Here our Founder Coach, Speaker and Author Mandie Holgate shares some top tips to get the most out of networking.
“When it comes to networking I’m often asked for help because business owners find themselves spending time and money on networking and yet not getting the results they want.
Personally I find this difficult to get my head around because I rarely come away from a networking event without a new client, lead or business opportunity. But then I do understand the obstacles that stop successful networking and the good news, its pretty easy to fix.
So what are the key skills that lead to networking success?
What habits should you avoid like the plague?
And how can you make networking a powerful tool for business growth?
The first thing I usually say to anyone looking to improve their networking is what do you want from networking?
Too many people think they can walk into that virtual room once and get a new client. The fact is networking is a slow burner, but there are some powerful ways to make it a powerful burner. So for starters if you are going to a networking event, find the event on social media and let everyone know you will attending. A word of warning here this is not your carte blanche opportunity to share links to your website and social media and expect everyone to be wanting to buy from you instantly.
You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and try to sell them something like a door to door sales man so don’t make the assumption that a networking event allows you to do this.
Networking is always, has always and will always be about building good relationships. And the key to good relationships is consideration and respect. Get interested in other people and be on their agenda. But lets flip this around for a moment and although you are on their agenda you must know prior to the event what your end goal is.
So what is the end goal of networking for your business?
How many networking events will you commit to attend every month? And a top tip here commit to get to the same network a good few times before you decide if its right for you. Try different events at different times of the day to get to meet a diverse range of business. The great news about our events is because they have no membership you are always going to meet someone new. And that’s a great opportunity for your business!
What is your goal at each event?
Is it to speak to 5 business owners. Don’t aim to spam everyone with your business links and special offers.
You must have seen what I call the Jugulars. They sweep into your conversation, manipulate it around to what they do. And then once they know everyone has got what they do, seen a link, they excuse themselves and move on to the next victim…er sorry business owner. In my experience they never send you a nice email saying thanks for your time and it was great to meet you but make the assumption you’d love to be on their mailing list. There folks in that sentence are a good few tips on how not to network and make enemies.
Remember that nice people have a habit of making sales. Why? Because they are genuinely interested in other people and do that really powerful thing called listening. If you really want to power up your results in networking (and marketing and closing the sale!) then listen. Give people the chance to TELL you what they want and need, stop making the assumption that you are telling them what they want to hear. And when someone shares what they need, use their words in your reply to help them feel listened to.
This does 2 things firstly it helps them feel respected (and that is good for relationship building) and 2 it allows you to hear to gain vital clues as to what they business owner is looking for. That enables you to tailor your conversation to be heavy in what they want.
With online networking it’s fine to message people in the chat to keep the conversation going and to learn more (If you can’t listen to 2 people at once, then this is not advisable. You can look distracted and uninterested.)
Even if the event doesn’t have elevator pitches – prepare one anyway. This enables you to focus on what you want to talk about today and prepares you in case the opportunity does come up. People make the mistake of thinking elevator pitches need to be heavy on what you do, they don’t. Talk about what’s in the news, success stories – the good old this was their problem, this is what we did and this is what they get. And if you can include real statistic and real figures then reinforces that you really are exceptional at what you do. If you are lousy at 60 seconds take this course and like many business women you could be selling at the very next networking event you attend. Learn more here.
I could share a billion ideas here but the key to remember at the event is to be genuinely interested in other people. Don’t make the mistake of being the other end of the scale to the Jugular and be an Orbiter. Orbiter’s listen to everyone but never get around to telling people what they want. Or who they would love the chance to speak with.
Getting the balance right is key but people know you are there to do business so don’t shy away from that and be confident.
The one thing that will power up the result of your networking more than anything is your follow up process. What do you do after the event. And if you answer is “I’m too busy to do anything.” Then don’t network. What’s the point of spending 2 to 3 hours out of your working day networking if you don’t do the most crucial aspects of following up.
Your follow up style needs to reflect your personality and your business ethos. Ask yourself what that looks like.
Do you email them and thank them for their time?
Did you talk about a great website you find useful for business and thus share it with them after the event?
Do you find them on social media?
Connecting with people online enables you to keep in touch between events. That is a great way to get to know them better so that the next time you meet you feel like its not been weeks since you spoke to each other. It’s a great way of naturally getting to know a business and what they are looking to achieve.
The key to a great networker is being all about the giving. We all know the saying Givers gain, and its true. So give, we are not talking freebies and give aways all of the place. We are talking about being a kind genuine business owner looking out for other business owners. This enables people to naturally get to know you, like you and want to work with you. As always say;
“You can’t dictate when someone buys from you but you can have a say in who they chose to buy from.”Mandie Holgate
Remember the average person knows 250 people in person and thousands online! And although many of those first hand may not need or want your products you don’t know who they know within their extensive network. Get yourself known and respected for what you do and your reputation will be a powerful way to network and get your business known and loved. Ready to supply you with a funnel of new leads and sales!
How are some business women making more money than ever and others are really struggling?
Why do some business owners hate online networking and others thrive on it?
Wherever you are on this, we can help! If you are struggling you can pay just a donation to network with us (no one will know). We also have 1 hour of coaching and mentoring for FREE from our founder Mandie Holgate. This is proving highly effective at helping business owners realise new exciting ways to sell more, create new products and services and launch them successfully. Even if your business is traditional face to face – we’ve helped companies like yours.
So here’s our top tips for networking success.
And lastly do let us know how you get on? We love your success stories and publish them for our business owners to be inspired by.
It’s easy to think of the modern businesswoman as someone who has all of her finances in perfect order. Despite the fact that women still aren’t supported in business as much as their male counterparts (Our Founder Mandie Holgate is speaking at an event for NatWest related to the Rose Review that raised to concerns over the way funding is given to female entrepreneurs and the obstacles women face). The Telegraph wrote last year that women entrepreneurs are now opening businesses faster than ever before. This contributes to what is ultimately a very positive perception — that of legions of capable, driven women setting off on their own and opening new companies.
In many cases, women like this are undoubtedly very much on top of their finances. But we should also recognise that business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit involve different skills and inclinations than personal financial strategy. Furthermore, many women who are successfully launching businesses are awfully busy, making it difficult to devote real energy toward things like savings or investments.
Because of all this, we wanted to suggest a few personal finance tips specifically for women who might typically be too busy to given these topics too much thought. Hopefully, this will help you to make the most of those hard-earned business profits!
Save With Purpose
We all know that it’s wise to save money when we can. But there is a difference between passive and active saving, and a businesswoman looking to maximise her personal financial potential should practice the latter.
Fortunately, learning to save accurately is really just a matter of mindset. Our past article “Why Savvy Women Save” addressed this mindset with a number of helpful questions and considerations that can help any women to start looking at savings differently. For the most part though, it all boils down to being mindful of potential future needs, budgeting carefully, and finding opportunities to avoid expenses in favour of savings. Those steps can fairly quickly lead you toward a habit of putting more money away, and once you start to build up those savings you can focus on how to keep them secure (and maybe appreciating) for the long term.
Automate Your Budgeting
We just mentioned “budgeting carefully” as a step toward generating savings. And if you’re running a business, chances are you already have a little bit of budgeting savvy. But there’s a difference between managing personal and business finances — and you might not have the same amount of time to put toward the personal end of things.
The good news is that you can basically automate your budgeting these days. This is something you may have even tried with regard to managing business finances. But on the personal level too, you can try a number of different apps and software programs packed with financial management features. These programs can link to your accounts, factor in your planning and preferences, and create full analyses of what you’re making, what you’re spending and saving, and what changes you might need to make. They’ve made it so easy that this is really something everyone who cares about personal finance ought to take advantage of.
Automate Your Investments
Women taking charge of personal finances should also consider investing, though this is certainly something active entrepreneurs have little time. As with personal budgeting though, investing can now be automated — at least to some extent.
This is something that we see primarily in the forex market, where FXCM details the progress that’s been made with trading “robots.” These are programs that can take into account an investor’s preferences and directions and then conduct trades on their own. Basically, you as the investor can input your general strategy, and the bot can do the heavy lifting (and do so more efficiently and exactly than a human trader would anyway). This general sort of practice isn’t entirely exclusive to Forex trading either. Some mobile investment apps now use somewhat similar tools to facilitate stock market investment as well.
In short, you now have ways of putting your income to work for you without having to devote the time and energy to investment that you might have in the past.
Value Your Time Above All Else
Last but not least, we’ll implore all women entrepreneurs to value your time. To some extent, this is about making the most of your minutes on the job, and maximising productivity. Framing an argument around the adage that “time is money, Inc. covered this idea as a means of minimising little failures. Essentially, you can figure out where and when you’ve fallen short, assess how you applied your time related to that episode, and then apply your time more appropriately on the next project.
That’s a valid way to think about your time on the job. But with more direct regard to finances, you should also place an appropriate monetary value on your time. Entrepreneurs tend to get in the habit of working long hours and almost thinking of themselves as separate from their businesses. You might feel that you oversee your business, rather than participating in it. But the truth is that you are setting yourself up as your own employee, and if you don’t compensate yourself fairly, you’ll lay a poor foundation for how you will ultimately benefit from the company.
This doesn’t mean you have to give yourself a massive salary, nor that you can’t sacrifice some for your business. But don’t fall into the trap of feeling that you owe your time to the business regardless of financial benefit!
Hopefully these tips can help you to get the most out of your business ventures. Managing personal finance while running a company is difficult, and there’s no shame in being inefficient about it. But there are ultimately some fairly straightforward steps you can take to do better in this area.
In the early stages of lockdown, the government announced support for sole traders in the form of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, or SEISS.
Just a month after its announcement, 2 million claims were made, totalling £6.1 billion in government support. And now, with a second grant opening in August 2020, a number of sole traders are set to benefit from further financial assistance.
We’ve asked Mike Parkes from GoSimpleTax to explain the terms and help you claim.
How does SEISS work?
The scheme is available to all self-employed individuals that have been adversely affected by COVID-19. This is provided that they:
To determine whether or not you were affected by COVID-19, any of the following must apply:
The first grant ended on 13th July 2020, and claimants could receive either £7,500 or 80% of their average monthly profits over the 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 tax years (whichever is the lower amount). Applications for the second grant will open on 17th August 2020, but you must have confirmed by 14th July 2020 that you have been adversely affected by COVID-19.
Why is there a phase two?
While the government set a three-month cap on the support, it has since been agreed that COVID-19 is still impacting the earnings of some sole traders. As a result, it is necessary for them to receive another grant in order to stay afloat.
It will also help to support those who may not have initially been affected by lockdown (and so did not claim the first grant) but have subsequently suffered a loss of business.
What’s the difference?
The differences between phase one and two are limited, although the second grant will be worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits. It’ll still be paid out in a single instalment that covers three months’ worth of profits, but will be capped at £6,750 total – almost £1,000 less than the phase one grant.
Additionally, you can only claim the second grant if your business was adversely affected on or after 14th July.
Can I continue working and still claim?
Yes, you can continue to work as long as you intend to continue trading in 2020/21 in the self-employed role you’re claiming for. You can even take up other employment if necessary, provided that the SEISS payments still cover the majority of your income. HMRC will not penalise you for topping up your income with a little additional earnings to sustain your household.
Phase two will have a deadline of 19th October 2020. You can find out more about it on the GOV.UK site. If you are still losing out on income or opportunities to earn, we massively recommend you claim the second grant. This is unprecedented levels of government support and could make the difference between staying afloat or falling behind.
GoSimpleTax software submits directly to HMRC and is the solution for freelancers and the self-employed alike to log all their income and expenses. The software will provide you with hints and tips that could save you money on allowances and expenses you may have missed.
Trial the software today for free – add up to five income and expense transactions per month and see your tax liability in real time at no cost to you. Pay only when you are ready to submit or use other key features such as receipt uploading.
INsiders members receive a 15% discount – to get your discount code simply sign-up to try our software above and it will be emailed to you.
The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help since the COVID 19 lockdown, it received hundreds more calls in the first week compared to two weeks earlier and has continued to do so.
The Home Office has advised after a deep dive of National helpline calls that most victims are women calling to find out how to leave after lockdown therefore we could experience a spike in Essex during the loosening of the restrictions.
Safer Places have secured funding via the Office of the Police and Fire commissioner for Essex to provide a means of disclosure for victims of Domestic Abuse in 20 towns across Essex.
The Ask for “J” campaign will run alongside the main J9 objective in Essex but will be focused on businesses, retail and other outlets that victims visit, the “Ask for J” campaign will ensure victims of DA have a place to find help and survive not only during loosening of COVID 19 restrictions but the abuse that they and their families may be experiencing in the future as an ongoing initiative.
Using the “Ask for J” code word in hairdressers, beauticians, nurseries, vets, supermarkets, pharmacies, food banks for example will give victims of domestic abuse access to resources to make decisions or a safe place to make a call to a support agency, Police or family member for example.
There will be two options for individuals asking for J:
1.When “asking for J” staff to ask “do you need to speak to J right now”, this is code that they are in immediate danger and need support right now. The individual is to then be taken into private room at the back of the shop and support will be offered via J9 resources and include help with calling the police, a local support service or their friends and family.
If they don’t need to “speak to J” right away, they will be offered a coupon (this coupon will say “20% off hair products, log online via the link to receive your code”, the link will direct them to a website with resources including safety planning etc. The coupons will feature the J9 logo and have the COMPASS number and also Safer Places 24/7 emergency number so clients will remember what the coupon is for.
This gives the individual an opportunity to look into this in their own time and make decisions.
“Ask for J” training The “Ask for J” 15 min training sessions will be delivered by Safer Places via a pre-recorded video link and are intended to raise awareness and increase knowledge and understanding of domestic abuse for staff in public and voluntary sector organisations. The training aims to ensure that staff is equipped to respond and refer. During training a Safer Places facilitator will be on hand to answer any questions or concerns. Information Pack The information pack are the main J9 information guides and are intended to be used to give options and answer questions to signpost victims of domestic abuse to the support services they need or want at the time of asking for J.
Communications Public facing communication via local facebook groups, newspaper, and local authority newsletters is imperative to allow victims to recognise the J9 sign and know this is a place of safety to disclose. Each business or organisation taking part will have posters within to also signpost to this campaign. We will need your help in each district to ensure we can reach maximum exposure to businesses getting involved and victims to become aware.
If you would like to get involved please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.