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Nadine get’s in on the act and we love it!

It’s not just our members that call us their business school (as well as their network organisation.) Our coorindators also love that they get to learn new skills to grow their own businesses.

We often get asked to look at blogging for business and how to get people;

  • To read blogs
  • Action on them
  • And get people to buy.

So to see our very own Nadine Gamble from Utility Warehouse create her first blog we had to share it (Well some of it, to read her first full blog head over to her new website here.)

So, as you may have already guessed my name is Nadine, and I thought it’s about time I hauled myself into modern day times and delved into this new fangled world of blogging!

I’m going to be honest here, it’s something that’s been on my ‘must get this done’ list for at least a year now, yes, you read that right, twelve whole months of pondering how to even get started in this mysterious world of which I have managed to successfully avoid up until now!

Not that I had gone out of my way to avoid it, rather that I have never actually known exactly what blogging is, or how to go about it, so perched very happily within my comfort zone I have been shooting the occasional glance over my shoulder into the blogging world, but never dared to venture further!

I’m also involved with a fabulous group of ladies who make up The Business Womans Network, hosting my own events for local business women in my area (Tendring) to come together to learn and support each other in a nurturing environment where friendships and business relationships can flourish. Empowering women to live their best lives is something I am passionate about, and I love that more and more women are finding their own way in the world, challenging the prehistoric beliefs that it is only men that can have it all.

Now I’m guessing that you’re probably going to get a little bored of reading all about me, so I’m going to sign off now, and each week I will be sharing with you not only some of the randomness that goes on inside my head, but also some really excellent information about how I help people save money, make money, and grow their businesses. I would really appreciate it if you could share my blog site and if you would like any further information about anything that I do, or even just some random questions, please feel free to get in touch!

Thanks to Nadine for letting us share her first blog. You see as women in business we never stop learning and to see our coordinators jumping in and going for it, is awesome. If you wish to learn new skills and network with like minded business women in a relaxed environment do join us. We would love to share your blog articles too!

  • May 29, 2019

Overcoming sales stigma for the small business owner

The latest business owner to purchase a Golden Ticket for a year of networking with us at our Stunning Ickworth House, Suffolk events is Jacky Ling from the Business Growth Landscaper. Here Jacky shares some ideas for you.

“When we talk about sales stigma, we are referring to the perception that selling is somehow sleazy, and those who sell are untrustworthy, overbearing, misleading and pushy individuals. For the majority of small business owners this is generally their perception, and is definitely NOT how they wish to be perceived by their marketplace.

Here is the thing, sales stigma is not exclusive to the small business owner, in fact it has been around forever and a day, it is everywhere, you only have to google sales stigma and you will see many articles going back 10 years and more addressing this issue. Sales stigma in direct selling, the stigma of commission selling, stigma in pharmaceutical sales, and so on. Sales stigma is firmly entrenched in big business across all sectors from finance through to science and technology.

The reason of course is unprofessional, and unethical selling, which the what and why for is a blog series all of its own!

For a very long time now there has been great efforts to position sales as a quality profession to pursue. From recognised qualifications to be gained, through to professional associations such as Association of Professional Sales and the Institute of Sales Management whose members agree to an ethical code of conduct. Including trying to create a culture of continuous professional development.

So how does this help the small business owner?

Well it doesn’t specifically other than help to see the bigger picture. I do believe however that there is a bit of a sales evolution going on and has been for a quite sometime now, and that it is this evolution that the small business owner can both benefit, and drive. Small businesses especially micro businesses and sole traders, tend to be the ones who make the product or deliver the service personally, we are much closer to our customer base, have strong relationships with them, and we really care, we tend to see what we do more as a service to our customers, we are driven by a desire to help, guide and or teach. This is our WHY, and for me, somebody who has been in sales pretty much all her life, (30 + years and counting!) this is what selling is really all about.

I also know that as buyers we are much more knowledgeable, and technology has providedjacky ling at the bwn essex suffolk us with the tools we need to be able to research products and suppliers. It is us as the buyer who drives the sales cycle in the 21st century.

I know it isn’t always as easy or straight forward as just telling you to ‘just do it’, go on crack on and get selling. I know that you all without exception understand that the ability to sell your product or service is the one defining factor that dictates whether your business succeeds or not.

I also know if you are struggling with negative beliefs that are affecting your ability to sell what you make or do, it is something that I can help you resolve quickly and painlessly.

Meanwhile here are four things for you to do that will get you selling:

  • Do you know who your market is? Their buying process, criteria, how they make their buying decisions? Find out then align your sales cycle with their buying cycle.
  • Know the need you fulfil, and make sure you do fulfil it!
  • Keep talking to your customers, long after they have purchased something from you.
  • The one action you should do that would differentiate you from others is follow up. Yes follow up those leads, because that is what the vast majority don’t do!!
  • December 23, 2018

Looking For Creative Inspiration – How To Find It!

I know that for Insiders the issue of coming up with great content and what to write comes up a lot. Have you ever found yourself sat in front of the screen and thought “I’ve got 2 hours to come up with the content here, why can’t I think of anything?”

Or

“I only need to think of the name for this and I can crack on, why won’t my brain work!”

Or

“Aaaaa I haven’t got a single good idea in my head!”

If you have faced any of these scenarios you will know how frustrating it is. You’ve made some space in your mega busy diary to get creative and move your business forward but your brain won’t help and before you know it you’ve commented on someone’s Facebook video of a cute dog and not wrote a single word!

But you know that right? And so you end up getting more and more frustrated, staring at the minutes wasted away and worry some more. So how can you overcome writers’ block and come up with the great ideas?

  1. Stop panicking and looking at the clock and worrying about how much time you’ve wasted. It makes you worry more. It clags up your busy brain with negative emotions which further shut down your brain to be able to think productively. If you have been at it for more than 10 minutes and achieved nothing, walk away from the location you are in for 10 minutes. Do some filing (you know you never get round to it!) phone that person you were going to just email, check your to do list for the day/week. Get your brain concentrating on something else, and let it do that for at least 10 minutes. Studies show that working on something else creates mental space. Basically your brain is shouting “I know you need the answers, give me 10 minutes and I will keep hunting okay!” Have you ever struggled to remember someone’s name only for it to come to you in the middle of the night or randomly when you are doing something else? Your brain doesn’t stop looking for the answers you want, but it does need the time to process the request.
  2. Grab a pen and paper (this is ideal for the way it makes your brain work) and list every possible idea you have already come up with. They can be the obvious ones that you have dismissed, the stupid ones, the unrealistic ones, the unaffordable ones. Write them all down. If you have 2 pages of A4 paper filled then you are letting your mind think freely. It’s highly likely the first few that you come up with you will dismiss but the longer you write the more likely you are to come up with content you know your readers will love!
  3. Don’t dismiss anything, write it all down. And not just ideas. Random words. Random thoughts that you have no idea how it could become an article or a series of posts. Just get it down. We so often dismiss thoughts without fully exploring the answers they are trying to provide.
  4. Not one for lists? Draw a picture, use a mind map, cut pictures out of a magazine and create a mood board. Allow your creative juices to flow in a way that works for you, but keep it visual. This in itself could make a great article. Remember not all content is the written word, it could be a short video of you sharing how you come up with your ideas and what you will be talking about in the coming months thanks to your mood board.
  5. Ask others. Friends and relatives are not the best people to ask for ideas from. They love and adore you and have their own agenda and viewpoint already. As I always say your Nan loves you so whatever you come up with she will say “That’s nice darling.” So ask yourself who would be good to ask? Get along to a network like The Business Womans Network. Share your thoughts on social media groups where you feel you will get useful feedback. Ask us, Insiders. Create a focus group – that’s basically a neutral place where you invite some people along to share their views. I tend to give a free half hour session to say thank you, make sure there are goodies in the middle of the room and lots of beverages! Takes up about 2 hours.
  6. Think of one client. The one that said “xxx” how were they feeling, what were the issues they told you about? How did they find you? What were they scared of? What were they looking forward to? Thinking of one client can create enough ideas for the list in Top tip 2 for months!
  7. Research online, don’t steal other people’s ideas and creativity, however, it’s a great way to see what other people do and to helps you understand your creative needs.
  8. What worked in the past? This won’t be the first time you have felt stuck. What helped in the past? How could you recreate that environment to get the results you want?
  9. CTA. Call to Action. Ask people what do they want you to write about. Make sure they know they can ask you confidentially and you will let them get access to it and that no one will ever know you wrote that just for them.
  10. Years ago everyone wanted short blogs. Now I’m asked to write longer and longer blogs. In fact the one that had 40,000 views in less than a month was 1800 words! I would still say that at the start if you have no audience keep them short, keep them top tip format, short and snappy and easy to read. As you gain a following them write longer articles and more in depth content.
  11. Structure –  A bit like the essay’s we hated as students! You want to explain what you are going to cover, why you are covering it, what you can expect if you don’t do it and if you do the results you could get. Then layout in easy short paragraphs the top tips and finish with a recap and a this is what you should see conclusion. A call to action like “let me know how you get on” or “what would you like me to cover next?” can get the conversation going. And remember your blogs are there forever, keep it relevant. I get people sending me messages to work with me from blog articles that are 5 years old.

It’s commendable to sit at your desk for hours looking to get your business seen and loved. But with some things in life it’s better to lean on others and find experts to help you get where you want to go. Just because you know what your dentist is doing you wouldn’t start sticking appliances in your mouth and doing it yourself, would you?

Sometimes it’s a good idea to outsource what is really challenging you. If you are finding this is consuming your precious time, it’s time to ask yourself how can I get the results I need faster? But remember even if you outsource it you are still going to have to tell that VA, PR company, copywriter or marketing company the following;

Who am I speaking to?

What do I want them to do?

What results do I want to get?

What do I want them to learn?

What matters to my target audience (s)?

How often do they want to hear from me?

Hope this helps. This is a confidential article for Insiders only. Please do not share this content. However please do share on the Insiders Facebook page how it helps, what you need next and your articles for us to read and review too.

 

  • June 9, 2018

WooHoo – I wrote a blog! Now what?

Okay you finally wrote a blog, you finally appreciate that the world and his wife is writing blogs not just because they have a passion for writing as I do) but because it actually is a little god send of a free marketing tool for your business, but now what?

The fact is the world and his wife ARE writing blogs, so how is yours going to stand out?

How are you going to ensure yours does not languish in Never Read Land?

How are you going to ensure that people sign up to read it again and again?

Well let’s start with the reasons why you write a blog and they include;

To share advice, ideas and opportunities with people – it’s not about selling, it’s not about resplurging your website – it’s about giving away just the right level of advice and information (a word of caution to follow here*) that makes you useful. That gets you known as the thought leader which means you are the expert that they are going to trust, know and love – remember you can’t dictate when someone buys but you can have a say from who they choose to buy from.)

To showcase what you can do for people – again this is not a resplurge of your website – this is about sharing. Think about your favourite customer right now – the problems they talked about, the issues they faced, the solutions they needed. If they have that issues stands to reason other potential customer will have the same issue) so share posts that solve problems.

This very blog came about because a brilliantly talented makeup artist to Italian Vogue and London Fashion Week (you know who you are Michelle Court!) asked me how to get her blog seen – she actually called me Queen of Blogging – I like that!

And here’s that word of caution* don’t give everything away. Don’t write mighty long tomes of a blog that bore the pants of people. In this hyper fast world everyone wants answers fast and easy – so deliver easy to read content that answers the question succinctly – better to write 2 blog posts with a lot of material than one long one – finish the first blog with “and in our next blog we will be sharing with you…….”

People often make the mistake of not sharing really useful advice and ideas because they assume that the person reading it will go off and do it all for themselves and not need what they have to offer. Just because I know in theory how to play snooker it does not mean I can, just because I know how to paint a car it does not mean that I have any intention of actually doing it. If someone can learn from you something useful that makes their life easier they will come back for more. If you help them, they will want to work with you.

A great blog gets you known as the expert, it raises your profile and promotes your brand – and that leads to free PR, great marketing, more customers, new opportunities, speaking engagements, and so much more – I speak from experience here.

And lastly the written word is not the only kind of blog to produce. If your business is visual why are you writing 300 words? You know what they say about a picture painting a thousand words? What about a short video too? By the way anything longer than 3 minutes is not short.

Get visual, introduce sound, let people feel like they know you, so that your blog quietly answers their questions, get’s them out of tricky spots and shares some great ideas and stories and guess what? The next time they need what you do, for some inexplicable reason your name will be on the tip of their tongue. One of the most read recent blogs we produced was a 5 minute video showing you how to set up MailChimp!

In my next blog I will share with you how to ensure your blog doesn’t languish in Never Read Land. (see what I did there?)

 

  • March 11, 2012

Why You Need Killer Headlines (As Well as Killer Heels.)





Okay so I’m no copywriter (although I did once gain a client out of a copywriter who noticed grammatical errors on my website and emailed me!)  But I do know, writing great blogs and fabulous web content is pretty pointless unless you are directing people to it.

Recently I was running a BWN workshop on Blogging For Business and this topic came up. “I am writing a blog, but no one is reading it, what do I do?”

Well here’s the thing, unless you find an effective way to market your blog, you might as well go and talk to the tree at the end of your garden. The tree will apparently feel good (he enjoys your carbon dioxide) but doubtful it’s liable to buy anything from you – if it does now THAT one would be easy to market!

You see you need to interact to the right people.

In the right way.

At the right time of day.

Saying the right kind of things that hook people in to wanting to know more.

That is useful and relevant.

And most importantly make it easy for them to find it again, and again, and again.

It could sound daunting but if you get it right, you will have people interacting with you, visiting your website regularly, appreciating you as an expert in your field and starting to love you and all that you do.

And pretty soon amazing things can happen thanks to blogging.
I personally include, new customers, speakers engagements and press opportunities but my personal fave to date, is having @StephenFry say “Great Blog” and when I DM’d him and asked if I could quote him, he said “go ahead.”

Sigh world’s best Tweeter thinks I’m great – Love it!

What could it do for you?

I am now running Business Clinics once a month at HSBC Business Banking Centre in Colchester through The Business Womans Network,  for your chance to be one of just 10 business women at that table – get in touch.

The next one in October is  be social media and a second one on Marketing- Creating & Actioning Your Plan. (24th October).

 

 


  • October 1, 2011