Audi has bought Ducati from International Motorcycles for a reported £708m The UK arm said today there were no plans for Audi dealers to sell the motorcycles…
Not so long ago at a network meeting I was asked to explain one of the services I offer, maintenance consultancy. My description baffled the folks present. “What does that actually mean?” ventured one of the folks around the table. Now as most of the people I encounter at networking tend to be small business owners operating in the worlds of Accountancy, Marketing, HR, IT services and such like, I fully sympathise that the term ‘maintenance’ doesn’t resonate in this environment. Maintenance to most of us is only encountered when our car or washing machine breaks down and we need to get a ‘technician’ or ‘engineer’ to fix it. (My quotes are deliberate as there has been some terminology devaluation going on regarding what were once more correctly called mechanics or fitters. But that’s a debate going on elsewhere and you’ll be relieved to hear I won’t enter it now.)
Anyway, my on-the-spot attempt to give a lay answer to the genuine enquiry was quite abysmal and certainly not illuminating. Perhaps I can only adequately provide the answer to people who already know what it means. Or at least, to people already from a manufacturing industry environment like myself.
Networking groups have their own ways for members to say what they do and evince business development opportunities from other members. Refer-On’s favoured method is the 60 second presentation. Refer-On has some excellent guidance on how to structure one’s delivery using that time limit.
The sixty second talk also famously appears in another guise – the long running radio (and of late to commemorate its 45th year – televised) Just a Minute parlour game. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we had to give our 60 second spiel without hesitation, deviation or repetition. But this is so different from the Refer-On situation. In the game the subject is a surprise to the players and they may struggle to find enough to say about it. The opposite is true at Refer-On; we know our subject – ourselves – too well and often fail to complete the story by the whistle, not wanting to leave any small detail out that seems extremely pertinent to us if not the rest of the assembly.
Another method of promoting what one does in business caught my attention recently, and I thought it was rather good. Someone in one of the Linked-In SME based Groups threw out a challenge to describe one’s business in 10 words. Quite a few responded to the challenge and the ubiquitous terms ‘solution’, ‘cost saving’ and general statements that they make their client’s world a better place abounded. However, I was quite surprised how often I could not tell what they actually do to achieve it. Infuriating! Call me old-fashioned, but whilst I understand the advice to concentrate on the customer’s needs I do think it helps clarity if you say what you can actually do.
So, I had my own go. My 10 word submission for my energy consultancy business, which frankly didn’t take more than a few nanoseconds of design and could probably be improved by not many more, was:
Lower energy, lower costs, lower carbon, better business, better planet.
Still too vague? [sigh]
So let me try to make amend for my original failure to describe what I do as a maintenance consultant in the requisite 10 words. So here’s my best effort:
Ensuring it’s unlikely to break when you are using it.
Any suggested for improvements or alternatives to my 10 word summaries gratefully received
Eden (GM) buys outlets from Seward administrator
Monday, 26 March 2012
Eden (GM) has bought two Vauxhall dealerships from the administrators of Seward (Wessex) for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.
The businesses are being renamed Eden Branksome and Eden Christchurch with immediate effect.
Greg Palfrey and Stephen Adshead, from administrators Smith & Williamson, had traded the firm for weeks as a going concern while a buyer was found, with sales and servicing continuing as normal.
Palfrey said: “We always felt confident a buyer would come forward because Seward (Wessex) was a strong brand with many qualities and opportunities.”
Seward was founded in 1989 and was rated 182 in the Motor Trader Top 200 based on an estimated turnover of £42.5m. At its height it was a £100m-turnover group with a 400-strong workforce.
The administrators closed the group’s parts distribution and auto centre in Christchurch this month and last month a Vauxhall and Chevrolet dealership in Blandford Forum.
“Our decision to wind down two economically unviable sites in Blandford and Grange Road, Christchurch, with the regrettable loss of 46 jobs overall, ensured that the core business of Seward (Wessex) could be saved,” said Palfrey.
Eden, established in 2008, operates six retail centres in Reading, Newbury, Fareham, Exeter and Honiton, as well as a Vauxhall and Ford Aftersales centre in Bracknell.