First pictures from Launch Night


The first pictures from Launch Night have been released!

We hosted around one hundred guests at WS10 Conferencing and Banqueting Facility in Wednesbury for our Getting Down to Business book launch on Monday September 16th. The event featured a memorable performance by magician act Slightly Unusual, because, according to Doug, ‘business success isn’t magic’. Instead, Getting Down to Business is a practical, no-nonsense guide to growing a business, and includes chapters on getting started, setting goals, sales and marketing, finance IT and managing people and yourself.

Guests raised £125 for the Midlands Air Ambulance through donations and a raffle. Doug is keen to support the air ambulance because it relies so heavily on public support – having to raise millions of pounds a year to keep the service running. Sofia Voutianitis, fundraiser at Midlands Air Ambulance, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Doug and Matthew for supporting the Midlands Air Ambulance at this event. Business support is hugely important to us as a charity, so this was a perfect audience for us to spread our message about what we do and how people can help. We have to raise £7million every year to keep our three helicopters flying, saving lives across the Midlands area by saving time in getting people to hospital. Every penny counts and we’re thrilled that the book launch raised £125 for us.”

We hope you enjoy the pictures from the big night. If you haven’t bought your copy yet, Getting Down to Business is available to buy from our online shop.

The eager audience



Matthew and Doug make their appearance, magicked out of thin air by the marvellous ‘Slightly Unusual’ illusionists.



Matthew lets the audience see the real star of the show.



Doug working hard to keep up with demand.



Lovely to see readers keen to get stuck in!


Our publisher, Sue Richardson – to whom we are profoundly grateful for making sure that we had a book to launch at all.






Sales Training Review July 22nd 2013

Some pictures and responses from the last sales training that we did:

‘Fantastic eye-opener’ – Ben Fones, Ben Fones Photography


Delegates doing exercises in pairs, using their workbooks

‘very useful … clear and concise’ Joanne Lovell, Beewebb



Doug illustrating the point for the benefit of the room.

‘Exactly what I needed at the start of my new business – very practical […] I’m going to put my sales board up tomorrow’ Denise Waite, The H R Dept Wolverhampton


Our next training session is on October 28th at Wolverhampton Novotel. The cost is £45 per head plus VAT. E-mail to book a place.

But I’m not a salesperson!” … What every business owner needs to do to make sales.

I often get asked to provide training to address a number of problems that business owners have with selling their product or service to potential customers. Here are four of the most popular:

I haven’t got enough people interested in buying what I have to offer.

This is really a marketing problem, not a sales problem. Sometimes business owners think that they don’t like selling, but actually they have misunderstood the difference between sales and marketing. Marketing is about getting  people interested in what you have to offer, (ie creating ‘prospects’), sales is getting those people to buy.

If your problem is with not having enough prospects, you need to re-think your marketing strategy. Call me for advice, or to set up a free business review, and go to the ‘Free Advice Sheets’ on this website for more information about marketing.

Lots of people are interested in my product/service but they never seem to buy from me.

Again, this could be a problem with your marketing strategy. If you have lots of prospective customers but too few of them eventually buy from you, it may be that you are selling to the wrong people. Think carefully about the unique selling point of your product or service, and how you can introduce yourself to the people that this unique selling point will appeal to most.

You also need to make sure that you have a structured ‘sales process’ in place for converting interested persons into paying customers. You might start with a phone call to arrange an appointment, leave a quotation following your appointment and follow it up later to find out whether the person wants to buy, but you must be keeping track of when you need to contact your prospective customer next. You make sure that you agree a specific date for when you will next contact them, and that you do contact them on the date that you agreed. If you always contact them when you say you will, you are giving them a sense of how reliable you are. If you don’t have a structured process in place for asking people to buy from you, you won’t convert prospects into customers.

I don’t have time for selling; I’m too busy running the business.

You must make sure that you allocate time to making sales, particularly if you don’t enjoy it and would rather be doing other things. It is great if you have so much work on that you haven’t got time to worry about selling to new customers, but if you have no new orders in the pipeline, when you finish the jobs you’re working on now, your cash flow will end up suffering.

But I’m not a salesperson! I hate selling to people.

You don’t actually ever need to ‘sell’ what you’re offering to your prospective customer. If you know that what you are offering will solve a problem that your prospective customer has, then you can engage them in a conversation about their problem, and establish how valuable it would be to them if you could solve that problem for them. At that point, you only need to ask them if they want to buy what you are offering. They may well say yes right away. If they need time to think it over, you arrange to follow up with them at an agreed date and time. If they say no, you find out what the objection is, in case it is something that you can resolve or negotiate on. If you can’t change whatever is preventing them from buying, you can always ask them if they know of anyone else who might need what you’re offering.

For more detailed advice on selling, come along to the training course on October 28th, which will be held in Wolverhampton Novotel and costs £45 per head plus VAT. Get in touch for further information. If you can’t make the course, call me for advice or for a free business review at your convenience. The free advice sheet on our website, ‘Sales’, will help you get started, and the DVD available from the online shop provides in-depth guidance for you to refer to at your leisure.

Growth Accelerator and You

What is Growth Accelerator?

Growth Accelerator is a grant funding option available to SMEs wanting to grow. It provides the funding to help ambitious businesses to develop and implement a growth strategy, with the support of business coaching and training. To be eligible for Growth Accelerator, your business must be registered in the UK and based in England, have fewer than 250 employees and have a turnover of less than £40m.

Aren’t grant applications difficult and time-consuming?

It needn’t be. There are a few, simple steps, and we can manage it for you, so you don’t need to spend hours on it.

Why should I apply?

The grant will allow you to benefit from the services of a business coach with a small amount of outlay, so that you can increase your profits. They will review your business, help you to create a strategy for improvement, and support you while you implement it.

This can take you in some surprising directions – we helped one client of ours reshape their marketing strategy, so that their highly successful banqueting facility, which was full every weekend, was also properly marketed as a conferencing facility, enabling them to profit from bookings during the week.

Another client found that their business was lacking a clear structure.  There were some areas of the business that no one was taking ownership for, and, you guessed it … nothing was happening in that area – and it was holding to company back. We helped them to create a structure and identify exactly who was taking care of each and every aspect of the business, so that everyone was clear about what was their responsibility. Profits increased right away.

What do I get?

£3,500 worth of business coaching with a consultant, including six training course workshops run by Pera

What do I have to pay?

If you have five employees or fewer, you pay £600, plus the V.A.T on the £3,500 grant.  If you have more than five employees, you pay £1,500, plus the V.A.T on the grant as above.

Are there any added benefits?

Once you are on the programme, you have access to additional funding for Leadership and Management training. It is match-funding up to £2,000 per senior manager, (Key person in the business), so if you have a training requirement that you have believed to be too expensive, then this is a solution for you.

How soon after applying can I get the service?

You can begin to benefit within a fortnight of application.

To find out about whether you are eligible for Growth Accelerator and how you can benefit, contact Doug at To learn more about the benefits of business coaching, read the Advice Sheet on our website, ‘Coaching’.