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2021 - A challenging year for most

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#BagonTour – Bet you’d like one too!

I have a new, beautiful leather handbag, a Roanne Tote bag to be precise, to be even more precise – a handbag from the Shona Easton Design Studio! You can tell I’m delighted with it, can’t you?

Shona Easton

It’s a practical size, made in grainy calf leather in a fabulous pink colour – of course, and is much admired wherever I go. So what can I get inside, quite a lot actually. Mobile phone, which slips nicely into its own pocket, keys have their own secure clip, my purse also has its own pocket, I use the zip pocket for make-uppy bits, tablets, couple of pens and there are 2 large slip pockets – all in a beautiful deep rose taffeta lining. Those of you who know me well, know that I’m a belt and braces person, so my Filofax goes in as well, notebook, 1230 TWC business cards, currently promo cards for Business Women in Action Conference and 1230 TWC Note Cards.  I can tuck all my bits and pieces safely inside and zip everything in with a secure zip with lock and key fastening.  Also, I can conveniently carry the bag, handbag style, or slip it over my shoulder.

The designer (or Bag Lady, as she is affectionately known), Shona Easton tends to float between the Guildford and London 1230 TWC meetings, that's when she's not designing or visiting her overseas manufacturers. So why not come along and find out what else she has to offer. Shona is also speaking at the Business Women in Action Conference on 4 November.

Just check out the video to see where we've been together!

 

Bagontour

 

What Reaches and Motivates Women to Buy

What Reaches and Motivates Women to Buy

What Reaches and Motivates Women to Buy  According to the Marketing to Women Conference, 85% of buying decisions are made by women. That means that appealing to women to purchase your product or service is a very important aspect of marketing online. With more than 94% of these women having access to the internet, it becomes clear that you need to appeal to women if you want them to buy what you have to offer. In fact, some people believe that even if you want the man to buy what you have to offer, you should appeal to their wives and mothers first as they influence their men.

Women make up the majority of the online market with over 20% of them shopping online at least once per day. Most women are using mobile devices to access information that helps them make purchasing decisions. With over 70% of new businesses being started by women, and many of those being online businesses, it’s important for your business to understand the market.

  • Make them feel special – Women are special, so it’s important for you to make them feel that way. Most women report to feeling completely misunderstood by companies. Make it your business to know what makes them feel special. This will go beyond the fact that they are women down to the exact particulars of your audience.
  • Appeal to the mother – Most women are mothers or will be mothers or have a mother. If you can appeal to the mother in women, depending upon your audience, you can create a powerful urge to purchase your product.
  •  Show that you care about the environment – Women are more environmentally aware today than ever before. If there are two similar products, and one is more environmentally friendly than the other, they’ll be more likely to purchase the environmentally friendly model.
  • Support women’s causes – Study your particular audience to find out what causes they care about, then support those causes. Giving 10% of your profits to a cause that the women in your audience care about will encourage them to buy.
  • Acknowledge that women love sports – There is a rumour that women do not like sports, but that’s just not true. They love sports almost equally to men. Women also like staying fit by walking, running, and playing sports.
  •  Be a socially responsible company – Take pride in supporting social causes, because like the environment these are things that a lot of women care about. They want to buy things from companies that share their values.
  • Create responsive web design – Women use many devices to access the internet so it’s important that you design your websites to be responsible, no matter which type of device they use to access your information.

Women are technologically advanced, spending more time online than men, and using more types of devices to access the internet than men. They tend to buy using whatever device they are using at the time. They buy at their PC, from their mobile devices, as well as in person using their devices to research beforehand, and ask their friends and family for recommendations.

To appeal to women, don’t misunderstand their intelligence, their autonomy, or their knowledge of social responsibility and the world outside of men. Research your audience. If your main criteria for your audience is women, you still have a subset of women that you need to learn about and know.

Radio Guest #wibradio

Last Thursday I excitedly drove for nearly 2 hrs (in my new car, first long trip, eeek!) to take part in the Channel Radio programme Hosted by the lovely Sian Murphy on “The Women in Business Radio Show” #wibradio.

Down country lanes until I came to Haguelands Farm, Burmarsh – what a fab pretty place.  Apart from the Radio Studio, I discovered afterwards the Fish Shop – bought some wet fish, into Alpaca Annie shop, stroked some beautifully soft scarves, slippers and all manner of lovely articles and bought some Alpaca Poo!  Don’t ask, but apparently it’s excellent on roses.  I also popped in to see Faye in her hair and beauty salon and saw the finishing coats of paint being applied to The Bistro to open on 7 May.

And of course – the broadcast!  Always a pleasure to see Sian of course and charismatic Paul Andrews and to meet lovely “Geeky” Keith – I only mention this because Sian had decided the topic for the broadcast – “Geek Baiting” – you’ll find out why….

Have a listen here to see what we got up to + lots of useful information including details about VOIP.

Thanks again Sian for inviting me!

Double-glazing and Networking

What do Double-glazing and Networking have in common?  Well, it’s more about the double-glazing salesman and networking, so let’s see.

Recently I had 2 double-glazing salesmen view my house for a quote.  One sat outside in his car pre the appointed time, drew up his sketch of the house front and then rang the door-bell, stayed 25 mins going through everything and left us with a quote.  Problem there – the large print promotional flyer he also left had 2 glaring typos – in his favour, no heavy sales pitch.

Double-glazing salesman No 2, smartly dressed, but within seconds he was calling OH and me by our first names.  We’re a bit old school on things like that so that didn’t go down well.  He was very thorough in describing the windows which I found it interesting, if a bit lengthy.

Now to price.  “So the price Jackie and Phil for the complete job is £xxxx – how does that sound to you?”  Bit high we thought, he continues “My special price to you, but don’t phone the office about this as they won’t know anything about it, is £xx”  Half the originally quoted price!  Mmmm, interesting.  He continues….  “But if you ……   then it is £xx”

We ended up with a price considerably less than half the original price he quoted.  Put me in mind of Del-Boy’s patter in “Only Fools & Horses”.  This is from a well-known double-glazing company, so our consideration now is to get past the salesman’s pitch, yes, because that is what he is, to the product – and that is hard!

So what do the double-glazing salesman and business networking have to do with each other?  Absolutely nothing!  They are poles apart, because networking is not about selling; business networking is about building trusted relationships over time, with people who become your recommending team.  So if you are selling at your networking meetings and wondering why you’re not getting business, this is why, STOP IT NOW!  It just doesn’t work!

And the other double-glazing representative?  He wouldn’t have got an appointment had I seen his flyer first – so don’t forget the proofreading!

Watch this space as we have a couple more d/g reps to see….  In the meantime, would love to see your thoughts on this.

NETWORKING & DOUBLE-GLAZING – PART 2

Well, the third double-glazing representative came on Saturday and we’ve agreed the terms.  On the downside, they can’t start until beginning of August, at least the weather should be reasonable.

On the upside – he had a nice easy, not familiar, manner, explained things thoroughly, but not at length, answered all our questions; is a local family business with its name unchanged since business launched in 1972 – love to shop locally – was the middle price, didn’t have “sales patter” and DIDN’T  try to SELL to us.

The moral of this story – if you use hard “selling”,  it just doesn’t work!  And don’t forget the proofreading either!

Are you in a relationship?

For your business, that is.

It is often said in business that success is determined not by what you know, but by who you know.  Relationship building in business is essential.

Word of mouth referral is responsible for 70% of business taking place! That is 70% of business activity is down to people who get to know you, like you and trust you, whether or not they have bought your products or used your services, they feel comfortable in recommending or referring you.

So that would seem a pretty fool-proof and economical way to grow your business; to make money.

Yes, but it doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time and effort – by you!

Effective and successful networking isn’t just about “the money”.

It’s about learning from your peers, sharing experiences and support.  Which in turn all add to your well-being and that of your business!

If you are going to be successful in business, face-to-face networking is an essential part of your business’s marketing strategy.

So here are 10 Relationship Building Rules to make networking work for you:-

1.  Regular Attendance

  1. Networking is about developing trust and relationships over time – so you need to attend regularly

2.  Give and Help Others

  1. Be prepared to give and help others – what you give will come back three-fold – see where you can make connections for others

3.  Genuine Interest and Listen

  1. Show a genuine interest in people and really listen – you never know who they know!

4.  Follow up

  1. Always follow up contacts, by phone or email

5.  1:1s

  1. Arrange 1:1s – to find out more about each other and business opportunities – so always take your diary, whether paper or electronic, with you

6.  Invitations

  1. Invite business contacts to experience a networking meeting – spreading the word extends opportunities for everyone

7.  Circulate

  1. Circulate – don’t stay in your comfort zone

8.  Preparation

  1. Be prepared – have plenty of business cards, perhaps an A5 flier, and certainly have a 1 minute talk prepared – you can “wing-it” much later on! (let me  know if you’d like a copy of the 1230 TWC 1 Minute guide)
  2. Remember
  3.  “Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement” anon

9.  Information Networking

  1. Never go anywhere without your business cards; that includes supermarket, hairdressers, dentist, school gates, etc….  These are your informal networking opportunities.

10.     Gold

  1. Treat your network, your relationships, like gold – don’t abuse your contacts
  2. Networking is not about selling, it’s about building the relationship.  Follow the above RBRs consistently and it will work for you.

I would love to hear from you about your networking experiences and please share your own networking tips

3d render pot of gold coins isolated on white

 

1230 TWC MD  Jackie Groundsell

Watch your language!

Oh ***** away, *** off – you know the sort of thing.

My brain pinged the other day during a conversation as to what and when certain language is or isn’t acceptable.  In the group were legal and HR people who explained how they had problems receiving perfectly legitimate emails, but because the topic was about inappropriate language their IT team had to make security allowances to enable the emails to go through.

Some time ago I attended a conference workshop where the trainer’s language was more than liberally littered with 4-letter words.  At my table a couple of us found this inappropriate, others hadn’t even noticed.  However, it did result in the conference organisers updating their Terms & Conditions for speakers addressing inappropriate language.

I guess it could be said that I’m sensitive to what I term to be bad language.  As a child I recall being in a car showroom with my Dad and the cut-glass accented salesman using the word blo**y very frequently – bit of a no-no to an 8 year-old then!  That said, I do have a go now and then and the family note it in their diaries!

So what is acceptable / unacceptable in business?  Are there special circumstances?  For me, it’s ok in recounting a story, without expanding the words used in full.  It’s not ok to direct that phrase to someone else.  Are there situations in business / public speaking where it is acceptable / unacceptable.

What do you think?  What is  / is not acceptable to you and when?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this – please let me know  just email me 

Tools of the Trade

Recently I took a day out of business to spend time with a girlfriend; this included some Retail Therapy and Lunch!

First stop though was to her tailor – an essential visit as he is making her wedding dress and I’d been invited to the all-important “final fitting”.  I felt extremely honoured for such an important occasion. I chatted with him and his wife as he worked on the dress – this resulted in an exchange of business cards.

On we then went to Old Spitalfields Market, stopping to buy some beautiful origami cards, perfect as “Thank you” cards for my friend’s forthcoming wedding.  The assistant took my business card and wrote down the owner’s contact details on a piece of paper for me – they hadn’t got business cards, nor web site yet he said.

On then talking to the owners of a dress stall and a maker of fascinators – exchanging business cards and flyers as we went.

Time for lunch and to think about what had happened that morning.

Notice that I’d taken a day out, and yet I was happily “talking business” and exchanging business cards.  Who knows where those business connections will lead.  Do you always have your business cards with you?

7 Tips for Future Female Entrepreneurs

Valuable points in this infographic from Intuit

Benefits of Business Training

benefits of business trainingTraining is an essential way of improving your effectiveness and that of your workforce to grow your business. There are many different classifications of training – each bringing broad benefits to the individual and ultimately, the organisation.

The Benefits of training will include:

  • Improved productivity
  • Improved skills enabling a diverse range of work.
  • Improved ability to implement and attain specific goals.
  • Increased ability to respond to change effectively.

Training improves:

  • Competitiveness
  • Morale
  • Profitability
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Company status and profile

It can also lead to the decline in:

  • Inefficient use of time and materials
  • Work based accidents
  • Cost of maintaining equipment
  • Staff turnover, sickness and absenteeism
  • Recruitment expenditure

Training also makes a company more attractive to potential new staff.  Implementing a training strategy involves the efficient training and improvement of people within the organisation, enabling them and the company, to achieve their personal and corporate best.

Strategic training varies according to both personnel and corporate needs;  important components include:

  • Objectives
  • Individual’s development
  • Team building
  • Team development
  • Leadership development
  • Coaching and mentoring

Training can be delivered in varying formats and could include:

  • Classroom training
  • On-the-job learning
  • Mentoring
  • In-house training, including desk-side
  • Individual study, including computer based learning

Managed and delivered well, training is cost productive, boosting personal and staff morale, increasing productivity and giving your organisation the competitive edge to success.

1230 Business School wants your business to succeed. That’s why we’ve teamed with a dynamic group of individuals to deliver our training courses. Collectively they have a wealth of experience and expertise in a range of different areas and are passionate about sharing the wisdom of their experience with you.  training@1230businessschool.co.uk   020 8650 8015

Lazy, hazy days of Summer – when are you back?

So…. the lazy, hazy days of Summer are here, you’re on holiday, back soon.

Seriously, when are you back?

Bearing in mind that we need NOT let those nasty burglars know when you’re away (if you are a home office), so please don’t publicise on social media where you’re going and when you’re going away, unless there are other people in your house whilst you’re away.

So, back to “when are you back?”

Now, I’m sure this doesn’t apply to you, but are you getting auto-emails saying “I’m away at the moment, please get in touch on my return” or “I’m out of the office today and will deal with your email on my return”, or “I’m away for the Christmas holiday (bearing in mind we’re now in August!) and will reply on my return”?

So, when are they back in the office?  Who knows!!

If this is you, although I’m sure it’s not, please, I implore you, add in the day and time you ARE back in the office.  For example “I’m out of the office today so I won’t see your email until my return 9.30 am Wednesday 28 August”.  “I’m out of the office this morning, back in 1.00 pm today, 20 August”.

So, when are you back?

If you don’t know how to set up your auto-responders yourself, or any other business-related topics to keep you and your business cutting-edge, keep an eye on 1230 Business School courses which are open to all business people.