Thursday, July 28, 2011

Weymouth Park and Ride is now open

Visitors to Weymouth can now park outside of town and catch a bus to the beach or centre of town.

There is also a park and ride service to Dorchester from the same site, which will accommodate up to 1,000 cars.

It costs £3.50 to park all day, which includes a bus journey to and from Weymouth for up to seven people. The parking and ride to and from Dorchester is only £1.50.

Buses to Weymouth run every 15 minutes, stopping at the Pier Bandstand, Marks and Spencer and the Pavilion Theatre. All of these stops are only moments from the beach or the centre of town.

The car park is equipped with toilets, a sheltered waiting area, CCTV security and electric charging points for vehicles. If you want to use these, please check the details on the Dorset County Council website.

For more information about the Weymouth park and ride car parking scheme, including bus times and opening hours, click here to visit the Dorset County Council web page.

If you've used the park and ride scheme, why not leave a comment to let others know what you think of it?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Be inspired by the Olympic Games coming to Weymouth and Portland

Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, the Dorset Echo and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council have partnered to produce this exciting sticker.

With the clock now ticking through the final 12 months, it's time to enthuse as many people as possible with the Olympic spirit.

The potential legacy for Weymouth and Portland is massive. Let's not miss this opportunity.

Update 9 September: a new batch of 10,000 stickers have just been printed. Available, for free, from the offices of the Dorset Echo in Weymouth and Dorchester, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council offices and from local newsagents.

And remember - the stickers are free!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Making it easy for customers

If you make it hard for customers to find their way around your premises, you'll probably miss out on their business.

This is true of either a bricks and mortar or virtual showroom or shop.

Most customers want to learn about your products, not your processes. You'll sell more if it's easy for them to look at what you offer, easy to get help when they need it and easy to purchase.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Overcommitment means under performance

It's too easy to make promises you can't keep. Even in simple things. "I'll call you back later today." "It'll be in the post tonight." "It shouldn't take more than a couple of days."

You might not think of those as promises, but your customer probably does. So when you don't call back, the post doesn't arrive or the timescale slips into a week or two, they're disappointed.

These small failures may not translate into lost sales, at least not right away. But customers don't forget. Your brand becomes associated with underperformance. Is that how you want them to think of you?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bizoh founder selected as BT Storyteller for London 2012

Business writer Andrew Knowles, who set up Bizoh in 2009, has been chosen as a BT Storyteller for next year’s Olympic and Paralympic games.

He is planning a strong business focus to his storytelling, with a particular eye on Weymouth and Portland. For the next 14 months, at least, he’ll be looking for stories about the positive, and also the challenging, aspects of the greatest show on earth coming to this corner of Dorset.

The BT Storytellers were launched last week in London by Seb Coe and former Olympic athlete Daley Thompson. Andrew is one of just 100 members of the public helping BT, the official communications partner for the Games, to tell part of the UK’s huge Olympic story.

The group comprises writers, artists, poets, graphic designers, film makers, photographers and musicians drawn from across the UK. Each will offer a unique perspective on the build up to, and the events of, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

Andrew will also have an eye on the Olympic legacy for Weymouth and Portland and particularly the long-term implications for local firms.

If you have a business story related to the Olympics that you think Andrew should take a look at, you can reach him through his freelance copywriting website or on Twitter.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sweet tweets could bring business your way

If you’re looking for free business leads and referrals and you use Twitter, you should consider following @msrfr.

Set up just two months ago, in May, the account already has a following of over 3,700 firms, many of whom are busy sharing leads.

Examples of today’s posts include:

RT @steph_laing: Anyone know where I can source plain white fair trade cotton cushion covers. Bit rustic in texture if poss? #msrfr

RT @Memset_Kate: Can anyone recommend a good, but not too expensive, freelance 3D technical graphic designer? #msrfr

RT @johnoenglish: Good electrician required: anyone know of one based in London or surrounding areas get them to message me. #msrfr

Those sending these messages are not looking for businesses to reply saying: “Pick me, pick me.” The clue to what they want to hear is in the first three words of the middle tweet: “Can anyone recommend...?”

You’ll already know how important recommendations and referrals are to business. When a potential new customer opens a conversation with “I was told you could help with...” you’re already in a strong position to win the business. It’s not guaranteed, but you’re much better placed then if it were a cold enquiry.

Of course, if you could supply any of the services requested in those tweets, and were looking for opportunities, you should probably respond. There’s no harm in putting yourself forward.

But it would much better if your customers or contacts promoted you. One tweet from them is worth much more than a dozen from yourself, because they’re offering a positive view of what you have to offer.

If you’re not following @msrfr, why not give it a go? Make a request of your own to see what happens. Recommend someone else when you get the chance. And look out for that wonderful moment when someone puts your name forward as a potential supplier, and then act on it.

@msrfr is run by Mark Shaw, a Twitter expert who advises various media organisations, including the BBC, on the role of Twitter. Click here to read a review of his book, “Twitter Your Business”.

Looking for more Twitter tips? Take a look at these:

Six business uses for Twitter

5-Day Twitter Action Plan 

5 Reasons why posting links in Twitter doesn't work

5 Reasons why you're not getting more followers on Twitter

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dorset Seafood Festival showcases local excellence

Every summer, tens of thousands of people descend on Weymouth to feast their senses at what must surely be one of the UK's premier celebrations of seafood.

Now in its fourth year, the Dorset Seafood Festival is an extravaganza of everything maritime and a distinctive culinary experience. Of the more than 70 stalls at this year's event, the vast majority was selling food, and on most of them it was being cooked to order.

Oysters, crab cakes, lobster, mackerel, paella, shrimp, sea bass and plaice were just some of the fresh delights available. This was complemented by local organic cheese, cider, hand made chocolate, beer and champagne.

There's more to the event than just cooking and eating. The Festival is part of the 9-day Spirit of the Sea event, which pulls together a diverse selection of maritime activities across Weymouth and Portland.

A great feature of the Dorset Seafood Festival is the promotion of local businesses. These include Chococo, the Swanage-based chocolate makers whose products are winning shelf space on leading London stores. Award-winning Hive Beach Cafe was selling incredible chorizo and watercress in ciabatta while promoting their stunning location on the beach at nearby Burton Bradstock.

Edeli, a Dorset-based importer of fine Spanish olive oils, allowed visitors to taste samples with flavours including ginger, coffee, chilli, orange and lemon. Ringwood Brewery provided beer from the heart of the New Forest, which isn't quite in Dorset, but is still local.

Among the many other local suppliers were those offering products from further afield, such as Pommery Champagne, Whitby Seafoods from Yorkshire, and Wines of Chile.

Other local producers and businesses included the Crab House Cafe, Furleigh Estate Wine, Lanes Restaurant, Shelley's Bakery and Moonfleet Manor Hotel and Restaurant.

If you're a Dorset business looking to promote your wares to the public, perhaps you should consider getting involved in the Dorset Seafood Festival in 2012. It is now a landmark event on many calendars and next summer promises to be even more special, because the entire world will be looking in this direction as Weymouth and Portland stand host to the sailing events of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Weymouth Eye is welcome here

Bizoh is joining the chorus of voices saying “Yes!” to the Weymouth Eye observation tower.

As reported in today’s Dorset Echo, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council have indicated their support for the slim, 53 metre structure. They voted unanimously to lease land to Merlin Entertainment, who want to build the ‘Eye’ in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce are also backing the scheme. President Andy Cooke said: “The tower will be one of the things that will help the town to go places.”

Everyone is now waiting to hear to outcome of the planning committee, which meets on 22 July. “Planning is key; without that nothing happens,” said a spokesman for Merlin Entertainment. “We need to start the project in August in order to have it ready for the Olympics.”

Those who object to the tower on aesthetic grounds have a point. The Tower will be a change to the view of Weymouth Bay, a panorama that many have cherished for years. But that’s unlikely to deter many visitors from coming to a town that thrives on tourism.

The Eye is more likely to increase the numbers coming in and, more importantly to local businesses, to keep them in the town once they arrived. The more seafront attractions we have, the longer tourists, and their wallets and purses, will remain in Weymouth rather than day-tripping elsewhere.

If that all sounds rather mercenary, it’s because Weymouth and Portland need their shops and offices to be full if the area is to avoid becoming a run-down backwater. The country faces years of slow economic recovery and in some areas it could stall completely, through a lack of foresight and investment. We at Bizoh don’t want that to happen here.

The Weymouth Eye will set the town apart from all the UK’s other seaside resorts. It will also complement Weymouth’s location at the heart of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

In twelve months time, this area will be in the global spotlight for two weeks, with pictures of our wonderful coastline and facilities beamed across the globe to millions. It’s a unique opportunity to promote Weymouth as a must-see destination. Merlin has spotted this and wants to capitalise on it. So should we.