Savvy Blog

Landing Your Dream Job

Every month we feature a guest blogger who has provided an opportunity on  This month we are delighted to feature a blog from Jo Needham, Commercial Team Leader at Bennett Staff Bureau.

“Cocktail Taster required for Barbados Beach.  Free accommodation and ££££’s excellent!”

So, you’ve seen your dream job advertised, and you know that now is the time to make that change.  You also know that a role like this is going to attract a hoard of CV’s describing candidates who (possibly) have more cocktail tasting experience than you, (highly unlikely though ….)

How do you make certain that your CV shines like the Bajan sun and clouds out all the rest?

First and foremost – spell and grammar check!  This is imperative!! Even though your dream job may be hundreds of sun loungers away from a computer, you need to prove to your prospective employer that you care enough about his job to get your CV punctuation-perfect!!

Layout.  This sun-loving/cocktail shaking Adonis is going to be wading through loads of CVs, and reading paragraphs can be tedious (especially with the sun beating down on your flip-flops).  So

  • Bullet point duties you have undertaken!  Much more digestible to read.

Make sure to include any training you have done (that “course” you did on Benidorm beach).

But – keep it truthful!  Telling porkies only brings trouble sooner or later!

Try and keep your masterpiece to 2 pages long.

Finish with your interests and hobbies. You may share similar interests with your reader, like sipping Strawberry Daiquiri’s on a white, sandy beach watching the sun go down!

Good luck!!





Post Exit and Acquisition – a Success Story

Post exit and acquistion


Post Exit and Acquisition. Each month we feature a business to guest blog who is offering an opportunity on Savvy Guest. The month we are delighted to feature The Future Ltd. MD,Kathryn Orange works  with SME leaders and Investors that are looking for business improvements/growth and/or have acquired businesses. Kathryn goes onto say….

We often hear following the exit of a business owner failure stories of how a process went wrong.   This is not always the case because of the sensitivity of an acquisition, therefore, success stories are not written about.  Importantly, there is always a consideration for the changes that are underway and confidentiality.

The success story I’d like to share was driven by looking at the organisations future goals and checking that the existing team structure was aligned for delivery of goals.


There was early recognition that a senior management team could not be created from the level 2 managers (an interim team was in-place to manage the transition).  The medium to long-term strategy was to create this new leadership team within an agreed budget.  A daunting task as the budget was to promote from within and not recruit externally (delaying plans and increasing costs).

So, what happened and why was it a success in the end?

We simply spoke to everyone confidentially, shared the vision, strategy and plan whilst understanding their personal position (i.e. time to retirement, career aspirations etc).  Taking time out to listen and understand.  By doing this we identified that a number of the team members wished to retire/other and were comfortable to support the new plans and suggested great ideas.  By doing this we were able to upskill some of the management teams, extended the interim (where needed) and recruit a leader (to drive the new way forwards) and all within budget.

Success!  Yes, post Exit and Acquisition – it can be done.

In this success story add another 4 checks into the ‘Action Plan’

Communicate early the short, medium plans and ask the teams by each level what they would like to see change (anonymously) – understand why

Consider the structure and capabilities of the team to see if anyone is ready to take the next level promotion (they know how the business works)

Set new parameters of control (approval levels, who to go to etc)

Create a challenges and opportunities list and prioritise it – there may be some quick wins.

If you are a business and would like to offer an opportunity please register on out website.

Savvy Guest

Savvy Guest



Travel and Cruising with Travel Counsellors

cruise collection

Cruising on the high seas

Cruising with Travel Counsellors

Every month we feature a business who has offered an opportunity on Savvy Guest to be a guest blogger. This month we are proud to feature Gary Manners, Personal Travel Counsellor. With the summer travel season on the doorstep, Gary explains about cruising and the exciting places you can visit.  Gary goes onto say….

If you’re new to cruising and if you’ve never set sail on a Cruise Ship before, you might be surprised by what you’ll find. Imagining tiny rooms? Lukewarm dinner? Nothing to do? Instead, picture immaculate staterooms with balconies so you can feel the sea breeze. Fine dining to rival on-shore restaurants. And thrilling entertainment from Broadway Shows to language lessons and Rock Climbing Walls.

There is no “standard” Cruise Experience, every cruise is different, and can be enjoyed across a vast range of cruise companies, all of whom offer different itineraries, amenities and dining options. Be it a large ship cruising around the Caribbean, sailing into exclusive, secluded ports on an ultra-luxury vessel, spotting Whales and penguins, while exploring Antarctica, or a leisurely river cruise along the blue Danube, there really is a cruise for everyone. You can visit many exciting countries and wake up in a different destination every day. If you would like more inspiration and ideas, or to chat to Gary about his Travel experience, register on

Savvy Guest


Savvy Guest will give you the opportunity to meet with and spend a short time with someone in a job role.   You will be able to ask questions that don’t usually appear in a job description and it will help you to make better choices about your future career options. Being a Savvy Guest will give you the opportunity to ask questions you have always wanted to ask about a job role and gain realistic job expectations.

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Savvy Guest receive a GM Social Value Award

Savvy Guest is delighted to receive a 2018 GM Social Value Award from Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce in recognition of our hard work and time dedicated towards a great cause.

The GM Social Value Awards were launched to say thank you to the businesses for their dedication and support towards supporting GM and local communities.  The awards programme was created to formally recognise the hard work, time and resources that have been given by businesses on initiatives which have benefited the wider community – such as school programmes, employing ex-offenders through our Apprentice Share programme and Young Chamber activity.

For further information on how your business can participate in the awards programme

We are constantly striving to ensure we offer a variety of opportunities on 

If you are a business and wish to offer an opportunity please join us. Information on our home page


How to Market Effectively on a Shoestring!

Every month we  feature a guest blog from a business offering an opportunity on

This month we are pleased to feature Defero Consultancy Ltd. Val Dickinson, CEO continues

When Defero first set up in business I started advising SMEs on all the aspects of Marketing. Having the relevant qualifications and having worked in what they call …the  ‘Marketing, Creative and Digital’ Sector for many years I felt I had the appropriate experience to actively engage and encourage smaller micro businesses on their aspects of Marketing.

Initially, rather than embrace me with open arms I found they virtually grimaced when I mentioned the dreaded’  M word and if  I stared any harder I would have seen the £ signs in the whites of their eyes.  Was this reaction unexpected?  No…not really because, and I think it’s fair to say when you mention ‘Marketing’ or ‘Marketing budgets’ many think it is an extremely expensive commodity and as a startup they couldn’t possibly afford to invest into many marketing initiatives.

Expensive – well the Marketing approach can be expensive as you want it to be especially if the tactics lend themselves to be in the ‘above the line’ category i.e., bus campaigns, billboards, 48 sheets, radio, and TV advertising. However, there are ways to market that are cost-effective and doesn’t cost the earth and ….you get results.

For example PR and third-party endorsements. Testimonials are brilliant pieces of prose to compliment your services, and if you have provided good service ask your client or supplier to write a short recommendation for you. Many do not refuse and you have the evidence to display across social media platforms, your website and your company portfolio. Those few words of gratitude and commendable comments about your products and service are invaluable. They carry a lot of credibility and best of all, they are ‘free’.

Biographies are also valuable marketing selling tools,  and they say a lot about a person, their experience, and their character. However, it also depends on how they are written.  It is always difficult to write positively about yourself as we are a ‘modest’ lot deep down. If you struggle with exposing yourself in the written form ask a ‘professional writer’ to pen one for you. I have written many bios for clients who have been delighted by the results.

So..there you are a couple of tips on how to utilise Marketing and PR without it costing the earth.

Defero Consultancy can support your Marketing requirements.

Direction with Creativity and Experience.


If you would like to chat with any of our businesses register

The Life of an Accountant with Delta Solutions

Sue Weighell, Director Delta Solutions

Every month we feature a  guest blogger who is offering an opportunity on

This month we are proud to feature  Sue Weighell Director of Delta Solutions. Sue goes on to say…

An accountant! Who would dream of being an accountant? Certainly not me when I was at school and considering my career.

But in being an accountant I have found my dream job. And for someone who didn’t enjoy maths, you may find this surprising. Being an accountant is not about maths ability but more about logic, balance and organisation.

I worked for an accountancy firm for some years and my job typically involved accounts preparation, audit and tax. Over the years I moved more to IT – designing systems and spreadsheets for businesses. No two days were ever the same – different projects, different clients, different challenges. I loved it.

After a short break and two children, Sue’s career changed direction and she took on a part-time Finance Manager role for a local high-tech company.  Sue worked there for  14 years and as the company grew her role grew and she became full-time Finance Director. And although Sue was working for one “client”, she still had different projects and different challenges and loved it. Sue planned to spend the rest of her working life there but after some changes, she decided to take redundancy and change track again.

Sue continues…I would combine the two roles – work for different clients in a Finance Director type role. I have built a lot of experience over the years and can bring that experience to help a business grow on a strong financial foundation. I act as mentor and advisor to directors and become a key part of their company. People skills are equally as important as technical knowledge.

Sue Weighell

One of my main challenges now is being organised and keeping all my clients on track with different deadlines. I am kept on track with my online “to do” list and monthly checklists of those deadlines, really using my organisation skills. So I am glad I found accountancy where I can use my strengths.

To chat with Sue and find out about the role of the Accountant register



Tandem Financial Solutions and Savvy Guest

Tandem Financial solutions


Every month we a feature a business that has offered an opportunity on to be our guest blogger. This month we are delighted to feature  Graham Niven  –  Business Funding Specialist, Tandem Financial Solutions Ltd. Graham has provided a question and answer blog highlighting some of the services they offer.

Graham goes on to say…..

So what do I do? –

Essentially I do four things

  1. I find funding for businesses – from Banks to Business Angels and everything in-between (and it is a lot in-between)
  2. I prepare Business Plans and Profit and Loss / Cash Flow Forecasts to help clients support funding applications
  3. I train people how to pitch in front of business angels
  4. I love what I do!

There is a lot of funding around – debt, equity and grants – it’s all about putting the right proposal in front of the right funders and I make sure my clients do that.

Effectively I act like a dating agency in that I have clients who need funding and I have funders who want to lend/invest. My task is to put the client’s proposal in as best a light as I can and then make sure it goes to the most appropriate funder.

Where do I do it?

Mainly in the North West  –  Greater Manchester / Lancashire/Merseyside / Cheshire-Warrington. I will help clients all over the country but it’s just simpler doing it “local” and there is a lot of business around here

Who are my customers?

Anyone looking to raise funding – could be a start-up – could be a business that has been going for years and is looking to grow – or could be someone looking to buy a business. There is funding out there for every option.

How do I charge

I sometimes charge a success fee, based on the funds I help raise, I sometimes charge an hourly rate for plans/forecast work and then sometimes it is a combination of the two.

Successes to date

I’ve helped many businesses raise funding  –  I always say I do £10k-£10miilion but my sweet spot is £25k – £500k. It has been a mixture of debt finance and equity finance, with the odd bit of grant finance. My best deal was an equity one where the client and the angel met on a Thursday/ spoke all weekend on the phone, met again on Wednesday – shook hands on a deal – and they are still working together now!

Graham Niven

Funding Available

There is so much funding around but here are just a few :

Bank Lending –  Greater Manchester Loan Fund  –  Start-Up Loan –  Northern Power House Loan Fund –  Creative England Loan Fund  –  Invoice Finance  –  Asset Finance  –  Tier Entrepreneur Scheme – Rosebud fund –  MSIF Fund  –  North West Business Angels  –  Commercial Angel Networks – R&D Tax credits.  –  I could go on!

For an opportunity to have a pre-career chat with Graham, register at

Creating Adventures and Savvy Guest

Every month we feature a guest blog from  a business that is offering an opportunity on Savvy Guest. This month we are delighted to feature Jenny Allcock who is the  Founder of Creating Adventures, a charity  established after recognising the gap in services for adults aged 18+ with Autism and complex learning disabilities.

Jenny goes on to say I previously worked at a children’s charity where the children accessed not only new activities but also the opportunity to escape the barriers and troubles they faced daily. However, I noticed that they were turning adults away and after talking to a number of organisations working with these adults, found that there really is a lack of services especially for those with more complex needs.

After a rigorous application process in June 2016 I received a letter from the Charity Commission confirming the registration of Creating Adventures and set out on the journey of fundraising and developing activities for adults across Cheshire, Manchester and Lancashire. “It’s been quite a year for us as we have achieved so much! We were successful with a Big Lottery Fund bid which is providing 32 adults with music sessions over 8 months where they create their own soundtrack using the Garageband Software on the iPad and their own vocal ability taking into account that many adults with Autism are non-verbal. This project which takes place in Stretford is going extremely well in so many ways, we have recognised talent amongst our adults and for some it has provided them with a song to be used as a coping mechanism when they feel anxious. We have had two successful charity fundraising events, a Spring Ball at the Midland Hotel and a Ladies Lunch at Mere Court. Both of these events have not only raised us vital funds with the Ball raising £22,000 but they have more importantly helped us to raise our profile. Our second project starts on 20th October in Cheadle Heath, running fortnightly art sessions to allow our service users to express themselves through art forms with a view to exhibiting their artwork.

I think that the hardest thing I have found throughout my journey is working alone. I have always worked as part of a team and then suddenly I find myself working alone. I have three wonderful Trustees to run ideas past and to help me take Creating Adventures in a certain direction but I really miss having people around me and a team to bounce ideas off on a daily basis.


Our aim is to develop our activities and fundraising so that one day we can grow the team. I am currently covering all aspects of the charity, I suppose like many business owners do at first but it’s hard juggling the roles involved in running the charity including marketing, fundraising, finance, organising the activities for the adults, networking for both our service provision and for the fundraising side, basic administration, ensuring we meet guidelines with the Charity Commission and also Safeguarding our Service Users by having all of the policies procedures and checks in place not forgetting organising the events to raise us money. I have struggled with juggling the tasks, because people often say that I must prioritise but in my mind, they are all a priority and many need to be completed at the same time. However in a Trustee meeting last month we decided that three key tasks should be the backbone of the charity for the next 6 months: Fundraising through trusts and foundations; developing our activities; and marketing our progress through press releases and social media.


We are therefore now more than ever trying to be heard, to emphasise the vital need for Creating Adventures. All children with disabilities and autism grow up, when they leave school…what then? There becomes this big empty space of time to fill but the many services that once existed in and around school life are no longer there. Many of these adults are not given employment or struggle with skills surrounding employment so the days are long and without stimulating activity to fill their days, many of these adults exist but are not living life to the fullest. We at Creating Adventures want to change this and provide them with stimulating activities which are also therapeutic to enrich their lives, offer them an improved quality of life and improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Our long term aim is to create an oasis where the adults can meet, create their own community, access a number of indoor and outdoor activities but most importantly provide them with a place and a space to socialise and relax.

If you are interested in chatting to Jenny about her job role register at

The Smart Bear a web developer with a difference


Smart Bear

This month we are delighted to feature Suzi Brown of  The Smart Bear who has provided the guest blog and who is offering an opportunity on  

This month we are delighted to feature Suzi Brown of  The Smart Bear.

In a world which is becoming more and more web-driven, Suzi Brown, or as you might know her; The Smart Bear, is a web developer and designer with a difference.  After working in roles which involved website administration for a number of years, Suzi went back into higher education and attained a First-Class honours degree in Multimedia and the Internet in 2013 from Salford University at age 35.  Suzi went straight into business aiming to help those smaller businesses who may not have the expertise or resources to make the most of their online presence.  As a qualified trainer for teaching adults how to operate their own website, Suzi specialises in WordPress.

“Web design and development fulfils both my creative and my logical/scientific side. The best thing is creating something new and helping build businesses with their growth in mind.”  Suzi has helped smaller businesses create a more professional-looking website and facilities for their clients, e-commerce, booking systems, portfolios.  Adding to all of this, her own design ability and skill in coding, she has been able to create unique websites for her clients with a bespoke-feel.

“My ideal client is one with clear goals but is flexible enough to allow my creativeness to explore. I think more can be achieved this way than by being prescriptive. The most challenging websites are always those without any content or a logo to work from – it’s like trying to magic something from nothing.”

However, Suzi states she does have a range of talented subcontractors available to help like graphic designers and copywriters.  One of the aims of The Smart Bear is to keep the approachability of a smaller agency, whilst the business is growing, and to maintain the close link between developer and client.  Suzi’s first client was Sadhana Ali from Sadhana Yoga ( and Suzi is proud to say that she’s still her client and friend.

In addition to creating bespoke WordPress websites for her clients, Suzi also offers re-skins (redevelopment for existing websites) and maintenance packages too.  These help clients keep their websites up to date and operating smoothly. The website can be found at and it includes information on the services which Suzi and her team offer.

So, what would Suzi tell the  2013 her, what she has learned? “Get procedures in place from the start, not only does it make the process more efficient but clients do need advice and structure. They’re often coming for help because they don’t know how to do it themselves, so they need direction.”

If you would like to have a look at The Smart Bear’s portfolio, follow the link for examples of Suzi’s work, or get in touch for a cup of tea and a chat!

UK Holiday Ideas – Closer To Home

Each month we feature a blog from a business featured on Savvy Guest. With the holiday season in full swing our guest blogger for August, is Gary Manners, travel specialist with the Travel Counsellors.

Experience the sweeping beaches and meandering waterways of Norfolk from your luxurious Golden Oak Lodge at Thorpe Forest Lodges. Representing an ideal self-catering, short getaway for families seeking an unwinding home away from home equipped with all required contemporary fixtures and amenities, all available from a secluded woodland canopy surrounded by forest tracks and trails for the whole family to explore.

  • A charming Thetford Forest getaway at Thorpe Lodges, providing the perfect hideaway from which to explore Norfolk’s spectacular countryside and coastline vista within a Golden Oak 2 Lodge space complete with contemporary fittings including a double room with en-suite shower and a twin room for domesticated privacy with prices from £600 for a family of Four and open all year round, a fantastic holiday idea closer to home !!
  • Find a log burning stove for cosy nights by the fire, alongside an outdoor hot tub amid the gloriously stripped back throes of nature and decking with garden furniture for long days outdoors under the summer sun or observing the changing hues of the forest during autumn and spring
  • Additional facilities include mountain bike hire, a shop and coffee lounge, while an on-site children’s play area and a treehouse within your accommodation ensures the kids have plenty to occupy themselves during your stay
  • Adventure seeking families will welcome the choice of outdoor pursuits located near Thorpe Lodges, with mountain biking, forest walks, nature trail and ranger-led walks all within easy reach of your accommodation, while the nearby Norfolk Broads harbours scenic waterside towns and villages where you can enjoy a day’s boat hire or simply soak up the laid-back way of life enjoyed by the townsfolk