Productizing Services Turns Consultants Into Business Owners

I recently published the post ‘productized services as a service’ on about how freelancers, consultants and creative agency owners can benefit from standardizing their offering in terms of ability to scale.

A productized services business packages up a service into a product with a fixed list of features and price and delivered by a set date: the best example if as WP Curve.

Read the full post here or take a look at the done-for-you productize service.

Get Trendy Furniture To Add Ambience To Your Home

Ever since the UK the housing market came into revival mode in since 2013 the home furnishing market is in good times.  In the UK, hundreds of custom made Home Décor and Furnishing accessory markets and shops are providing contemporary furniture suiting every home and decor

Get ideas

Grand ideas on trendy furniture and home renovation can be had from furniture exhibitions, stores, galleries and interior designers. To reassure the quality of materials and fittings it is advisable to see the quality certification for proving its origin and safety.

Prepare an essential list of necessary furniture such as Couch, Sofa, Table, and Bed etc. While approaching the furniture stores in London, make sure the store is up to the mark and has the capacity to fulfill the requirements. While decorating a house always use innovative ideas than choosing the beaten path.

From a Retail Furniture Store try furniture with unique designs and colors. But make sure the choice of furniture suits your room in all respects. Also search widely to choose the right retailer, who can deliver furniture with the best quality, responsibility and rates that are affordable. 

People wanting to buy good furniture must update about the market trends and new options. For example, there are pre fab models and furniture including moving walls and sliding wardrobes. 

Life Style Statement

Choose the furniture as a life style statement. So the selection must be done with some hard work. You can compare the prices with other retailers and also get price details online. 

Harmony from Home Furniture

For an apartment, the furniture must usher in some harmony. 

Hire a specialized designer and rely on him for advice in matters of color and tone.

The outcome that can be achieved by the proper selection of furniture include

Order: When there is proper allocation for belongings in cupboards, shelves, closets and other storage space, order comes in, ending chaos. There will be space for every single item to take its place. Consider this principle before purchasing any furniture.

Storage:  There is a thought and planning going into all space management. The storage space created in the apartment by built-in wardrobe and other elements help to de-clutter.  

Space Management: By sourcing built-in wardrobe there will be no reduction in visible space. Have a detailed plan of your house, apartment to furnish them with dimensions indicated on it. 

Well-being: Adherence to basic rules of interior decor and layout as in Feng Shui.

Health: Ecological cleanliness and excellence of decor emits positive vibes. 

Taking the DIY route to solve furnishing problems will demand more time in execution and the amateur approach can show up here and there. But the benefit is that it allows more time and a complete carte blanche to set one’s own rules and following them.

Luxury hotels or adventure? You don’t have to choose

If you’re into both steep chutes and top luxury ski hotels you may think you need to compromise. These big hitting Canadian resorts have some of the best terrain but also top luxury accommodation.

Big White 

Big White is Canada’s fourth-largest ski area and has a consistent supply of dry snow at 750cm a year. It’s TELUS terrain park is one of the best in the world with a 450ft half pipe and all the resort’s accommodation is ski-in-ski-out with the premier Chateau Big White being our top pick.

Canadian Veggie / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND


Easy                                         18%

Intermediate                          56%

Advanced                                26%

Total Pistes:                             118

Longest Piste:   4.5miles (7.2km)


Whistler has incredible free riding split across two huge mountains, with open bowls on the Blackcomb glacier to long, thigh-burning glades down to Creekside. This vast resort has luxury accommodation to fit all tastes such as the Four Seasons on Blackcomb Way, our top pick.

globalreset / Foter / CC BY-SA


Easy                                          20%

Intermediate                           55%

Advanced                                 25%

Total Pistes:                             200

Longest Piste:        7miles (11km)


Revelstoke is a huge, raw resort and a great base for heli-skiing. The resort claims over 3000 acres of terrain (more than Fernie) with huge tree runs – experts are truly in their element. Our luxury pick is the Sutton Place Hotel with a great pool and hot tubs.

Oliver Hine / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND


Easy                                                7%

Intermediate                              45%

Advanced                                    48%

Total Pistes:                                   56

Longest Piste:   9.44miles (15.2km)

Finding ski season jobs

I did a ski season in Whistler Blackcomb back in 05/06 with my buddy and content editor Gav and so have first hand experience of what it’s like to turn up to a resort with no connections and no ski season job. We even arrived late December after the main recruitment events held in late October / early November every year there so really had our work cut out.

Our job seeking process was a combination of walking around Whistler Village looking for job adverts, asking businesses if they needed anyone and keeping an eye on the local magazine jobs page. It took two to three weeks of constant hustle but finally I secured a job in retail at the Whistler Clearance Centre and Gav became a liftie for the mountain which had a ton more perks such as huge discounts of meals and the fact that he got to ride first every day. But being a liftie is tough and you really have to do it for the love rather than the money.

If you’re looking for ski season jobs this coming winter you should check out the specialist ski recruitment company Silver Swan

Alternatives to Amazon Create Space for self-publishers

When I was looking to self-publish my book Coffee Shop Entrepreneurs I looked at the entire market from the likes of Amazon Create Space, Lulu, Kobo and Vook who offer print on demand. I knew I wanted to own both the marketing and sales channel which you just don’t get access to if you go with Create Space, however I was forced into that option due to a complete lack of independent UK suppliers who were anywhere near as cost effective, even though you have to pay shipping from America for your own books which can take up to a month.

GDPCIC who we reported hosted an overseas social enterprise visit is now offering perfect bound book printing and brochure printing for self-publishers and I’m in the process of untangling from the Amazon ecosystem to actually own my books as well as the relationship with my customers.

What’s your ski niche?

How can your ski business succeed online when the big players such as Crystal Ski dominate in the search engines?

You have to niche down.

It would be a waste of money (and likely not possible) trying to out rank major tour operators for keywords such as “ski holidays”. Instead you need to go after what’s known as the long-tail keywords such as “ski instructor courses canada” for a ski course company such as Basecamp or get ahead of the game with ski holidays 2016!

I launched last December as a modern ski news site as well as offering internet marketing services to the ski trade so that smaller businesses could effectively compete online.

In time for next season I’ve re-launched these services as products that have a fixed price, are delivered by a set date and have no lock-in period for complete transparency, accountability and piece of mind.

Snowbistro offers:

Search Engine Optimisation – getting your ski site to the top of Google from £499/m
Content Marketing – keyword targeted content for your blog from £149/m
Google Adwords Management – making you more money from paid advertising from £199/m

So what’s your ski niche?

Selling a City: Leeds’ Grand Départ highlights big ambitions


The Tour de France’s much trumpeted Grand Départ from Leeds gave Yorkshire’s largest city a rare moment in the international sporting limelight. Well that was the plan. The weather may have played its part, but there’s no getting away from the efforts that those involved went to in a bid to promote their city and its surrounding region.

Publicity and the Tour go back a long way – all the way to 1903 in fact. That was when the great race was created as a way to boost the sales of the French sports newspaper L’Auto. But these days with a TV audience claimed to be in the billions, such exposure doesn’t come cheap.

Leeds City Council put up £3.6 million to stage the event, and it also underwrote a further £11 million in amalgamated grants from Government and other public sources. That’s a lot of tax-payers’ money!

And that level of investment begs the question, apart from a big bike race and a wild and occasionally wet weekend of partying, what has Leeds actually got for its money?

The answer is not entirely straightforward. The strategic thinking was that those funds would prime a more lasting wave of private-sector investment extending beyond a short-term rash of hotel bookings, extended bar tabs and hangover cures. But, for now at least, that bigger picture remains blurred. The record of legacy investments in the wake of events like this – the Olympics is an even more lavish example – is mixed to say the least.

Olympic Researcher Michael Duignan of Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge admits the spin-offs from such mega events are not always what everyone imagines. Duignan insists, “The odds are often stacked against embattled local businesses, and seldom deliver economic return on investment”. Leeds is still waiting to see what the breakdown of their ROI might be.

What we can be sure of is that, even before the Tour hit town, Leeds had plenty to be positive about. And staging the event has put those plus points squarely in the international shop window.

The city certainly looks the part: there’s the shiny new First Direct Arena, an inspiring city centre Shopping development, and, more to the point, there are plenty of state-of-the-art new office complexes and business parks springing up all around what was once Northern England’s grim industrial heartland.

But Leeds it seems is grim no more. The award winning Leeds Valley Business Park, boasting technologically advanced, ecologically sound and employee-friendly facilities like the Goodman Offices in Leeds is just one example of the way the place has cleaned, greened and preened up its act.

Leeds does look ready for business. The city is a hub of hi tech and commercial activity and it is amongst the fastest growing cities in the UK. It is also ideally placed to make the most of current drives to move economic activity away from London. Clearly, Leeds is a place that is not afraid to put its money down in order to create a buzz about what it has to offer.

When you combine that sort of commitment with Leeds’ energetically pro-business civic leadership, the Grand Départ looks perfectly timed to signal the start of something far more substantial than simply the start of a bike race.

The takeaway message is loud, clear and lasting – Leeds means business.

Racing profits?

Have you ever tried out a system for horse racing betting? Many of us have and most of us have tried and failed. But many have succeeded – particularly since the advent of the exchanges which have, to a certain extent anyway, levelled the playing field for gamblers.

One way of taking whatever system you have developed to a higher level is via the Betfair racing app. This is a fully-automated gambling tool which has been developed from the ground up. It’s been created in compliance with the needs of Betfair gamblers and normal everyday punters have shaped the software with their feedback.

This has been an evolutionary process of constant improvement for over a decade which now means this is a peerless tool for racing gamblers.

The main focus of the Bot is one of automation. The tool gives gamblers full control over the app’s actions in a number of different ways.

There are, for example, five different methods of controlling what the software does with the Betfair bank. There is a stop at profit or loss feature, and you can work out potential betting gains with different combinations. What’s more – the software has been set up in such a way to enable you to leave the system on a fully automated basis for when you aren’t there. This makes it particularly useful for those of us with jobs which preclude us from keeping a close eye on the racing all afternoon.

All in all, this is a system you have to try before you buy – and to use in simulation mode to make sure you know how to use it and, perhaps more to the point, to make sure you can make a profit over and above the exchange’s five per cent commission on all winning bets.

The UK horse racing industry is enormous – and so are the potential profits if your system is good enough. But only you’ll be able to decide that for yourself – so good luck.

How to jump on the content marketing bandwagon

The phrase content marketing is everywhere right now, but what is it, why is it relevant to you and how can you get involved? This article, by Martin Harrison of online copywriting supplier Copify delves into the subject in detail and tells you everything you need to know.

First of all – what is content marketing?

Broadly speaking, content marketing refers to the process of creating and promoting content that will raise awareness of your brand, your products and your services. This usually comes in the guise of useful, funny, shareable and interesting articles, videos or interactive pieces such as infographics.

Why do I need to do this?

It is universally accepted that content marketing is becoming increasingly important for several reasons. People are blind to advertising and bored of direct marketing, while SEO is becoming increasingly driven by the kind of links that money just can’t buy.

Content marketing is a way of promoting your business covertly and setting your stall out as an authority in your vertical.

Hang on, I don’t have any budget for this…

Don’t panic, just because you don’t have any cash, doesn’t mean you can’t take part. Most companies will already have some form of content that they can promote.

First of all, do an audit of all of the existing content you have produced, either on your own site, or for other sites. You may be surprised at the amount of content you have amassed over the years.

There are 2 free tools for doing this – Screaming Frog will help you find all of the pages on your site Open Site Explorer for sites that link back to yours.

Once you have all of these assets, set up an automated social media tool like Hootsuite to share this content with your followers. There is more information on how to set all of this up in an article I wrote.

Moving forward, you can create new content by encouraging staff members to contribute pieces that discuss their daily work activity and you will find that colleagues/friends/family will often be happy to contribute in exchange for an SEO-friendly link.

How to win at content marketing

1) Think about genuinely interesting, useful or funny content ideas.

2) Spend time on your copy/design to make sure it is perfect – don’t be too overt with your branding, subtly is the name of the game and more people will be inclined to share content that is not blatantly promotional.

3) Regularly promote your content on social media to get maximum exposure – mentioning key influencers in your posts and including them in tweets is a great way to increase the chances of them sharing on your behalf.

The benefits of contract furniture

There are so many benefits to contract furniture, from the support you get to the reduced costs. Contract furniture can work well for businesses of all sizes in all sorts of industries. Here are some of the main benefits:

Reduced start up costs

If you’re looking to start a bar or restaurant, a huge portion of your start up costs could be tied up in buying tables, chairs and other furniture. This is where contract furniture comes in handy. Instead of shelling out thousands, you can lease the furniture for smaller monthly payments.

This could mean you need to apply for la much smaller loan at the bank or, of course, you could spend that money elsewhere

Reduced maintenance costs

New, good quality furniture is less likely to break than any second hand or budget furniture that you might buy to save costs. If something does go wrong then you can speak to us and we’ll try to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

You can get the furniture you want

With so much to choose from, you can still get the furniture you want. Perhaps you want a retro setting for your new café, this can easily be done. Or maybe you’d like a very traditional style in your new a la carte restaurant, this can also be done.

With such a wide range on offer, you can still achieve the look you dreamed of.

At the end of the term you can choose to keep your furniture

At the end of the term (usually 36 months) you can choose to pay a little extra to keep the furniture you’ve been using during that time. This makes contract furniture a really great way to spread the cost of those items and still get to keep them at the end.

Having the furniture on contract for this time allows you to establish your business and perhaps use the money you’ve saved to help market your new establishment. If after this time you’re doing well, it can be a simple decision to pay that little extra to make the furniture yours.

Spread the cost of new furniture

Even if you’re an established business, new furniture can really change the way your bar, restaurant, or hotel looks. If you’re looking to rebrand or redecorate but don’t have the cash to buy things outright, contract furniture is the way forward.

Paying monthly for new furniture will allow you revamp your business and hopefully bring in more customers.

Keep cash in your business

Having money in the bank looks good to the tax man and to any lenders you might want to go to for loans in the future. Spreading the cost of your furniture means that a much smaller amount is paid per month. The money you save by not buying your own furniture doesn’t have to be used. It could be a buffer ‘just in case’ or it could be saved for the next stage of your business’ development.

How poker affiliates make money

I’ve been aware for some time that I should get more into niche site as, to coin the popular phrase, ‘the riches are in the niches’. Niche site selection is as much about personal expertise and interest as it is keyword research and after my first failed Four Hour Work Week muse attempt in the…

New UK online store for contemporary furniture

The team behind Norfolk based Warings Furniture have launched an online version of their Norwich city centre retail store offering some of the best classical, designer and contemporary furniture in the UK as well as hand picked home accessories, gifts and home décor. Warings Store has a ‘Furniture from the Shop Floor’ collection with one off designer…

Soderica – buy your american food online

I’m a big fan of America and American food from my trips to the states. Last summer when in Boulder, CO I got addicted to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and have been having withdrawal symptoms since but that’s about to change. Soderica is a brand new UK startup that offers an easy solution to buying your…

Relay Spray – innovative disinfectant table spray

Norfolk based hotel products supplier Eves has launched a new antibacterial spray to allow hospitality businesses to disinfect without damaging their table tops. Relay Spray is a new antibacterial multi surface spray created for the re-laying of table tops during service. The cleaning spray comes ready to use in 1ltr trigger spray bottles and is formulated…

Profit changes for social enterprise partnership models

Limited liability partnerships (LLP) – salaried partners Currently, if an LLP carries on a trade or profession with a view to profit, then its members are treated as partners. However, finance bill 2014 will ensure that a salaried member of an LLP will be treated as an employee where the following conditions are met: There…

Creative Travel Industry SEO – Link-building Ideas and Strategies

In the world of SEO, inbound-links are still the primary ranking factor responsible for the visibility of websites and their content in organic search results. Without great links – your site won’t rank significantly well for anything – and you will have to rely on other channels (e.g. paid-search, social media and ad-networks) to acquire…

The ski chalet website scam

I’m currently living in a ski chalet in St Martin de Belleville which is a small, unspoilt ski village where very few of the big ski companies operate. What’s been surprising is the large number of independent chalet operators managing just one or two chalets – at least 10 at last count – and even…

Turning a ski passion into a business

What better way to find purpose in life through profit in business than to turn an existing passion into an income. Become a ski instructor or snowboard instructor with companies such as Basecamp effectively converts people from being employees trapped in an office job (been there!) into self-employed agents who can then move over to…

New UK snow content publishing startup SnowBistro

Snow Bistro is a new collaboration with my buddy Gav into the ski and snowboard content publishing business. We’re lifelong skiers and snowboarders and it’s great to be able to write content for an industry that we’re passionate about and feature great ski trade companies such as SnowRehab in the latest post ‘Four wheels good,…

Innovative Geneva Ski Transfers startup

FluidCar is an innovate ski transfer startup founded by lifelong British skier Mike Rosam after experiencing a pain-point in the ski transfer market. Whilst planning for a ski trip with his wife in February 2012, Mike became frustrated by the lack of options to transfer from Vancouver to Whistler. The options were: 1) Use a…

Running a business that doesn’t cost the earth

In the current economic crisis, running a business can be an incredibly costly affair. Just last week, energy company SSE announced their energy prices were to rise a staggering 8.2%, with others poised to follow suit. Team this with the price of equipment, maintenance and other bills and you can see why business owners everywhere…

Why I’m learning to love Google+

It depends upon the nature of your business, but Twitter and Facebook are more often than not the go to applications when it comes to social media engagement strategies; perhaps backed up with Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon or some other directory as part of a content marketing strategy. So where exactly does Google+ fit in? The…

Square Social on WordPress SEO For Beginners

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SEO Guide: Headers, Search Engine Basics and Link Building   WordPress is one of my favourite pieces of software for several reasons. One of these is that it allows you to really get to grips with all aspects of running a website. What’s more is that it allows you to do your own SEO.  …

Square Social on The Top 10 SEO Mistakes To Avoid

  Website Owner Beware There will always be people out there trying to game the system. And to a point, some of them will succeed. Every day there are individuals and companies doing their best to trick and evade Google’s algorithm and penalties in search of high rankings for their websites. For a short amount…

Social enterprise – it’s all around you


According to a report by Melanie Mills, the chief executive of Social Enterprise West Midlands CIC, for the Guardian, there are at least 62,000 social enterprises based around the UK. What you might not realise is that these firms are based in just about every industry you can think of. Change your way of life…

GUEST POST: The 3 P’s of social value?


People, Planet, Profit? Well those 3 P are very much at the heart of social value.  The balancing act where we aim to ensure a profit or purchasing initiative does not undermine people or planet. After all is a saving really a saving, if we then have to invest more in our communities or the…

The Rocky Road To Choosing The Right Hosting Provider 
For Your Social Enterprise


Social enterprises and private business, although being fundamentally different, share a common problem – they both depend on your ability to reach out to people. With almost daily breakthroughs in technology and price drops in most of the accompanying services, presenting yourself publicly has become easier than ever before. I’m talking about internet businesses, of…

Taking your social business online: Top Tips for Success


The online economy is now bigger than the healthcare, construction or education sectors, according to reports from the BBC.  And the UK online economy is growing at almost twice the rate of China. So how can you make sure that your social business is at the forefront of this new economy? Deliver Quality Good information,…

Opportunities And Challenges When Expanding Into Europe


One of the greatest joys of running a business is watching it grow and adapt to the world around it, especially when it takes a brave leap across the ocean to try and set up shop in a foreign land. While the potential rewards of a successful international business expansion can be huge, glittering and…

Students turn social enterprise market traders for the day


The battle is on to find the best student entrepreneurs in an Apprentice style selling task. Organised by the University of Bath, UniPopShop will give students a taste for social enterprise and give them great experience to take into a crowded job market. Eighteen teams from 15 universities across the country are taking part and…

Factors to consider when deciding to sell your business


After years of hard work, sacrifices, stress and worry you’ve managed to build a strong and profitable social business. And you now decide that the time is right to sell your business and move onto another chapter in your life. But how do you actually go about selling a business? A question that an accountancy…

Will social enterprises adapt or will their director’s change jobs?


Matt Black of Pioneers Post gave his answers to ‘Five tough questions for social enterprise in 2013‘ in January followed by David Floyd on his Beanbags and Bullshit blog. David asked whether someone else could chip in with their thoughts in March so I thought I’d oblige: Q1: Can social enterprises survive the economic gloom? Social…

Sweden social enterprise visit


Last month we organised a visit for 25 people from the north of Sweden (some who live within the Arctic circle) involved in social enterprise to learn about how we do things in the UK in particular how we involve people who are disadvantaged in market-based activities. So we took them to the best example…

Social Venture incubators, equity and exits


Now really is an exciting time for social ventures. The decade long (2002-2012) social enterprise reality-distortion bubble has finally burst. Social ventures and social investment is the new game in town with an integrity and focus on actual business solutions for scaling social impact. It’s damn refreshing. First came the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund managed by The Social…

Nottingham Social Enterprise Hub adopts Social Enterprise Brand


It’s great to see the Nottingham Social Enterprise Hub created by Graham Gardiner of Aspiren (the social business that created the innovative Local Impact Measurement Tool that enables organisations to easily show their social impact without the need for a 200 page SROI report!) adopt the collaborative and open source Social Enterprise Brand we created last summer which they…

TEDxCCN – Social enterprise & philanthropy


It was great to be at the inaugural TEDxCCN talk for Norwich and for the theme to be about social enterprise. We got to hear the Barefoot Entrepreneur Robert Ashton talk about the need for people to care enough about their community to take action, alongside the urgency of doing so by using a prop from…

Social enterprise mission achieved, hello better business


With the launch of the new ‘Better Business‘ Guardian Professional Network discussing ‘Why successful businesses of the future will have clear social purpose at their heart‘ alongside Starbucks VP Ben Packard recently talking about social entrepreneurship it appears that the social enterprise movement over the last decade (since the 2002 DTI report ‘Strategy For Success‘) has now…

What is a social enterprise?


So often in online discussions we hear the line ‘I don’t want to start / engage in the social enterprise definition debate’ yet we believe it is imperative to have this debate. As is so often the case, Tim Ferris in his phenomenal Four Hour Work Week puts this best when he says ‘If you can’t…

Social Enterprise libel scandal


Friday 10th February may mark the social enterprise movement’s first Watergate-style scandal when Civil Society published the article ‘Social Enterprise Mark considers libel action against members of its former parent‘ outlining how the Social Enterprise Mark (SEM) Company used its resources (organisations operating the Mark have received almost £1m public funding since the 2007 pilot)…

Thoughts from SHINE 2011


SHINE 2011 at the Hub Westminster certainly proved itself to be ‘the UK’s leading unconventional conference (or unconference) for socially-minded entrepreneurs’ which is due to the formidable Amanda Jones from the pioneering for-profit social enterprise Red Button Design and the great work by the team at Unltd with a special mention to the PR guru Francesca Carpanini…

Guest post for Guardian Social Enterprise Network


Our Director wrote an article for the Guardian Social Enterprise Network, published on Tuesday 6 September 2011, about how in order to go mainstream, social enterprise needs a more inclusive definition and how the Social Enterprise Mark was preventing this from happening. The Mark responded with this statement. There are some great comments by David Floyd, Geof Cox…

Collaborative Social Enterprise Brand


Inspired by the new COMMON community collaborative brand for rapidly prototyping social ventures, and by this epic thread on the Social Enterprise Mark group on Linked In that we started, we have kickstarted the first open source collaborative brand for social enterprise under the Creative Commons license (not a trade mark in sight). More than just…

LIMtool – the quick and affordable way to measure and promote your impact


We at Profit Is Good believe that it is imperative for organisations in any sector to capture, understand and demonstrate their economic, social and environmental impact in order to successfully compete and thrive within their marketplace. This is why we created our sub-business Social Value – a social impact consultancy – that supports charities, social…

Book Review – Do More Than Give


Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World by Leslie R. Crutchfield, John V. Kania, Mark R. Kramer tells the story of how donors change the world through ‘catalytic philanthropy’. It provides a blueprint for investors to increase their impact based on the the six practices of high-impact nonprofits from the book Forces for Good….

Book Review – How to be a Social Entrepreneur by Robert Ashton


I both know and admire Robert from working within the 3rd sector in Norfolk together and view him as one of only a few people you can rely on to cut the bull and give it to you straight. And this is exactly what he does in his 12th and most recent book “How to…

Business vs charity = self-help vs philanthropy

When I give advice I try to seek out someone’s motivation for setting up or growing a mission-based organisation.