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Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t

It’s with that in mind that we’ve asked the good and great of Manchester businesses the simple question

“What Is The Best Business Advice You Ever Received?”

There are some real business gems here

Here is what they had to say

Altrincham HQ Innov8
Businesses are nothing without customer reviews

Once you realise the importance of testimonials you will never look back

What your customers say about you is of more importance to potential customers than what you say about yourselves. Potential customers want validation that they’re making the right decision by going with you

It was early on in the days of Altrincham HQ I heard a 20 minute talk on Testimonials – I immediately implemented a testimonial strategy and I now have 10x the number of reviews than others in my industry

Reviews are what show you off as an expert and a leader – it underpins my whole business!

Andrew Thorp for Meetup profile

One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – “First seek to understand, then seek to be understood.” It’s so simple yet incredibly powerful and strangely difficult to do! If you’re trying to persuade someone of something, the better you understand them the more you can craft your message so it hits the mark. Sadly, the tendency is to assume that others will see things the way you do and you launch into your message, without first ensuring it’s on the right wavelength for the audience.

Andy Hall
I’m blessed to have worked with so many business owners, entrepreneurs and mentors so it’s difficult to find THE best piece of advice. However, the most consistently valuable lesson learned for business, and in life is; “Don’t over think it!”

Start-ups and especially creative people spend too long thinking and perfecting before launching a product or service. I’m a fan of testing and launching quickly to get feedback, gain knowledge of the marketplace and accelerate growth.

Similarly, some business owners spend too long skilling themselves to be competent at tasks they should not be doing. “Decide quickly and take action.”


Chris Marsh
I would say ‘to act enthusiastic’. Enthusiasm is contagious and if you project positivity with confidence then you’ll be honest and people will respect you and want to be associated with you. A few years ago I tried networking and now I spend most days doing it with this rule.

Emma Clarke Hair

Good planning is a solid foundation for any business. Have a strategy, be proactive – don’t just react to whatever’s going on around you. Write your own story, create your brand. If you face difficulties, have the courage to look at how they’ve been caused and make whatever changes are necessary. Don’t hang onto what’s no longer appropriate. Don’t be scared to change in the face of a new environment, new information, new skills. Adapt. Evolve. But plan what you do as thoroughly as possible. And enjoy it – life’s too short! 

Gavin Prince
The best piece of business advice and to be honest personal advice I have ever received is from Brother MD Phil Jones:

“You become like the five people you spend the most time with, choose carefully”.

I believe surrounding yourself with positive like minded people is the key to your success.

If you listen to enough people telling you that ‘You Can’t Do It’, you will quickly find that ‘You Won’t Do It’ it’s as simple as that. Negativity breads negativity and acts like a virus spreading between groups of people, infecting ideas, dreams and aspirations.

Business is an adventure, a journey if you like, and with all journeys you wouldn’t want to take one with a group of people who told you that you would never reach your destination.
Start your expedition with the right team, the five people that believe in the destination and your belief in getting there.

Enjoy the journey, after all, if we are not able to enjoy the journey why take the trip. 

Jonny Red House Farm
I have received and welcome so much advice, help and support from people and businesses in the local community and it does all help. But for me the best piece of advice has been to ‘listen to your customers’ for ideas.

A long time ago one customer mentioned how she would love to have her son’s birthday party at the farm outside of our traditional summer holiday season. Move forward to this present day and the birthday party business is one of the biggest and most visible elements of our business. Further customers have given me the ideas to extend the birthday party offerings which you will see to this day.

Its important to listen and take on board new ideas for your business as I think your clients who love what you do (the advocates) want you to thrive and be the best. I am very grateful for some brilliant and achievable ideas


Jonny Cadden

Every business in the digital era needs to see themselves a content producing media business first – Gary Vee

Katie Bland

Keep things simple. Focus on what you’re good at and always take an outside-in perspective by driving and shaping your business strategy based on your customers’ needs.

Mark Winstanley

I’ve had several good pieces of advice given to me over the last few years. But the best is making a list of your goals ready for the start of the new year. This helps you aim for goals at specific months in the year, which will help your business grow. If you don’t set goals, you have no idea what to aim for and this impacts what you do on a daily basis

Neil Clough

On co-founding my business I was given the advice to stick to what I know best, stick to my skillset, stick to my experience, as this is would give me the best possible chance of succeeding where many starts up fail. This advice was given to me by Lord Sugar after leaving the Apprentice in 2013 and on the back of him firing me for a business plan that was in an industry that I had never worked in. I took his advice on board and co-founded Prime which is a sales training and recruitment business focused on helping graduates kick start careers in sales. After launching 2 years ago in Manchester the business has gone from strength to strength with plans open Prime London in 2017 so I’m glad I took his advice on board.

Neil Hughes

To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail

My all time favourite, and I hold my team meetings with this in mind. We are running huge music events, we are managing people’s wedding days. So we have to keep asking ourselves, what could possibly go wrong ?

And we then prepare diligently so it doesn’t.

Preparation is the key, perfect execution is the goal.

Rebecca Jeffery

The best piece of business advice I have ever received was from a previous boss at The Co-operative Group. Actually… I’m not sure whether it was a piece of advice, or just a conversation that has always stuck in my head. During a monthly 1-2-1, my boss casually mentioned the ‘ambition worm’ in my belly which drove my relentless enthusiasm, nudged me to keep striving and and demanded that I succeeded. I loved this metaphor and I adopted it in my life. My boss was right – I have a worm. My ambition worm continually eats at me. It makes me ambitious, energetic, excited and passionate. Sometimes living with an ambition worm can be tiring. They never let you rest, they are always goading you to keep trying and they require regular feeding with new ideas and new successes; but I love that worm. My worm is responsible for many of my wonderful career moments, it insisted that I started my own business and it made me apply to The Apprentice last year. I genuinely hope that my worm never disappears.

Sue France

Throughout my career which began in the fashion industry in 1970, I have always avoided speaking in public at all costs.

When I worked in marketing and PR for a hotel group and held my own events I made sure there was a confident hotel or banqueting manager on board to present whatever show I was creating and I managed brilliantly for years without ever standing in the spotlight.

In 2010 I started running women’s networking events and still got by until one important business event when I had to present to 60 people and I wanted to say more but just couldn’t. I asked someone else to speak for me and afterwards a wily lady in the audience came up to me and said. “Did that lady say exactly what you wanted her to say? Only you can convey the passion and commitment you feel for your own business and if you master your fear of speaking in public and hold your own presentations you will never look back”

She was so right; the other woman had not conveyed my message as I wished. I learned how to do it myself and now you can’t shut me up

Follow on twitter @SueRFrance

Trevor Holt

Turnover is vanity profit is sanity.

This has always been the best saying in business.

You must make sure you are running a profitable business cut your cloth accordingly. Don’t get big posh cars offices etc. work on your business not just in it. Pay yourself what the business can afford not what you think your worth. PAY YOUR BILLS create goodwill with all your suppliers they will help your business grow. Make sure you have great cash flow you never know when you are going to need it.

Wayne The Window Company

Make it your goal to ensure your team are Happy & Loyal & in turn they’ll do the same with your customers.

Happy & Loyal Team = Happy & Loyal Customers.

Alex McCann

Author Alex McCann

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