Show 002 – The F-Word, Twitter and Sweet Mandarin with Lisa Tse

I am delighted to introduce Manchester-based entrepreneur, Lisa Tse of The Sweet Mandarin, as an inspirational guest for this week’s BusinessN2K podcast.

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 mediaTweetUps 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.

How you can listen to BusinessN2K:

  1. Subscribe by clicking on the Subscribe to Podcast icon in the side bar or subscribe via iTunes. This is the best way to listen as it will ensure that all future episodes are delivered directly to you as new episodes are released, or
  2. Click on the Blubrry player below to listen now:

Blubrry player!

Please leave your comments, feedback and suggestions for future shows in the comments section below.

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

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Show #001 – Juggle! ReThink Work, Reclaim your Life

I’m delighted to kick off our podcast series with a fascinating chat with Ian Sanders of The Ian Sanders Company on his latest book Juggle! Rethink Work, Reclaim your Life

Ian Sanders is an entrepreneur, ideas guy, marketing bloke, business potentialiser, unplan evangelist, specialist in creative industries and author!

You can either listen to the podcast from your computer now or you can subscribe to listen to this and future episodes on your ipod, smart phone or mp3 player at your convenience – all for free.

In our 20 minute chat, topics covered with Ian include:

  • Ian’s life as a Juggler
  • introducing ‘plurality’ into our work and lives
  • avoiding being defined by our job title
  • how employees can also embrace the Juggle lifestyle to be more entrepreneurial
  • how the introduction of a reduced (often 4 day) work week during the recession could benefit both employers and employees over the longer term
  • rethinking the notion of retirement by reframing work
  • challenge of ‘switching off’ given the ‘always on’ 24 hr nature of technology tools
  • key lessons from Kevin Roberts (global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi) on balancing work and life
  • importance of being passionate about what you do – “play where you play best”
  • effectively managing your 24 hours per day

You can find this book at Amazon and you can find more from Ian Sanders at his website, plus regular updates on Ian’s latest thinking on his blog and on Twitter.

How you can listen to BusinessN2K:

  1. Subscribe by clicking on the Subscribe to Podcast icon in the side bar or subscribe via iTunes. This is the best way to listen as it will ensure that all future episodes are delivered directly to you as new episodes are released, or
  2. Click on the Blubrry player below to listen now:

Blubrry player!

Please leave your comments, feedback and suggestions for future shows in the comments section below.

Credits: Thanks to Ian Sanders 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

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Great Business = Great People (and vice versa)

You often hear successful CEOs say: “I couldn’t have done it without my team” or “We’re a People Business and our people are our greatest asset”.  These hugely successful businesses all appear to have great people.

But is it the luck or skill of the CEO in finding these “great people” or is it that great businesses draw out the great in people?

I believe it is the latter – let me explain:

A great business has a clear and compelling vision.  It has a mission.  A mantra.  A reason for existing.  It is (or aims to be) the best in the world at whatever it does. It makes a difference.  A contribution to society.  The World.

A great business infuses a passion in those that work for it.  They can clearly see the vision in front of them.  They want to see the vision fulfilled.  To see the difference being made or the problem solved.  This is not ‘work’ in the ‘clock-in, clock-out sense’, this feels more like a ‘calling’.  Going to work brings a sense of fulfilment.  A strong team dynamic is established as people work together in line with the shared vision.

A great business draws out the great qualities of the people that work there.  People feel great.  People become great.  In turn, businesses become great.

So are you a “people business” and if so, what are you doing to build a great business that allows your great people to flourish?

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