on the page for search engines as well as to enhance the information for partially sighted or those who have images turned off in their browsers.
  • Now for the easy bit - written content. Well-written content with relevant words is best for both search engines and people looking for whatever it is you're telling them. Use nouns rather than pronouns to add clarity and keyword content. Whenever there is a real opportunity to link a specific word or phrase to further information on another page of your web site, link it in. If you are linking off-site, consider having the new site open in another page or tab. Unless you are comfortable with coding in html, don't do it yourself.
With this information, you have covered the basics of Optimisation. Search Engines have become more sophisticated, able to recognise quality content in many cases, and small business owners are more Internet-savvy. By using search engines to check up on the competition, user knowledge is gained.

By all means, let a professional review and make suggestions but don't pay someone to intimidate you!

Page 1 Google and Pay Per Click
Some companies guarantee to put you on page 1 of Google. Be aware of the differences between SERPS (search engine results pages) also known as organic results and PPC (pay-per-click) advertising results. With PPC, anyone can be on page 1 at a price. This needs to be the subject of another article.

Only Google is in a position to guarantee page 1 organic results on their pages and they don't (not for money). Decide which keywords are important to you - the shorter the keyword search phrase, the harder it is to be unique and to be on page 1. It's easy to be on page 1 with keywords that are too precise to relate to anyone else, e.g. "the gas powered roller skates company" but there is a lot of competition for more generic terms such as "roller skates" so make sure the important keyword or phrase is prominent in the content of your web site: in the page <title> tags, in <h1></h1> tags and, where possible, in links from the same or similar phrase on other web sites, blogs, etc., pointing to your web page.

It doesn't matter if you can't code and upload this for yourself. What matters is that you have enough knowledge to understand what you are paying for.

Internet Marketing - boosting your web site rankings

Links from other web sites, blogs etc. indicate to search engines that your site has valuable content. If you are able to spend time creating blog posts, do so regularly (at least once a month) and include links from keywords in the blog text to the relevant page of your web site. You may also be able to write and submit press releases and articles. You could also use Twitter and Facebook as promotional tools.

Whatever you choose to do has to be done on a regular basis which is why, if you don't have time, it is worth contracting a freelance professional to spend an hour or two a month to provide this service for you. Yes, they will pester you for content and this is a good thing. Take a benchmark at the start of the contract and review the service and results every 3 or 4 months throughout the relationship.

You are then free to focus on your core business.

Article Source:

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Helping you and your Business Objectives

Branduin works with business owners and MDs to identify what they want their business to achieve for them.

We have developed specific programmes aimed at meeting our clients’ long term aspirations. These programmes include our unique GMap Programme™ (Goal Mapping & Achievement), our MD Personal Support Programme™, Directors Group Support Programme™ and our Business Asset Protection Programme™.

We have also set up our own Business MOT Centre™ (more about this in the next blog) designed to provide companies with an objective ‘snap shot’ of their effectiveness across a range of business areas and to deliver recommendations to improve performance.

Unlike many agencies however, we do not walk away when our recommendations are made – we help owners and MDs address the immediate issues facing their business and can provide specialist resources to ensure that their needs are met.

We're not afraid to publish our very reasonable fees, either. Browse our web site or just call direct: 020 3195 7988

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

A Testimonial to Branduin Business Support Services

This client testimonial refers to Branduin's Founder and MD, Steve Forey:

"Steve has been our Business Adviser for 10 years and has provided invaluable practical support and advice which has helped us to build our turnover and profitability significantly during that time.

Steve has personally provided us with support to set up financial management systems and to draw up a business plan whose goals and objectives still guide us today. He was responsible for managing the introduction of our first website approximately 8 years ago and identified the correct website designer to ensure the site was launched effectively.

He has also provided us with Sales & Marketing advice and has delivered personal sales training to staff which has improved their ability to follow up sales leads.

His experience and knowledge in terms of Employment Legislation and best HR practice has also provided us with a useful ‘safety net’ when staffing issues have arisen.

On a personal note I have always found Steve to be an excellent sounding board for ideas and I have always felt comfortable discussing confidential details of the business with him.

Steve has also been able to introduce us to a number of specialist consultants to help with issues as diverse as IT and Management training."

Craig Gargan, Managing Director Middlesex Flooring:

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Case Study: Buttons!

James Grove and Sons have been manufacturing buttons for over 150 years and are still owned by the fifth generation of the original Grove family.

Given increasing competition from the Far East, Branduin were engaged to carry out research to identify the key attributes that UK button buyers looked for in their suppliers. 62% of buyers agreed to participate in the survey and 75% of those agreed to receive an approach from James Grove.

As a result James Grove were able to approach individual buyers with full knowledge of their needs and were able to shape their marketing messages dependent on these needs.

New orders were gained as a direct result of this process.

This and more on Branduin Business Support web site, what we do: helping owners and MDs of small to medium sized companies to achieve personal business goals.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

About Branduin Business Support

Business advisers at Branduin Business Support, London, provide specialist support services for small to medium size companies, from business planning to achieving success. Our services and a great deal more can be found on our web site,