Category Archives: Business Development

FE Project Manages Specific Tasks Every Day .. Here is the Success Secret

Project Management is key to FE management success

Trello FE Project Management Example

Everything we do in FE seems to be a project. From teaching and marketing to building a new campus.  It’s all about Project Management.

But often our project management skills aren’t great. We could do much better at Project Management. At things like initiating, planning, implementing, controlling, and completing specific processes required to achieve specific tasks.  And we need to remember that everything needs to be achieved within a specific time frame and to budget. Continue reading


How to Market a College Restaurant

 How to market a college restaurant The college restaurant is an essential part of the catering and hospitality offer in many colleges. And in an age of underfunding it can also be an essential profit generator. So How to Market a College Restaurant is the question many HODs and FDs are asking.

Sadly, many College Restaurants fail to attract sufficient numbers of customers. They don’t provide the necessary amount of experience the students deserve, or the level of income and profit generation expected.

So how can customer numbers and income be increased? How do you successfully market a college restaurant? 

These are the questions I set out to address when I wrote my latest book. And although I wrote it from the perspective of any Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Café, Tea Rooms, Pub, Wine Bar and Other Food and Drink Outlet, the advice is highly relevant to a college restaurant.

To write the book I’ve visited college restaurants, plus commercial premises in the UK, Spain, Portugal, USA, South Africa and Eire. I’ve also sought the advice of restaurant owners, MDs and managers across the globe.

Here’s a Contents list to indicate what this 36,000 word book, How to Market a College Restaurant, covers.


Why This Book Exists


A dream comes true


Most People Think Advertising is Marketing

Three Types of Advertising

Brand Advertising

Direct Sales Advertising

Relationship Building Advertising

AIDA Stands For ….

What is Marketing?

Location (Place)

Customer Profiles

More About Surveys

Cuisine Type

Customer Service

Dress Codes and Staff Dress

Traditional Marketing

The 4 Ps


Portion Control

Values, Keywords/Phrases e.g. Locally Sourced, From Our Garden or Greenhouse

Traditional Advertising

Who is Your Next Customer?

Referral Business



PR – Public Relations

Magazine Articles

Video PR

Why Drive Away Business?

HARO, ExpertSources and Other Directories

Campaigns and Events

Brochures, Leaflets and Printed Materials



Multiple Offers

SEO – URL Keyword Phrases and Content

Simple SEO Actions

Wi-Fi Bandwidth is a Marketing and Operations Issue

Online Menus and Ordering

More Online Menu Advantages

Pagers Versus Text Notifications

The Internet of Things (IoT)

Beacons (aka Proximity Beacons)



Customer Service Subtleties

How Hotel Restaurants Can Look Disorganised

Understanding Hospitality Trends

More Hospitality Research Abstracts

Other Information Sources

Payment Trends

External Events

Digital Marketing

Social Media








Personal Profiles


The Controversial Question of Photography

The Consumer Buying Process

Social Media to Raise Awareness

Social Media Advertising

Third Party Sites … TripAdvisor, Toptable etc.

Google Maps ….. Bing, Safari and More

Getting Google Reviews

Increasing Prices

Tipping Policy

Quirky Marketing Ideas

Cooking Aromas


Views of Food, Kitchen and the External View

Sound, Music and TV

The Bill and Recipe …. to CRM

Your Perfect Marketing Plan

Want more information on restaurant marketing? check out this link

You can find more of my FE articles on the FE News website


Are You Answering Your Phone?

Do yopu answer your phones? Unanswered Phones Represent the Biggest Marketing & Recruitment Leakage in FE

I’ve written about unanswered phones before. It is no good spending £000s on marketing only to ignore the calls when a prospective student calls.

Sadly the blight of unanswered calls continues. In the last two weeks, I’ve repeatedly called two providers that have failed to answer. One just lets the phone ring and ring without going to answerphone. The other plays back testimonials (with background noise) for several minutes before saying it has not been possible to connect you and cutting the call. Continue reading


What is a ChatBot or Bot?

Bots or Chatbots work 24/7 so you don't have to

Chatbots carry out repetitive admin tasks 24/7 .. they don’t just work in factories

Chatbots or bots are  an automated or semi-automated software tools that can carry out repetitive and mundane tasks 24/7. They are usually used as a communications tool.

Bots are very common and can undertake admin tasks such as answering emails. Other examples you will undoubtedly come across include the Googlebot. Google uses Googlebot to index the huge volumes of new content being uploaded to the web every second. Its a repetitive admin task that’s been automated with a bot. Continue reading


How to Get High Value Clients

How to Win High Value ClientsI Know Several Ways to Acquire New High Value Clients .. But Only One of Them Works

I’m not talking about acquiring students or low value commercial business. I mean the high value clients that bring in five or six figure sums.

The businesses that pay big money.

High Value Clients May Come From ..

Continue reading


How to Market a College Restaurant To Boost Profits & Recruitment

How to Market a College Restaurant Marketing a College Restaurant: This is Often Low Down on the Priority List in Many Colleges. But When You Effectively Promote the College Restaurant The ROI is Huge

To simplify the college restaurant marketing process I use  simple templates to determine answers to a series of questions that lead towards the marketing plan. The templates vary from college to college but you’ll get a feel of what I’m looking for from these typical questions. See Below …. Continue reading


How to Ensure Your Customer Information is Current

Richard Atkins can be found by performing a Google SearchHow To Update Customer Information

We all know Customer Information or customer intelligence is vital. But keeping on top of change is hard.
For example how do you know what is happening in a customer’s business? Things like new staff, new premises, new products and services, new contracts plus all the problems they can encounter.

You could spend days each month checking for Customer Information in newspapers, websites, brochures, social media and much more .. and still not keep up on one customer. And what happens when you have 20 or even several hundred clients? Continue reading


How Grow Employer Engagement with Automated Systems

How to automate employer engagement People crave useful information but hate spam

This simple fact means that keeping in regular contact with people, especially busy employers, is much easier than many people think.

All you need to do is to send them regular emails packed full of really good advice that is of specific interest to them.  This sounds time consuming, but it really isn’t if you use an Autoresponder.

An Autoresponder is what your email uses to send an “out of office” message. It responds to an incoming email. Or in this case someone signing up to a newsletter. It then sends out a message, either at a predetermined time or whenever you prompt it to. Continue reading


How to Use Employers’ Curiosity Gap To Win Contracts

Lowenstein and the curiosity gap What is the Curiosity Gap and how does it apply to Employer Engagement & Business Development ?

George Lowenstein coined a theory he called the Curiosity Gap. In it he suggests that as soon as we realise there is a gap in our knowledge, we strive to fill it.

In Employer Engagement and Business Development we can take advantage of the Curiosity Gap by using a very simple formula. Continue reading


The Power of Three in Sales & Marketing

The Power of Three in Sales and markletingThe Power of Three Makes Sales More Certain

The Power of Three is a very simple idea that can really provide improved sales and marketing results.

What is the Power of Three?

The power of three is simple, but lets start with the number one. When you offer people one option .. or a take it or leave it option .. they have no choice and there is a high chance you fail to make a sale.

But give people several options and the choice goes from deciding if they want your course to deciding which option they want.

Sadly FE rarely offers people options that could sell more. But they could if they follow this advice.

Examples of the Power of Three Options

Say you are selling a First Aid course. The Power of Three in Selling First Aid Courses

Lots of colleges sell these courses and buyers decide on location and price. Where several providers exist in a buyers area they then often buy based on price alone.

The Power of Three says you should offer the standard course at a given price but then offer two further options. These could be based on anything to providing free coffee and or lunch to things like online QA after the course. Continue reading


Use Student Email to Produce a Detailed Customer Profile

Customer profile. Using a Phone Number or Email You Can Obtain Customer Profile Information Direct From the Facebook DatabaseUsing a Phone Number or Email You Can Obtain Customer Profile Information Direct From the Facebook Database

OK, thinking about your customer profile; you probably know how you can target audiences and  create lookalike audiences using an existing email list.

But did you know you can take an audience segment and get audience insights for that list? This is powerful customer profile data that really helps you boost sales and marketing.

You might decide you want to know more about 16-18 year olds that are on engineering or beauty courses.

Or perhaps you want to target employers that attended a particular event or college webinar (you are doing college webinars aren’t you?).

Once you do this you open the door to seeing where they live, their gender, age, interests etc. Continue reading


Lifetime Value: What’s a Customer Worth?

Lifetime Value of CustomersThe Lifetime Value (LTV) of a Customer is Important. So Using the Supermarket “Lost Leader” Concept to Grow Your Provider Business Is Essential. 

So often a course fails due to low numbers.  You have nine people signed up and you need ten to be viable.  So you send nine people away unhappy because you ignored Lifetime Value.

Often it feels like this is the only way forward.  It makes economic sense.  OR does it? Continue reading


Coffee Gets Additional Business

Hfree coffee is a way to build relationships ow Often Do Your Clients Become Past Memories? 

For example you might have had students from a particular business for years and then they suddenly stop enrolling one year. Or maybe a school was an excellent feeder for years and then started to tail off. The answer could be coffee!

The schools issue is not so common with most providers as they often have a dedicated schools liaison person.  And that fact indicates the problem with the former. You see if no one is tasked with keeping in touch with current customers they soon get forgotten.  It isn’t enough to think that your courses are great and they will keep on coming.  All it takes is for a competitor to appear and woo them away from you.

But if you keep in touch with them on  a regular basis then they are far less likely to disappear. Ideally you should be sending them some useful snippets of info, or some top tips relevant to them, on  a regular basis.

Continue reading


How to Find Individual Email Addresses

how to find email addressesHave you ever wanted to email someone but didn’t have their email address?

Frustrating isn’t it.

The person you need to contact could be the MD of a large company that you can supply apprentices to.  Or they could be the perfect guest speaker at an event you are running. But if you can’t email them you have a problem; especially if the gatekeeper assiduously guards them.

You could look for them on Facebook or LinkedIn but that takes time.  Their website might only have an info@ type addresses.

Finding email addresses

So check out .

Continue reading


Employers Will Pay Much More

employers pay extra for luxury Frequently I’m Told Employers Will NOT Pay a Premium .. or sometimes anything at all. 

That’s NOT True

Employers will pay much more than most people think when buying courses for themselves or highly valued staff.

The trick is to tap into what they value or need most.

Employers are people and people value the little extras in life .. such as
Luxury (the feeling of)
Process (if it’s unique)
Passing Responsibility (the transfer of it…to you)
Think about the businesses that YOU pay a premium to…

What do they give you that makes you happy to pay extra?

Coffee shops; most charge a high premium on coffee fees. In return you get a distinct ambiance, great coffee, comfortable seating and (usually) good music.

Apple, Their computers and phones are really expensive. You can pay 100% – 400% premium on their computers. But in return, you get a Apple shops which provide a much better experience, a great feeling when opening the box plus good  customer service.

Even the simpler, more innovative design implies clarity.


What Employers Will Pay For 

Employers will pay extra if you provide some, or all, of the above.

The first step is to answer the phone correctly. These people are responsible adults that run businesses.  Far too often when I speak to providers on the phone I feel like they are treating me like a school leaver. There is no need to be abrupt or appear superior!

I’m sure staff don’t set out to appear like this .. but sadly some definitely come over like this.

So start by thinking about the people you are dealing with and what they expect.  Provide this as a minimum and then try to exceed their expectations.  You can then base your prices on this level of service and see significant income improvements.

You will also stand out from the crowd when bidding against other providers.


Generating Income, FE Space Utilisation & Pop Up Restaurants

Pop Up Restaurants Make MoneyGenerating More Income in FE isn’t Always Easy

…. but that is usually due to our mindset.

One major asset we have is space .. and it is worth money but not if we think about it in the wrong way.

You see we think about space in terms of how we would normally use it and can’t see beyond this.

But turn your thoughts upside down and look at the space in a different way.

The space doesn’t need using for its original purpose.  It’s just space and can be used for a myriad of purposes.

Link your space to a local or national event and marvelous things happen.

Continue reading


Good Networking Isn’t About Attending Regular Meetings

Networing is a business development essential In Business Development & Employer Engagement We Are Often Told We Must Network

But what is the real value of networking? And how should we network? Do we need to go to regular meetings and meet like minded people?

Based on my own experience and the available research on networking I believe the need to network via networking groups is largely a myth broadcast by the people that organise networking groups.

Certainly some businesses benefit from attending networking groups but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule.  The people that benefit most are those that take our fees!

Continue reading


How to Build Credibility With Business Clients … & Students

Creedibility is key to engsgring prospects and making sales. Selling to businesses, and indeed engaging students, isn’t just a sales activity.

In fact, if we try to use hard sales technique to prospective customers they will frequently avoid us like the plague.  You need credibility with your prospects and students. 

The thing is, we need to build credibility with business clients and students. We want businesses to regard us as a trusted partner; one that is there to help them rather than just to sell to them. We need to build these relationships at all levels. That includes building credibility and trust with key executives in these businesses. Continue reading


How to Increase Revenue from Employers

How To Increase Revenue from employers Money is tight.

But recent budget cuts make increasing employer income an imperative.  But how do we do it? How do we increase revenue from employers?

My recent article in FE News addresses this issue.  I detail one method that works for me on  a regular basis

How to Increase Provider Revenue


The Two Types of Purchase in the Education Sector

How Can Your Prospects Measure Risk Marketing and Selling to Explorers and Experienced Buyers

When you think about it there are only two types of people that might want to do business with providers.

There are those that aren’t sure what we have to offer, but happen upon us or are exploring options and there are those that know exactly what we offer and want more of the same.

Continue reading