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"I always feel inspired
and refocused when I come to 1230 TWC"
Definition of collaboration = the action of working with someone to produce something (Oxford Dictionaries)
Do you always see the synergies, that is, the possibilities to collaborate when speaking to others when you are networking, or perhaps when you’re listening to others’ 1 minutes? Maybe you don’t see the synergies straight away, but you do when you revisit your notes later… Why would you want to collaborate with others? Let’s take a look at some possibilities. Or, help others to collaborate.
What about the Experts?
You are an expert in your own field, your own business. But are you an expert in all subjects required for successful business, for something new and different? Let’s consider your area of expertise is weight loss. Amongst those around you at a networking meeting is an image consultant, a beautician, a venue Manager and a multi-disciplined practitioner in alternative therapies. Getting the picture? Let’s go further and consider that during the subsequent meeting you have together that you decide to “do something” together.
Next steps in collaboration
To set up the project and manage the finances, needs the help and advice of an accountant and/or bookkeeper. The project also needs marketing, using both traditional methods and social media. And of course, you're likely to need Contracts (KoffeeKlatch will have just the thing for you) that keep you legal and abiding to GDPR regulations too, for working with these experts. Guess what? You’ve met all these people! They are part of your ever-expanding network.
What knowledge and expertise do you have?
You may have some knowledge in these fields, but you are by no means an expert. With others, through collaborative networking your business offering is now different, stronger, successful.
Got you thinking, right?
Can you think of synergies and reasons to collaborate, now?
Thought you would!
Afternoon before the business conference, check list in hand, everything ticked and ready to go for the Conference set-up.
The phone rings, the voice of the venue owner (2 separate ownerships) throws a virtual bucket of ice-cold water over me. “I’m really sorry Jackie, but we have no power – although our people are working on it, I think you need to look at an alternative venue for your business event.”
He had tried to pre-empt the situation by speaking with a venue just a few yards away and they had agreed to host our event – but, I’d never been in that venue, so needed to visit before making that decision; and just how bad was our original venue? And had he spoken with the new owner of the other half of the venue? No. Working since 7.00 am that morning from my home office, I’d literally stepped out of the shower when taking his call.
So with dripping hair and no make-up – not a good look – I made my way to the potential new Conference venue. Fortunately, a 10 mins drive away from me.
The booked venue was indeed a shambles of refurbishment - more like a bomb-site, more so on the floor-level where the business exhibition stands were scheduled along with the business clinics and advisers; the lower floor level was for the seminars and workshops. So we waited for the owner of the other venue to arrive – as you’d imagine, a million things banging around my head, which finally settled into a plan.
The new venue was great, and we could use 2 floors, as planned. OK, back to the office with 90 mins to spare before people start to arrive to set up, to let everyone know of the venue change. And breath!
Phone calls to The Mayor’s office and others, emails to EVERYONE! Some would receive 2 emails with change of venue details, but that didn’t matter – better 2 than none at all.
Back at the new venue with car ready to be unloaded, to be told that we can only use one floor – that means speakers and exhibition stands on one level, but, separated by a huge circular bar – we can still make this work!
In between times, I’d spoken with the representative of the 2nd owner of our original venue – with me so far? who was totally unaware of the situation up to that point. 100 chairs were on their way, plus tables, but, we didn’t need 100 chairs at the new venue, just half, since they had their own chairs……
When the furniture delivery arrives, there are too many chairs and insufficient tables – off to get more tables!
Time moves on – people arrive for setting up stands – then, sleep… 7.30 am start to finish last minute set-up of the event which opens at 9.00 am.
Exhibitors start to arrive, and despite notices from the “old” venue and emails, some state that they’ve not seen either. Trouble is, it’s not possible to take responsibility for another’s computer system. Others are happy and accommodating of the whole situation and continue to have a successful day.
“Huge congratulations for pulling potential disaster out of the fire this week! The BBA day was a triumph. I met some lovely people and hope we may be able to help each other sometime in the future.” Susan Feehan
I'm an experienced events organiser, with a wide network of contacts, grown through my own business – 1230 The Women’s Company as well as managing other events regularly such as my local business association (event above).
And as we look around at the current disasters in the World, my above experience is small fry. I had planned and pulled this together in 12 months. Last minute stuff happens, unexpected stuff, like venues going into liquidation – had 2 of those with my monthly lunch-time networking meetings of 1230 TWC. Venues catching fire, all manner of things that potentially could have brought a halt to the event.
The event above was local to me in Beckenham, but not all my chosen venues are, so unless someone lets me know (as you’d expect, it wasn’t the owners of the liquidated or fired premises, who did) how am I to know and make alternative plans? In the case of one restaurant liquidation, a passing chap who’d booked a table for the following day, spotted the notification of liquidation in the restaurant window. He went back to his computer and tried to find anyone who may have had a booking with the venue. Thankfully he found us and let us know – how considerate is that!
The invaluable check list! And I’ve been nagged to write a book on how to organise an event -something I’ve done with my own businesses since 2002 and earlier when I was a fund-raising manager. So watch this space!
Yes, you need a check list!
At the root of all event organisation is – your network. You need a venue, so look to your network for personal recommendations. You need speakers, so you look to those that you know, either as speakers, or for their connections and recommendations. The speakers will “spread the word” of the event to their networks. Dependent upon the type of event, you may need exhibitors. Again, you look to your network to invite them to exhibit and they will let their networks know. And when possible, you need a team, as I had around me for the described Conference – substitute “team”, with network.
You need a builder, copywriter, a web designer, solicitor.. you name it, whatever your needs, your network will fulfil this. If you are a business woman, then obviously you look to your network within 1230.co.uk
Following the Conference above, I asked on Facebook what readers would have done in such a situation. Many said “call you!”, another suggested steps for me to take, the last being to call her, as did others.
All that is about connections created through networking.
Networks are the most important things in our lives. Whether we need to share our excitement, our tears, need help, want to offer help, it’s all about people we know. Don’t forget, our own families are networks, and, surprising to some, they know people too!
So this blog isn’t about sharing the potential disaster of a last minute change of venue, but most importantly, the strength of a supportive network. If you’ve not been before, come and try us out 1230.co.uk and for September, grab September Sizzle while you can.
Since we met, or rather were introduced, I’ve been asked this question several times. I’m just back from the “Make It Happen17” Conference - a celebration of International Women’s Day - in Marbella, that I collaborate on with this lady. Who is this you’re asking and how did you meet? As my family has been known to say – let’s have the short version!!
OK, some time back Steve Clarke thought this lady and I should have a chat, as both of us work with and support other businesswomen, so he introduced us over Twitter; busy as ever, the Tweet was missed over in Spain. A few days later, Annabel Kaye also thought this lady and I should chat, so she did a Twitter intro and bingo, this time we connected!
That is, with Ali Meehan of Costa Women fame – a social and business network of women in Spain. At the time, Ali was helping another entrepreneur with his conference and as a result I was invited to speak in Spain – at that point I became an international speaker! Gosh that venue was so hot, air-con not working.
Moving on… Ali and I decided we must “do something” together which would benefit the members of both our organisations… Flight prices escalated then, but in 2015 the first celebration of International Women’s Day with CostaWomen and 1230 TWC took place in the Andalucía Lab. An attractive, brilliant Government owned building in the heart of Malaga - conference room, helpful AVA staff, and atrium for the stands at our disposal.
So there it is, that’s how Ali and I met, and the rest as they say is history.
I suppose it’s a bit like Father Christmas….. "He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice"… and that’s where the similarity stops, with me that is.
For every event, we/I have a check list:
And so it goes on… and this gets checked as the items are brought out and as they are assembled prior to loading a vehicle/leaving the office
Except for my recent trip to the Make It Happen Conference in Marbella, Spain.
I won’t bore you with the reasons why this happened, but it was an essential item for me to run the speednetworking session at the Make It Happen Conference.
On arriving at my hotel I set off in hot pursuit of a replacement (“hot” being the operative word, since it was an 80o day) - not even unpacking my case - no time, as it was just 2.5 hrs to the networking party that evening, and the Conference was the following day with 7.30 am start!!!!
Thinks…. There’s a primary school nearby, I wonder if they have a bicycle with said horn on that I could borrow? Just for a day. Seemed inspirational! Now you need to know that my Spanish is non-existent… well, I can say “please” and “thank you” and order chicken and chips – that’s just about it, oh and sparkling water.
I will leave it to your imagination as to how the conversation went with the teaching staff, suffice to say I came away empty handed, and they wondering who this totally insane English woman was!
So a quick phone call to Ali for shop suggestions, 1 hour later proved unfruitful. Must have lost some weight though in the hot running around - so a positive there! Dear Patrick (Ali’s OH) came to the rescue and saved the day with a choice of 2 hooters.
And I think you can say that the Speednetworking was a success!
with thanks to Charlotte Wibberley for tongue in cheek suggested title.
“Do I really have to stand up and give a 1 minute talk?” Let’s come back to that question, and answer.
Over the years, I’ve written many articles/blogs about the benefits of networking – not bad for someone who was dragged screaming and shouting to her first business women’s networking event, eh?!
One great opportunity at networking events is that most offer you the chance to stand up and speak to a supportive – please notice that word “supportive” – audience. None better is a female audience. Women are natural networkers and connectors. I enjoy nothing better than attending the various 1230 TWC group meetings and being able to learn and connect across them all.
Don’t only attend those events that don’t provide this opportunity just because they don’t provide the opportunity to stand up and speak!
1230 TWC wasn’t started with great intent. It started as a need for me to make contacts to grow my IT Training company. I was a virgin networker, observing others making those so vital connections. Build trusting business relationships – please note that word too - “relationships”. Awesome to see. But sooo awful to see was the SELLING!
The other thing we do well but sometimes ignore is to collaborate. Don’t look for milestones of hindrance, especially, don’t be concerned with “competitors” in “your” market place. There’s always something to learn and scope to explore opportunities to work together.
Some time ago I asked on Facebook what the word “pitch” implied/meant to the (business) readers. An emphatic “SALES/SELLING” came back, which they hated with a vengeance! So not only do we have – “I can’t possibly stand up and talk” but we also have SELLING!!! in our faces.
Are they part and parcel of the same issue?
An elevator pitch, elevator speech or elevator statement is a short sales pitch – there it is, “sales”.
Sales, selling – these are big turn-offs for many who might consider attending networking events. They don’t want to be sold to, neither do they want to sell.
Let’s be realistic. We’re in business to sell our products, our services. Networking allows us the opportunity to do this in a less “in yer face” way and much more.
So to answer the question “Do I really have to stand up and give a 1 minute talk?” No, you don’t. But why waste this chance to let everyone there know why they should come to you as opposed to your next-door neighbour. Again realistically, you’re unlikely to be able to talk to everyone individually, but they can then come to you and your expertise!
1) Planning is key
2) That includes practicing in the bathroom – yes, say it out LOUD.
a. Get used to the sound of your voice, and time yourself accordingly.
b. Remember 1 minute for example, is the maximum amount of time. If you can get your message over in less – congratulations! A definite no, no is to take liberties and overrun your maximum time.
3) You are in a supportive environment - everyone willing you to succeed
4) Demonstrate your expertise in your subject
5) Use humour, props – something that makes you memorable
6) It’s NOT ABOUT YOU – it’s about how you can help your listeners
7) You are in a supportive environment - everyone willing you to succeed
No, this isn’t a typo, just a reminder of a very important fact.
8) The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
9) One size doesn’t fit all. That is, vary each talk.
10) It’s not about what you DO, it’s about what you OFFER.
11) Be yourself! People buy people – and breathe!
Everyone who attends 1230 TWC meetings is given a copy of this card as an aide memoire. Inside is the 1230 TWC 1 Minute Guide, the text in grey is suggestions for varying detail as appropriate, with space to make notes from the meeting.
Networking is NOT about selling, it’s about building RELATIONSHIPS.
So please…. No more “elevator pitches”.
Stop it, NOW!
Just be yourself and speak!
This 1TB (terabyte) SSD that you bought, yes… well, the machine only recognises 250GB. Given that a terabyte is 1,000 Gigabytes (GB) 1024GB to be precise, that means that the HDD (hard disk drive) is only using a quarter/25% of its full capacity.
What is the difference between a Solid State Drive (SSD) and a Hard Disk Drive (HDD)?
A traditional HDD is a device made up of moving parts that uses spinning platters to store data. An SSD on the other hand uses flash memory and has no moving parts.
What am I talking about? Data storage space, computers, PCs. Those of you who know me will know that I’m not technical although I have been known to fit a few GB of RAM over the years. OK, either way this SDD is dangerously full up, so said machine needs a new hard drive. Seems that a 4TB hard drive would be a good move.
The machine sees that it has 4TB hard drive, but only reads it as 2TB. Eeeeek!
No, really… I’m not, honestly…… I mean it….. I’m NOT!
Sometimes I get asked why I don’t give a 1-minute talk at the 1230 The Women’s Company business meetings.
As the MD of 1230 The Women's Company, I'm always delighted to attend many of the business networking meetings, particularly where, with a whoop and a holler, the 1230 TWC Host will have introduced me at the beginning of the meeting and, to quote the wonderful Caroline Hewitt, “bigged me up!” Some attendees will already know me, some not.
Remember…. I‘m NOT precious. But that introduction gives me a warm glow, because it introduces me to so many awesome business women.
Attending so many meetings in different locations, enables me to cross-refer attendees. Notice I say "attendees"? Yes, of course, our Members always get preferential treatment, but if I can see a connection for anyone attending 1230 TWC meetings, I will make that connection for them.
As 1230 TWC is my business, I can give a talk at any meeting for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 20 minutes, 2 hours – however long I like – remember, I’m not precious.
The opportunity to give a 1 minute talk at 1230 TWC meetings is
YOUR moment to shine;
YOUR moment in the spotlight,
YOUR moment to let everyone know about what
YOU and YOUR business offer.
I’m not precious about me, but my business and those who attend are precious and YOU are precious. And I’m delighted to know you all.
I'm not precious
YOU - ARE!
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?
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!
This time last week I was really out of my comfort zone! I’d anticipated that this would happen, but what I hadn’t anticipated was the invaluable critique from The Red Carpet Academy super star – Leah Charles King! I knew it would be a worthwhile day, but how worthwhile was yet to be seen.
So, where was I? At The Red Carpet Academy 1 Day Intensive Training with Leah Charles King and her team in London, and some super other women – all being put through our paces to “face the camera!” Although I’ve spoken in public on many occasions, both as a speaker and as a trainer and sat in front of my PC/laptop talking to the world – this was something different.
Each stage of our packed training day was critiqued by Leah, gently (but accurately) pointing our little foibles and making constructive, invaluable – yes I know I keep using that word – but it truly was – invaluable – constructive criticism.
So here I am with the delightful Leah, my certificate and “the bag” (that’s another story).
Would I recommend The Red Carpet Academy? You bet!!! So if you’re looking to improve your public speaking and improve in front of camera, check out The Red Carpet Academy web site and book your session.
Lights, Camera, Action!
If you’ve been trying to start or run your own business for any length of time, you know it can be hard work. You also know that burnout eventually sets in, but it can come on pretty quickly too. Sometimes, it’s the burnout that keeps you from succeeding. However, there are usually underlying reasons why you start to feel burned out in the first place. Recognise those reasons, and you can move on and minimise the feeling of burnout as much as possible.
People suffer from burnout for different reasons. Some are common factors experienced by a lot of people, while others are not so common. We’re going to discuss the most common causes.
Often, people suffer from more than one of these areas. This can lead to almost total devastation for the business owner and take a while for recovery. Let’s try to avoid these common pitfalls from the beginning. If you’re already seeing these in yourself and your business, then it’s time to make some changes.
1) The Wrong Business
This is the most common cause of burnout and often leads to failure. If you’re in the wrong business, doing things you hate, if you dread trying to work on your business, it’s likely you’re in the wrong business. This does not mean you’re a failure. It simply means you’ve failed to create a business or business model that resonates with you.
When you hate what you’re doing and have to force yourself into doing it, that’s no different than having a regular job outside the home. You came into business to escape that rat race. Don’t build a business that’s going to feel like any other job to you!
2) The Wrong Niche
Another leading cause of burnout is being in the wrong niche. Perhaps you’ve picked the right business model, like affiliate marketing or a niche blog where you sell products, but if it’s in a niche that doesn’t resonate with you, it’s likely you will suffer burnout or maybe even give up on it completely.
Never choose a niche because you think it will make money, or because someone else is making money in it. If it’s not your thing, you should avoid it. Instead, think of a niche that you do love and figure out ways you can monetise it and earn money from it.
3) Not Knowing Enough
This can be frustrating and overwhelming. You know you have most of the pieces to this internet marketing puzzle, but for some reason you can’t get them all together. You even watch your favourite marketers to see what they do, but it still doesn’t click.
What are you doing wrong? It could be that you aren’t doing anything wrong. You simply may not be doing enough of the right things.
It can be really difficult to figure out what the right things are. One way is to scale back on doing too many activities. Target a few things until they become habit.
Once you’ve scaled back, this will help you avoid “shiny new object syndrome”. This is the problem that affects many entrepreneurs – we always feel we need to learn more about the latest and greatest technique, instead of sticking to what we’re already doing.
Sure, you will want to broaden your skills and knowledge at some point, but you can only concentrate on a limited area at first. If you haven’t figured that out yet, don’t keep buying info product after info product hoping that you will. Focus and you’ll eventually feel like things are moving into place.
Of course, if you’re really struggling you can always hire a mentor to kick-start your business (as long as you can afford it).
4) No Systems in Place
This can be a tricky. Chances are you’re not even sure what systems you need to have in place to make running your business more efficient and streamlined. You search on-line for types of systems, but the results you get are just more articles telling you to get systems put in place!
A system can be as simple as having a daily routine. When you have certain things you do on a routine basis, develop a system for getting it done in a short amount of time.
• Set up templates for emails
• Schedule social media updates to go out through the day so you’re not having to check in every hour
• Set up a blog posting schedule
• Schedule a time to update your financial files
5) Trying To Do Too Much
This one can definitely lead to burnout pretty quickly. For example, if you’re still new to running a business, you probably can’t afford to outsource a bunch of the daily tasks yet. In this case, it’s a good time to take stock of where you’re at, what absolutely has to be done and what can be taken off the list.
For instance, if keeping up with Facebook isn’t bringing in business for you, give it a break and focus on another site that is. If you’re getting ReTweets on Twitter, people are sharing your content and your business, which may be a better place to spend your time networking. If neither of those are bringing you results, maybe that time would be better spent in a forum, a membership site or with a mastermind group.
If you’re feeling social media too overwhelming due to all the different networks out there, you can focus on your favourites, or make use of a premium service like Buffer App or HootSuite to make them all easier to manage from one place.
Running your own business really is about balance and juggling a lot of things. You have to decide what’s bringing in results, what isn’t and cut out the things that aren’t bringing you results.
Also consider the quality of the results you’re getting. For example, you may have thousands of Twitter followers and get a lot of replies, but if they don’t lead to sales of your product or service then is your time really best spent there?
Remember – when you do have a stable cash flow, then outsourcing is the best way to expand your business. You simply won’t be able to reach the level you want on your own, and you’ll feel burned out!
6) Not Using Your Strengths
You may be wondering how this can lead to burnout. The truth is if you’re focusing on doing things you’re not good at, it’s not only be a big waste of time it will also suck your mental energy. If you’re not good at web design, don’t do it. Either save the money to have it outsourced or barter with a web designer and offer them your skills in return.
If social networking isn’t your strength, stop trying to be a social butterfly. You can still share useful information and be nice, but you do not have to comment on everyone’s posts to get attention. Just be yourself, share your content along with other great content and leave it at that.
Do figure out what your strengths are and work with those. If you’re good at graphic design or writing, then target people who are looking for those services instead of people looking for complete web design. If you’re good at motivating others, consider a coaching business to help people stay focused and inspired.
Remember – it makes a lot more sense to work to your strengths than spending all your energy working on your weaknesses!
7) Not Specialising
This one can go hand in hand with not using your strengths. If you’re offering a ton of services and having to jump from project to project to get things done, you should consider specialising in only a few things.
Once you’re business is established you can add more services, hire helpers and outsource some of the work. For now, though, stop trying to do so many things at once. Stick to a few things until you’re established in those areas.
8) Too Much Repetition
On the other hand, doing things that are repetitious and tedious can zap your energy and cause burnout too. If there are small tasks that must be done each week, maybe it’s time to hire a VA to get those done.
Using a VA is great for things that only take 15 to 30 minutes, but it will save you a lot of frustration. Most VAs charge by the hour, but they will track how many 10 to 15 mins time blocks they do for you and make sure you get your full hour’s worth of work. You may only need to purchase one hour per month for some things. This makes it very cost effective for you and can keep you from putting off those mundane tasks.
9) Networking the Wrong Way
This one is definitely hard to balance. You need to network and get to know other people in your field, find possible clients and partners, but if you spend too much time in this area, it will eat into your work time. On the other hand, if you spend too much time trying to work and not enough time chatting with other business owners, mentors or people who are trying to start their own business, you can suffer burnout by feeling like you’re all alone in this venture.
The opposite of not networking enough is doing it too much. This can lead you to comparing your success to others who are more successful or further along in the game than you are. There’s a fine balance between being inspired by others, taking action to create your own success or simply watching their success until it brings you down. If all you’re doing is watching their success, it can leave you feeling uninspired or thinking you’ll never make it to that level!
Remember, they put in a lot of long hours and hard work to get where they are today. If you take action and do the same, you can have similar results. However, you still need to take breaks from work or it will lead to burnout.
10) Not Planning
This is an area where many newbies fail. It can lead to burnout because if you don’t spend some time making weekly and monthly plans, you will end up wasting time each day trying to figure out what you should be doing. After a while, this leaves you frustrated and making very little progress.
Spend an hour or two at the beginning of each month deciding what you want to accomplish for the month, whether it’s gaining new clients, building your email list, making more sales or doing product creation. Define your monthly goals and then break those down into weekly tasks.
At the end of each workday, see what’s on tomorrow’s schedule so you’ll know what to expect each day. Also, spend some time on Sunday evening looking over your weekly plans so you know what’s ahead for the week and which areas you need to focus on.
There’s a common phrase that states:
Benjamin Franklin said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Don’t be one of those. Start working on your monthly plans – you can do this several months in advance or even make out a yearly plan. Just get busy planning.
Remember, even the best plans are bound to change, and working for yourself does mean you have the flexibility to change them if you want to. Don’t let that stop you from planning in the first place, though. It’ll really help your productivity and reduce feelings of burnout!
Following the tips above will help prevent you from becoming burned out in these keys areas. Business building can be hard work and it can take time. Don’t let yourself get discouraged or feel overwhelmed if things aren’t working as fast as you’d like. Simply take account of where you’re at, where you want to be, and which unimportant tasks you can eliminate to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
And remember, if you do get burnt out, it’s OK to take some time out to get things back on track. Things will get better if you work on them!