The Cheese Mall is a new marketing book by business coach Bernie Tracey. Bernie works with enterprise boards and SME companies and she also coaches at executive level in organisations.
Millie and Matthew
The Cheese Mall tells the tale of two mice, Millie and Matthew, who have been made redundant after working in the Cheese factory for a year and it follows their journey as they prepare a detailed business plan in order to secure funding from the bank for their new business venture. The book is aimed at start-up businesses and those who want to refresh their knowledge and revisit their business plans.
It has been endorsed by Sen Feargal Quinn “The Cheese Mall by Bernie Tracey is a must for budding entrepreneurs! It shows you how to go about starting your own business in a sensible step by step method and it demystifies all jargon.”
I found the book to be easy to read as it is written in a conversational tone, it is possible to skim the book in an hour and then return to the areas that you wish to concentrate on and read them in more detail.
Each cartoon character researches an area of marketing and then explains it in depth to the other sibling showing how it relates to their new business and providing examples. The other character asks the questions that we might ask which are then answered in relatively simple terms. It is a book that is written in plain English, in a conversational tone and this definitely benefits the reader.
Concepts such as Market Segmentation, Marketing Mix, Marketing Communications Strategy, Branding, SWOT and how to write an elevator pitch are all explained clearly, consisely and simply. Examples are provided to show how Millie and Matthew are applying these concepts to their new business so it is easy to understand.
My only criticism of the book is the lack of tables or graphs that would make some aspects of the explanations clearer, for example, when explaining what details need to be put into each column of their Key Strategic Goals. Tables or graphs would also serve as useful revision-type notes at the end of each chapter.
So many business people (myself included) put a lot of time and effort into writing a business plan and then we file it away. This book would encourage and help existing business people to re-evaluate their business plan and to re-write their plans going forward, not just for the bank manager but for their own planning of how their business will move forward.
There’s a large number of marketing and sales book available for SMEs but few make it as easy to understand and relate to as this one. Yet, that doesn’t mean that it is dumbing down the concepts, just making them much more accessible.
Writing a business plan can be a very daunting task for start-up SMEs and The Cheese Mall breaks it down into bite-sized chunks. It also demonstrates how businesses should put the customer to the centre of their attention.
This is a book that I will return to again and again. It has inspired me to revisit the business plan I wrote 18 months ago and evaluate how things have altered and affected my plans and create a new plan going forward for 2012.