Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Madagascan Gin Palace hits lucky 13

Morgan PR has been a firm fan of the wonderfully named Madagascan Gin Palace since Richard Hayman (pictured enigmatically above!) first explained the concept way back before we were even Morgan PR!

Naturally any excuse to visit is acceptable, but today we were meeting up with its owner, restaurant entrepreneur Richard Hayman for a forthcoming feature in Newbury Business Today, (as the Newbury Business News has been renamed ahead of the launch of the Newbury Weekly News' business website).

After the obligatory gossip we got down to marveling at the restaurant's longevity - a lucky 13 years - and opted for a Q&A interview to elicit the necessary responses for the article.

It's out on the 13th March, but if you cannot wait until then do pop down to the Gin Palace and Richard will happily tell you himself!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Passing time with The Clockmaker

The Clockmaker. It could be the alias of a sinister hitman, renown for their efficiency, precision and timing... perhaps it is! However, today Morgan PR was with someone altogether more likeable, so much so an interview that should have lasted a mere hour, lasted closer to two.

Actually I can be precise on the timing as I was surrounded by clocks. Dozens if not hundreds of them; big clocks, small clocks, long case clocks and everyone of them a ticking clock. After all The Clockmaker not only has a reputation for being able to make a clock if only presented with a hand, he also repairs and sells a host of elegant timepieces.

Before the interview could commence I had to repress nostalgic recollections of that 1970s TV series Pipkins and the cacophony of ticking clocks which meant it was 'time for a story' and subsequently took me to Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon', or more specifically 'Time'.

Chris Bessent is The Clockmaker; warm and friendly, Chris Bessent does not strike the archetypal image of a clockmaker, he is not in the least wizened and nor do I find him hunched over a workbench peering through thick spectacles when we meet him at his Hungerford business.

He is very engaging and clearly passionate about his business, which has built upon a fascination founded in childhood for understanding how things work and his conversation, like all conversations is littered with time-orientated references which show how fundamental time is to our very existence.

He explained: “It started when I was a child; most people take for granted that something works. Me, I wanted to know how it worked and left alone I would take something apart to try and find out. Invariably I would wreck it, but today, with 29 years experience in making and repairing clocks that curiosity has developed into a real skill. Someone once joked I could make a clock if someone simply brought me the hand... and I probably could!

“We take time, but we provide a quality service that does represent value for money. A clock isn’t something like a car that needs servicing every year, but you have to appreciate if it goes wrong after 20 or 30 years, or 100 or 150 years, then it might take some time and effort to fix it. Of course it might not, but we will tell you, and we offer a three year guarantee.

“We also sell clocks, but people do not buy a clock to tell the time. It is about so much more; it can be an elegant focal point of a room and offer something stable, something solid and reliable. We have companies that buy clocks from us and what gives gravitas and a feeling of longevity more than a clock? Of course if you don’t care then you can go to Next and buy a quartz thing!"

For such a complicated and specialist task there is an incredible transparency to how Chris Bessent does business; the whole process, from the initial quote to explaining what he has done is clear and easy to understand – not unlike the skeleton clocks of the early 19th Century that revealed the inner workings of clocks, The Clockmaker and his team inspire confidence and trust with their time honoured approach to providing a real service to the customer.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Simpleology and a mulit-media blogging course

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Square Mile Connections with Dubai

Morgan PR is lucky enough to have been writing about Square Mile Connections since the company was first launched a couple of years ago; it has been especially fun seeing how founder Mia Drennan and her team have been building upon their success at a time when many in the recruitment sector seem to be faltering.

Meeting with them today I was thrilled to hear that they have moved far beyond their traditional appointment ground of the City and indeed further than local appointments for clients in Newbury. Now Square Mile Connections are appointing in Dubai, Hong Kong, Mauritius and New York.

You will be able to discover more in the forthcoming edition of Newbury Business Today (the newspaper formerly known and the Newbury Business News!), but it goes some way to explaining why Mia and her Recruitment Director Nicola Ogston are looking quite so pleased with themselves in this photo, taken outside of the Kings Road West offices in Newbury.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WiNning at Networking

A couple of weeks ago, Michelle Lucas of Greenfields was kind enough to invite me to a new networking group, Women in Newbury (WiN for short).

This is a group just for women, with charity support a vital part of their aims. I left there fully signed up to the principles of the group, so much so that I am now in the position of treasurer!

The advantages of this group are:

  • A women's only business group - a chance to network and share ideas in a relaxed environment
  • A chance to group together to raise awareness of our businesses to encourage new custom
  • Organising events to raise awareness of the group and businesses in the group
  • Events to support local charities
The meeting was very buzzy and vibrant, with lots of good ideas being put forward. Much of the meeting was given over to planning a Charity Quiz Night, being held on Friday 4th April. The charity that the group has nominated for this year is the Rainbow Rooms for terminally ill cancer patients at West Berkshire Community Hospital.

The next meeting on Tuesday 4th March, 6pm at Document House in Newbury and new members are very welcome. If this seems like your kind of group, give me a call and I'll be happy to take you along.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Morgan PR Takes Action

Many of our clients and certainly readers of this blog will be familiar with Morgan PR's ever blossoming relationship with Action Coach; it has taken us to Las Vegas for a seminar with the company founder, Brad Sugars and every fortnight it has been taking us to Sally Rainbow-Ockwell's Profit Club.

Now we have invested in Sally's support and expertise on a one-to-one basis and this means each and every week we get her advice and encouragement to help drive us towards our goals.

We have commented before that not all Action Coaches are created equal and Sally was not the first coach we met and I doubt she will be the last, but she has delivered first class coaching time and time again and we have reaped the benefits of Profit Club and I am confident that we will very soon be celebrating exponential success with Sally on board.

This morning we have had our one-to-one and was like Profit Club on steroids; all the energy and advice of those sessions focused specifically on our business and what we want to achieve.

We will still be going to Profit Club because it offers a community level of advice and support from like-minded business professionals and I suspect the sum of the whole will be greater.

Already someone has asked me how long do I perceive that we will use Action Coach? Surely the answer is as long as they add value to what we do! I am confident that it will be for a long and very prosperous time to come!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Skip to the photo for a surprise

Anyone who has ever had a skip delivered, whether for the builders, your own DIY or after being inspired to do some real spring cleaning will know those questions the hire companies rattle off about accessibility from the road etc.

Well at AASVogel, providers of skips and waste disposal across West Berkshire and south Oxfordshire, they have a rather neat skip lorry that can deliver skips over hedges, walls and suchlike and squeeze them into hitherto unreachable corners - I know because Morgan PR was photographing one today and accepting that pictures can sum up to many words, here you go:

Friday, February 01, 2008

A Sense of Wellbeing

Morgan PR was back at the Wellbeing Centre in Newbury today to photograph the charming Kinesiologist Ros Kitson in action for a forthcoming feature; back in December Ros was among the group that we spoke to about successful PR.

Liz Graham, owner of the Wellbeing Centre was on hand to pose for a model for this photograph which sought to show the hands on nature of the work Ros does, while showing her warm a friendly face that her patients trust so.

Incidentally, both Ros and Liz took my advice and launched blogs after my talk and Liz's blog can be found here and if you want to see Ros' blog click here.