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Monthly Archives: August 2011

An Amazing Story of a Family Business Overcoming Challenges and Achieving Continuned Success

Thanks go to Tamara Unwin of the beautiful Stoke By Nayland Golf Course, Spa and Hotel where we host our Suffolk events for sharing this fascinating and incredibly motivational story of a families passion, determination and ability to achieve their goals. We hope it inspires you as it did us.

It is perhaps a surprising fact that, according to a Barclays Bank survey, around 60% of firms in the UK with a turnover of £5 million or less, are owned or managed by related family

members – and in East Anglia as many as 75% of all businesses are family-owned and managed. This is no doubt due to the importance of agricultural businesses in this area – of which apparently 94% are owned by families.

There is a saying that in many family businesses the first generation creates, the second

generation develops and the third generation squanders.

Unfortunately only a small percentage of third generation businesses survive as a result. With this in mind we have made a decision to strengthen our own family business

by planning ahead and involving the next generation.

 

My four siblings and I are a second generation family business – or ‘G2’ as we have come to all ourselves, and are very much in the expansion stage. Our mother Devora and her first husband, Bernard Loshak, started fruit farming in Suffolk in 1938. She then married Bill Peake in 1948 and together they expanded and diversified the business.

Bill and Devora Peake were incredible risk-taking entrepreneurs, creating two championship golf courses at Stoke by Nayland and Copella Fruit Juices, as well as numerous fruit, arable and livestock farming enterprises over the years. They selflessly ploughed any profits back into the business to create a legacy to pass onto their children and we have done our best to nurture and develop that legacy in turn to pass on to our own children – of which there are now 12 (aged from 20 up to 44), and referred to as ‘G3’.

Bill died in 1979 and Devora in 1999, and since then my sisters, Susanna and Carmella, brother Jonathan and Ihave developed the original Golf Clubhouse into Stoke by Nayland

Hotel, Golf & Spa which comprises of an 80 bedroom hotel, conference centre, Spa and fitness club as well as Lakes Restaurant, Pippin gift shop and Golf shop. We are currently in the process of building some self-catered chalets on the golf course to complement the hotel. My nephew Robert – a ‘G3’ member, is also working in the business as managing director of Peake Fruit. We have invested heavily in the fruit farm, packhouse and storage business and now grow apples, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries for the supermarkets as well supply apples to the Department of Health’s School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme.

Two years ago I attended a conference on family businesses at the Institute of Directors in London and I was most impressed by the facilitator, Peter Leach. On introducing myself to

him I was taken aback to learn that he already knew a great deal about our business and family. He informed me that Sir John Harvey Jones had enlisted his services, as a family

business expert, during the making of his BBC Troubleshooter documentary series in the early 1990’s, when he had advised us about our Copella Fruit Juice company, fruit farming,

packhouse and golf club enterprises.

I came away from the conference inspired by him and at the next board meeting encouraged each of my siblings to read Peter’s book, Family Businesses – The Essentials. We agreed that, as shareholders in our 50s and 60s, we should take steps to ensure that

ours would not be one of the many family business casualties once it reached the

third generation. We then embarked on a fascinating journey with Peter over the next few months. We formed a ‘Family Council’comprising of members from both G2 and G3 which now  meets twice a year and makes recommendations to our Board.

The Council has written a ‘Family Constitution’ manual which addresses questions of governance, shareholding, succession and many other issues relevant to family businesses. We held a G2 siblings two day ‘retreat’ – which was an enlightening experience involving at the end the ritual of burning pieces of paper on which we had each written any “hot button” issues we knew could irritate one another! We are now organising an annual Family assembly event this summer which is designed to be funfilled as well as educational and which will involve every possible member of the family, including of course ‘G4’ which now numbers 14 and is growing rapidly. There will around 50 of us ranging from babies to OAPs to spouses, to even ex-spouses.

Finally, and most movingly for us, our children, G3, created a Book of Family Values, which they presented to us and which we G2 members wholeheartedly agreed with. A page

was given to each of the values which we feel pervades and embraces our family business, such as honesty, integrity, trust, creativity, innovation, inclusiveness, compassion and more,

interspersed with family photographs and a family tree. The result of all this activity is hopefully a robust family enterprise in which all the current and future shareholders feel a sense of worth and belonging. We now have a fair and effective means of communicating with one another across the generations, and we can refer to a ‘book of rules’ as a guide.

Finally, we have recently appointed a non-family chairman which has been very beneficial – we have come a long way in two years!

Tamara Unwin

www.stokebynayland.com

  • August 23, 2011

Something Damaging Womens Business’s – Is It Affecting Yours?

I’d like to share something with you that I see on far too often an occasion to not share the ideas with you.

I believe that if you see something in your business affecting your customers then its highly likely it is affecting other people that are not even aware of the impact on their business and it’s always good to share the love and do your bit I feel, (and it’s a great way to interact with potential customers too, so get writing a blog folks) so here goes…

I personally believe that every business woman is capable achieving everything they wish to, but guess what, there is something that regularly stands in the way. For many of you into personal development you will have heard the saying get out of the way of your success. However let me paint you a picture….

…You have just finished working with a new client, they are that impressed they wanted to shake your hand, and give you the nice fat cheque in person and personally thank you for how brilliant your company has been and how much you have helped them achieve.

As the conversation closes they say to you, I am going to recommend you to everyone that I know and I am going to ensure they pick up the phone and learn about how great you and your business are.

You on the inside are grinning from ear to ear, with that sense of satisfaction of a job well done and lots more wonderfully happy customers in the pipe line.

Just before you leave the client says to you “Can I make a comment?” To which you obviously reply of course, (you are still on happy cloud 9 remember.)

“I’m not keen on that outfit you’re wearing”

What happens here is incredibly unlikely to happen however the equivalent happens all the time.

You walk away completing dismissing all the fantastic feedback, how happy the customer was, how they are going convert everyone they know into happy customers and all you can concentrate on is the “not keen on your outfit comment.”

Let me put it in another way, imagine a blank piece of paper, think of all that lovely white space to create on. Now add a dot in the middle. And guess what the eye concentrates on?

What I’m talking about here is constructive criticism. It is imperative that we learn from our mistakes to take ourselves and our businesses forward, but how many times do you walk away from a scenario having only heard the negative?

Too many business women jeopardise their success or reign in the impact of what they can achieve by only concentrating on the negative, by ignoring the compliments that are paid to you.

So from now on, of course continue to use constructive criticism to grow your business, your skills and your success but what do you need to do to ensure you listen to all the great stuff too?

What do you need to do to believe from this moment in time – I mean from the moment you are reading this right now, to ensure that you are the confident business woman on the inside too?

Did you know I recently read research that said that the most successful people in the world tend to be the people that always accept a compliment with the words “Thank you”.

And when this research was taken further they found out that criminals, people that had dropped out of school, people that had failed businesses, or saw themselves as having suffered severe bad luck in life were more likely to dismiss the compliment, with things like;

“What this old thing? I’ve had it for years.”
“Oh it was nothing anyone could have fixed that for you.”

“It’s nothing that no one else couldn’t have told you.”

So from today be nice to yourself in the words of the long running L’Oreal campaign (and folks it’s not long running for nothing you know, these words work) “Because we’re worth it”

I put it to you (Your honour) – that you are most definitely worthy of the compliments that head your way. And that from today if you want to rocket your success and see your dreams become reality you are going to start accepting and thanking people for their compliments.

Your mind is a muscle and if you don’t use it you lose it, so keep it occupied with all the negative stuff heading your way and guess what impact that has on your success? Your motivation? Even your daily business tasks?

So keep it programmed with positivity.

If you would like some ideas on how to turn this idea into a positive habit and to ensure you program your brain with the good stuff to rocket your success, just get in touch, it would be great to hear from you – and your thoughts good and bad are always welcome.

Mandie x

Mandie@mandieholgate.co.uk

  • August 23, 2011

Would you get Naked for your business?

At The BWN we love to support local charities so when Farleigh’s Hospice asked us if they could talk about their new challenge for local businesses, we were instantly interested. Not least when they mentioned they already had local press and radio interested, so businesses involved would get great media coverage too.

The idea is that Farleigh’s give you £50 (I did point out this was not the way charities traditionally worked – but heyho) and your business has 3 months to turn that into as much money as possible. The 50 businesses would be welcomed to a launch night and would be congratulated back on an awards night.

I had already had my thinking cap on since talking to Julie Sawyer from Farleigh’s and come up with 3 ideas, the first was a number of pamper events, (I hosted one for charity a few years ago and made £1000 in one night, so knew this could work) a skills bank to showcase the brilliance of business women at the BWN or a naked calendar. Guess what happened?

It was like I hadn’t said the first 2 ideas as Julie’s eyes lit up with “Think of the media opportunities on THIS” and everyone else was talking at a million miles an hour with the ideas whirring in their eyes about how brilliant it would be.

No one was thinking about the getting their kit off bit.

I love that when you asked business women to come up with a solution (I’m not being sexist here, I know you men are just as capable but hey my job is to look after the business women of the world, so don’t get stroppy with me later on Twitter.) they find it – it never ceases to impress me the level of care and consideration business women have for each other and their community.

However there is a problem…

If you know me personally my name is Mandie Holgate and I am the founder of the BWN. This year has been very much a battle for me, having spent near on 3 months in bed (really it sounds fun, but it wasn’t) with Glandular fever and now I am being investigated for ME. I don’t tell you this for sympathy (although if anyone wants to send me gifts, flowers and nice handbags feel free – LOL) I tell you this because as I saw the level of passion for the calendar idea I was instantly seeing a thousand ideas and opportunities at once. A bit like when I talk to a business woman about her business.

But I know my health needs me to consider me first. So what to do?

The heart says rise to the challenge and throw yourself into it like you do the BWN, but my mind says you need to rest (words that are incredibly annoying to keep hearing, I can tell you.)

So you know what, I lay down the gauntlet to the fabulous business women of the BWN.

I know you are all amazing, let’s show the world how incredibly amazing you are, by coming together to create a calendar that is sold for Farleigh Hospice and is brought in to existence by BWN business women, is promoted and sold by BWN business women and clearly tells the world how fabulous you all are. Obviously since it is the BWN doing this, there will be tons of opportunities to promote your business, not least get in the paper, on the radio and shall we go for on the telly too?

So fancy a challenge this fine May day?

Do you fancy getting involved?

We need business women who will “appear” naked (you won’t really need to be). Behind laptops if they are in IT, hidden by picture frames if they are framers (you know who you are), by books if they are thought leaders, behind big knickers if they offer business support for business (again you know who you are) and behind mixing bowls and cup cakes (and lastly you know who you are), the ideas are endless. Apparently they already have me earmarked for naked in a Super girl cape – words fail me.

As I already said I have a poor self image when it comes to my body, especially thanks to gaining weight and turning back into a spotty teenager thanks to my health problems but I will not have a comfort zone in my life and so bring on the challenge.

I see the first challenge though is to find a fantastic printers to be promoted on the back page and print them for free, so hopefully there are none of them out there and then I get to keep my clothes on.

When it comes to selling it, I know that I would rather bung my hand in my handbag/wallet for £10 than get naked for the world to see – what do you think?

Scared you a little?

Made you excited for what you could do for your business promotion and for a fabulous local charity?

Share with your world please, Tweet about this, Post it to Linkedin and Facebook, share in an email, stop the lady at the bus stop, tell everyone at coffee break time, but get the word out there please – and lets all go a little way to make a difference.

Thanks.

  • August 23, 2011

I’m Too Busy to Network

I’m Too Busy to Network

They are 5 words that always set my alarm bells sounding.

Why?

Well it is all too easy to assume that while you are away looking after your current influx of customers no one else is filling in the gap you left behind.

And as I often say, you can’t dictate when someone is ready to buy however you can ensure that it is YOU that they chose to buy from when they are ready.

What happens then if you are off working in your business and you are not nearby?

You need to be always on peoples radar and nothing beats the face to face contact.

When you take into account it takes time to build great relationships why would you then not continue to invest the time into this?

I often see business women berating that they slowed down on their marketing stratgey including the face to face networking and they can’t believe that 3 / 6 months later it is having such an impact on their business.

It stands to reason that if it took time to build relationships it would take as long to loose them, however unfortunately that is not always the case. A great hot lead can become a warm interest after only 30 minutes so what happens if you are not around for a few months?

Another sentence that always interests me is We get all of our customers by word of mouth. Again eventually this is going to dry up, and if it does not there is a high risk that you will grow and this will not satisfy your need for customers or your bottom line.

Every business however large or small must have a fully functioning marketing production line, that ensures that while you are busy there are still plenty of new prospects coming through that will naturally pick up on many of your marketing strands to ensure they are constantly getting a reinforced message that says;

They should buy and more importantly they should buy from you.

In doing this you are ensuring your business ALWAYS has lots of happy customers.

It is imperative that you look at your marketing production line and ask yourself;

What is working here?

What should we drop?

When budgets are tight one of the first things to go is the marketing budget, but guess what this is one of the first places you should really test and measure what is working and ensure you keep up the good work.

It is never more important than when things seem to be going great guns, to be just as diligent with your marketing strategy.

So ask yourself can you answer where every new customer came from?

Can you say how much time and money it took to get that customer?

And is your Marketing Production Line working to ensure you always have tons of happy customers.

I love working on businesses sales and marketing strategies. If you are not completely happy with yours, I would love to have a chat and find out more about how I can help. But answering these key questions will be a great way to get started to powering up your marketing strategy.

If you would like a copy of what a great marketing Production Line looks like get in touch and I would be happy to share this with you.

Mandie Holgate – mandie@mandieholgate.co.uk

  • August 23, 2011

What Does Networking Do For You?





Business Women Networking

I suppose if someone had asked me a few months ago, what networking does for your business I would have listed the obvious;

I would have said it connects me with my ideal clients, it finds me solutions to my business, it basically ensures that I have what I need to succeed in business through a vast network of contacts and business associates.

I know that for some it still proves to be a struggle to make networking effective (ie, it helps you sustain and grow your business.) and the problem for many is they tackle networking in the wrong way.

It is about getting to know other people. For years sales and marketing gurus have been talking about getting to know, like and trust people and this is imperative in every format of your marketing strategy that truly ensure that this is being allowed to happen. So networking is not your opportunity to run around a room selling at people, it is about the basic essential knowledge that every sales person needs to know and that you are probably already aware of that people buy from people. I know it is often banded around, but stop for a moment and think about this statement.

The last time you were networking (and here you can now add social networking too) what was your approach? Was it how can I help you? Was it “here are some free connections/ideas/solutions for you and your business? Or was it top heavy with we are brilliant, and we do this and we do that?

From day one of a networking relationship it needs to be about the other person and their business needs. Think about this, if you are seriously doing this, then in every situation everyone would be doing their best for everyone else and thus everyone would get the results they were looking for. Great right?

But a word of caution.

It is an investment of your time and your money, as with any area of your marketing strategy so invest wisely. Test and measure the impact of your networking. Do you need to network in more than one place? With a different group of people? Or do you need to reconsider your networking style?

So you know what networking can do for your business success right, but here is a thought from someone who is considered a super connector. (Not my words I hasten to add)

I have always gone out of my way at every opportunity to answer the question for you “What can I do to help you?” in doing this I know that I am now considered a valuable person to network with and know, which means that when someone is ready to buy the first person they will think of is me.  Remember you cannot dictate when someone is ready to buy however you can determine who they remember first when they are ready to buy. But just as importantly I recently learnt another power that networking has.

After experiencing a year of continual illness I’m glad I have a powerful marketing strategy because something that was not listed on my marketing production line (ask me about it sometime) was other people networking.

You see despite being unable to “get out there” my business didn’t suffer, new customers continued to contact me and business has steadily continued to grow. Because?

Because I have been a tireless campaigner for other people’s business success guess what happened when the chips were down and I needed help?

You guessed it.

I was inundated with offers of help and support.

So effective networking will not only provide you with contacts, potential customers and the answers to your business success. It also becomes a powerful ally to your marketing strategy.

So today ask yourself is your networking powering your success?

If not what do you need to do?

And if I can help feel free to give me a call – 07989935556 or see you at an Essex BWN event soon.

Best wishes and Happy Business

Mandie

This week 1 business woman told me that I helped her get her biggest contract of 2011, another I got on ITN news and another told me where she was close to quitting she now has 3 employees – knowing me is dangerous!


  • August 23, 2011

The Big BWN Birthday Bash – 17.3.11

Who remembers our Christmas event? The stands, the networking, the shopping, the business?

Business women not only promoted their businesses that day but made money, signed business women up and made the sales.

So what better way to celebrate our 2nd Birthday than with an amazing speaker and everything the Christmas event had and more.

Fancy a soothe in the gorgeous spa afterwards?

Fancy joining us for a meal afterwards?

Get in touch and lets celebrate business women from across East Anglia, coming together to work for each others success.

See you there.

BTY the cake is gorgeous.

To book your place Click here

  • August 23, 2011

How do you tell a story with cupcakes?

Hi, I’m Lucie and I have a passion for baking and sugar craft, I like to get an idea and let my creativity run wild.

 

Hi, I’m Lucie and I have a passion for baking and sugar craft, I like to get an idea and let my creativity run wild.

 

A few weeks ago I got an order for a box of Hungry Caterpillar cupcakes for a little girls  2nd birthday.  From a young age I have loved the hungry caterpillar book with its little holes running through all the food the caterpillar has eaten.

Anyway back to the birthday, I had no brief apart from she likes the hungry caterpillar so I decided to tell the story making each cupcake tell a page of the book each.  And here’s the results:

     

 

At the birthday party the story was read aloud and a cupcake was given out to a child after the page had been read.  I don’t know if your familiar with the story but on the 6th day the hungry caterpillar eats one sausage, one gherkin, one piece of watermelon, one cupcake, piece of cherry pie, one lollipop, one piece of salami, one ice cream, one piece of cheese and one piece of chocolate cake! Phew I don’t think I could have eaten all of that but all of those were handmade out of marzipan on the top of the cupcake and according to my sources there was a little bit of a scuffle when it came to who got to eat that one! The children loved the party and the edible story.


 

Over coffee the other day I was talking to a business friend and asked what book she would turn into a cupcake story and she said she would have the Gruffalo, my minds now buzzing with ideas of the little mouse and his walk through the woods!

I would love to know what your favourite childhood story was or which book you would like to see made into a cupcake story.

Right now I’m off as I have a new book myself from America on making cupcakes look like food and I’m going to try and make baked beans look appetising on a cupcake, yum!

 

Lucie, Wonderland Bakery, home of bespoke cupcakes with star quality

  • August 23, 2011

The Best Business Resource – EVER (and a blantant gushy thank you)

I often get asked “why should I come along to The BWN, what makes it any different to the other networks out there?”

And up until now I have had a wide variety of reasons for joining The BWN.

(Don’t forget every business woman that has ever walked through our doors is considered a member because we have no membership fees, we are not about getting a nice big membership fee out of you, so if you are reading this, and turn up at an event then you have joined. Wow that was easy, wasnt it?)

Only this week more than one business woman has told me that they are not renewing their membership fees with other networks, when I asked them why they told me similar things…”The fact is not only do I get more work from coming along to The BWN, I also get so much more and its more fun.”

Well you can’t argue with that can you?

Although the reason for my blog is not just a big love in for The BWN, its because over the past month I have truly grown to appreciate what The BWN really does for business womens success.

 

Over the past month I have developed an understanding of the subtler ways in which The BWN stands out.

Okay so yes we do go out of our way to get you the great contacts, leads and business opportunities, and we know that works for your success. But I had not appreciated the extent to which we support one another.

I at the moment am going through a health crisis, that has left me near on bed ridden for most of January. If you knew me you would know that I am one of lifes do-ers. Sittting around doing nothing is likely to overload my brain with boredom. but for good or bad I have been so poorly I have not even exeperienced boredom. But what I have experienced is a wealth of support and advice from women at The BWN. They have rallied round to ensure that everyone knows about my business and the BWN events that I am responsible for. They have sent me well wishes and thoughts, and have made me feel truly missed. I am overwhelmed by the sincerity and kindess that I have experienced. (It is a struggle to type this but I wanted to show my gratitude.)

 

Also this week, one of the business women that comes to our events in Essex has experienced one of the most awful things a person can experience with the loss of her husband.

I know I and many other business women have been there to support her at this terrible time, and it made me feel so special to be a part of The BWN. To be at the funeral this week and see so many BWN business women there to support this fabulous business woman through this awful time. What is more I know that over the difficult coming months, I and so many other business women will be there to support this woman as she starts to rebuild her life. And I know it means the world to her that she is not stepping out back into her business alone, that she has the might of The BWN behind her.

There are so many stories I could share with you like this. that have truly helped me to appreciate that The BWN is a powerful team that works together for your success. Whether you want to pop along once in a while for a speaker that takes your fancy or whether you want to ensure that everyone is networking and promoting your business for you by coming reguarly. The BWN is the place where you will get what you need for success.

So often we forget that success is not just about the amount of hours you can pour into your business, or the extent of your knowledge of the calibre of your product, it is also about you the person.

Every person on this planet needs to feel appreciated, loved, respected and cared for. We all need to know that when the chips are down, there are people there that genuinely care about us. And that applies just as much if not more in our professional lives.

I know first hand that the business women at The BWN are as passionate about our tagline (which we live by) as we are, which is fantastic, it truly means that the BWN is THE resource for business women’s success, and I am so incredibly proud to be a part of this.

In case you don’t know our tagline, it is “As Passionate About Your Success As You Are” – and many many business women will tell you, we mean it.

So writing this has exhausted me I am going to finish with big thank you’s to.

Samantha Frickers, Clare Lauwerys, Jacueline Long, Loess Overbury Tapper, Bridget Greenwood, Kathryn Ebdon, Susan Pattrick, Kathy Ennis, Pavlenka Small, Julie Binder, and anyone else that on this amount of meds I might have forgot.

Thank you – I know that my passion is your success, but it feels very special knowing that you feel the same way. You eptimise what The BWN is about. Thank you.

  • August 23, 2011

Staying Safe – How to create good passwords that you can remember

Recently at The Business Woman’s Network I met a woman who stored over 200 login names and passwords in an Excel spreadsheet – And the spreadsheet wasn’t password protected! So if her computer was ever stolen then the lucky thief would have access to all of her many accounts!

And yet another woman used one password everywhere!

This horrified me but didn’t surprise me. I have – well I don’t know how many passwords I have, let’s just say lots. And each one is different and none of them are written down. As Harry Hill says “You’ve got to have a system!”…….

 

So here we go, how to have different passwords everywhere and never forget them.

 

First let me say that there is no such thing as an uncrackable password – given enough time and the right tools a dedicated hacker will crack anything. It’s our job to make it as hard as possible so they give up and go the person who has picked their favourite colour as a password.

 

What makes a good password?

 

A good password will mix letters, numbers and non-alphanumeric characters or symbols. Don’t use a word that is in the dictionary – hackers have programs that can try thousands of different passwords and try all the words in a dictionary.

 

It needs to be at least 6 characters long – although I would recommend at least 10 characters (No, don’t say you can’t remember 10 characters – I’m going to teach you a system!)

 

 

 This is a three step process.

 

Step One – The phrase/line that all your passwords are based on.

This might be from a song, a poem, your favourite book.

For example, Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

Take the first letter of each word and we get “rorawok” as the base phrase.

 

Step Two – The variation for each site

For this we are going to use part of the site name, for example, the last three letters.

So on Amazon we’d take zon and add it on to our base phrase to get rorawokzon

 

Step Three – Add some numbers and/or non-alphanumeric characters.

 

Hold on, this is getting tricky I hear you cry -we’re up to 10 characters already.

Stay with me, and I promise it will be easy.

We can substitute numbers and other non-alphanumerics.

You don’t to use all these suggestions – just swapping one letter is a good start.

Just decide on your personal rule and stick to it.

Letter swap suggestions

S > 5

l or i > 1

E > 3 or £

a > @

o > 0

g or q > 4

So if I swap the ‘a’ for a ‘@’ then my password for amazon would be ror@wokzon

Final tweek is to have a mixture of lowercase and upper case and to give myself another easy rule to remember I will make the letter after a symbol/number to be a capital so my password ends up as being ror@Wokzon.

This system means that you will be able to have hundreds of passwords and always remember them without having to write them down.

And it means that hackers will find it harder to crack your passwords and so you’ll be safer!

 

This guide was produced by Clare Lauwerys from PositiveWeb, making your web experience positively the best

  • August 23, 2011

AAAAAAAAA Run for the Hills, The competition is coming!!!!

Running your own business gives you the highest of the highest and the lowest of the lows, and I know from working with business women as their business coach, exactly what that looks like first hand. I personally too know that scary feeling of “aaaaa there is someone else doing what I do, it’s the death of my business, what shall I do?” You can practically hear the warning sirens and the panic stations being manned. But the fact is competition is a good thing, it offers your potential clients variety, a choice, and something that we often forget is, it offers them the chance to see that actually YOU are the best for them, and that they need not look elsewhere wondering “Could we do better?” “Is this the best deal?” because competition reminds them of how brilliant you are regularly.

 Obviously you have to appreciate what your competitors are doing and ensure that you are always at the forefront of your industry, always assessing whether you are genuinely doing your best for your customers and your potential customers. At the end of the next sentence stop reading for a moment and answer the following question in your head with the first words that come into your mind;

 “Do I know that I am doing everything I could to offer my current customers the very best services, or if I was honest with myself is there something that I am missing that could stand me apart from the crowd?”

 Your first response is your gut instinct, so think about what you thought and maybe have a look at what you offer, is it time to think again about your business strategy, your products and services?

 I speak from experience here (on more than one occasions over my…er..a lady never tells you her age) years of business experience, about this and the impact of competitors. You see as the founder of The Business Woman’s Network I knew exactly what I wanted because I could not find what I wanted anywhere else, don’t get me wrong there are plenty of great networking opportunities, but I wanted so much more. Well when have you ever met a woman that did not want the best and the moon on a stick?

 I wanted great proactive networking, but I wanted it to be welcoming to newbie’s and business women petrified of public speaking or meeting new people. I wanted it to deliver new ideas and opportunities for business women. I wanted to go somewhere I could get any answers I needed for the success of my business, be it in my own skill or mind set or in contacts, leads and training. As we near our second birthday the reputation we have built for ourselves is second to none and we deliver exactly what I set out to, but I still get nervous occasionally when a new networking group sets up. But I know we deliver something very special, as the wonderful Loess Overbury Tapper from Tapper Financial Services pointed out to me recently We are always encouraging people to come to our group (they run this great networking event in Colchester once a fortnight, get in touch with me for more info) I do feel that it works even better if they can attend a group where there’s more structure too but without the pressure of the hard sell. That is where the BWN fits in” We always get business women thanking us for the impact that we have on their business and on their success. For the connections we helped them make, we pride ourselves on not just providing you with a venue and a roomful of businesses, we actively look to connect you, so our coordinators like to get to know about you and your business and what you need to get the results you want, so they can help it happen, And boy do we do that.

 When we had an add up we worked out we had helped businesses across East Anglia in so many ways in 2010, from actually securing big contracts, to overcoming public speaking fears (to the point where they now love the stage) and using social media for more than a way of procrastinating and looking busy to getting them on the telly, and in the news.   We helped them create new ideas, new products and get in front of some of the best public speakers on business and success in the country. Including a few international authors, a rock god (Peter Cook will love that title) and even a  millionaire mentor.

 Our tag line is As Passionate About Your Success As You Are, and everyone that comes along soon sees that is most definitely the case. So do we fear competition? On the contrary we like to scare them by saying “Hey come along to The BWN and let us promote your events (freaky eh? Business working together for the success of everyone, but it works.) In this way, we know that business women are getting in front of the very best opportunities for their business success.

 So what about a new approach? What about not just checking out the competition, what about engaging with and working with them?

Now where could that lead?

If you would like to learn more about The BWN, come along anytime, we have no membership fees so everyone is classed as a member, we have opportunities to promote you online, through our social media and even at all events even if you can’t make it. Every woman in business is welcome and we can’t wait to meet you and learn about your business and your business needs.

For free top tips, ideas, reports and solutions explore our website and if you would like to keep up to date on our events, opportunities and speakers get in touch as we never automatically add anyone to our website.

 

I’m the Suffolk and Essex Coordinator and the founder of The BWN and I would love to hear from you.

Mandie@thebusinesswomansnetwork.co.uk

  • August 23, 2011