Lisa is famed more recently for her appearance on Gordon Ramsey‘s The F-Word, in which her family-run restaurant Sweet Mandarin won the prestigious Best Local Chinese Restaurant in the UK. Aside from the wonderful cooking, Lisa and her sisters have broken new ground in mixing new marketing techniques to help build a traditional yet thriving business. Her forward thinking approach to business and creativity has led to her role as an alumni of Manchester Metropolitan University Business School and she is in high demand to speak at business conferences throughout the North West and beyond.
I first ‘met’ Lisa on Twitter after being bowled over by how much she ‘gets’ social media – TweetUps and all! Her business has continued to thrive as they have steadily built their community of enthusiastic customers. Lisa has a refreshing outlook on business, having worked as a financier in London (a ‘corporate job’) and made the leap to running her own entrepreneurial business. She is focused on making every experience the best for her customers in order to build the restaurant and leave a legacy – rather than focusing on building a chain of restaurants which could result in growth for growth’s sake.
In this conversation we cover:
- What inspired Lisa to make the leap from the safety of a corporate job to running her own business with her sisters
- How she has embraced social media such as Twitter to help build her business
- The importance of staying close to your roots and understanding what contributes to your success
- Being open to new ideas and suggestions from customers to create new services
- The value of looking after your customers and how they can turn into some of your best marketeers
- Innovative ways of taking customer orders!
- Staying focused on what you are good at and not getting distracted by new trends etc
- Finding new ways to connect with your customers
- (unfortunately we ran out of time to discuss their Sweet Mandarin book !)
The Sweet Mandarin represents a new breed of entrepreneurial business that is closely intertwined with its customers. Lisa and her sisters are the ‘face’ of the business and they actively engage with their customers and the wider Manchester business community. They manage to mix more traditional and established business (restaurateurs) with new (social media, community engaged, transparent, forward thinking).
I firmly believe that we can all learn as businesses from Lisa, her sisters and Sweet Mandarin.
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Credits: Thanks to Lisa Tse for this week’s show + music used in the BusinessN2K podcast is by Viba – In the Orchard lies a Secret – available as a free download and is released under a Creative Commons Licence