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2021 - A challenging year for most

Category Archives for Jackie’s Blog

How did you meet?

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!!

Connection

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.


What happened then....

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.

CostaWomen
1230 The Women's Company
Make It Happen

Cardinal Sin & Speednetworking!

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:

  • Perspex stands - A4 and A5
  • Balloons
  • Roller bannersx 2 1230 TWC
  • Blue Tack
  • Brown tape

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
forgot
my
hooter!!!

business networking

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!!!!

toddler bicycle

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!

hooter business

Toot Toot!

networking, pitch, elevator, businessnetworking, businesswomen

Death to the Elevator Pitch – Networking

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.

I digress!

sales

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?

According to Wikipedia:

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!

alarm clock hearts

11 points to remember about your 1 minute talk:

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!

1 Minute talk guide



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!

The Woeful Tale of a Terabyte or 2

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.

Hmmmm.  Still with me?

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.

terabyte

Okayyyyy….

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.

Stop!

The machine sees that it has 4TB hard drive, but only reads it as 2TB.  Eeeeek!

Screaming girl

Business: I’m not precious!

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.

The answer is really simple

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.

Networking, about you, business women

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!

See, I said it was simple!

So why not book in now and have your moment to shine!

 

Bagontour

 

#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

 

Lights, Camera, Action!

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.

clapper board actionLights, Camera, Action!

10 Things That Cause Business Burnout (And How to Avoid Them)

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.

What causes burnout?Burnout

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.

Examples:
• 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 haveclocks juggling 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
planningThis 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:

People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan 

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.

woman gazing

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!

 

Why collaboration in business is good

At the recent 1230 TWC Margate meeting, special guest speaker Paul Andrews chose “Collaboration” as his topic. It reminded me of a Blog I wrote almost a year ago to the day “Synergies and Collaboration – why would you?” Here for you to read; and this has prompted me to re-visit the topic and include some vital current statistics - so thank you Paul!

collaboration women

So let’s look first at the definition of collaboration = the action of working with someone to produce something. (Oxford Dictionaries)

Paul’s collaboration and discussions with other business owners, concluded that small (business) is beautiful and good; being a large business has potential to lose sense all of reality and this applies globally, not just UK.

A few stats:

  • Female entrepreneurship is growing in Britain, and has been since the recession of 2008 – 2011. 1.5m women in the UK are self-employed, which is an unprecedented increase of 300,000 since before the recession – that’s 80% of the new self-employed during this time.
  • Women are nearly three times as likely to collaborate with research institutions (universities in particular) than male businesses (11.4% compared with 3.8%) (ibid British Chambers of Commerce 2004).

When it comes to team building, as women we have a terrific advantage. Our style is collaborative. We connect and collaborate, do business. There’s that word again - “collaborative”.

Why would you want to collaborate with others? We simply can’t be experts in everything…

Some ideas on collaboration:

  • Look for synergies when speaking to others
  • When networking, listen to others’ 1 minute talks. For example, are you a photographer? Is there a wedding organiser in the group, or jeweller, beautician, a florist? A bride would need all these things. All these have potential for collaboration. One step further, why not put an event together.
  • Perhaps you’re a web designer and often get clients who need a logo, branding and someone in your circle can make that connection for you.
  • If you’re a solicitor who writes employment contracts, a VA could be someone who could make useful connections for you with their clients… You get the idea? Think complimentary business.

Maybe you don’t see the synergies straight away, but they’re clear when you revisit your meeting notes later – you do take notes, don’t you?

Collaborate with another person/s and your business offering is stronger, different, more successful.

Let me know how you get on!

Business Networking: Are Venues Important?

Are venues important?

We think so, we know so!

From day 1, 3 March 2002, 1230 The Women’s Company has always held its monthly lunch-time business meetings in attractive venues with ambience, and delicious food.

1230 TWC is not a run of the mill network with sandwiches and sausage rolls!

Inspiration flows in great surroundings and solid, trust-worthy relationships are built with regular attendance, not only for those who attend, but with our venues too.

So we blow the trumpet for our fabulous venues and their helpful accommodating staff, here they are!

 

Bexley – Ferrari’s Restaurant

Blackheath & Greenwich – DoubleTree Hilton

Bromley – Aqua Restaurant

City of London – Devonshire Terrace

Croydon – Ponte Nuovo

East Dulwich – Tart

Margate – The Powell Restaurant

Mayfair – Jak’s Mayfair

Orpington – Scala

Sevenoaks & Tunbridge Wells – The Hand & Sceptre

Don’t miss out, we’d love to see you there – be productive, and, enjoy yourself!