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 and 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 involved?
I wanted to try get involved 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 with the BWN business men and women because it’s 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 men!) and why?
It’s 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 it. I would recommend to any business women who is thinking getting involved with BWN networking events and our mastermind group to stop thinking, and start doing! Obviously it is great for raising your own profile, but the biggest reward for me is helping other business men and women and helping my own business too.
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! 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.
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!
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 01206 744 046/ 07712674505.
Thank you for your attention and consideration.
Dr Maria Hudson.
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;
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.
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.
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,
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;
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!
We like to know our members really well. And we like you all to know our memberes too. Today meet Genevieve McAllister from Crocus Connect. Who tells us why she became a member of the BWN and what her business is all about. You can meet Genevieve at our Essex events.
What made you set up your business?
Running my own business had always been at the back of my mind even whilst I was building my career first in the City and then in Corporate Communications. As my children were growing up I had progressed from working part-time to almost full-time, but I was constantly juggling childcare and trying to put the hours in at work – and feeling guilty a lot of the time. I remember going for a walk with my dog through the fields a couple of years ago and having an intense moment of clarity where I realised things needed to change. And very soon after I’d thought this, an opportunity came up at work which meant I could leave and start realising my dream.
How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been self employed for about 18 months, but it was only last summer that I decided to focus more on becoming a VA (virtual assistant). It made sense to me because the people I was meeting through networking were mainly owners of small businesses who don’t necessarily want to employ other people directly, but sometimes need to outsource office support or marketing.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I like the feeling that I’m the one who makes the decisions and can focus on whatever is most productive for me at any given moment. I don’t have to wait around on other people telling me what I can and can’t do. And the feeling I get when someone wants to hire me to do some work is brilliant!
What do you hate most about running your own business?
My tax return, definitely. I’ve been grappling with HMRC only today.
What benefits do you get from networking?
I’ve picked up work from networking and it’s a great way to get yourself in front of people and find out which of their work problems you can help solve. Also, as I spend a lot of time on my own working at home, it’s good to meet people and talk through day to day issues the way I would if I worked in a more conventional office with lots of colleagues.
What would you say your greatest skill is? (Be honest you have lots!)
I recently read a blog which resonated with me and it was asking people to identify what is their ‘thing’. It’s usually something that comes to you so naturally you barely even realise you can do it. After a bit of thought (and asking my husband, my mum, my friends…) I realised that my ‘thing’ is proofreading – I can look at a page of text and immediately pick up the typo. It shouldn’t have been news to me – after all, I’d been project managing communications and publications for several years so it was always part of my job, but like I said, often your ‘thing’ is something you find easy and don’t believe it’s a skill.
What was the reason that you decided to be a member at The BWN?
I’d heard good things about the BWN (and Mandie!) from others and decided to come along and try it for myself. I’m just finding that the women who do attend are really supportive and interested in what everybody else is doing. I always come away fired up with enthusiasm and that’s a great motivator once a month.
What do you see the future holding for your business?
I see the VA side of my business growing this year as I continue to focus my networking activity around that. There’s a direct correlation between the work I put in and how my business grows, so it’s important to keep up the momentum.
Longer term, I’d like to develop a balance between my VA work and my copywriting and proofreading. And if I can throw a little voiceover work into the mix too, that would tick all my boxes nicely!
Who would it be good to for you to know?
I’d like to meet people who run small to medium-sized businesses who need extra support but don’t want the formality of hiring extra people. Because I’m quite patient and organised I’m a good foil for whirlwind creative types – and I like working with them too.
I’d also like to meet someone who would get satisfaction from acting as a mentor. I think that having someone to act as a sounding board is invaluable and of course, it’s a two-way relationship.
Thank you Genieveve for sharing your business growth plans for 2016, who you would like to know and how you can help us. If you would like to answer these questions and get your business talked about on our blog, learn more about being a member here. It costs less than the early bird ticket!
I’m speaking at the University for the Institute of Directors next week and I’ve been asked to share my top tips for networking success. Planning what I will talk about makes me think of my clients and the business women I get to be with at The BWN networking events. And I will share next week the same great stuff I do with you guys all the time. But hey these students will not have me there with them once a month, so what are the most important things I could say to someone that wants success?
And I realised it is the same things that I work with clients on all the time. Ready for the big secrets?
Ready to find out what I think are the keys to your success?
And what is more scary they are things within in our control!
The keys to success are confidence and communication.
I’ve had everyone from CEO’s and start up’s tell me that when they communicate effectively they can get what they want. They can get solutions. Ask the right questions to move their business and success forward.
Many people think that networking is something that you do in a snazzy hotel with coffee and business cards. And yet networking is everywhere. In the queue at the bank, having your nails done, or waiting for a client (all of those have happened to me and delivered a new client.) So the first thing you need to master to be a successful business woman is your ability to communicate effectively.
I bet right about now there are a good few readers saying easier said than done. Okay so I get it can be scary and tricky, but anything you want in life has an element of fear and nervousness attached, its how you know you really want it.
I would also say that every single person that I’ve worked with this year has been coached to communicate effectively. From the business owner that wanted to renegotiate one of their biggest contracts (for more money with less work – and yes they got it!) to the business owner that went to a national conference and targeted the dream contract and yes things are happening! You see communicating what you want is what matters, so find out what you really want, who can help you get it and how to get that message across effectively.
But even more important than communication is…
If you have inner confidence you don’t care if you make a fool of yourself and get it wrong, because getting it wrong is on the road to getting it right, right?
Inner confidence means you have the confidence to go up to that person you know you want to work with and say “Lets talk”.
So my big gift to you this Christmas is to know and accept that you need to boost your communication and cocnfidence. And I promise with every cell in my body that if you walk through the doors of The BWN events me and my cooridndators will do all that we can to boost your confidence aand success.
Sales, SEO, Marketing, Social media, PR, Awards, Profit, Time Management, Vision and Mission Statements, Phone and Public speaking fears, branding, Business structure and strategy can all be learnt, but without communication skills and confidence, you will always be able to undermine your success. So let’s power up your success today.
I’ve had so many women say to me “Mandie I can’t do it.” and even if I don’t coach them I’m there for them, and we chat and I share ideas at The BWN and what do you know, suddenly they can do it and they do. Your success deserves that too!
See you soon and Merry Christmas and here’s to a very profitable successful 2016
Stick around aand we could make that happen for you too!
My name is Mandie Holgate and as founder of The BWN, everything that enables success for business women matters to me and I will share it with you. Attracting some of the best speakers in Europe. Yes there are other networks, but ours is the most powerful motivator and supporter of success in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. Our business women, venues and speakers tell us that this is true, I can’t wait to help you too.
When it comes to a speaking engagement I like to think of my audience, Who are they? What do they want? What do they need? etc., etc.
And as I go through this process it’s inevitable for me that I start to think of my clients. My theory being if is an issue for one person it stands to be an issue for another. So using my anecdotes in key note addresses really connects with my audience….(could be some advice in there about marketing right?)
So as I prepare for a speaking engagement I’m reminded of the number of people that I’ve coached this month who have all in one format or another showed the same underlining issue that is detrimentally damaging their success.
Do you want to know what that is?
Really want to know?
Because when I tell you, many of you will stop, look up as if thinking (because you are thinking) and say to yourself….”Wow is this me too?”
The fact is for so many people in business you have the big goals and ambitions and work hard to achieve them. And then one day (for those this impacts, as if by magic) you start to get results.
And then as your business grows and more people want in, (again as if by magic) you start to get asked to share your knowledge, speak at conferences, comment in the press or head hunted for a great new opportunity.
And instead of saying “Wow, well done me, look at what I’ve achieved.”The natural state to rush to is “Oh no, wait until they find out its just me!”
What stops a successful business woman who has achieved so much from not accepting success?
Why do people dismiss their successes and acknowledge their failures?
So I challenge you to be honest with yourself, do you dismiss your successes like you do a compliment? Have you ever said any of the following;
“What this old thing, I’ve had it for years.”
“Anyone could do what I’ve done really.”
“I don’t know why they chose us, just right, place right time I suppose.”
“My competitors are just as good at this really.”
“I don’t know why they asked me.”
“I suppose I was just lucky.”
Then I wouldn’t mind betting that you allow your brain to accept and acknowledge your failures and yet you don’t praise and accept your successes with the same level of passion.
You don’t need a coach by your side to know if you do this and the impact that this can have on your success. Do you worry that you are going to get found out?
I will be honest with you here, its something I too have had to address. For me I always felt like I was a 5 year old in my Mum’s dress up clothes. Even when the Home Office invited me to hear an address by the Home Secretary on Women’s success I asked the lady if she knew it was just Mandie Holgate from little old Mersea island?
Come on ladies, we don’t have to start strutting around like that insurance advert in skin tight demin shorts, swishing our hair shouting “because we are worth it”. However you do need an internal belief, that says “You go girl!” “Yeah Me!” “Wow look what I can achieve!”
I agree there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence, however when there is so much stacked up against you and your success, why add You to the pile of negativity?
I will be speaking at the Big Chelmsford Business Showcase on the 18th November about Making It Happen and The BWN are stand Number 33, So see you there. To learn more book here.