Monthly Archives: February 2014

February Network – Afternoon Tea & Business Surgeries

We have 2 reveiws of the Bedfordshire BusinessWomen February Network, held on Thursday 20th February at the Watermill Tea Rooms, The Olde Watermill, Barton Le Clay. One is from BBW member, Marie Haywood and the other from Joanne Tillin, a guest new to networking.


Marie’s view

I was not really looking forward to BBW this month as I have undertaken a weight loss & personal trainer plan ready for my W.A.R challenge at the end of April but I really was well behaved and didn’t get too tempted by the enormous scones, lovely cakes and treats on offer at The Olde Watermill. Continue reading

The Power of Networking

If women entrepreneurs want to grow their business, they need to network.  Research has shown that investing time and energy in networking can reap huge benefits for your business.  Not everyone is a natural networker and even armed with the confidence of running a successful business, the prospect of networking can be daunting. 

Your business is growing, you have strong contacts, and you’re happy with how your business is progressing, so why network?  Research has shown that women in business often build narrow, strong relationships but that it’s having a wide, varied network that is paramount.  Businesses need a wide range of contacts to exchange ideas, share information, solicit advice, share resources, raise capital or develop partnerships.  Women entrepreneurs often spend a lot of time making contacts when they first start their business and then, as they become more and more time pressed, networking is put on the back burner and reliance on long-standing contacts takes precedence. 

You may well have a profile on LinkedIn and Facebook, a Twitter account and possibly a Blog.  It’s easy to feel as though you’re always communicating but are you really building a quality, varied network that is going to have a positive impact on your business?  Whilst social media is of vital importance, there is still a role for engaging with others face to face in your local area.  

As a successful female entrepreneur, you have a tremendous amount of knowledge, skill and expertise that would be of value to other women in business in your area.  The reciprocal nature of networking can be of enormous value to you both professionally and personally.

 International Women's Day 2013

 

 

 

 

 

With limited time, it’s important to join the right networking group, but this can be a daunting, and financially challenging prospect. A good place to start for many is Bedfordshire BusinessWomen; a nurturing, inclusive group which was founded in 1988 and has become the most successful women’s networking group in the county.  With 26 members across a wide range of businesses including catering, design, health, accounting and business solutions, you can be sure to meet with women who will be able to positively impact your business in an open and friendly environment. It’s less about macho back-slapping and more about supportive hugs!

IMG_1762

 

 

 

 

 

Jude Ryan, Director at MindOptions Ltd, recently joined BBW and had this to say after her first encounter with the group: “Just wanted to thank everyone who gave me such a warm welcome at my first networking event. I found the morning really inspiring and it was a pleasure to be with you all, I’m so pleased to be a member and look forward to meeting and getting to know you all over the coming months”.

Bedfordshire BusinessWomen hold monthly networking events on the third Thursday of every month and include four major networking events throughout the year.  On the first Wednesday of every month, a Bedfordshire BusinessWomen member-run workshop also takes place.  Why not come along as a guest to the next event and experience the power of networking for yourself?

BBW Jan event

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on upcoming events to come along as a guest, or to join, please visit: http://www.beds-businesswomen.org

Bedfordshire BusinessWomen Awards 2013 Winner

Why ‘selling’ is not a dirty word

We are all in sales – why not grow up and become a world class sales professional?

Be proud, be a valued, reputable and recommended successful salesperson. Your sales professionalism can positively impact Britain’s prosperity. Help me change Britain’s belief that “selling” is a dirty word.

Dirty is described in the English dictionary as not clean, not honest or polite, so why do so many people describe sales as a dirty word? After all sales is just the exchange of money for goods or services. Indeed if we are not polite and considerate, if we do not deliver the product we promise our career in sales will not flourish. Great sales people build credibility by being honest, hard working, networking, and by turning themselves out immaculately, professionally and by representing their products as experts in their fields.

 For centuries people have exchanged goods, produce and services for money or other items of value.  It is how people make a living, for some we sell our skills to earn money for others it is goods. In the exchange one person will be buying the other selling. Buying is hardly ever viewed as the dirty word, but selling is almost always. (odd?) For example I need a new built-in wardrobe, I could try and build one myself but it would take too long and probably look awful, so I pay a carpenter to build me one. He is therefore selling me both his services and the wardrobe, but I don’t view it in this way as I am buying a wardrobe.  So why is the act of buying ok but selling not? 

Has this idea of sales being dirty come from estate agents, car sales people and telesales? It seems unfair to blame this industry – perhaps some of their tactics? (here I suggest negotiation training should be standard part of every schools curriculum, let us level the playing field.)

I believe that the context of the sale is often the cause of it being viewed as dirty. It’s their sales process, “they” may be trying to sell us something we don’t initially think we need to buy, they are persistent in the process until they get the order and they believe they hold the power. Surely dirty sales only conclude when an unfair deal is done? (No repeat business, leading to a leaky bucket of customers will not grow a sustainable business.)

The buyer holds the power (I hope?), the power to decide when to buy, what to buy and at what price. With the internet has come a wave of more informed buyers, therefore sellers have to work harder and some companies have had to entirely change their tactics. Great sales is not all about the hard push sell, there is an art to it, a skill set. Different products require different selling approaches, through practice (as well as getting fast over rejection) you will carve out your own personality and niche for selling. Ultimately we will keep on having to sell and the better we are at it, the more prosperous the potential of our nation becomes.

Rather than viewing sales as a dirty word, we need to realise and appreciate that it is going on around us much more than we realise. Everyone every day is selling something; we sell ourselves in relationships we build, indeed in many actions we choose to take we are selling ourselves to others around us. Sales may not be in your job title but you will have clients/people that you will need to sell something to. So we need to not view sales as a dirty word but embrace it, enjoy it, carve out your own niche selling style and praise those that use sales in their title, at least they are upfront about what they are doing.

Lara Morgan - Founder of Company Shortcuts

Lara Morgan – Founder of Company Shortcuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lara Morgan is the Founder of Company Shortcuts – a consultancy dedicated to excellence in sales and leadership. Company Shortcuts offer innovative products, services and exciting events that have already inspired hundreds of ambitious business leaders to achieve accelerated growth.  www.companyshortcuts.com

Blogging and cake

Guest post by Bedfordshire BusinessWomen member, Kate Barnard

Kate BarnardI’m a big fan of cake and a big fan of blogs which meant the workshop at i-Kan with Paul Hutchinson left me with a big smile on my face and a Malteser Square (courtesy of Kiosk at The Park) in my tummy. There we go, Paul, I just dived on in with the first sentence that came to mind.

In the last year or so, I’ve started reading blogs written by other Therapists, Biomechanic coaches and Personal Trainers. I love reading them because I find they usually summarise the current thinking in the world of injuries, in an easy to read format, with none of those horrendous words that the research papers use. In other words I get the information but my brain doesn’t have to work too hard to get it. I’ve also realised that when I’ve read these blogs, I’ve felt a confidence in those professionals. They have convinced me through their blog that they are interested in their subject, they are passionate enough to write about it and I get a feel for their personalities. When we’re about to work with someone, or have someone work on us in a therapy sense it’s important to have that confidence. I’d definitely like to be in their gang. Continue reading