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Award winning members in the press

We’ve had a bumper crop of good news already this Autumn with lots of our members winning awards AND featuring in the press.

First there’s Michelle Taylor and Sarah Keen following a great trend we are very proud of by being Top 100 Small Businesses in the national campaign Small Business Saturday featured in The Guardian Newspaper. This is the 3rd year in a row that BWN members have won this accolade, pretty impressive considering how many businesses there are in the UK right?

Sarah owns Lightbulb Chiropractic also features in the Gazette talking about how to succeed in business when you are a military wife. Learn more about Sarah here and read this great article here.

award winning business woman sarah keen at the business womans network events for education and growth
Congratulations Sarah Keen!

Keep your eyes peeled because Celebrant Michelle Taylor has her day with Small Business Saturday coming up too. Michelle has helped us celebrate our big 10th birthday and many others with her awesome ceremonies for corporate events. She also features on TV this month! Learn more about Funky Celebrant here or meet Sarah and Michelle at our Colchester events or on the Insiders.

Multi award winning Michelle Taylor – The Funky Celebrant.

Not content with winning with Small Business Saturday Michelle features as a top 50 business women of Essex with Living Magazine along with our Founder Mandie Holgate, Anne Cope from Authentico Paint and Josie Dom Author of the Lum and Friends. They all featured in October and November editions at the launch at the stunning Braxted Park.

Mandie Holgate author of fight the fear and founder of the business womans network featuring in red magazine talking about big life decisions.
Our Founder Mandie Holgate also features in this November’s Red magazine, the national glossy that women love. Mandie is talking about how to overcome fear and make those big decisions like setting up your own business. The ideas are taking from Mandie’s work as a coach for teams and individuals and her book Fight the Fear You can buy you copy now and sign up to Redonline here.
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  • October 20, 2019

Coordinator’s Love your business – here’s why

We are very proud of our coordinators. They care passionately about your success and work hard to deliver the very best networking and business growth events in your area.  Here we hear from Nadine Gamble from Utility Warehouse who hosts our Tendring events and has jumped at the opportunity to host our Bury St Edmunds events from September too!

Why do you love the BWN so much?

There are many reasons that I love the BWN so much, I had never been to a networking event of any kind andNadine Gamble networking at the Tendring BWN in Essex helping women in business the BWN was my first foray into this world.  Initially for me it was the timing and the financial aspects that appealed, that was before I got to know more about the ethos of BWN.  So many other networking groups run very early in the morning (not suitable when you’re a single mum that needs to get children to school)  and often come packaged with some rather steep membership fees and rules.   The fact that the BWN doesn’t charge a membership and doesn’t incur a penalty if you can’t make a meeting is the flexibility that I need to have.

How does it help your business?

The BWN has helped me in so many areas of my business.   The biggest,  aside from the natural progression of gaining new customers, is it has helped my confidence levels rise in general which has helped me enormously with my work.   Just this week I hosted my businesses regional monthly meeting with around 40 people, I would never have said yes to doing this had I not had the positive experiences with the BWN.

For what reasons do you love being a coordinator?

I wanted to try my hand at being a BWN co-ordinator to develop and push my own personal skills further.  Public speaking has always been something that has filled me with dread, even the 60 second pitches would scare me.  Rather than running away from something that made me uncomfortable I knew that the only way I could get better  was to face it head on and actively look to improve myself by taking on new challenges.  I love being the person responsible for giving business women a great morning, filled with relevant information that is key to them not only in business but on a personal level too.  Being able to connect women who could really help each other out is a great feeling.

Would you recommend it to business women and why?

Hosting the BWN events has really helped me to grow as a person and develop my skills.  Being totally honest, there were moments when I wondered why on earth I had taken this on, and thought there were some things that a technophobe like me would never get the hang of! However there was, and continues to be as much support as I need in order to make a success of my events.  I would recommend to any business women who is thinking about hosting a BWN networking group to stop thinking, and start doing!  Obviously it is great for raising your own profile, but the biggest reward for me is bringing other ladies together who can really benefit from each other.

What inspired you to take on the role of a second venue? It’s not even in the same county!

On a personal level this year has been particularly challenging to me, but without a doubt I always feel 100% better when I have hosted a BWN meeting.  The amazing women, the support, the knowledge, the learning, the inspiration,  it all goes such a long way in keeping me motivated within myself.  Seeing a group of like minded women connecting with each other is wonderful.  When I heard that a new location was in need of a host I knew that it was the next step in my BWN journey, it excites me that I can now bring to BSE what I have to Tendring.

What do you want to do for Suffolk business women?

I want to spread the BWN love and build a really solid group of business women in the Bury St Edmunds area.  Somewhere ladies can feel comfortable not pressured, empowered not judged, motivated and inspired to lead their best lives, personally and within their businesses.

How do you see your role?

Facilitating this, bringing people together and providing them with speakers who will add value to each and every woman who attends.  I want people to leave my events feeling awesome, feeling that they have invested a few hours into themselves and their businesses that will continue to have lasting effects.

What is your best/happiest moment of hosting a BWN event?

My first ever event was in November 2018, and I was terrified!  But I was also excited! 10 years networking for women in business It went brilliantly, and for the first time I allowed myself to believe that I could actually do this!  But my happiest moment from being involved with the BWN has got to be when I was poorly in December 2018.  Mandie sent me a video clip of all the BWN ladies singing, just for me as I couldn’t be there due to my incarceration in the local hospital.  For me it sums up the true ethos of the BWN.  Yes, we are all about business, and effectively helping each other, but we are also about looking out for each other, and that for me is where it all begins.

  • August 1, 2019

Google My Business – your how to guide courtesy of Kate Everett – Colchester networking event

We are keen to ensure our speakers at our events never sell at you and deliver high quality business and professional development ideas and solutions for women in business. We are already lining 2020 speakers and if you know of one you’d love to see at The BWN please do get in touch.

Here Kate Everett from TWI talks about Google My Business for women in business. It was fascinating and really useful stuff. Let us know how you get on and already over on the Insiders we are looking at ways to maximise on this. Not in yet? You can learn more about our confidential mastermind group here. It’s 24/7 and it’s epic – not our words, the Insiders!

  • July 23, 2019

A local event for a truly awesome UK charity

Judy Kuhl networks with us at our Essex events raising awareness of the work of Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity as their School’s and Community Presenter for Essex.

Here Judy shares information on an upcoming event that local businesses can get involved in to support GOSH, network and meet new people. If you do attend please do let Judy know where you heard about this event from.

“We need to raise £100 million every year to help rebuild and refurbish Great Ormond Street Hospital, buy vital equipment and fund pioneering research. For more information please contact me or log onto www.gosh.org

Essex provides the second largest catchment of children who attend the hospital, and Never Far Away is our exciting new appeal in Essex, aiming to provide vital accommodation for families with seriously ill children at the hospital. Just £245 covers the cost of a week stay, providing a lifeline for families from Essex and across the UK by ensuring that they are never far away while their child is in intensive care.

 I`d like to invite you to our launch event which will take place on Tuesday 29 January at Chelmsford Cathedral from 6.30-8pm. Please feel free to bring anyone who you think would be interested in hearing about the work of Gosh, or pass this invitation to someone else if you are unable to join us for the launch. I do hope that you are able to join us and find out more about the incredible work of the hospital and how you can get involved. Please RSVP so we can plan accordingly.”

Judy attends our Essex events where you can have a chat and learn more or you can contact Judy direct here 

  • January 4, 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

All change in Suffolk

All businesses go through change and our organisation is no different. In fact we actively look to hear from every woman in business that attends our Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk events to know what you want and if we are delivering it. (And our apologies if we are not in your region yet, we would love to be in your area, so get in touch to learn about getting paid to network.)

Therefore when Linda had to step down from our stunning Ickworth House, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk  events it was a quiet moment in the BWN offices. Mandie instantly decided that we had been supporting the success of women in business in this area for over 4 years and we didn’t want to see it stop. So Mandie hosted our September event and announced “Who would like to get paid to network?”

2 offers came forward on the day so we never got to spread the opportunity to the wider community (further proof you have to be in it to win it!) and we are delighted to welcome Nicky West, a corporate Suffolk based photographer to the team. Nicky said “I’ve decided to become a BWN co-ordinator! Let me sum up why. I believe networking is a wonderful way to empower and connect local business owners to be inspired by and inspire each other, in a friendly supportive environment, and I’m so excited to be a part of that process and grow my own business along the way too!”

We are very happy to welcome you Nicky and look forward to seeing your fabulous images and hearing your 2019 plans.

We have more exciting news coming soon and if you would like to learn more about joining the growing BWN team, we would love to hear from you. Just complete the contact us form or give us a call.

  • September 30, 2018

Mental Health as part of your winning business

Here Dr Maria Hudson Lecturer in Human Resource Management shares an exciting opportunity for you to look after your team. Learning about the promotion of positive mental health. There is a great opportunity to get involved, raise awareness with your connections and make a difference to our local business communities;

“There is growing discussion of the need for greater understanding of employee well-being at work. Mental health is an important part of this. The main aim of the Action Learning Set will be to foster increased understanding and takeup of better practice, with support tailored to employer contexts. The Action Learning Set is being run by Dr Maria Hudson who is a Lecturer in Human Resource Management in the Organisation Studies and HRM teaching group at Essex Business School. The project builds on recent research funded by Acas on the Management of Mental health at Work. This follow-up work is supported by funds that the University of Essex has been awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council in order to maximise the impact of research. Employer participation is free.

The Action Learning Set is being run by myself in the Organisation Studies and HRM teaching group at Essex Business School. The project builds on recent research funded by Acas on the Management of Mental health at Work. This follow-up work is supported by funds that the University of Essex has been awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council in order to maximise the impact of research. Employer participation is free.

In parallel with the Action Learning Set, I will undertake case study based research to explore the impact of employer participation on the promotion of positive mental health. All data collected will be treated in strictest confidence.

The first meeting of the Action Learning Set takes place in October 2017. To learn more contact me to receive an information sheet which provides further details about what participation in both the Action Learning Set and research would entail and how confidentiality will be managed.

I do hope that you will consider participating in this important learning and research project. If you have any questions about the project, please do not hesitate in contacting me by email: mhudson@essex.ac.uk or phone: 01206 744 046/ 07712674505.
Thank you for your attention and consideration.
Yours faithfully,
Dr Maria Hudson.

  • October 8, 2017

The power of thoughtfulness for business success

Meet Jen and Jen. Well, Jenny Sjollema from PA Angels and host of South Essex events and Jenny Animashaun from JA Business Services hosts of our Braintree/Halstead events and our Essex Charity Coordinator. They may look thoughtful in the image above but they are more than just looking thoughtful, they are thoughtful.

As a businesswoman with Lupus, I don’t drive to a lot of my speaking engagements and events I attend and these two fabulous Jen’s are the business women that travel around the UK with me the most. (That is not the interesting part!)

The interesting part is that as a businesswoman I don’t know about you but I’ve always had an issue with asking for help (that’s probably why I still rely on that chapter in my book on the fears that impact on success!) It took me years to suss that if I wanted to achieve big I’d have to accept help. (When I wrote the book I couldn’t think of one person that has achieved great success completely alone, from rock stars and athletes to entrepreneurs and CEO’s no one gets there alone. Can you think of anyone?) And as such these Jen’s are essential to my success. And so I want to share why this is so important;

  1. They care about my success. Do you know how important it is to know that you are not alone? Not only do you get a sounding board and support on tough days it also means you are more likely to get the results you want because you’ve shared your goals with others.
  2. We are part of the BWN team meaning we work tirelessly for each others success and our members. This is great news because a) it helps raise their profile to grow their own businesses, b) it helps them feature in the press and on the radio and c) we get to learn new skills from each other and d) obviously is we get more business!
  3. Being a thoughtful businesswoman is good for business. The 2 Jen’s don’t get a great deal of benefit from driving me around the country (well they do call it car coaching!) but by being thoughtful to me it means I hold them in possibly even higher esteem than I did already. There is a bond. I would do anything for them.

When you read these things can you say you are a thoughtful business owner? Do you show you care? Do other business owners know that they can rely on you? By showcasing your thoughtfulness not only do you build rapport which leads to a desire to do business together it also means that you get to showcase your professionalism something that I fear is woefully lacking for some.

Written by Mandie Holgate author of Fight the fear and Founder of The Business Womans Network – how to beat your negative mindset and win in life.

  • October 7, 2017

How to look like you are everywhere (And get known as a thought leader)

You are everywhere!

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You walk into an exhibition room or networking event and those are the first words you here. And then people feel like they already know you. Guess what that leads to?


An instant connection, no need to do the nice weather, general chit chat, that ice breaker stuff has already been done for you. You can get straight on to the lead building, sales funnel, let’s do business stage. Cool right?

But seriously how can that happen?

Well I walk into events and that is what people say to me. And the irony is that my illness means that I’m either with a client at a BWN event or resting so I really am not “everywhere” as people think I am. However thanks to savvy marketing. It can look like I am.

So if you are looking to gain new business, and new leads and opportunities (even when you are very busy) you need a marketing strategy that will allow for that. And mine does. I can be on a beach, watching Downtown abbey, or with a client and still be picking up all of the above. I don’t dress it up, it comes down to My Marketing Production Line. You can download your copy here. And if you are utilising 8 to 10 tools, effectively, regularly and with interesting and relevant content to your target audience according to your ultimate goals (ask me about them sometime) then you will get the known as the thought leader you want to become. And you will grow your business.

Heck I even got head hunted to write a book for one of the UK’s leading non fiction publishers. And yes you guessed it that was without doing anything other than I suggest here.

And if you want to know more. Then sign up on my Facebook page to my newsletter there is a sparkly new website coming soon to www.mandieholgate.co.uk with some new courses starting from £14 and one of those is my Mandie’s Marketing Production Line teaching you how to be everywhere and gain new business even on a beach.

But for now start by asking if you were to be very busy, what actions are automated for you?

Is your online presence working hard for you?

If someone stalks…..sorry explores your online presence what are they likely to find? Is it likely to engage them? Be a fountain of knowledge? Interesting and fun? Useful and worth returning to? Worth signing up to a website? Good for business, health, life family holidays, entertainment? Does it make them want to learn more or make them want to go and watching dogs bouncing on trampolines?

If its the latter, its about time you invested a bit of time on your online presence and I’ve got plenty of ideas on how to make that powerful. Just pop in on a Tuesday afternoon to my Facebook page for a free master class and ask any questions and I will happily help all I can. As Founder of The BWN that is what I’m here to do. Learn more here.

I do hope you can make my book launch this Friday. It’s free to attend however you do need to have a ticket to attend. Book here.

  • November 21, 2016

Whose In Your Success Team?

As a busy business woman there is so much that falls on your plate, right?
That is why at The BWN if we see something that needs to happen for your success we like to share it with you. And something that we are seeing a growing trend in is the need for a team. (Even for the self employed business woman!)
Founder Mandie Holgate shares her top tips and her own personal insight into the power of a team;
As a business coach and a rather sick one at that (that’s sick as is Lupus and other fun things, not “cool” and kids “dig” me which is clearly the case using words like “dig and cool!) I appreciate that if I want success I don’t intend to do that alone. In my team are some key players. Does that lesson my achievements?
Of course not!

If anything my new favourite saying is “Success is better shared” and I honestly feel that that is true,

Supporting business women success

Mandie wasn’t about to try and do it all on her own and went off to find other people to help her be awesome.

it means that the people I rely on and utilise as part of my team I can promote and recommend to others and that is of course the very ethos of so much of our work here at The BWN.

In my team firstly is my hubby. He is the one that passionately listens to me let rip in the hot tub when quite frankly he would rather be turning his brain off. (There’s a good chance he has turned his brain off and he is just making the right “Yes dear” noises at the right times!) However he tends to be critical when I need, encourage when I need it and tell me to shut up when I need that too!

Be aware of those that you love though (I know you don’t mind a bit of honesty here, because not everyone has loved ones that support their business ventures, so ask yourself “Does this person I’m speaking to believe in me or do they want to protect me first?”
Sometimes other peoples love for you can sometimes override their true opinions on what they feel you should do. They say what they think you should do for an easier stress free life not the actions that will lead you to the big goals that you seek. And yes sometimes that means some hard graft, and the ones you love will always try to protect you, won’t they?

Which leads me on to looking for other people to add to your team….
And be wary who you add. Be aware of the likers. There is nothing wrong with the people that like every word that comes out of your mouth, however how are you to grow, and develop if you are not challenged? You need to have in your team people you know that will do those things in a way that suits you. For me I like a no nonsense “Stop doing that Mandie” approach. And I attract people that suit that style.

I’ve a mentor that bounces off of me and volleys back and forth elegantly so that we can verbally challenge each other and I feel like I’ve had a proper brain work out. My whole being feels alive after a session with my mentor, and I’m buzzing with ideas, does your mentor do that?

Also I have a V.A, actually I rely on 2. Well if something works, why not go the whole hog right? I work with Genieve McAllister from Crocus Connect and Jenny Sjollema from PA Angels. The team of these 2 is just genius. It means that we can look after 70+ business women at an event, it means I can deal with my admin in record time, they are far better at copywriting than me (and can probably find a plethora of typo’s in this article!) so they are worth their weight in gold (can you tell they have the week off and I’m flying solo!)

I also have an accountant, a printer, a graphic designer, web designer and IT company and I wouldn’t be without any of them. Could I do many of these jobs myself?

You bet I could!

However is my time better suited to doing what I’m best at, you bet it is! And more to the point it means that I can be out there talking about all of these cool companies too. That’s Paul from Studio Link 11, Lara from Reflect Design for Print, Tim Wilson my IT Guru and so many others.

However on top of these I rely on The Business Womans Network. I know that by walking through the door at these events, I will not only pick up new clients, I will leave with;

  • new ideas,
  • feeling boosted,
  • motivated,
  • I will hear of some new website that is great for top tips. (Elene Marsden shared a great site to try out at my May event, Thanks Elene – it was User Testing. A great way to find out if you site looks any good from an independent viewpoint.
  • There is always someone with a great piece of advice that they are itching to share. I just love that. I always always learn.
  • And I feel supported. In business when your head is down and you are working hard looking after your business and your customers, and your own business sometimes you forget to look up smell the roses and appreciate where you are right now. Getting to these events reminds me how supported I really am. And that I too can give back in so many ways in such an easy relaxed way too. (I love win win relationships!)
  • I feel understood. Not everyone “gets it” do they. Your choice to work long hours, or to be on the lap top on a Saturday morning, (they don’t see you not working on a Friday afternoon!) They don’t get your lifestyle choice and so to be surrounded by like minded people is truly good to keep you positive and focussed on your big goals.

So put it together, with my hubby, mentor, back house team and the BWN I feel like I cover all basis to create a winning formula to ensure the success of my business. I know I can deliver to my customers and I know I can achieve my goals, and its great to know I’ve created a team that are like my very own cheer leaders.

As a passionate lover of F1. I’ve felt so much for Hamilton who just didn’t have the back up of technology to get the results he wanted. Having just moved house a few months ago I had to heavily rely on my awesome Tim (IT Guru) to get my IT working again when quite frankly the Broadband company were beyond words shocking (They will remain nameless however their name is very short!)  So I know that when I need my team, they really are there for me. Can you say that about your team? Can you really rely on them?

Look at poor Ricardo at the Monaco Grand Prix? My heart broke for him that his race chances slipped away because basically someone hadn’t got him four tyres! Another lesson that teams need the right resources right?

Can you say that your team has the right resources?

Right now for me and the growing team at The BWN (You may want to be at the 16th June event for some news on that front!) I’m very aware that our resources need to grow and change. Do you continue to reassess and consider this? A great team always looks around them, what’s working? What can we improve? What are we learning?

As I finish this article there are 2 more things I consider in my team. Firstly my children, as teenagers they can be great for being critical of your work in a great way. If you can get a teen to be engaged by your 60 second promo slot you can certainly get a room full of business women to love it!

They are also brutally honest and not likely to pull any punches, and for me that’s good. (I can take it!)

And lastly some one that so few business women tend to get on their side, have you got yourself on your team?

It may seem like a daft thing to say, however seriously do you cheer yourself and say “Yeh me, I can do this!”

Or do you walk out of the door heading to a networking event or big meeting thinking “Oh no I’m dreading this!”

One of the above could be damaging  your success, and one could be great for your team attitude, however if you get yourself along to a BWN event we can have you feeling motivated and ready for anything pretty quick too!




  • June 1, 2016