Monthly Archives: August 2011

More Calendar Girls than The Only Way is Essex.

When I first heard of Business Woman’s Network I was sceptical, my personal experiences of women in the work place hadn’t been great, pettiness, aggression, bitchiness and moods seemed to be the order of the day, behaviour that was seen in the early episodes of the current series of ‘The Apprentice’.  There is of course an alternative view, that women are fluffy, just playing at business … again, a negative stereotype.


I’m pleased to report that through Business Woman’s Network I’ve been proven wrong, instead of the negative experiences of the past, for which women at work are famed; through Mandie Holgate’s positive leadership, there is a pragmatic but supportive environment with training geared towards the knowledge and skills needed to run a business.


Business Woman’s Network is something of which I feel proud to be a member, where we all support each other as we face the challenges of developing our businesses.  Think ‘Calendar Girls’ for business rather than ‘The Only Way is Essex’ and you’d be about right!


Thanks for sharing that with us Kathy, although I am not sure I would take my clothes off! Okay you never know what you will do in the future if it seems the right decision do you? I am personally looking forward to seeing you all on Tuesday at our big Christmas Event – it will be a great mix of fun and business with a good dollop of gorgeous shopping and plenty of laughs, since it is a Christmas event. So see you there –

  • August 23, 2011

The Woman That Thinks She CAN

As a Life Coach I encourage people to look on the positive rather than negative side of life & challenge the beliefs they have about themselves.  I came across this poem the other day which I would like to share with you as I think it conveys what Life Coaching is all about.


Its called:




If you think you are beaten, you are,

If you think that you dare not, you don’t,

If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t,

Its’ almost certain you won’t.


If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,

For out in the world you’ll find,

Success begins with a person’s will,

It’s all in the state of mind.


If you think you’re outclassed, you are,

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You’ve got to be sure of yourself

Before YOU can ever win a prize.


Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster woman,

But sooner or later the woman who wins,

Is the woman who thinks she can!


Thanks for sharing this with us Pavlenka, To learn more about Pavlenka click here.

  • August 23, 2011

Can business be like a fairy tale, or this a big mistake?

When you run your own business I believe it is imperative for success that you do everything according to your values and beliefs. Some of the biggest and most successful businesses in the world didn’t start with pages of business plans and projectory of how many buckets of money they could make, just a mission statement that said. This is us, this is what we do and this is why we do it and this is what it means for you. We always want to provide for you in this way.

Now this works really well if your values and beliefs are in line with your buisness, but what if they are not? What if you hold beliefs that don’t work your success?

What if you are holding on to a belief that is outdated and does not apply to you?

This is not a blog about that (for now) although I am happy to look at that another time, this is a blog about one of my beliefs that I was wondering if it was working for or against my success.

You see I firmly believe that if I always do my best by others then they will do their best by me. If they do not (and lets be honest we don’t live in the faraway tree or a fairy tale here, so we know what can happen here right?) but I believe that that is their issue not mine. If I always do my best by everyone then I know I can do no more. I know that whatever is the outcome I have dedicated myself to a positive outcome for everyone.

How ethical, you may say. How honourable. But what if you only come up against people that just take? I was beginning to question this value. How valuable was it to my business success?

If I was strolling around smiling at the flowers and singing to the birds (not literally I hasten to add, it doesn’t get much work done) What was I getting back?

Well for me a few (what shall we call them) baddies, think Evil Step mother material had come into my world and I did my best for them, afterall like silly snow white (Do not go into the forest! The man has an axe love, do not go into the forest! Honestly do they never learn?) I can only see good in people. So the moral of this story/blog?

Well my belief, this value that I have prided myself on, was shaking, “How could someone treat me like that? What did I do wrong? Am I a fool?” And I came to the conclusion that no, the fact is I have no control over what someone else does, I can only control what I do and how I chose to feel about it.

And I choose not to let negativity stick around in my life. I believe in Karma. And guess what?

I can not begin to tell you about how many free and wonderful things have headed my way today. So many referrals and work, presents, and thank yous and things that have just meant a million things more than that to me.

They reinforce that this person I am, that bends over backwards for every person that comes into her world is doing the right thing.  

So look at your values and beliefs. Do they fit in nicely along side your business? or is there some friction there? And if you have been led to question your beliefs, ask yourself why and have the confidence to say. Hey this is me and THIS is the way I run MY business and my customers love it.

It is always lovely to be in touch with business women and to understand what matters to you and how we can help. I have read some lovely, motivational and useful blogs here recently and thought it was about time I contributed too. I hope you enjoyed.

Running a business is a lot like getting the most out of life. Never say no, try everything and have the confidence to do it your way.

Keep in touch

  • August 23, 2011

Bring a friend for free. So I did…

Meet Carolyn Scarrow from CSCS who really gets Networking Newbie November, and is spreading the Business Love. Are you next?

I only met Kathy a few weeks ago at an Evolve training session on ‘Realising Your Potential’.


We got on really well, met for coffee a couple of times and went along to see Made in Dagenham together which was a great film – very inspiring for all women.


Kathy has just been made redundant from RBS after many years there and has launched her new life as an Arbonne Consultant (natural Swiss beauty products). She seemed like the ideal person to ask along to the Business Woman’s Network ‘Bring a friend for free in November’. I only joined the BWN myself a few months ago, but already I am reaping the rewards and I wanted to share that experience with a friend.


The BWN is a great asset to all Business Women in East Anglia. The brain-child of Mandie Holgate who runs the  BWN in Essex. Mandie promotes herself as being “as passionate about your business as you are.” And she is.


When approached by Bridget Greenwood, Mandie accepted her invitation to bring the BWN to Norfolk. So now the two of them (both of whom ooze energy and enthusiasm for the businesses of every woman who becomes involved), bring us the benefits of being part of the BWN right here in Norfolk.


These benefits include world-class inspirational guest speakers at every meeting who genuinely deliver some top tips for improving your business; a welcoming, supportive environment in which to network confidently; an opportunity to showcase your business both on the BWN website and at the monthly meetings, an exclusive on-line forum and lots and lots of practical business advice.


The speaker for Norfolk’s November BWN was Steve Clarke, from the Entrepreneurs Business Academy run by James Caan of Dragon’s Den. He was excellent, everything he said was spot on and really made you question whether you are sending out the right messages and getting the focus right for your business. Armed with his new book, we had plenty to go away and think about.


The morning concluded with an effervescent atmosphere of chatter and networking.


Kathy and I had a great morning.

To learn more about Carolyn and her business click here – and if you would like to write for our blog, come along and find out why we are THE network in East Anglia for business growth, proactive networking and business woman’s confidence. It will be great to meet you.

  • August 23, 2011

What Business men want and get for the first time in Southend

The Business Woman’s Network has become a power house for women in business across East Anglia but they faced a backlash of complaints from the business men across the region, complaining that why were some of the best business speakers in the country coming to a women’s only network. So on the 26th of October The BWN threw open its doors for the first time to business men too.

And to celebrate their speaker was Peter cook, no not that one, but another Peter Cook who has appeared on TV and Radio but his work is very much entertainment for the business world. His book is acclaimed by Tom Peters, the most expensive and renowned business speaker and author in the World.  And Peter has worked for the likes of The United Nations, Pfizer, Unilever and on top of that he has performed with some well known rock stars. Soon Peter Cook will be performing with John Howitt, a session musician to Celine Dion, Shirley Bassey and Anastasia, and who writes music for Hollywood movies and provides the music to Strictly Come Dancing.

So the evening was in exceptionally good hands. Business men and women enjoyed a great evening of business ideas and networking. Networking allows you to meet other local business owners to discuss your business and look at ways that you could work together.  Afterwards there was a free buffet and more business talk with a few wigs and guitars branded around too.


The next BWN event open to any man or woman in Business is on the 30th of November when Dragon Enterprise Centre where the events are hosted will be announcing a great competition. The BWN are sworn to secrecy however Mandie Holgate the founder of The BWN said “I can say it is going to be great for anyone with a great idea or invention be it a new business idea or a well established business and dare I say it, it includes some free sacks of cash too”

As their guest speaker is Steve Clarke it looks to be another great event. Steve is a member of an elite team of business mentors chosen by The Entrepreneurs’ Business Academy (the EBA) which James Caan from BBC TV’s Dragon’s Den spearheads with Founder, Bev James.

Steve will be talking about getting new customers without spending sacks of cash. Unfortunately there will be no wigs, guitars or jamming sessions but it does promise to be a night great for business with some exciting opportunities available for businesses of Essex.

To learn more go to or contact or

Mandie Holgate 07989 935556

Mandie is available for interview and regularly comments for radio and the press on matters that effect businesses predominantly areas that effect women in business. Mandie also talks about Mental Health stigma and the campaign the Time To change. Any fees associated with talking about this subject are donated to Colchester Mind.

  • August 23, 2011

Networking your Way to Better Business – Some ideas from Essex Chambers.

Networking your way to better business

We are so lucky at The BWN to attract such a diverse range of businesses and organisations and one of our favourite for businesses from sole traders to national corporations that will look after you regardless of the size of your turnover is Essex Chambers. 

We invited them to write a blog so tell us what you think and check out their website for more information. Some great top tips guys and for plenty more why not sign up to our hints and tips. Up there on your right.

The BWN will always source the best resources for your success, so Check out the Essex Chambers.

I have been organising networking events for quite a while and people often ask me and my team for tips on how to get it right. Are you assuming I am referring to how to organise events correctly?  Well, I don’t mean that; what I mean is they often ask us how to network correctly.

Unlike driving there isn’t a clear set of rules to follow, there isn’t a highway code for networking, but there are some general do’s and don’ts that we think people should be more aware of.
Some are obvious and some will sound quite odd, but stick with it, you might just find they work!

1)    Smile – simple but effective. A smile says you are ready and willing to talk to someone. Also, a smile will help bolster your confidence if you are unsure or nervous as you walk into the lion’s den, I mean networking event.

2)    Adopt Open body language – Try not to stand or sit with your arms crossed over your body, or your coat, bag, folder pressed against your rib cage. This sends signals to all the other delegates that you are (a) nervous, and (b) not really ready or willing to talk to people.
(Unless you are a mime artist, then of course, not talking will aid your business greatly!)

3)    Use your delegate list wisely – Don’t simply walk up to the delegates and scan their body for their name badge. This can be offensive to the delegate and can result in you looking like a human metal detector.  If there is a delegate list at the event, peruse this first and then slowly scan the room looking for your desired delegates.


4)    Smile – Have I mentioned this one already? Must be important….


5)    Offer your hand for a shake and not your cheek for a kiss – You can assume that in the UK, people will react appropriately to a proffered hand, you can not assume that everyone is happy to be kissed, once, or twice, or even three times on a first meeting! (Note to self, not everyone is from Italy!) A firm handshake is comforting and well mannered and is the polite way to greet someone you are meeting for the first time.


6)    Research your surroundings – This applies to networking events / trade shows in other countries. Just as you would research the weather, also find out what customs that country adopts and how you are supposed to greet people etc. For example, it is polite in China to accept business cards with two hands. This is very important to them and should be adopted by you. 


7)    Dress to impress – and not to dance, fix your car, hang your washing out or go shopping.  This doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit, but this should mean you dress appropriately.  The main point is for you to feel comfortable, but this should not be at the expense of other delegates’ comfort.
If you need to ask someone if your dress is too short, or if your tie is too loud, then the answer is most probably YES!


8)    Smile – there it is again….keep doing it!

9)    Wear your name badge on the right side – and not on your sleeve! And by right, I mean right! When you move to shake someone’s hand, your badge should be the thing they see when they move their eyes down slightly (and remember, in the UK we read from left to right, so it will be the first place they look!). If you shake with your right, then you wear it on the right side. (Now, as you would imagine, half the world disagrees with this, but practice thrusting your shaking hand forward for a second and see which side of your body moves with it!)

10) What are you? – When you are asked what you do, “accountant” is not the right answer, even if you are one. You don’t do “accountant”, you do accounts for people, their tax returns, and their end of year audits. By answering this question wisely, it should make you sound a little bit more interesting, and might also remind your listener that they need something doing!

Good luck and I hope to see you at one of our events, or perhaps a BWN event?

The BWN events are the perfect place to try these tips as half the battle of feeling comfortable is won when someone like Mandie is looking after you!

For a full list of Essex Chambers events please go to our website We promise to smile at you and always proffer a firm handshake! 

  • August 23, 2011

The Only Way is Essex or The True Way in Essex.

Okay so a blog has many uses, obviously it raises your profile, it raises awareness of your brand, it builds rapport with clients and gets potential clients to know about you and your company. It gets you known as a thought leader and it allows you to share your knowledge and ideas with a wider audience.

But for me today it has a new role. It can correct the papers – how lucky am I to have an arena to set the record straight.

On Monday evening while minding my own business in my home about 6 oclock, the phone rang and a newspaper asked for my opinion of the new show “The Only Way is Essex” which I was happy to give.

At this stage I had seen clips of the show, but had more importantly enjoyed Chris Moyles visit to the area and he’s take on it.

At the time I felt too that there were role models all over the country that can be portrayed in this stereotypical way and that it was what we choose to believe about them, that is the issue.

However as a business women who meets hundreds of women across Essex every week I do take a slightly stronger view.

While I am a confident successfull business woman who has no need to take her clothes off to be a success (thank god) what role model are we setting for the impressionable next generations? What message does this send to my 6 year old “Hannah Montanna wannabe” daughter?

You see the reason I am a confident woman is because I trust in myself, in my ability and the person that I am. I do not need to look outside to ask what am I good at? What can I achieve?

But having worked as a business amabassador in a Girls High School I am concerned that this is not a great show for them to see.

If the show makers had really wanted to make a show about our area. What about a fantastic Mary Portas style show looking at the changing face of women in Essex?

What about looking at the out of date stero types of days gone past of white stilettos and to today’s women who are successfully juggling mother hood and business and many other amazing roles? Or what about a show that looked at empowering the next Emma Wimhurst, or Mary Portas? What about a show that took the women that I get to work with on start up business courses and allow us to do a show about turning their dreams into realities without a show down at the bank first? What about a show that showed the true face of Women of Essex that was a positive story of enlightment and inspiration to everyone that saw it?

Or do I wonder if it was all too easy to make a show like this, and the latter would have involved a level of dedication and commitment, something the Women of Essex have but maybe the show makers do not.

Please do share your stories – I am proudly living and working in Essex and I do think it is a beautiful place with a great diveristy to it. So share your thoughts….

  • August 23, 2011

Networking Newbie November – Share some business love.

Networking Newbie November – Share some business love.

You know Networking can work incredibly well for getting you in front of potential customers and to help you learn new skills and grow your business, but do you know someone who is still not getting great results with networking?

Did you know this October The BWN has;

Got a business owner 2 potential new customers in one week when she has not been able to network since the start of September.

Helped drive traffic to business women’s website with people that had never seen their website.

Helped a business owner find new premises.

Helped 3 women in business overcome their fear of public speaking.

Helped a charity promote their event without spending a penny.

Increased traffic to over 70 businesses websites.

Introduced 100’s of women to new contacts and arrange meetings to take business relationships further.

Helped one of the largest firm of solicitors in our area

Got Business women on TV

Helped over 50 business woman promote their business across East Anglia without even being at the event.

Introduced social media to over 25 business women, who are now using it for their business branding, promotion and success.

Got over 200 business women in front of genuine business experts and helped them learn new skills and ideas to help them grow their business or their self development to increase their success.

How popular will you be if you introduce your friends and business associates to this great resource? And what about if we got serious about ensuring every woman in business benefited from networking and so…

If you have The Business Premier Pack have a free ticket for a networking event on us and get Generous this November and give it to a Networking Newbie so that they too can benefit from The BWN, or use it on yourself as a thank you for being a fab women in business, that we love promoting, teaching, sharing, working, networking with.

Not got the BPP? Then get in touch for a 50% discounted ticket for an event, so you too can be generous with your networking newbie’s, and show them the way to business success.

These tickets are valid for any networking event in November with The Business Woman’s Network.

This is a genuine offer because as so many of you already know we genuinely are incredibly passionate about your success and in preparation for our Christmas shopping, celebration and networking event on the 14th of December at Five Lakes we just wanted to make sure all of the Business Women of East Anglia know about this great business resource.

When you share your ticket and your business love, make sure they get in touch with us at to let us know which event they will be attending and so we can say hi and ensure that learning about networking is not a scary experience, but a great one.

Whether you are an accountant, a sales director or a woman just starting out in business. Networking can work wonders, but it does not mean it is not a challenging experience to jump out of your comfort zone and walk into that event. That is why we ensure there are always networking buddies at our events, to ensure you can spot a name and get the information at the event you need and the introductions you want.

Networking newbie November – show some business love.

To learn more get in touch and let’s talk your business and professional success.

  • August 23, 2011

There’s a dent in my business.

When we run our own business or are passionate about the success of someone elses it is all too often possible to end up working in the business instead of working on it. We know that right?

But this got me thinking, you see. As a business coach I have my own coach and mentor and I understand the importance of this. But I often get asked if I would use a coach. I find that a bit of a funny thing to ask really.

Because if someone is a hairdresser or dentist, do they look after their own hair or teeth? Or do they ensure they go to one of the best, someone they trust?

So in those instances it is obvious to see the need to rely on others expertise even though you are the expert yourself. But what about if you speciality is sales and marketing, or business development, or web design?

Because I think there is this expectation that if you run a business that offers a specialist facility to the business world there seems to be this belief that you can’t ask for help and get support yourself.

And it seems there are the 2 extremes here. Either there is the desire to seek out the best and ensure that because they are in that area of business expertise they work with the best or the worrying opposite, to act like you have everything in control and not seek help, advice and support.

We have all heard of a web designer who is unhappy with their website because they are so busy looking after everyone elses, but what about the trainer that feels they can’t be “seen” getting trained. Or the coach that believes they must “hide” their own coaching and business development?

The fact is when you are in your business the old saying “can’t see the wood for the trees” can be very true. Relying on a second pair of eyes (and the brain and skills that go with it) can be a wonderful way to bring new ideas and fresh attitudes to old problems.

As humans we are able to adjust to our surroundings with great speed. Before long something that was really annoying and had to be dealt with immediately, pretty soon we are hardly noticing it anymore. Does it go away? No we just get used to it being like that.

A dear friend had a lovely house in London and for years their halll way was undecorated. It became a joke that “no it’s not finished yet.” Looking from the outside (not of the house of the family)  I couldn’t understand why such a beautiful home had an entrance that did not match the rest of it, but they had just got used to it looking like that. Bare walls and half stripped wood work was a look that they had got used to.

So what have you got used to in your business? What are you ignoring because “I’m too busy” and “its not important”?

If a fresh pair of eyes came into your business today, what would they notice, that you have adjusted to and accepted as “IS”?

if you are not sure, ask a trusted friend. I have found that not only does The BWN give me new customers, new ideas and opportunities. It is also provides me with a fabulous support network and a great sounding board to grow my business. If I am ever in any doubt then I know I can always use the focus and feedback group and get the fresh eyes on my business I need.

So why did I call this a dent in my business. Because I think that sums it up well. You see I worked in the car industry for many years. And guess who was the only one that had a dent in their car? Yep, me.

We were so busy looking after our customers cars that my car became an after thought. A “do it later job”. What kind of an image was that for our potential customers? Luckily for us our customers all came via insurance companies or our fabulous word of mouth. But if image had to be reflected in the staff’s cars what was my car saying?

So today take a step back, and look at your business and see if there are any dents, because if there are and you don’t fix them, what is that saying to potential customers?

Great to keep in touch, so if I can be of any assistance anytime please do get in touch. It may take a little while to reply but I promise I will. You can contact me via

Happy Businesses


  • August 23, 2011

Wife of best selling local author starts her own writing business.

Carolyn Scarrow, wife of best selling historic novelist Simon Scarrow, has launched her own writing business. However this is writing of an altogether different sort and she says she has absolutely no plans to start competing with her husband for the Number One best seller’s spot!


“Having worked in marketing and publicity for many years I have built up a wealth of experience in copywriting, proof reading and project managing a very wide range of publications.


Most companies and organisations need to promote themselves through literature whether it’s a brochure, information leaflet, news/e-newsletter, website or advertising. But companies can lack the time and possibly the resources to produce effective publications. This is where my experience can help.


I have launched Carolyn Scarrow Copywriting Services (CSCS) to offer a range of publicity services. From press releases, advertisements and sales letters to comprehensive annual brochures and everything else in between, I can produce high quality, professional publications that will enhance an organisation’s profile.


The flexibility of my service will allow clients to use it on an ‘as and when’ basis and in these financially strapped times this has to be a more cost effective way to do business.”


For further information contact Carolyn at: or visit

  • August 23, 2011