11 of the best working lunch spots, in London

11 of the best working lunch spots, in London

by Esme Banks Marr

31 August, 2017

Making the most of your lunchbreak? Treating a client or colleague? Catching up with stakeholders? Having that long-awaited meeting with the accountant or business coach? Whichever way you look at it, the working lunch has a serious place in our modern working lives – and it’s not just for PR professionals!

Just a couple of tips before I delve into my recommendations though…

Wine at lunch isn’t always appropriate, or necessary. Use your initiative and remember to drink water, even if you are having an alcoholic drink too. Order the water first, whatever you do. You still want to make sense at the end of the meeting… Don’t order anything too sloppy – spaghetti, ramen noodles and shellfish are pretty much a no, unless you are particularly close with the person you’re having lunch with. If you’re eating something sloppy, smelly or fiddly, you’ll be too busy fighting your food to pitch, discuss, brainstorm or plan.

I’ve based my suggestions around tube stations because, let’s face it, you’ve got other things to get on with after lunch so you’ll be needing to travel again.

Cambridge Street Kitchen

Pimlico (5 min to Victoria)

This place is an excellent spot to take friendly clients for informal meetings. They do breakfast for those early bird meetings and have a cocktail bar downstairs for the after-work celebratory drinks. The décor is comfortable and modern, with a domesticated Pimlico vibe.

No.11 Pimlico Road

Victoria (10 min to Victoria)

An all-day restaurant with a modern and relaxed feel to it. The menu is varied, but the food is great and good value. There’s lots of natural light and space to spread out and work on your laptop and various locations for more confidential meetings.

BFI Stephen Street Kitchen

Fitzrovia (8 min to Tottenham Court Rd)

I love this place as you can see right into the BFI HQ next door. Film posters and giant Oscar statuettes stare at you through the glass as you sit in your lavish looking velvet green booth, sipping a cracking coffee and chowing down a flatbread straight from the pizza oven. This one’s appropriate for any and all meetings.

The Folly

Gracechurch St (2 min to Bank)

A garden inspired lounge spread over two floors. It opens early for breakfast and goes straight through until late. The menu is extensive and there are various seats to choose from – benches, dining chairs and armchairs. A good spot to meet someone for the first time. It’s easy to locate and pretty much everyone in London knows it.


(3 min to Shoreditch High St and 10 min to Liverpool St)

The exotic one on the list. If you have to book a business meeting for someone you know enjoys Indian food, do it here – end of. The food is great, as is the service. It’s something different and it’s uber cool…


Clerkenwell (6 min to Farringdon)

A cosy spot, great for wintery days. But I’d say it’s a good one for group meetings, or for more intimate rendezvous. It’s right in the centre of Clerkenwell so you’re no doubt going to run into furniture salesman and the odd publisher. But, let’s be honest, if you find yourself there, that’s who you’re going to be meeting anyway!

Riding House Café

Great Titchfield St (5 min to Oxford Circus)

This is another hot spot that most people will be aware of. Good for a fleeting coffee meeting or brunch, or a full blown lunch. It’s in the heart of the West End and therefore always busy, so if you haven’t booked, prepare to sit up at the bar.

Martello Hall

East London (5 min to London Fields)

This one doubles up as a great lunch venue and also a co-working space with bottomless coffee and speedy Wi-Fi in the lounge. Raised tables fill the restaurant, which are great for larger collaborative meetings, but it also suits perfectly as another trendy spot to take a colleague for a congratulatory (or just pay-day) drink.

No. 32 The Old Town

Clapham Common (3 min to Clapham Common)

Try this place if you find yourself south of the river. Clapham is full of great places nowadays that all tick the same Instagram worthy checklists, but this one is a step up from that … mainly because it has a balcony terrace that overlooks the common. It has a relaxed ambiance and everything from full blown mains to in-a-hurry sandwiches.

Farm Girl Café

Portobello (7 min to Notting Hill Gate)

The healthy option. You can’t make a reservation here but there’s always space, even if it means a very short wait. This place is efficient and well suited for a quick catch up with a colleague. It closes at 16.30, so your lunch break really will remain as such. They offer some pretty wild coffee variations too.

Natural Kitchen

Baker Street (6 min to Baker St)

Known as a deli, this restaurant edition to the chain is a popular spot for the Marylebone crowd. And rightfully so. Healthy options make up the majority of the menu, with a variety of juices to compliment. Wooden tables and a large glass front give it a farmhouse feel, which is quite welcome in the heart of central London.

Originally published on www.magentaassociates.co.uk

How to match British Beer with food

How to match British Beer with food

by Guest Contributor

29 August, 2017

There are currently over 1,500 breweries in Britain, the highest number since the end of World War 2. Not only has the choice increased but the quality is much higher too, with lots of our beers being recognised on the world stage.

As the only specialist British beer retailer, we’ve worked with over 500 producers to put together a fantastic portfolio of curated cases.

Enjoying a quality British beer is one of life’s great treats and while they are brilliant on their own we think the experience can be even better when served with food. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown meal, sometimes just a little snack can enhance the flavour of the beer. Recent innovations in the brewing process along with the use of imported hops has meant that British beer appeals to a huge new market. It is now so far removed from the flat brown bitter that was the norm only a few years ago.

We’ve put together our Best of British Beer ‘Wheel of Beer’ to help get maximum enjoyment from your beverage. Our tasting panel have listed nine of the most popular beer styles from a pale, crisp IPA to a rich, creamy stout. For each category, we have made four suggestions of what to eat while drinking. We’re sure you’ll enjoy mixing and matching – cheers!

The Best of British Beer ‘Wheel of Beer’ is free with every order placed with us. You will also receive a code giving you FREE Delivery on your next purchase.

How to write a killer business blog in four easy steps

How to write a killer business blog in four easy steps

by Xenia Kingsley

24 August, 2017

"Don’t get too hung up on crafting a piece of art, just make sure your message is right."

You are the kind of person who works really hard and gets the job done. But between keeping your clients satisfied and staying on top of all of your other daily tasks, it often feels like there isn’t a lot of time to do much else. And then comes the time to write a blog…

You know that blogs are important because they fuel SEO to your website, give your company a voice, fuel your PR efforts and show off your expertise, but figuring out where to start is another kettle of fish and time is precious. So, it’s important that you follow a process when writing blogs, not only to make the most of your time, but to get the most strategic value from your hard work.

Follow these four tips, and you’ll be a blogger extraordinaire in no time.

Choose a topic

Someone may suggest a topic to you, or perhaps you’ve already had an idea, but before you get drafting, be sure to run it through the handy Blog Idea flow-chart below to see if it fits the criteria of a good business blog.

This includes making sure your content isn’t contentious or offensive, linking it back to your premium content or core proposition and of course, being original.

If your idea meets these criteria (go you!), skip right ahead to point two.

If not, or if you’re starting from scratch and looking for an idea, here are a few places where inspiration might strike:

• At events or networking sessions
• Articles you’ve read
• Trends in the industry
• TV shows and movies you’ve seen
• Trends in popular culture or society
• Conversations you’ve had with clients or colleagues

If none of these spark ideas, you could try entering a keyword that is relevant to your business into this blog title generator and seeing what comes up: www.portent.com

And if you’re looking for a topical hook, Google Trends is a great place to start.

Just be sure to run the idea through the flow-chart before you get started to see if it’s viable.


STRUCTURE: Before you start drafting, have you thought about the structure of your blog? A great structure to follow is the SCQA model; situation, complication, question, answer. At the very least, ensure your blog has a strong beginning, middle and end with a conclusion that includes a strong call to action.

And if your blog topic is quite complicated, you could try the US Army communications model: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.”

Remember, very few writers will strike on a fantastic piece of content in their first draft. As Stephen King says, “Write with the door closed, edit with the door open” – in other words, exorcise your ideas in an expansive ‘brain dump’ (great mental image, right?) before you start refining and polishing.

TONE: Write personally, with a distinctive tone of voice, as people will care more about what they’re reading if you do. Be bold. Share your knowledge. Show off your expertise. But don’t waffle! Verbosity is a massive turn-off for readers. Check your blog with the Unsuck It App to remove jargon and the Hemingway App to make sure you’re getting to the point! Don’t get too hung up on crafting a piece of art, just make sure your message is right.

TITLES: ‘5 Ways to…’ and ‘Why X should do Y’ type blogs perform particularly well (again, if you’re stuck the Title Maker tool can be helpful). If you’re doing a ‘10 top tips’ style piece, try to avoid multiples of five or ten as people tend to assume there are filler points if it’s a round number! Your title needs to explain the story (unlike with print where the page informs the reader whether to read) and draw the reader in. Using song titles, movie names or popular phrases is good, but ensure that it relates to your content.

Sign-off process

Once you’ve run through the flow-chart, drafted your blog and edited it, it’s really important to ask someone else to proof-read it. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a colleague, but it is useful to run it past someone familiar with the subject matter to sense check your argument and watch out for typos and mistakes. We tend to miss our own mistakes and errors can be very off-putting to readers.

When you’re happy that your blog is as polished as it can be, reads well and is free from typos, post it!

Making the most of your blog

Once your blog is posted, don’t forget to share it via your social media channels and ask your colleagues to do the same to really get the most out of your content. If you use Wordpress of a similar CMS, don’t forget to include your SEO keywords to really optimise your post.

Happy blogging!


A version of this blog originally appeared on www.manbitesdog.com

How to Influence an Influencer

How to Influence an Influencer

by Guest Contributor

23 August, 2017


Spilling secrets is fast becoming something that LornaLuxe and I excel at. Especially if it is combined with an audience, an agenda about digital and each other (and possibly a bottle of Champagne if it is after soz 7pm - tee hee).

Anyway, Cision invited us to appear in their series of Webinar’s where we would share some serious #realness on the topic of How to influence an influencer – with LornaLuxe being the influencer and me being the PR acting on behalf of the brand. In real life, the digital influencer is a modern phenomenon, so not massively surprising that it is pretty easy to make a mess of it. And it ain’t just a case of ‘Dear Blogger’ style impersonal emails causing the problems, it is a minefield of money, statistics, marketing, PR, brand, spotting bought followers, understanding Google Analytics and calculating ROI…which is so confusing that you may well want to avoid it altogether.

But DO NOT WORRY because HELP IS AT HAND! LornaLuxe and I have been doing this long enough that in this hour Webinar we give you the ONE thing LornaLuxe always wants to be asked by brands (but they never do). The TWO special sentences that make her hit auto-delete on an email. We will give you a THREE MONTH plan to boost your followers and interaction. Wow I sound like one of those QVC style salesmen! Soz. here is the full and unedited Webinar – featuring our first disagreement (hey, no one said we had to AGREE on shiz).

If you are a bit short on time, I can tell you a few handy hints:

Point break

LornaLuxe & I have worked together on many different projects – including THIS Getting Naked With LornaLuxe interview and for denim designer DONNA IDA. BUT we didn’t meet by chance. Instead Lorna got on my radar, we had a social media relationship so by the time I got in touch, my first email said ‘I feel like we’re already friends.’ The rest is history and there are more details on understanding the Point Break theory, how to develop your relationships on social media and in (controversially) in real life in the Webinar.

Let's go digital

Try not to utter the words; ‘I just don’t understaaaannnndddddd digital’ because who wants to be that person? Skill up! How can you possibly talk to influencers/negotiate with brands/expect to grow online if you don’t understand it. My tips? Get a book first – try The New Rules of PR & Marketing by David Meerman Scott and if not, get a crash course from an expert in the digital field. I was lucky enough to learn an awful lot from digital marketing agency Netleadz and their founder Xaver Matt – they’re small, personal and speak using real language – AMAZE. You’ll soon be talking about your numbers/conversion like a pro.

Me, me, me!

It is easy to become selfish in the digital world so LornaLuxe and I believe in researching your audience to know how you can work together (pictured above when we first met along with Eimear Varian Barry). In the Webinar, you’ll also see the TWO magic phrases that will scoop you into LornaLuxe’s digital rubbish bin – trust me, no one wants to be in there. So – no cut and paste emails, no sloppy language or casual ‘Hi babes’ing. Let’s think strategically folks.

Social as the long game

LornaLuxe (pictured above in the Maldives dah-ling) shares the apps she uses to track her growth and competitors, how to spot people who are buying followers and how she grew to over 400k followers on Instagram! You’ll end with a three month plan – trust me, it is worth it!

I also contributed to Gorkana’s Guide to Influencer Marketing. Click the button below to download.

How to…write like an expert on almost anything

How to…write like an expert on almost anything

by Guest Contributor

18 August, 2017

by Julia Burns, founder of LightningBug

I write on everything from augmented reality to zombies. Life jackets? Laws? Lobworms? Love? All in a week’s work. How can I possibly be so knowledgeable on such varied and often complex topics? It’s simple really: I’m not. But I can fake it pretty well with six tricks. So how can you too become an overnight expert in pretty much anything?

Find out everything you can  

Don’t write a jot until you have read as much about the topic as you can possibly find. Spend hours on it. You’ll want to get started straight away but there’s no point. You’ll just be staring at a blank screen.

Start specific. Make sure you understand the definitions of all the keywords associated with the topic.

Then go much much wider. Google it again and again. Read blogs, reports, infographics. Use tools like Feedly to see what’s been said recently in the news. Watch films and documentaries that are in any way related.

All this will help you understand how people talk about the topic and give you more creative ammunition.

Talk to the experts  

If you can pick the brains of actual authorities, you can find out so much more than from reading anything online.

Find out who to talk to by researching who speaks on these topics online and at events. Contact them through companies, through LinkedIn, guess their email addresses. Think “what would Lois Lane do?”. Interview two or three experts over the phone or email them a set of questions if they’d find that easier.

It will take time but it will be worth it. You’ll understand the topic beyond anything you could have hoped. Oh, and you can use quotes from the interviews in your article making you sound informed and networked. Interviews = amazing.

Make it small  

It is easier and often more effective to write on a narrow area within a topic. Try to cover too much and you’ll get lost.

Rather than writing on the poems of Emily Dickinson, write on the bees in three of her poems. Rather than writing on why to code, write on the top reasons people think they are too old code.

Hit on something interesting to you

Now you’ve got all that in the bag, identify a nugget you find really interesting. What would you enjoy writing on most? This will ensure you can add personality, which is how you really show you know your stuff.

Structure it

You might be the best creative writer since Mark Twain. But I’m not. So before I start an article, a review, a white paper or whatever I’m writing, I make sure I know the argument that will run through it. I set it up clearly in the opening and I know exactly what I’m going to cover in each paragraph to get to the final point.

There are different layouts you can use which make this faster and simpler. Q&As, short blogs, myth-busting, likening to superheroes/filmstars and so on. Decide what would work best for your piece based on all your decisions to date. Oh, and don’t use lists. That’s just lazy.

Sleep on it

By now, you can actually write it! So go on, get on with it. But remember, what you write today will look awful when you read it back. And then you’ll keep reading it back and editing it, blind to what works and what still needs work.

Come back to it fresh and you’ll be able to see more clearly if you’ve written a well-structured piece of writing that makes a succinct point.

So I guess it’s time for me to take a nap.

Tips to take your first long exposure photo

Tips to take your first long exposure photo

by Guest Contributor

10 August, 2017

By Paul K Porter, Photographer

It is that time of year when the days are getting shorter and the nights are longer. Personally I love it, as I have more time to play with long exposure photography.

Long exposure photography is fun and probably one of my most favorite things to shoot. A whole new world opens up, full of motion and movement — the image feels alive. From rolling waves to passing cars to the night sky, there are many adventures to be had keeping the shutter open. Since so many of us are hard at work keeping our images sharp and clear and the first time figuring out how to attempt a long exposure can be a bit daunting, here are nine steps to get you started.


To start with, pick a location that you are familiar and comfortable with. There are potential long exposure images everywhere; all you need is motion or movement. Think about your finished image: capturing a waterfall or steam or waves this way will give you smooth silky water; an urban scene with cars will capture “light trails” that streak through the image; the night sky can come alive with stars and colours even our eyes cannot see; a busy marketplace can have a blur of humanity passing through it. What kind of motion inspires you? Plan on trying to capture that. Even better if you can check the location out beforehand, since most long exposures have to happen after sunset or before sunrise.


For long exposures you have to use a tripod, though you could rest the camera on a flat surface in a pinch. The key to a good long exposure image is to highlight a movement while retaining sharpness in the parts of the images not moving—if everything else in the image is also blurred, it will not have the same effect. That’s just a blurry image, unless you’re absolutely doing it on purpose. It is also best to use some sort of a remote trigger to avoid any camera movement as you press the shutter. If you do not have one yet, you can use the timer on the camera, such as 2 or 10 seconds, which will give you a count down after pressing the shutter.


You should shoot in RAW for the best results—do you have enough space on your memory cards for that? Will you have enough battery life shooting for a couple of hours? Do you have the clothing you need? Bug spray or rubber boots? If you’re spending the night, bring a tent. The right equipment will depend on just how much darkness you’ll be working in. After sunset, you might still be blocking light with a high aperture, so even a basic kit lens can work; however, to capture the stars, which are so dim, you’ll want a lens with f/2.8 or at the very least, f/4. Do you want a wide scene, or some more zoomed in and possibly abstract? If you don’t have a fast enough lens, can you borrow or rent?


Check the weather forecast. I have spent hours shooting in ski gear to save me getting cold, and I generally carry an umbrella. The umbrella is to cover my camera gear and not for me. You’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable and the camera is fairly dry. If you’re working with the night sky, you’ll want to consider if the moon is rising and/or full because that can get in the way of shooting stars.


What do you want in the scene? This can be tough at night as it is difficult to see through the viewfinder or in live view – come in the daytime to look around if you can. If you can’t, and it’s quite dark, you’ll have to somewhat blindly take an image, and adjust based on the result, until it’s what you like. What do you see and what do you want to capture? If you’re going into nature and can’t visit during the day, bring a powerful flashlight; if you’re going into the city, you’re probably okay to just play around until you find something you like.


If you’re doing an urban scene, there should be enough light to autofocus. If it starts to take a long time for the camera to figure it out, then focus it manually—you might want to practice doing this at home if you don’t trust your judgement. But if you’re working in the dark, out in nature, you can shine a powerful flashlight on something (like a tree) and autofocus; then, switch the lens to manual, and the correct distance should be set—but always zoom in on the result and see. For stars or the night sky, if there’s no foreground to autofocus on with a flashlight, you’ll need to manually set your lens somewhere between infinity and 3, shoot, and check the results, and repeat until it looks sharp (or recompose so there is something you can focus on).

Time of day

You really cannot take a long exposure during a sunny or bright daytime unless you have special filters (and a few of them). Heavy clouded days, or very shaded areas can allow for a long shutter during the day—so hike into a wooded area, or go shooting under an angry looking sky. Most of us do long exposures around sunset (after the sun is gone from the horizon), dawn, dusk, blue hour, and after dark. You want some light, but not too much, or the photo will be white/blown out. (On the other hard, if it’s too dark the image will be mostly black).


Making the images is when you really get to play. If you are not comfortable shooting in manual mode, then set your camera to Time or Shutter Priority (S on Nikon, Tv on Canon, S on Sony, etc) and set the ISO to 100. Choose the shutter speed you want to try. It depends on how fast (or slow) the motion is happening, or how dim the situation is. If it’s water moving really fast, even 1/4th or 1/10th will reveal motion to the water. If it’s light streaks from cars, you’ll want 10 to 30 seconds in order to get a long streak rather than a short one. If you’re trying to shoot the stars, you actually will want ISO because stars are very very dim—something like ISO 2000 to start. Bare in mind that if it’s still bright out, or the street is well lit, you might not be able to obtain 30 seconds right away (it is letting in a lot of light). If you’re not comfortable with light and settings, just play and enjoy! The connections will start to come together soon enough. If you shoot on manual already, do all of the above but select an aperture to try along with the shutter, and the ISO at 100. If it’s still bright, try f/22 to block light. If it’s dusky, try f/8. If it’s quite dim, try f/4 or f/2.8. Go from there!

Review, rework, reshoot–and enjoy!

Once you have made your first image, review it on the screen. What do you think? Do you like the composition? Is it too bright or too dark? Play with the settings—on Shutter Priority you can use exposure compensation to brighten, or darken as best you can—you may want to switch the ISO to “Auto” if you’re really struggling; on manual, you could open or close the aperture, lengthen or shorten the shutter speed, or add/remove ISO. Is the focus good or is it off? Consider your vision for the photo. Explore your creativity and what the camera is capable of doing. Ultimately, you are the photographer and the camera is the tool. You are telling the camera what you want it to produce. Most importantly, have fun and do not forget to share your images.

How to network

How to network

by Guest Contributor

10 August, 2017


My NakedPRGirl blog and business is all about honesty and going behind the smoke and mirrors of the PR & Marketing industry…but today I find myself in unfamiliar territory and am looking to a relationship guru to share his secrets instead.

Let me introduce you to Matthew Hussey, he’s a relationship expert/love doctor type (he hates labels but hey ho) who I first discovered through friends who were looking to decode the modern relationship. Naturally, I was totally cynical, spending an inordinate amount of time watching his YouTube videos on ‘What To Text Him’ and such the like and telling everyone that I thought it was all a bit ridiculous. Until that is I began to admire him – there I said it. For one, the man KNOWS his marketing – or rather his team do. Giving us that perfect mix of slick videos with down-to-earth moments and ‘real life’ examples. He knows how to tease me. Goddammit Matthew, I went from casual YouTube-ing to getting the ‘Get The Guy Book’ from the Maida Vale Library to subscribing to your fancy members area (HELP HELP!), ‘he’ emails me every single day – that’s more often than my clients do!

But jokes aside, I knew he was really onto something when my mum (who was visiting me before Christmas and has been happily married for 30 years I might add), picked up the Get The Guy book and started reading it, proclaiming ‘it has some really interesting points.’ And it does, and what I’ve realised is that these are really life skills, they are skills that have been forgotten amongst the digital malarky and I think they’re so important that I am telling anyone who will listen about them. So here are the SEVEN things Matthew Hussey can teach us about LIFE and more importantly for the PR industry, about networking:

1 – IN REAL LIFE – Digital (of course) has it’s place – in dating and in business. BUT Hussey will be the first to tell you that we need to work on our social skills in the everyday. Wow – so true isn’t it? So that means, talking to people. Actually speaking to them, and more of them, and being friendly, men, women of all ages, just try it. Not all your conversations will lead anywhere but they will get you used to talking to people and therefore make you better at it. And when you meet that man/woman of your dreams or that influential business person, you’re less likely to look like a rabbit in headlights. Try and chat to a couple of strangers today and see how hard it has become, if you do it everyday it gets easier.

2 – BE THE BUTTERFLY – I’m always jealous of those people who come in, light up a room, smile and chat and move effortlessly between groups, before sliding out of the door while you’re still hanging in the corner clutching a glass of champagne and trapped (usually) with some dude trying to sell you an affiliate scheme. In any situation, we can get so much more out of life by enlarging our social circle and getting to know more people. So the next time you’re stuck in one of those conferences with a name badge, challenge yourself to move around more.

3 – BUILD RAPPORT – Argh but like HOWWWWW??? For a long time I didn’t realise my job was to be friendly with people. As a PR Assistant ten years ago, I was usually in the background and working away but these days as a Consultant, most business is face to face. Building rapport isn’t easy and some people are better than others which is why we should practice. Maybe you already do this, maybe it’s complementing someone when you meet them (oh your shoes are ah-mazing etc)…whatever it is make sure you have a few failsafe things to say and you’ll soon relax and be yourself.

4 – CREATE A ROUTINE FOR SUCCES – Hussey loves a good quote, and he especially likes The Great Gatsby (one of my all-time faves) and in the video below he talks about how Gatsby created a timetable for himself to prepare for success. Organisation and strategy is the key to success, in business and in love. That can mean anything from making it a weekly task to visit a new venue, checking out a new event from likeminded people or even using social media to do your homework on new connections and network for half an hour each day. The key, sharpen up.

5 – IMAGE – Now then, I often talk about image in business and Hussey’s assertion with dating is that you should always be ready; ‘if you’re always ready, you don’t need to get ready.’ What he means is that, ideally, you’d always be happy to run into your ex because you’re taking care of yourself. Same applies here. You might run into a new client or influencer on a Sunday afternoon, and you don’t want to be put off from chatting to them because you haven’t washed your hair. That’s not to say you have to go OTT every time you leave the house, (note you do not need to channel VB in skyscraper heels at all times – well not unless you Uber everywhere) just that you want to be happy with your appearance.

6 – HOLD AN EVENT – In dating Hussey looks at enhancing your social circle by going to new places and holding regular get togethers with friends old and new. In business, instead of ploughing money into Facebook advertising, how about an event where you can keep talking to regular contacts and getting to know new ones in an informal setting. Think you can’t do that? You totally can, just start with a small number of people and go from there. No one is expecting you to be throwing a BRIT Awards style party straight away…give it a year at least

7 – KNOW WHEN TO WALK AWAY – We all know that person in work, or in dating that is a total f*£k-wit time waster and will just keep leading you on and on with the hope it will go somewhere. When you get the feeling that you’re wasting your time, be confident that there are other people out there who will appreciate you. As Hussey says, be ‘high value’ so take note and be nice, firm and leave them to it.

So there you go seven things from Matthew Hussey’s ‘GET THE GUY’ world that can translate to real life; in your love life and your work life. You can buy GET THE GUY on Amazon and head over to Matthew Hussey’s Get The Guy YouTube channel to watch the videos. Be warned, he’s addictive. Right, I’m off to book on a £5k Matthew Hussey Retreat in LA…just joking – pull me back from the edge someone!!!

Top Tips for starting a B2B

Top Tips for starting a B2B

by Guest Contributor

9 August, 2017

To all future entrepreneurs out there, here's my best tips on putting your business plans into action.

by Freddie Ossberg, CEO Raconteur

1. Don’t over complicate the business plan or the vision for the business: most business plans work on paper but it’s the people behind the idea that make the difference between success and failure.

2. Break-even early: many inexperienced business people have unrealistic expectations as to the break-even. It might seem pragmatic – modest even – to not expect to break-even too early on. However, you should never plan your break-even to be too far ahead in a B2B business, as the chances are that your business will be dead by then.

3. Be an industry market specialist: There’s a saying, in order to know the future, you must understand the past. When it comes to a startup business, the management team must truly know its sector inside out: the trends and historic patterns and all the PESTLE – political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental – factors that can affect your business position.

4. If more than one founder – have a shareholders’ agreement in place from day one: it should solidify everything from how to solve strategic decision making to specifying the process of founders exiting the business. Be brutally cynical upfront and plan for all eventualities so that in the event of stasis or even disagreement that there is an agreed and dispassionate path to follow.

5. Install a board from day one: preferably with an experienced Chairman who can help drive the business forward and create a “discipline culture” amongst the management team. As Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, notes, a disciplined culture is one that is rigorous, but not ruthless, about its people, its thinking and its actions, and that the rigour must start at the top.

6. Assemble a team of highly-skilled operators that buy-in into the vision: when you begin you are 100% of the business’ output, and thus it is crucial that employee 1, 2 and 3 are excellent hires with the right mix of complementary skills so that you can not only cover all the ground you need to, but can do so with the confidence that you have skilled representation and can leave others to do their job.

7. Make sure that the majority of staff early on are revenue generating: sales is the lifeblood of any business, not least when you are starting from zero. You do need to have excellent administrative and financial staff, but without sales coming in, there will be very little for them to administrate or count!

8. Decide your economic engine: figure out what is driving the business forward whether it be revenue per employee or profit per customer or some other ratio. The trick is to pick one, any ratio that can act as an economic denominator and focus the business. This gives you a very simple way to track the health of your business and not lose sight of what really makes the difference and where you really need to move the needle.

9. Culture eats strategy for breakfast: Belief and commitment to excellence are the two main ingredients you need to be successful in my view, so work tirelessly on setting up such a culture. Everyone who works for you will consciously or unconsciously take their cue on what is expected and accepted from you, so it is vital that not only are you setting the tone in the right way, and that in doing so you are being true to yourself, as it will be impossible to sustain if not. You should also never ask your employees to do something you are not willing to do yourself.

10. Be single minded about success: what is true for all businesses, but in particular the B2B business sector, is that there always an opportunity to grab market share – you just have to be slicker and more determined than existing providers. Whatever you offer, you will succeed if you can either persuade prospects that you have an answer to a problem they didn’t know they had, or, as is often the case, that you can provide a better solution than what they currently have.

Freddie Ossberg – This article originally appeared on Raconteur

Fruit at work boosts productivity, energy and wellbeing

Fruit at work boosts productivity, energy and wellbeing

by Cathy Hayward

8 August, 2017

Research reveals that fruit at work boosts productivity, energy and wellbeing

Providing fresh fruit at people’s desks increases employee’s productivity by more than 10 per cent, substantially boosts their energy levels and encourages them to adopt a healthier lifestyle. That‘s the conclusion of empirical research conducted by the UK’s original workplace fruit supplier, Fruitful Office.

Increase in productivity

Improved quality of life

Over three-quarters of the 320 people who took part in the research said the provision of free fruit made them feel more valued and more than 80 per cent thought having fresh fruit available at their desk had improved their quality of life at work.

Changed eating habits

Eating more fruit 70%
Eating fewer unhealthy snacks 45%
Choosing healthy options 13%

It also changed their eating habits. Seventy per cent said they were eating more fruit; 45 per cent were eating fewer “unhealthy” snacks and 13 per cent were choosing healthier options at lunch.

Almost 80 per cent of those that are the free fruit said they felt more healthy, with just under half reporting higher energy levels and just over a third claiming the fruit made them feel more alert.

Watch a video of the research in action


The research

Fruitful Office teamed up with the Ethical Property Company to conduct a workplace trial in order to measure the impact fresh fruit has on the lives of office workers. Ethical Property owns 15 centres across the UK (a total of 161,000 sq ft) providing office, event and retail space to charities, social enterprises, voluntary and campaign groups. The trial took place at their largest centre, Development House, in the City of London, between 18 June and 17 July 2013.

The building provides office space over seven floors for more than 20 organisations with a particular focus on international development issues. In total some 320 people work in the building. Fruitful Office delivered 216 baskets during the trial, containing seven varieties of fruit, with the 1,584 bananas being the fruit of choice. The baskets were placed on desks, filing cabinets and window ledges to ensure they were always within easy reach.

The building’s residents were asked to complete a pre-trial and post-trial survey to monitor the change in attitude, perception and outlook on both their productivity and their working environment, together with questions about their eating habits. “We thought this would be a great idea. Tenants in our building can be incredibly busy and may not be able to take time to ensure they purchase a healthy lunch and snacks. Having fruit on site, and within easy reach, will really help with this,” says office manager, Edith Allan.

“Our staff and tenants thought it was a nice and healthy gesture on behalf of Ethical Property. It added to their understanding of our triple bottom line approach to business – we care about the social and environmental impact of our buildings as well as their financial performance. Having a healthy workplace is part of this,” added Janine Woodward, the organisation’s sales and development manager.

Comments from participants:

“I think that the benefits make it a fantastically worthwhile investment and it helps make a very stressful job more managable – thank you!”

“It was a great idea. I felt valued and flattered by having fresh fruits at my desk. what a treat. I am 24 weeks pregnant and felt it was just right office snack for me and the baby. Thank you!”

“Excellent idea, people at the office drink so much coffee and tea, it is great to include healthy fruits in the mix. Thanks!”

Commenting on the results, Fruitful Office director Vasco de Castro said: “It’s been great to work with Ethical Property on the workplace trial. The results shows that in today’s hectic working environment, when people don’t always manage to eat healthily, the availability of fresh fruit at the desk is really appreciated and can make a real difference to feelings of wellbeing and productivity.”

Benefits of volunteering

Benefits of volunteering

by Cathy Hayward

8 August, 2017

As a keen volunteer I was thrilled to be asked to talk about the benefits of volunteering at the Facilities Show this year.

I’ve been deputy chair of the BIFM London Region since 2012, a BIFM Awards judge and I’m now on the CoreNet One Big Day committee. I’ve also been involved with school Parents’ Associations since my teenage son first donned a school blazer, am four years into a stint as a school governor, have run Sunday School classes, am a trustee for a children’s charity and a host for a charity providing emergency accommodation for homeless young people.

So why do I give up my time for free?

When I left the busy FM World office in spring 2011 for life as an FM comms consultant, initially working from my kitchen table, feeling I was part of a team was really important. The committee meetings are quite formal affairs with members taking on different roles from treasurer and secretary to chair and deputy chair. The agendas and minutes, matters arising and AOB are all comforting in their sense of order and demonstrate the team effort required to run a region effectively. Things that I find straightforward – writing a report from an event, or the blurb about an event to encourage people to sign up – other people may find more of a challenge. But tasks such as managing the region’s finances, with which I would struggle, come naturally to others. Managing a BIFM region is a real team effort. I’ve also found that the committee have helped me in other aspects of my life – if I need surveys filing in for clients, or an opinion on something, they’re a good network to turn to.

For many of us, our professional roles are quite defined whereas as a committee member, you can find yourself doing everything from negotiating a sponsorship deal, or liaising with a venue about how many bottles of wine and canapés are required for 70 people, to being the main point of contact for an event and dealing with a variety of weird and wonderful queries. I’ve learned loads of new skills which have helped me in my day job.

I’ve also learned a huge amount about other sector’s challenges. It’s only when you’ve been on a state primary school’s finance committee that you truly understand what a tight budget looks like. My work for Clowns Without Borders has made me realise how a small amount of money can have a major impact on children affected by crisis. Volunteering broadens your knowledge and horizons.

I’ve already talked about the strong bonds you make with fellow committee members, but as one of the committee, you attend almost all the region’s events, which enables you to build up relationships with regular event attendees who became a key part of your wider network. You also get to know people in BIFM HQ which is helpful if you have an idea for something the institute could do, or a query about something. Being a volunteer is a great opportunity to make new contacts outside the committee; whether it’s just because your name is linked to an event and you’ve been dealing with lots of people over the phone or email, or because you’ve stood up in front of 70 people and introduced an event, your name is out there.

Additionally, there’s the feeling that you’re giving back something to an industry from which we’ve all benefited. By helping to organise a networking event, I’m boosting the reputation of the BIFM, encouraging others to see it as a useful resource and helping BIFM members to learn and to network with one another.

Finally, volunteering allows you to follow passions that you might not be able to be involved in in your professional life. Like many of us I’ve been touched by the refugee crisis. As a result, Magenta is volunteering two days of time a month acting as the PR agent for a charity called Clowns Without Borders which performs in refugee camps to bring laughter into the lives of children affected by crisis and I have joined the charity as a trustee.

Homelessnes is a major problem in most UK cities, and particularly my hometown of Brighton. By giving up my spare room for a few days a month to a young person facing homelessness, I not only help to keep one person off the streets, but I also meet new people from different walks of life with different challenges and different perspectives on life, which is both interesting and rewarding.

And most of all, volunteering is great fun!