April 19, 2014

Want to give your start-up a jump-start?

Electric spark wire

The Business Start Up Show is a national event geared towards fledgling businesses.

Held at the Excel Centre in London on the 20th – 21st May, the show will feature several special guest speakers including West Ham United co-owner David Gold, Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry, and Richard Farleigh from Dragon’s Den.

The event will also feature exhibitors from a wide range of industries, as well as seminars covering subjects such as writing a business plan, managing your finances and cash flow, branding and advertising.

Attendees will have the opportunity to attend one-to-one business advice sessions with business experts, as well as taking part in speed networking – a great opportunity to widen your business network.

Businesses in need of funding will be queueing up for ‘The Midas Touch’, a Dragon’s Den style event where entrepreneurs pitch to a panel of potential financial backers in the hope of leaving with an investment.

The event runs from 10am – 5pm on both days, and is free to attend.

For more information, visit the Business Start Up Show.

Two days of celebrities and support for start-ups

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The Business Startup Show 2009 is a star studded national business event held at London’s Olympia on the 26th and 27th of November, which is free to attend.

Now in its ninth year, the show offers a range of events, speakers and seminars designed to appeal to start-up and expanding small businesses.

The show includes a number of seminars and presentations on subjects such as finance and cashflow, stress management, website management and motivating your staff.

Speakers include Richard Farleigh of Dragon’s Den fame, Richard Reed, the founder of Innocent drinks, and Levi Roots, the founder of the Reggae Reggae Sauce brand.

The show also features Midas Touch, its own pitch-to-the-panel Dragon’s Den style event, where visitors are invited to pitch a business plan to a panel of potential backers with a view to walking away with a real cash investment.

Visitors can also take part i speed networking sessions, which look to match great minds together for future collaborations, or book one-to-one advice session to help them identify the key strengths and weaknesses of their business to help move it forward.

The event runs from 10am to 5pm and tickets are available free of charge.

For more information, visit  The Business Startup Show 2009.

Freelancer? Have a day all to yourself

Working on sofa

National Freelancers Day 2009 is an initiative organised by the Professional Contractors Group to bring attention to the work of freelancers, contractors and consultants, and to highlight the economic benefit they bring to the UK.

The day will see a range of real world and web events designed to encourage a better understanding of freelancing as a style of work, while encouraging both businesses and workers to a tackle of the issues facing the sector.

National Freelancers Day 2009 is being promoted with the key message that freelancers form a significant part of the UK business sector, and has the following aims:

  • To deliver a ‘Manifesto for Freelancing’ to those standing at the next election; and
  • To seek to educate both businesses and the community to provide a better overall environment and support network for freelancers.

National Freelancers Day takes place on 23rd November 2009.

For more information on getting involved, visit National Freelancers Day.

Opening doors: selling without selling

open doors

This is a guest post by Gary Gorman, group leader for 4Networking Grantham, and director of Paradigm Training, a company that works with businesses to attract more customers and increase sales.

In every networking organisation, large or small, there will be some people who treat every meeting like a sales pitch. These are the people who pounce on any new visitors, stuff a business card in their hand and virtually say, “Well? When are you going to buy from me?”

To me, it’s no surprise when I later hear them complain that networking isn’t winning them any sales. Their approach is like going into a bar and grabbing the nearest group of drinkers to saying, “Hi! My name’s X. Here’s my card. Let me place an order for you now.” You just wouldn’t do it, would you?

Put it this way: would you buy from somebody who did this to you? I know I wouldn’t. I’d get away from them within 30 seconds, if not sooner!

So why would anyone take this approach when attending networking meetings? They might as well cover themselves in sales repellent spray – it simply won’t work, ever.

But what if that same person took time to get to know you, found out a little bit about your circumstances, listened to the issues you’ve had in the past? What if over the course of a couple of conversations, you realised you liked the person and would bear them in mind whenever you had a real need for their product or service? You might even begin to trust them and refer them onto another contact who might have a specific need right now.

Would you have felt like you’d been sold to? Probably not. Would you have felt that you’d been listened to and understood? Probably, you would. Would you buy from them if the time was right? Again, probably you would.

So, in any networking situation, I firmly believe that it’s far better to forget the initial sale and instead concentrate on building rapport and listening to the other person, giving them time to get to know, like and trust you. Then, when the time is right, the sale will come.

This approach is, and always will be, the way to get networking working for any business.

Building rapport

Here are my top 10 tips to help you build rapport and increase your chances of winning business in the long term:

  1. Listen more than you talk.
  2. Show that you are listening by occasionally nodding, saying “yes”, or confirming that you understand.
  3. Maintain good frequent eye contact, without staring.
  4. Ask open questions such as “What’s the biggest challenge you face right now? What have you done about this so far?”
  5. Link your next open question to what they just said, not what you prepared to say.
  6. Listen for their speech patterns and mirror their language. If they are a visual person you might say, “Yes I see what you mean” or if they are an auditory person you might say, “I hear what you say.”
  7. Get them in a “yes” frame of mind by saying something that they are unlikely to disagree with such as, “growing sales can be a challenge for any business, can’t it?”
  8. Use light and shade. Ask probing questions but lighten the mood where possible with humour or an observation. They shouldn’t feel that they are being interrogated.
  9. Let them decide how they would like to carry the conversation forward. See whether they feel a further phone call or meeting is the next stage. The more they own the next step the more likely they are to be open and receptive to your proposal.
  10. Overall, forget the sale – just concentrate on them.

This post is part of a week-long series of guest posts on the topic of real world networking. Read all about it here: Online networking is booming, so why network in the real world?

Get involved in Global Entrepreneurship Week 2009

Sapling

Global Entrepreneurship Week is an international celebration of enterprise and talent amongst business people in 77 countries, taking place from Monday 16th to Sunday 22nd November in 2009.

Originally launched in 2004 as the UK’s Enterprise Week, in recent years it has been absorbed into a worldwide movement aiming to foster new possibilities for people of all ages around the globe by spotlighting their work and encouraging confidence and collaboration.

The UK saw 640,000 people attend events as part of the celebration last year, and the initiative has received glowing testimonial from Lord Sugar and Gordon Brown.

Among this year’s planned activities:

  • The Make Your Mark Challenge on 16th November is a one-day enterprise challenge, designed to encourage entrepreneurial endeavour among school and college students.
  • Women’s Enterprise Day on 18th November will highlight the contribution of female entrepreneurs in an effort to encourage more to make their business dreams a reality.
  • Events on 19th November will supports the theme of Social Enterprise, with the spotlight on businesses that aim to improve social or environmental factors.
  • The 20th November will see the first Home Enterprise Day, which looks to inspire more people to start running businesses from their own homes by exploring the efforts of those who’ve managed to succeed doing just that.

For more information, visit Global Entrepreneurship Week (UK).

4Networking is coming to Lincoln

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I have good news! If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been working on setting up a networking event in Lincoln for some time.

Well, after weeks of planning, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve got a venue and date sorted for the launch of 4Networking in Lincoln and it’s going to be fantastic.

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4Networking really is a different way of doing things. You have three one-to-one appointments at every meeting and members can attend any one of almost 200 groups across the country.

This is your chance to become part of a 20,000 strong network – sharing information, solving problems, building relationships and doing real business.

Fancy joining us for the very first of many Lincoln 4Networking events?

Here are the details:

  • Date: 24th September
  • Time: 8am – 10am
  • Location: Pride of Lincoln (map)
  • Price: Just £10 for entry and a cooked or continental breakfast

To book your place, either register on the 4Networking website or contact me.

We already have businesses from around the country booked in, so it’s well worth two hours of your time.

In the meantime, if you would like to know more about 4Networking, please head over to the 4Networking website where there’s plenty of information about the club and why it could prove so valuable to your business.

And while you’re there, check out the very active 4Networking online forum. The forum works in the same spirit as the live events, offering a place to share ideas and find real business opportunities.

See you there…

The Consortium Small Business Networking Club is coming to Lincoln

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Update: Plans have changed since this announcement was made. Please see this post for more information: 4Networking is coming to Lincoln.

After meeting with Tara Carlile-Swift (@taraconsortium) last week, I’m pleased to announce that Emily Cagle Communications will be working with Consortium to create, support and grow the Lincoln branch of the very popular Consortium East Midlands Small Business Networking Club.

Clubs are already up and running in Derby and Nottingham, with the Leicester club kicking off from 2nd July.

After a number of years working in London, I’m happy to be back in Lincoln and supporting local business in the city I grew up in. We’re hoping that the club will grow to become a useful support network for people in Lincoln running small businesses.

The agenda for every club is pretty straightforward:

  • Food, wine & networking
  • 30-40 min seminar or speaker to inspire or inform you
  • 20 minutes of speed networking
  • ..and when we have time we move to the pub to finish the evening off

If you’d like to get involved, watch this space or head over to the Consortium Small Business Networking Club and sign up for the newsletter so that Tara can keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you are based in Lincoln and interested in appearing as a guest speaker, please let me know.

Raise the profile of your events business

Crowd audience

Is your business involved in creating, hosting or running live events? If so, the Event Awards 2009 are aimed at you.

Hosted by the recently re-launched Event magazine, the awards celebrate accomplishment in ‘experiential, creative and live events’.

The deadline for entries is 21st May 2009 and applications must refer to work undertaken between 10th May 2008 and 8th May 2009.

The categories for this year have been altered slightly to reach exhibition organisers, in-house event teams, venues and production companies.

There are 25 categories available:

  • Showcase Award
  • Exhibition Organiser of the Year
  • Brand Experience Agency of the Year
  • Creative Event Agency of the Year
  • Event Supplier of the Year
  • Entertainment Agency of the Year
  • Caterer of the Year
  • Best International Exhibition, Brand Experience or Creative Event
  • Best Consumer Exhibition
  • Best Trade Exhibition
  • Exhibition Feature Area
  • Exhibition Stand
  • Best Launch Exhibition
  • Creative Event of the Year
  • Creative Event Space of the Year
  • Exhibition Venue of the Year
  • Brand Experience Venue of the Year
  • Best Conference
  • Best Public or Outdoor Event
  • Best Brand Experience Event
  • Best Brand Activity at Festival or Public Event
  • Best PR Event or Stunt
  • The Green Award
  • Venue In-House Team of the Year
  • Grand Prix (not open for direct entry)

The cost per entry varies depending on the status of your business. The standard rate is £140 + VAT but certain association members will be charged £125 + VAT, while charitable organisations will pay just £90 + VAT.

For further information, visit the Event Awards 2009.