If you are looking to grow your business, your confidence and your profit, we are so much more than just somewhere to network once a month. Here is how to get the most our networking with The BWN.
1.Help yourself to our social media. We actively encourage our members (and a member is someone who walks through the door once a month) to talk about what they are doing, creating, building, winning or even struggling with on our social media;
2. A Golden Ticket means you get to network at one venue for better than the early bird rate and you get all these discounts and benefits too;
3.How to make a Golden Ticket really sparkle. If you want even more out of your Golden Ticket you can purchase multiple events tickets and gain even more savings!
4. The Insiders is a confidential learning zone, research centre and advice mastermind group that has helped business owners;
5. Do you find yourself making notes of who you need to connect with on social media and who to email or call and a list of ideas thanks to the speaker then find you don’t get around to taking action and doing the things you learnt. You get back to the office and the business cards, notes and ideas get added to your long list of to do’s but don’t get actioned.
Annoying isn’t it?
The BWN Success Manual is a great way of putting your ideas, notes, your calendar, who you met, what you said you would do, and even create a strategy to ensure you do it, in one place. It includes;
6. Sponsoring the BWN website is a great way to get seen by our audiences all year round. One of our sponsors has already signed up to the end of 2020 so you can see this could be very useful to you and your business.
7. Our blog is packed with ideas and solutions and some really emotional, fantastic and inspiring stories from our members. You can read it all here https://www.thebusinesswomansnetwork.co.uk/bwn-blog/
8. You can sponsor a BWN event. We only allow 1 sponsor per event so its a great way to stand out. You get 1 ticket, 1 exhibitors stand, your business literature on every place setting and your business promoted on all of the marketing for that event on and off line.
You can access all of these offers (and more!) via our website, and just head to the offers heading to find the offer right for you.
At our Ipswich event in September, our corporate photographer, Caroline Horne jumped up to give her 60 seconds in a far more exuberant way than we are used to. Caroline will be the first to admit that years ago Caroline would have happily hidden behind the camera! We love to see that level of confidence grow at the BWN and we love the story that followed, we hope you love Caroline’s story too….
“Most attendees at The BWN already know what I do for a living. It’s pretty obvious. That statement necklace is my camera. If it would be quite a nice piece of jewellery if it wasn’t.
The weeks go by fairly rapidly between each monthly networking meeting and once again I haven’t prepared my sixty seconds as I still hope that I’ll just blend in to the background and not get spotted. Needless to say, that doesn’t happen so, once again I’m standing in front of a group of business woman, knees knocking together, telling them I can do corporate head shots, family photo sessions, the odd wedding and some product photography or flashing up a local magazine with one of my pictures in it.
So, it’s a new day of the week and new location for Ipswich. Let’s dare to be a little bit different and a bit daring, well for me anyway. The journey begins….
(You can read this as if you were the older Rose in Titanic) It was 21 years ago today, the teacups had never been used, it was called the journey of dreams. Rewind… no, it was 21 years ago in September, the country was trying to come to terms with Diana’s tragic death. Her funeral was looming and there I was standing in York Minster, in front of my proud parents looking very hungover in my mortar board and gown. Shudder the thought, I was the second member of our entire family to get a degree. I was awarded a BA (hons) in Design and Technology with Art. It was a combined degree which also meant two dissertations, a lot of practical work and turning up for lectures. I had specialised in Jewellery Design and Manufacture and Printmaking. Both of which meant I had to be in the workshops and no hiding in the “library”. York at the time had 365 pubs. What a choice!
Design and Technology wasn’t technically my chosen degree of choice. I had been to art school and my love of photography started along time before this. I always had a camera on my Christmas list. A Boots brand 110, the one with the funny cassette film which went on the school trip to Italy in 1988 and took some very hazy pictures of Mount Vesuvius. Often or not the pictures had one of those lovely oval stickers Boots would carefully place slap bang in the middle of your prize photograph advising you, you had taken an absolutely cr*p image!
Not one for giving up, I had been finally left a decent camera. My first Canon, and it weighed just as much as a cannon too. I lugged it everywhere with me, I had won the school Photography Prize and it got me through Art School however there were 8 of us applying to Nottingham to do the same photography degree. They may well have drawn straws as to who got in! Travelling to London to interview and write about a newly qualified photographer who worked for Monsoon and later went on to win the Travel Photographer of the Year award didn’t even help. I was absolutely heartbroken. I spent the Summer of ’94 picking apples for a living and needed to do something…
Lots of paperwork later I was offered an unconditional offer to do Design and Technology with Art. This is the science bit. I actually needed Physics and Maths A-level to get onto the course, neither of which I had got because I wasn’t particularly academic at school but I could use a soldering iron and make a metal detector.Very important life skills!!
With the Uni bit done, dusted and qualified I got my first proper job, as a jeweller. Sounds glamorous doesn’t it?
I was making silver nurses belt buckles every day of the week and also resizing wedding rings. I had upgraded from a soldering iron to a blow torch. I was also working for a refrigeration design company which was pretty dull unless you wanted to know the ins and out of a supermarket refrigeration unit. But, I had lived away from home for 3 whole years but had ended up living with my mother who often shouted at the back of my head, “when will you be home?”
“Late was the usual reply, don’t wait up” Damn, that flower pot hurt as i stumbled through the door. I needed a place I could call my own. Nursers belt buckles wasn’t going to help.
Let’s quit that and work for an asset finance company. We sold a well known footballer his first Porsche Boxter, and took his old SLK on a bit of fast spin. I came clean to him only the other month whilst I was photographing for Fresh Start New Beginnings’ (The BWN Ipswich charity of the year for 2018/2019) charity tea event.
I missed the jewellery though and ended up at a nicer high street jewellers and travelled around the East of England as an roaming manager and supervisor. Retail is hard especially at Christmas. Dad said I looked green one year as I was shattered. I wanted my weekends back. So from playing about with diamonds for fiver years, my next position was even more glamorous.
Wow! This was it! I had hit the big time. I was selling articulated lorry loads of the stuff around the whole of the UK. I had gone from diamond sales to compost. Where there’s muck there’s brass they say. I was also selling landscaping barks and supplying the likes of Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows. Ask me a question about compost and critical fall heights and I can stun you with a wealth of interesting information.
You might have guessed by now, I had talked for more than my allocated Sixty Seconds plus I had almost worn a hole in the carpet. I can walk and talk at the same time. Mandie was also watching me. I think she was shocked!
Forward-wind 12 years. December 2015. I knew I was going to leave since returning back from maternity leave the second time. I had married a Royal Engineer who retired after 24 years of bomb disposal who was away a lot, some of the time even I don’t know where. Anyway, my director called me in to his office. I kind of guessed what was coming judging by another colleagues face. I was up for the chop. I couldn’t progress in my role unless a director was going to leave. I had given up.
A friend that summer had said to me why had I given up photography. I hadn’t really. Just didn’t think I was good enough. What if the film didn’t load properly? What if I had stupidly processed the film with the lights on? The risk for me was too great. Digital was a game-changer. My husband thinks I’m having an affair with my camera. So when they told me I was being made redundant I was secretly quite happy as I had already got the ball in motion and I had been there for 12 years. 12 years and you know what that means!
My website went live the day after gardening leave finished, I went on training courses to refresh my technical capabilities. I hadn’t used many of the digital processing packages so had to learn about that too. And, there we have it, my 21 year roundabout journey to finally doing what I had set out to do.
Becoming The BWN Ipswich corporate photographer also came at the right time, I remember seeing the message whilst we were driving back from visiting Dad in Wales. I had a bit of signal between the mountains and said I would photograph the Ipswich event. If it wasn’t for BWN I wouldn’t have photographed Mandie’s book launch, thanks Jayne Lloyd for being busy the day before. Have my work featured in a variety of publications and met a huge amount of valuable contacts who have all helped me develop my goal further and who have become friends.
My sixty seconds would normally read like this…..
Hi, I’m Caroline Horne from Caroline Horne Suffolk Photography. I specialise in product, commercial, lifestyle and wedding photography. Last month I was lucky enough to photograph TV presenter, Michael Perry for an new eco-conscious plant-based product concept launching in January 2019. If anyone requires a naturally posed headshot please feel free to contact me.”
As you can see we LOVE to see how even our coordinators and photographers grow and love who they are, no comprise, no change, just true confidence to turn up and be yourself to get the business results you want.
Give us a chance to see how we could help you, although maybe don’t go over your 60 seconds or we could be there a while!
Thank you Caroline for sharing such a fabulous journey into business. If you have a Golden Ticket you can write for the BWN blog and feature in our online marketing including our newsletter any time. We would love to be promoting you and hearing your interesting, relevant and useful ideas for our readers. Not got a Golden Ticket? Learn more here.
What made you set up Nicky West Photography Company?
I took a career break to start my family and began to help my husband grow his business. He is a renowned food photographer which means that I am surrounded by the photography industry at home. I increasingly enjoyed assisting him, but my real passion has always been photographing people. I found myself being asked more and more to take photographs at friends’ weddings and of their children. Eventually I decided to take a degree in fine art photography and proudly graduated five years later. At the same time, I began building up the freelance photography business I now run full time. For me it’s the perfect career, combining creativity with people.
How many years have you been in business?
I have been a photographer for over 10 years, I spent 3 years focusing on my husbands business and 2 years assisting another wedding photographer before setting up my own business. I then decided to go back into education and studied a fine art photography degree at Suffolk University for over 5 years. I graduated last year and relaunched my business in January 2018 to focus on Commercial photography. I have also carried on working for my husbands business.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I love meeting new people, coming up with ideas and being creative. I like to build working relationships, knowledge share and get to know my working community. Having a professional headshot is so important for LinkedIn, Facebook and social media. It’s my ambition to get as many businesses possible, connected and thriving in our local community and I’d like to think that my images and networking events offered a helping hand in achieving this.
What do you hate most about running your own business?
I don’t hate anything in particular but I know where my strengths are and my limits! So I always use an accountant and where possible I get someone to check my content if I’m writing a blog or something for my website.
What benefits do you get from networking?
You find out what’s happening in your area, get to know people where you live, find useful things out that you wouldn’t normally know about, showcase your business, give and receive the personal touch we can’t get online. Learn from others – Share your knowledge – Listen to great speakers – build friendships.
What was the reason that you decided to be a member at The BWN?
I come from a networking background – Before Children, my career was in London working for Bluechip companies including Bankers Trust, Accenture & WorldCom. I was responsible for the graduate programmes within the business. My responsibility was designing and delivering some of the graduate training and making sure they were integrated into the business and their teams as quickly as possible. When I was at Accenture there were over 40 graduates joining every fortnight, so making sure they got to know the business was crucial.
I made sure they were introduced to the key players of the business, received a week long induction with guest speakers at every event, giving informative and important information to the graduates. I worked hard to ensure the graduates met as many business partners as possible so they could begin to build their contact list of mentors and experts in their chosen field. I quickly learned that if a graduate was to survive in such a big organisation they needed to know the right people.
This is just as important for small businesses and local companies. In order for our survival, we need to have a strong network of businesses around us to call on for support, advice & build our client base.
It strengthens our reputation and brand and gives people the opportunity to get to know you as a real person behind the business. Having human connection will always be an important part of building your business and networking is a fantastic way to achieve this!
What do you see the future holding for Nicky West Photography?
I’m building a business that offers more than photography, It offers an photographic image consultancy. This means, looking at your images across your website, social media framework and publications and making sure they communicate your brand and ethos. When a client enters your Instagram, website or LinkedIn account, your images need to be instantly recognisable as your company. I would like to work with businesses and offer an ongoing imaging service using a methodology that will help to create meaningful professional pictures. Photographing images that will complement and add value to your blogging, Facebook & LinkedIn content. And build a stock library of images for businesses who need a high volume of pictures for Instagram and Pinterest. I also offer a Headshot & business lifestyle photography shoot that focuses on making sure you and your employees connect with your audience, look professional, represent your brand and come across as trust worthy and approachable.