Its not every day a business celebrates 10 years and possibly even more impressive when you consider that the Founder has Lupus, Fibromylgia, 2 other auto-immune diseases and 3 other permanent conditions and despite that has won international awards, visiting the House of Lords, 10 Downing Street, featured in the press and on national TV and raised thousands for charity with the help of the wonderful BWN business owners.
We wanted an event that would showcase what The BWN is really about.;
To have Mary Poppins (Nicola Goodchild) A Spaceman (Lee from Spacesuit Rentals) Jack Kempton the Magician, Michelle Taylor the corporate celebrant and a cake designed by Adavista (Robyn Banks – yes, really her name! Topped off this exceptional event with 50+ people from 5 counties, including 5 men, 1 baby and Ben from BBC Essex Radio Breakfast show.
Thank you to everyone that makes The BWN as awesome, and exceptional for building confidence, raising standards, increasing sales and profit margins and be an awesome place to stay motivated, never feel alone and get the results you want from professional life.
Here’s to the next 10 years!
Think financial advice is not for you?
Here Sarah Travers, Senior Financial Planner at Ajax Wealth Management Limited shares her advice and worrying trends she sees for women in business. You can talk to Sarah in person at many of our Essex events – including Colchester, Braintree and Tendring;
For women in particular it is vital we take charge of our financial security and that is why I am on a mission to get every woman engaged with their financial planning. Read on to find out why and what we can all do to help ourselves.
NB Financial planning is for everyone – not just the rich and famous!
There is a worrying level of financial inequality and this is damaging our financial futures. We are all aware of the gender pay gap, which has been well documented, and this has a knock-on effect into later life. Women tend to live longer and earn less – we are also more likely than men to take career breaks to care for children or older relatives. Put this all together and it does not create a great financial picture.
Women currently aged 55-64 will on average have a pension pot of just half that of a man of the same age. We also tend to have smaller State Pension income and even if we were to retire on the full amount this currently only equates to a little over £700 per month.
Why don’t women engage with financial planning?
Studies have shown that women tend to lack confidence in making financial decisions and in investing, financial jargon is off-putting, we lack time and quite frankly do not know where to go to get good, reliable financial advice. Many of us also put off saving or making financial provision until we have ‘more money’. If we save, we often to stick to the apparent safety of cash which may not be in our best interests over the longer term.
These misconceptions are damaging and limiting our financial security – let me say it again – financial planning is for everyone, not just the rich and famous!
There are steps we can all take to help ourselves and each other.
What can be done? Start by thinking about some important questions:
If you think this won’t happen to you (unless you have a crystal ball) just bear in mind that in 2017 UK protection insurers paid out a record £5billion in claims.
When do you want to retire and what do you want your retirement to look like? Most of us do not envisage retirement scrimping and saving living on the poverty line.
What if you need care in later life? It is estimated that 1 in 2 women will need some form of care in later life – this will not be funded by the NHS unless there is a severe medical need, and with local authority budgets being squeezed to breaking point they are only able to help those with the highest level of need and who do not have capital above £23,250.
Next look at your budget – sit down and write out your expenditure across the year – include everything from essential expenditure like food and utilities to luxury spends like holidays. Don’t forget about annual costs and little things, like getting the chimney swept or the car MOT. Once you have your household expenditure detailed you can see how much surplus income you have on average.
If you do not have a surplus you may want to consider whether all your expenditure is needed – could it be reduced? Freeing up even small amounts per month could help to pay for important life assurance, for example, or help you to start saving into a pension. Take stock of any financial arrangements you already have in place – make a list and consider whether they are still appropriate for your needs and are providing good value.
Make sure you keep track of pensions – there is an estimated 1.6 million lost pension pots valued at some £20million that could remain unclaimed. The Pensions Tracing Service may help you to find lost pensions.
Tackle your needs in order of priority – for everyone this will be different. Speaking to a qualified financial adviser can really help you to think about what is important for you and to explain your options clearly. Many financial advisers (including me of course) offer an initial meeting at no cost to discuss your circumstances and how we may be able to help. This is a fantastic opportunity to get some free guidance and I would encourage everyone to do it.
Make sure you are using your tax allowances and claiming any benefits you may be entitled to – not all are means tested. If you run your own business – which many of you reading this will do – consider appointing an accountant if you don’t already have one – they can make sure you comply with HMRC regulations and operate tax efficiently.
Finally, don’t forget about the importance of having a will and powers of attorney in place – that way you can ensure your assets are dealt with how you wish on death, and if you cannot make decisions for yourself during your lifetime (which could, for example, result from an accident or sudden illness) you will have appointed people you trust to make those decisions for you. Remember that family members do not have an automatic right to make decisions if you lack capacity and on death there are strict rules as to who will inherit if you do not leave a will.
Conclusion Financial planning is a vast topic and that in itself can seem daunting, however, it is vital that we do not leave our financial security to chance. Taking small steps can help reap great rewards in the long term.
Take action now – the sooner you act the more chance you will have of a secure financial future – and that is something I think we all aspire to.
Do get in touch if you would like to discuss how I can help.
Sarah Travers LL.B. (Hons) DipPFS
Tel (office): 01206 805901
Mobile: 07484 231768
Suite 1, Unit 4 Lanswood Park Business Centre, Broomfield Road, Elmstead Market, Colchester CO7 7FD
Office for National Statistics pension wealth, February 2018 (sheet 6.5) bit.ly/2JLAHAF
Based on full entitlement to the new state pension in 2018/19
Source: Association of British Insurers iv Source: Association of British Insurers v https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details Sarah
We are so excited to announce the Launch of The Business Mans Network. It matters to us greatly that we are there to support your sales, confidence and success. And for years Founder Mandie Holgate had been asked to set an event aimed at men in business. So its exciting to announce this launch on Monday the 8th May at our Wivenhoe House venue.
We know that we will have to work hard to get the right balance and create events as powerful as the ones we already host. The BMN events will have the same structure as The BWN events and there will still be no membership and lots of extra ways we can support you.
We’ve already had a policy that if a business man books a ticket then they are not turned away. We attract some of the top speakers in the UK and feel The BWN has always be inclusive and not exclusive. And the same will apply here. Although we would request that for the first event women in business given business men the chance to create their own core group before you consider attending.
It has also important to us that we do not drop the standard of support, motivation and ideas we give to women in business so please do keep in touch if you feel there is more we could be doing to support you and your success.
Here you can read the full article that appeared in the Gazette this week about the launch. Launch BMN May 2017
If you are a charity that we haven’t chosen this year, that doesn’t mean we don’t love you. As a charity you will always get to attend our events for a discounted rate (even on the day on the door!)
We will retweet, like and share all of your content that you share with us.
(All of our social media is accessible via our website – top right.)
And when we have room we will happily let you bring your banner along to our events.
You can also write for our blog whenever you wish.
(Just ping us the details)
Got an event coming up? We are happy to mention it in our business ops slot. Just email it to your local coordinator.
(Because we really do love everything local!)
However we want to do more (well that’s typical us!) and so we thought how great it would be if we could make every business woman from across a whole county talk about one charity. One charity that works tirelessly to make a difference. As founder of the BWN Mandie Holgate has worked with lots of third sector organisations and so knows first hand the obstacles that they face. And the pots of cash are not so easy to get to any more.
But fear not, charities don’t want just your money. Here’s our top ways to support our charity of the year. If you attend our events we would adore it, love it, and thank you forever if you would do the following for our charity of the year in your county;
Retweet, like share and talk about the charity of the year on line. That way we can like your comments, and share them too. That way your followers and your brand awareness goes up too!
Want to get in the local press? (The answer to that one is yes you do!) Raise a few quid for our charity of the year, mention us and together with the charity there is good chance your smiley face and your bit for charity could get your business in the press. And that is not just good for them, its good for you too. Charities aren’t daft, they know why businesses get involved. Yes we love the warm fuzzy feeling that it gives us, but its also good for business, stands your business a part from the rest, shows you care, and a ton of other things. All good. All worth doing. So fancy sitting in a bath of beans? Giving a £1 for every sale next month? Doing a nude calendar? (We’ve done that…twice!) then go for it!
And its worth remembering your gestures don’t need to be huge. Just talking about the charity, really does help them.
Attending an event? Could you carry a few fliers for our charity of the year?
What about having a 1 2 1 with a member of the charities team, so you could understand what they do, what they need, who the would love to talk to. Knowledge is power and big powerful networks are very good for charities. Could your network be helping our charity of the year?
Add a logo to your website? Remember for charities if you knew the extent of the work that they did you would probably want to be able to do more. Could you add a logo, a mention of The BWN’s charity of the year to your website, social media, business literature. Help us, help our charity of the year.
Write a blog article? Could you write an article sharing what you know, care about? Anything. Remember a charity is not just after money. It’s after staying power. Charities are created all the time, which means that the ones that are already here have to work twice as hard. What could you write about to support our charity of the year? Raise their profile and give them staying power and ensure their future? Charities live on a knife’s edge, never knowing how they will fund the following year. Scary right?
Every £1 spent on a charity in the UK is being fought fiercely over, so if you can raise the profile of a local organisation that is helping in your community you just became a really nice person. Good feeling right?
Essex – Colchester Community Voluntary Services – CCVS
The title may suggest they only work in North Essex, however their work supports groups and organisations across Essex. So by supporting them it means Essex business women really are supporting community groups. And get to attend events meeting third sector, public sector and private sector. Their Banking on business events are proving a great success and Dawn Moss our Saturday Essex events coordinator is already signed up as a Volunteer. And with over 600 volunteers, that’s a lot of good happening in Essex. Can you feel how good that is!
Shirley is the business woman from CCVS that you can expect to see at our Marks Tey Hotel events. Get in touch with us to share your ideas to raise money, raise their profile and get your warm fuzzy feeling that makes Essex that much better.
Suffolk – Age UK Suffolk
Our Bury St Edmunds events are hosted at Age UK Suffolk’s HQ and so how perfect to support them.
Learn more about Age UK Suffolk here and please do let them know that we said they were awesome and deserve your support. You can contact your local Suffolk coordinator direct via your page. However feel free to contact us if you wish to.
1. Know why you are exhibiting. Yes you want people to buy from you, but what else? Signing up to your newsletter? Getting to know you on social media? What actions do you want people to take? And don’t assume anything, if you want people to connect with you on social media, have a clear poster that gives a QR code and says “Use this QR code to keep in touch. (You can create your own QR codes easily, just Google it);
2. Exhibiting is just that, a chance to create a shop front that enables people to see how you can help them. The full scope of what you do. Think about what are the assumptions that are made about what you do and ask yourself do we address them on our stand? Do we answer the “No’s” that people have? (A top tip here that by knowing and understanding the “No’s” that stop a sale, you can get them into your marketing to break down the No’s. Cool right?)
3. What are the big goals? Okay so you get them to sign up to get to know you on social media, they want to know more and sign up to your newsletter and email campaigns but what would the ultimate goals be? If you sell something what would the follow up purchase be? What else or how often do you want them to buy? Do you tell people about these opportunities when you exhibit?
4. Tell everyone! Okay so with The BWN you know we go out of our way to promote the fact that you are at our events, however it is not an assumption you can take the risk on taking. What warm leads do you have that you would love the chance to tell them more about what you do? What connections do you have that could also benefit from this event? By spreading the word this can help your event success in a number of ways; firstly you get to spread the word on the event to increase the foot fall, secondly you get the chance to remind people why you and how you invest in your business and the professionalism of your company and thirdly think how much the event organisers will love you for spreading the word. The next top tips share how to do this!
5. Share the link to the event you are exhibiting at on your social media. Include the organisers social media (ours is @BWNcouk in case you were wondering!) so that they too can spread the word on you, promote the event and raise yours and the events profile. The more people that know about the event, the more people know about you and your business.
6. Tell people in your next newsletter or email campaign. Writing a blog article? Add in there something like “If you would like to learn more I will be offering taster sessions/bringing this fabulous product to this event, and it would be great to see you there. Include a link. Remember marketing is about making it easy for people to get involved.
7. If you are networking, add it to your 60 seconds promo slot. The more people you can get to your stand to see what you do and how you help people, the better.
8. What do your guests get? So a freebie chocolate, free pen, pad or entry into a raffle may get you a smile out of a delegate, however if there are 20+ exhibitors in the room will you be remembered in a weeks time? What can you do to ensure people stay in touch? What about saying thank you or “Hi” on the coordinators social media. Getting in touch after the event. Remember to be consistent, relevant and non salesly. If you have attended an event its highly likely many will automatically have added your details to their data base. The epitome of salesly, no respect for your time attitude that can seriously risk your ability to create and nurture a new relationship that will enable business to happen, so what would work?
9. Think about the delegates event experience. By the time they get to your stand, they’ve been asked maybe 20 times “What do you do?” “What do you think of the event?” “Do you use X?” How can your stand have an impact? How can you ensure people walk away from your stand smiling and thinking “That was good!” rather than here we go again!
10. Don’t stand behind your stand. One of reasons you are exhibiting is so you can expand on the business card and 60 second promo slot so that people want to buy from you. To do that you want to build relationships either with people that don’ know you or who know you a little. A table is basically a physical barrier between you and the delegate. It can send a sub-conscious message to the brain that says you are unapproachable. When The BWN exhibit, we put the chairs to one side of our stand and encourage delegates to take a seat. Most women are in heels and guess how popular we are when we encourage people to have a seat and tell us about their business and how we may be able to help? By being on your delegates agenda and finding out how you can help them, you can really start a great relationship. And exhibiting is about creating a shop front that people want to stick around and learn more about and then buy. So from today to the event, make the journey into a sale a fun, enjoyable (and easy to achieve) one!
We hope you find these top tips helpful. There are lots more resources on our website under blog and reports and our founder Mandie Holgate‘s Website, who will be selling her books. Ooo did you see what we did there!
See you at Our Big Christmas Events this December!
Small businesses face challenges every day that can put them at risk and which need to be dealt with before they become problematic, cost money or lead to opportunities being lost. All of which can effect business growth, so it’s no wonder that the UK’s leading business organisation, the Federation of Small Businesses who supports businesses across the country and has its 200,000 members in the forefront of their mind when it packs a real punch when it brings its voice to Government in the UK and Europe.
The benefits package that the FSB offers are unrivalled but attracting those small businesses to the membership is no small feat, so bringing that support to the small business community are a team of Member Advisors, self employed / business owners, are the very people FBS seek to encourage to its membership. I’m Angela Lock and I am one of these people, acting as a Membership Advisor as well as looking after my own business interests.
With an early career in retail management I moved into the world of recruitment and later established my own consultancy, specialising in senior retail operations for both major high street and out of town retailers and preferred supplier to brands such as IKEA, Asda, House of Fraser, Hobbs and the Arcadia Group. Also during this period together with my husband developing a property portfolio, before moving into project management supporting businesses in a range of sectors, including a period in Welfare to Work.
Still having an interest in property but also a love of nature and of the outdoors a recent venture has been converting a cart lodge into a rural retreat which has received a Visit England, Quality in Tourism 4 Star Gold Award and so after being a Member of the FSB for a number of years in August 2014 I became the Membership Advisor of North and West Essex and Herts.
Angela visits businesses across her territory and is among the top performing membership advisors for the FSB, speaking at training seminars and network events as well as visiting businesses on a one-to-one basis, playing her part in ensuring that the FSB remains the largest business organisation in the UK
The FSB looks to business people like Angela to raise awareness and ensure business owners are fully briefed when it comes to the support mechanisms, benefits that it has in place as well as activities and events that it organises or sponsors such as The Business Womens Network summer event. Angela herself joined the FSB because ‘It’s very reassuring to know that when a legal issue arises I can immediately turn to the FSB and that advise is just a phone call away. They are on hand to help in so many ways and although I do not have any employees anymore, I have still found the legal team very supportive of a few personal disputes I’ve experienced. Not only that, Tax investigation Insurance is a real must for any business these days and not only does that FSB provide this as part of the Rights of Membership but its provides peace of mind and the reassurance that one needs as the tax team are there every step of the way and deal with HMRC on your behalf’ . The Federation of Small Businesses also adds her voice to the many other of thousands it has when it takes its messages to Government. Messages that come from the membership through Big Voice, the FSB’s online research community. Big Voice is unique amongst the business organisations, and makes the FSB the Voice of Small Business in the UK
Thank you for sharing Angela, If you are a member of the BWN (which means you pay no membership fee just for the events you wish to attend this year in one go – so we can spend our time promoting you and your business and not dealing with admin, click here to learn more.)
Most businesses at some time have dabbled with networking but how is it possible that some businesses love it and think it is the key to growing and sustaining their business. When others find it a waste of their time, a drain on their resources and worse still dipping into their profits!
If you’re not getting the results you want, here’s our guide to getting it right and why you could be getting it wrong…
First of all you need to know why you are networking. If your plan was to run in a room and run out again with 30 sales, then first of all you need a reality check. Unless you’re selling designer shoes or 5 star holidays for £5 its unlikely the sales are going to be pouring in. For networking to work it needs to factor as part of a structured focussed marketing strategy.
It is important to understand that networking enables you to;
After all great networking results are about communicating effectively to get connected.
And the bigger your network the more benefits you could be getting!
As Essex Coordinator I often get told “There are so many networks to chose from, how do I know yours is any good?”
And its a fair point. There is a ton of choice out there – which is great for the consumer…..and the network. You see we never placed ourselves as a rival, on the contrary we regularly promote other networks and business groups, why? Because if its good for business we want to be telling you about it.
A different approach you may say, well yes, but then it works. You see we are here to do the hard work for you. Try out the networks, the seminars and workshops and we share with you the good stuff. You can expect to hear about those ideas at every event in the business ops slot at 10.30.
But lets get down to the nitty gritty – you network because ultimately it leads to leads and sales and profit and success. On top of those things at the BWN you can expect support (it can be a lonely world for a business woman – and its great to know what you are experiencing or finding tough someone else has the answers to – probably because they have been through it too!)
You get motivated into action – so often women say to me, thanks to coming to The BWN last week, I picked up the phone/got in touch/changed my website/got up and spoke about my company/challenged their decision/went for it/took my business to the next level. And that results in even more success.
The BWN blogs and “What Business Women Say” pages of our website are packed with testimonials of how we have helped business women get what they want for their business and their success – all in an environment that is always welcoming (never clicky!) motivational and business focussed – we may mention what gorgeous heels you are wearing but then its straight back to business. Because we know that’s what matters to you.
Jo Hockey shares with us why its good for your business to get to know your local charities;
“I will start with a little story that really quite shocked me when I attended my first network meeting as a charity employee.
Having run my own business and also after spending many years working for large financial services companies, I was no stranger to networking meetings. I liked the buzz of walking into a room full of people you had not met before and making connections with different people from all walks of life. Indeed, I have some very great friends who I have met through networking meetings over the years.
I went to my first networking meeting representing Headway Essex, feeling quite buoyant and full of expectation. Having grabbed my coffee, I started to look around the room for any people looking open to join in conversation. A woman caught my eye and smiled and off I went to start to chat. I had no visible signs around me to say that I worked for a charity, so I guess I lulled her into a false sense of security! “Hello” I said, “I am Joanne Hockey and I work” for Headway Essex. “Ooh” said the woman “Headway Essex, what do they do?” “We are a charity who provides support for people with acquired brain injury”. Not even managing to mask the look of disappointment on her face, she then went on in a flustered way to say, “I am sorry but we have already given away some of our products for free for charities and can’t do anything to help you”. “Oh” I said, a little taken aback “funny” I thought “I just wanted to find out about you and your company”
Afterwards I started to think. “Was this one off or do others feel the same when they find they are talking to someone from a charity?”
This prompted me to write this blog to highlight the opportunities that a Charity can offer to businesses.
Headway Essex is a charity but it still has to be run like a business;
……………….the list goes on. We may get the odd item donated, but as a rule, we have to generate funds to pay for all these things. We need to get these things at the right level of quality and a reasonable cost – as would any other business. We do not expect anything free (however it is nice if this is offered, occasionally!)
So what other opportunities are there for businesses to work in partnership with us?
EVENTS – We run several high profile events each year including our black tie ball, which attracts over 200 important and influential guests, who gather for a lavish evening at The Fennes Estate in Bocking Braintree. Companies involved in sponsoring the event or providing auction lots receive excellent publicity both on the night and on leading up to the event through our marketing and publicity to our database of supporters. We also hand out goody bags to everyone at the end of the evening with our contributor’s promotional items and flyers.
We also have events where local small business come along and sell their products and beauty and alternative health therapists come to promote their businesses. Most have generated several new business leads because of these.
Referrals – We have people who have offered services to us for free, or at a reduced rate and as a result have generated new business on the back of this with our recommendation.
Publicity – We have a great relationship with local press and can generate some great publicity for people you want to get involved with the charity. Last year in Action for Brain Injury week, we had a full two page spread in the Essex County Standard with photographs of some of the businesses who took part in our “Hats for Headway” campaign.
Oh and let us not forget – We have a database of over 2,500 supporters!
So next time you talk to somebody at a Networking event and he or she says that they work for a charity – please do not overlook them. You may lose out on a fantastic opportunity for your business.”
To learn more about Headway Essex, Connect with Jo Hockey or give a local charity a Tweet – www.headwayessex.org.uk or spot Jo at a BWN Essex event soon.
Don’t forget all charities can access permanent discounts at The BWN and can take advantage of getting crisp £5 notes with Getting paid to network – learn more here – https://www.thebusinesswomansnetwork.co.uk/getting-paid-to-network/