If you read my last blog you’ll know that I split my time between my home in Monmouthshire and work in London, and that I’m planning to create a B&B at home. It’s going well.

The first thing that I did after the planning permission came through for the guests’ sitting and dining room was to check that it was legal to offer B&B without the need for further consents. I asked two lawyers what the law was but they said I should ask a planning consultant which I did (always good to ask the right person!). Turns out that to offer a room in your house for occasional use doesn’t constitute a change of use within planning regulations. So there’s no chance of being closed down and I can start another business.

Now I need a sales and marketing plan. As it says in the guide there’s no need to create long plans. Better to create something unique and start selling it. So I drafted the following to put on AirBNB: “The Cider Mill is ideally located for walkers on Offa’s Dyke Path, 5 miles outside Monmouth. Come and rest your weary feet and enjoy the view of what you have walked or are going to walk, as well as the majestic Brecon Beacons, over an energising breakfast or even a tasty evening meal (bookable in advance). Wash away the day’s exertions in the tub or shower and enjoy a movie or even a box set before settling down for a tranquil night’s sleep. B&B £50, Dinner for two £49 +£1 corkage.”

Sales and marketing are not my forte so I asked Rachael Stilwell, one of our mentors who has been a sales director for over 20 years while bringing up her daughter, to take a look. She commented as follows:

“In this ever crowded world the best way to be heard is by partnering – sharing distribution channels and content to reach people who have heard of your partner but not of you. Your partner gets the benefit of not being heard “shouting” – the days of advertising your wares direct to potential consumers are over. They sound like SHOUTING.

So what are the “golden rules” of the perfect partnership that will enable us to form long term relationships with our customers that deliver the number of leads or business growth that we require?

1.Does the partner help to elevate the status of your company in the marketplace i.e. Is it a good brand fit?

2.Does the partner understand your business and its vision for growth?

3.Does the partner have direct access to the right contacts for you?

I’ve identified three possible partners: Offa’s Dyke path Association ; Coffee #1 with excellent shops in Abergavenny and Monmouth; and Dingestow Post Office. I’ll let you know how I get on, but as with most ideas it’ll take a few weeks to complete. I’ll need some literature, oh and a completed dining room!

Now for the menus. How about a “Full Hiking Breakfast” consisting of porridge AND bacon sandwiches?!