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Johanne Narayn

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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.   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.

Privileged – a day in the life of a networker – business woman

First Thursday of the month, so today is 1230 TWC Blackheath meeting!

e-mailed details of attendees and 1230 TWC news to Host Deborah Jones – check, booked in numbers attending with the venue, Chapters All Day Dining – check, plenty of business cards and special info cards packed – check, pen and note pad – check.  I’m ready to go!

Catch the train to Lewisham and then into Blackheath, easy… parking is also easy in Blackheath, but today I feel like using public transport.

I arrive in plenty of time to borrow a gorgeous pink rug from Chapters to head off onto the Heath for a 45 mins pre the meeting, light Yoga session with Theresa Web and other 1230 TWC attendees – something we do every month.

Under Theresa’s guidance we go through stretching like a cat and other light exercises which help us to be flexible and relaxed.  It’s a glorious day and being out in the open air to do this is just blissful.

The session’s finished and we head off to the meeting feeling refreshed and energised.

Having ordered our menu choices, Debbie outlines the agenda and updates everyone with 1230 TWC News. Next is to hear about everyone in their 1 minute talks.  Today a couple of 1230 TWC Member visitors from the Canterbury group have joined us – Jane and Michele.  Annabel whose home group is Blackheath gave a talk at the Tunbridge Wells meeting last week.

It’s great to see everyone making the most of their membership by visiting other meeting locations to help grow their business.

Our meal arrives and we’re able to find out more about everyone over lunch. I’m looking forward to today’s Take10 (Members 10 mins talk) from Ola – who asks us “How HUGgable is your business?” – Hear Understand and Give back incredible value.  Everyone agrees on the importance of giving value so to have Ola draw emphasis and provide tips is extremely valuable.

Debbie brings the meeting to a close by asking for testimonials, reminding us of next month’s meeting date, the importance of following up and making 1:1 appointments, and ensuring that everyone takes at least 3 of our special folded cards to hand to others when talking about 1230 TWC – that way the group grows and maintains its lively, productive, welcoming content.  We carry on with open networking.

I feel so privileged to circulate around all the monthly meetings – our Members can do that too without any restrictions.

1230 TWC Members can attend as many 1230 TWC Meetings as they wish each month, membership is of the whole 1230 TWC network, not simply a single group.  We don’t restrict 1230 TWC meetings to one woman from each business type.  We know with experience, that having more than one Member at a 1230 TWC meeting running similar businesses is a positive experience, often with synergies; the bottom line being that people buy people.  Members share their business experiences and help each other.  Our 1230 Select Guildford group historically is a single discipline for that location but they benefit from visiting other 1230 TWC groups and vice versa.

So refreshed in body and mind, informed and inspired, I say my farewells to everyone including the wonderful Chapters’ staff, collect my order from the butchers and from the fishmongers and head back to the office.

Next week I’m attending the new Folkestone group with some Members attending from both Blackheath (we’ll be sharing a lift together) and Canterbury groups.  Will you be there?  We’d love to see you.

A topic dear to my heart – networking

A topic dear to my heart – networking.  Now before your eyes glaze over ……   I think this will interest you, so please stay with me!

Back in 2002 at the concept of 1230 TWC,  we were the first businesswomen’s network; now not only are there many more face:to:face networks but we also have social media, that is, on-line networking.

So let’s have a look at face:to:face network versus on-line networking.  Do we need both, are they in competition?

In my opinion and many others, this is a resounding – Yes, followed by No!  By the way, run a mile if anyone tells you that they are experts in social media.  This market is developing so fast that people can only be “specialists” they cannot possibly be an expert.

Face:to:face networking and social media complement each other and are essential to any business growth.  Note the word “social”.

Let’s just look at Twitter firstly with a couple of tips

  • Don’t be an egg – people (or in Twitter speak, peeps) are talking to YOU, so your photo needs to be there.
  • Always thank someone if they have RT (that is ReTweeted, bit like Forwarding an email)  something you have posted.

Face:to:face networking

  • Most meetings enable you to give a brief talk (1230 TWC is 1 minute) – give this plenty of thought, success is all in the planning, and whatever you do, don’t run over time – practice in the bathroom!
  • Dress for success – that is – wear to the networking meetings what you would wear to meet your most important client – because you could be, couldn’t you?  Something with pockets makes the storing of your business cards in one pocket and those received in another pocket, very much easier.

Let me know if you’d like a copy of the 1230 TWC 1 Minute Guide.

Women through Time – their gender their strength

women, businesswomen, gender, strength, London, City, Boudica, Margaret ThatcherThe networking started in earnest at 10.00 am City Business Library over coffee and biscuits, I’d caught the 9.13 am from my local station, but those business women travelling from Canterbury, Herne Bay and Hythe, left considerably earlier at 7.10 am!  Tina, our City of London Guide – Miss B Takes a Walk – was already there, such a pleasure to meet her for the first time.  The 1230 TWC “walkers” were soon joined by Mikaela Ioannou and her photographic team from University of East London who were to document the day for their forthcoming Exhibition “Power to us” (working title).

Gathering our coats and scarves around us against the cold, off we set; Tina leading us onto our “Women through Time – their gender their strength” walk in celebration of International Women’s Day.  In and around Paternoster Square, King Edward Street, Gresham Street, Cheapside, Guildhall Complex, Poultry, Mansion House and Royal Exchange we walked – brrrr it was getting colder, so we huddled together listening to Tina’s every word, near various hot-air vents, oh joy – but it was so worth it!  Cameras clicking all the way.

We learnt about Dame Mary Donaldson 1st female Lord Mayor, Margaret Thatcher and Alexa Wilding, Elizabeth Fry, Emmeline Pankhurst, Boudica, Capt John SmithPocohontas, Isabella Beeton, Madona and Evita and Isabella Queen of England to Edward II.  Oh to have been a “fly on the wall”, maybe to have joined Boudica I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be an adversary, all such tremendously courageous, inspiring women of their time.

Quick hop and warm-up on the Tube onto Mayfair Exchange for lunch, finding out more about each other and how we can work together accompanied by lots of – “cheers!”  Can’t wait to see our recorded interviews with film crew.  Eventually, we had to make a move back to the office – no… too late, back home.

Thanks so much Tina for an amazing journey with amazing women – can’t wait until the next time!

I have a business – Let’s Get Selling!

So now you have a business and you are ready to sell! Really?

Well, maybe…. let’s see what you think.

You’ve got your brand new business cards hot off the press from the printers.  Well you have, haven’t you?

OK, perhaps you’re still waiting for them, but you have got a handy notebook and pen at the ready??

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

But we’re looking at formal networking for the moment, ie pre-arranged, professionally organised networking opportunities.

Why would you want to book into something like that?

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 and like 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 the Rules to make networking work for you:-

    • Networking is about developing trust and relationships over time – so you need to attend regularly
    •  Be prepared to give and help others – what you give will come back three-fold – see where you can make connections for others
    • Show a genuine interest in people and really listen – you never know who they know!
    • Always follow up contacts, by phone or email
    • Arrange 1:1s – to find out more about each other and business opportunities – so always take your diary, whether paper or electronic, with you
    • Invite business contacts to experience a networking meeting – spreading the word extends opportunities for everyone
    • Circulate – don’t stay in your comfort zone
    • Be prepared – have plenty of business cards, perhaps an A5 flier, and certainly have a 1 minute talk (let me  know if you’d like a copy of the 1230 TWC 1 Minute guide)
    • Treat your network like gold – don’t abuse your contacts

 “Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement” anon

Networking is not about selling, it’s about building the relationship.  Follow the above rules 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.  

Jackie Groundsell: Founder of 1230 The Women’s Company Ltd – leading UK network for business women, providing opportunities for business and career women to meet locally in the Business High Street, share experiences and work together to grow their businesses through regular vibrant, buzzy meetings.   

Helping you get more business. t:+44 (0)20 8650 8015

She’s booked?  Have you?

Posted by Jackie Groundsell on 11/08/2011 11:34:15

Balancing the bump – Preparing for maternity leave/birth – childcare issues

Annabel:    There is no doubt about it that having a baby is a very big event in a woman’s life.   From an employer’s point of view though, it is can be just another thing they need to work around and deal with.     Some employers find this really difficult to deal with on a practical level and uncertainty about whether a woman will really return from leave a year later can make some bosses withdraw from the relationship.   This can make the woman feel she is not welcome to return and set off a spiral of ‘disengagement’ that can make it hard for both parties.


Laura:  Having a good handover and return to work plan can really help.  Discuss this with your boss and showing that you are planning to make things as easy for them as you can..  Keep talking – even when you are on leave. If you don’t get on with your boss get someone in your office that you trust to keep you up to speed with changes and projects.


Annabel:  Your boss is not the only person you may find yourself liaising with at this point.   Whenever your baby is due your partner is entitled to up to two weeks’ paternity leave.  They can take this to coincide with the birth or within the next eight weeks.  They need to sort this out with their boss and make the appropriate requests.    If your baby is due after 3 April 2011, your partner may also take up to six months additional paternity leave if you return from maternity leave early.   In a nutshell, he can take the rest of your leave (to a maximum of six months) when you go back to work … and if you go back to work before your statutory maternity pay is finished, he will also get paid (at the same rate and for the same period as your outstanding statutory maternity pay). Your partner has to give at least eight weeks notice to their employer before they can start the leave, and there are other processes to go through and conditions that he must meet.  You have to give at least eight weeks notice if you want to come back before your year is up.  Although you don’t have to do this before the baby is born, you need to start talking about what you want to do, how it will affect you financially and emotionally.  If you really are planning for your partner to take the final six months of leave, then it would be a good idea to mention this informally to your boss so they know that you may want to come back early and make suitable cover arrangements.


Laura: I have one client in particular who is waiting for the Paternity leave to be extended in order to start a family. They cannot wait to start a family and it makes far more financial sense for him to be the main caregiver. However without the new paternity rights it would have been difficult for him to take the extra leave and return to his job. I am excited by the changes which I feel will really benefit family units. Both partners get to experience the highs and lows of being a parent and will be far more supportive of their partner knowing the full story. More families are having to adapt to a new way of working and roles are no longer clearly defined in the home. Even feeding breast milk can be continued (although in a bottle) when Mum is away as companies become even better at providing facilities to express milk for nursing mothers.


Do you have a query that you’d like Laura or Annabel to answer?  Follow this link and post your question for them –

Posted by Annabel Kaye on 12/04/2011 12:11:01

Are you ready to be a director?

If you are just setting out on the journey of establishing your new business it is very easy to set up a new limited company and become a director.
More business owners seem to be adopting the title of director of a limited company up from the start mainly because it is so cheap to form a company.

Many formation agents will charge less than £50 to set up a company.

Maybe you want to set up a limited company because of the perceived status of importance attached to a limited company or the importance that the title of director seems to have?

Right Choice?
Is a limited company the right choice for your circumstances?

Deciding on a business structure is one of the most frequently asked questions by any new start up.

There are several types of business set up, the main two types being:

– Limited Company
– Sole Trader (partnership if more than one person)

What does the structure mean?
A limited liability company means that your personal assets are protected if the business fails, unless of course you have given personal guarantees against any debts. The debts are limited to the company and not you as a shareholder.

With a sole trader business you are personally responsible for the debts of the business and your other assets e.g. your house could be used to settle the debts of the business.

Regulation and legislation
Regulation, legislation and control surrounding limited company status e.g. Companies Acts, filing accounts, registering the company etc are far more onerous than that of a sole trader business.

A sole trader is easier to operate with less formality.

In almost all circumstances the regulation and legislation surrounding a limited company means that an accountant is required to complete accounts, tax etc.

So make sure that you have sufficient funds available for the services of an accountant if you set up a limited company.

There is tax savings associated with operating as a limited company.

Profits from the limited company can be taken in the form of dividends and no national insurance is due on the dividends.

For a sole trader income tax and Class 2 and 4 national insurance will be due on the profits.

The savings depend upon your level of profit of course.

As you establish your business you may in fact be working elsewhere.

There may be costs incurred during the set up of the business that mean a loss is made in the first year(s).

Take this as an example.

Mrs D is setting up a business but will still be working whilst the business gets off the ground.

She needs to spend money on setting up a web site, stock, stationery etc and expects that she will make a loss in the first year of trading and move into profitability in the second year.

In this situation it may be worth starting the business as a sole trader as losses from the sole trader business can be offset against her income from her job.

So she may get a tax refund!

Worth thinking about?

So it may not be worth jumping straight into setting up a limited company from the outset.

Accounts and Reporting Requirements
For a sole trader the accounts and reporting requirements are very straight forward. All that is needed is a set of accounts and a self assessment self employment supplement each year.

As a limited company you will have a number of filing duties. Missing a filing deadline can result in heavy fines and penalties.

For a limited company the filing duties are:-

– Annual Statutory Accounts (full for HMRC and Abbreviated for Companies House)
– Annual Return (different to the accounts – which not many seem to be aware of)
– CT 600
– Full P&L for HMRC
– Self assessment for directors

In both cases you may have to file the following if you are vat registered or have employees.

– PAYE – P35, P14s, P11d etc (if applicable)

With reporting requirements constantly changing, such as the introduction of iXBRL reporting from 1 April 2011, the help of an accountant is essential to make sure that you do not fall foul of the new requirements.

Limited Company Or Not?
Only you can decide which structure will suit your circumstances best.

However this may be something you would like to discuss with your accountant or business advisor at the start.

Make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into so that there are not any great surprises later.


Elaine Clark is Managing Director of Award Winning online accountancy practice provides cost-effective accounting to small businesses; combining online bookkeeping software with consultations with qualified accountants.

Posted by Elaine Clark on 10/04/2011 10:08:49