We asked Sarah why she networked with us so much and this is the reply Sarah sent us.
“I have had the pleasure of being involved with the Business Woman’s Network for 10 years. Wow! That time has flown by and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Read on to find out why I still network with the BWN after all these years.
One of the most important aspects for me is that the business women (and men) who regularly attend the BWN are incredibly supportive of each other. Whether that is helping with ideas, connecting with others, or simply just being a sounding board, the members are genuinely interested in each other’s businesses and want to help them thrive. Who wouldn’t want to meet people like that?
Mandie Holgate, who founded the BWN, also cannot do more to promote and support the BWN members. She has a passion for helping businesses to succeed and her energy and enthusiasm brings a real buzz to the meetings.
As I am constantly telling my children, we never stop learning and the BWN meetings have excellent guest speakers covering a variety of subjects aimed to support people in business. I cannot think of a meeting where I have not learned something and always feel it is time well spent.
The confidential Insider group on Facebook is also a great place to ask questions, find resources, learn and grow without any selling at other members.
Fun and Friendship
Over the years I have got to know many lovely people that I have met through the BWN and consider them to be friends as well as business associates. Although the meetings are for serious business, they also have a generous helping of fun; one of the most memorable for me being a visit from Mary Poppins (aka Nicola Goodchild) who had us all feeling like slightly naughty, giggly children. Laughter really is the best medicine, even for serious business owners!
Networking That Works
When I first started networking, I would dip in and out, attend a meeting here and there then get too busy to attend. That doesn’t work. I am now a Golden Ticket holder for the Colchester events and make sure I attend every month. It takes time to build relationships and trust, that can only be achieved by being consistent, being yourself and being reliable.
Golden Ticket holders can also write for the BWN blog and attend other BWN meetings for a minimal fee. With the meetings being held virtually at present location is not important and I am getting to meet even more fantastic business owners.
If you haven’t tried networking, or have tried in the past but didn’t get anything from it, I wholeheartedly recommend you give the BWN a go, I’m sure you won’t regret it.Sarah Travers, Independent Financial Adviser, Ajax Wealth Management
Our events are virtual and are the 1st Wed, 2nd Thurs, 3rd Fri and 4th Thurs of every month. We also have exclusive events for our mastermind group – The Insiders that you can watch again whenever you like from top international speakers and business experts.
And Sarah’s investment with us this year has been £190!
We do our best to put the finest quality experts in front of you our business women (and increasingly business men) because we want to ensure whatever the law or the trend you are bang up to date.
Here Robyn Banks from Adavista shares some essential information for every business owner around data protection legislation, networking and business cards.
I have recently been made aware that there’s still a lot of misunderstanding about the impact of the UK data protection legislation on businesses, particularly when business owners are networking.
At The BWN I know they strive to ensure that they act appropriately with the data they hold on behalf of their members and contacts. (I’m The Data Protection Specialist that Mandie Holgate – Founder of The Business Womans Network and her team use for their own compliance.) The success and building of the businesses of our “members” is fundamental to our ethics and every month I network with The BWN I do my best to ensure everyone is getting it right.
As a data protection implementation specialist I know how the law is supposed to work however I can also see how complicated and confusing it can appear for business women.
When Mandie and I spoke recently I decided to write this article to give some guidance to remind business owners of the protocols around networking and business cards. (These are the “rules” that I help The BWN, Mandie and her team follow.)
Networking is big business in today’s corporate world as we all strive to take our place in the workplace. For many small business owners (and even some larger corporates) networking and learning about other people’s businesses and how they can complement our own is a vital, or even the only, marketing tool we use.
To help a person remember us and what we do, we hand out business cards at networking events. A business card holds personal data as defined in UK data protection legislation, including the UK Abridged “GDPR” – but the concepts around the protocols of utilising this data have been around in previous legislation too –namely the Data Protection Act 1998. The new legislation of May 2018 did not change these protocols.
If I am given a business card at a networking event, then that is “consent” from the individual to contact them and either
a) seek more information on what they do.
b) market my services to them.
This I can do once without seeking further consent from them. If they do not wish to receive further information from me, then they should send a polite email asking me to desist from sending them “stuff”.
If I ignore this request and send more, they should ensure I have received their request to stop! If I have and still persist in sending them information, then they have the right to take this further with the supervisory authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
ICO are very unlikely to take any action, even investigate, if the person has not “unsubscribed” and ensure I have received the “unsubscribe”!
I was at a BWN event recently where the respect for data was taken even one step further – and for the record, it was not just because I was there!
One lady present at the event really did not feel comfortable being included in any of the photos taken by the event photographer – and so she wasn’t. No fuss, just noted and no follow up needed as no pictures of the lady concerned have been included in any of the “publicity” for the event. That’s respecting Data.
The key point here is to be professional and not use a misunderstanding of the law to “put down” others – especially competitors. However well meant it just causes aggro and can be avoided if everyone respects the protocols in the first place.
Let me sign off by saying that there are still a lot of business owners out there who think they have the premium knowledge on data protection impacts on business – only to show themselves up as non-professional in their approach. This then impacts more on their business than those they are trying to “harm” as it damages their credibility and reputation more than those they were trying to be clever about.
Data protection is not a new thing, business owners need to be interested in it, is. If in doubt ask an expert not someone that “heard a talk once.” I find that the companies (and I include Mandie’s here) that get it right easily are those that were already getting it right.
I know that The BWN does not add people to it’s data base and uses platforms like Mailchimp to ensure when they do get in touch they are doing it in an ethical, professional and legal way – something that the law now looks to enforce, I feel that the smart businesses already have a respectful approach and that makes my job easier!
I attend many BWN events and I’m happy to have a chat anytime. I will also be one of the experts on hand on the 20th of March at The BWN’s 11th birthday so feel free to pose questions on the day too.
We love it when Golden Ticket members* write for our website. It’s a great chance for us to see networking and business from women in businesses viewpoint.
Here Helen Clyde and Alexandra Stanley share why collaborating with other businesses doesn’t always mean you are obliged to buy each other’s product and why that’s good for business.
We met back in late 2019 at The BWN event in Colchester and immediately made a connection.
We met again in January and set a date in the diary to meet for lunch.
During our conversation we learnt about each other’s businesses and how our week had been, which then led to brainstorming ideas on how we could support each other.
“Alexandra mentioned that she was looking to set up social media workshops that gave business owners an overview of the basics to get them started for an affordable price. Social media is an area that I needed to up my game so I realised that with my Utility Warehouse team and local business owners that I knew, I could help make this happen. I offered my home as a venue to keep costs down and off I went inviting people to attend” Helen.
“Our meeting was successful. I had this idea for the workshops and together we turned it into a reality. Once Helen had sent the invitations, I set up a WhatsApp group for those people to communicate with. Helen had kindly offered a free venue with tea and coffee thrown in which I was grateful for as this is often a stumbling block when setting pricing. The turn-out was great, we had a room of seven business owners all looking to improve their Social Media skills and the buzz was electric.” Alexandra.
We both gained from this experience. Helen improved her Social Media knowledge and went away with an action plan and Alexandra had the opportunity to deliver something she had been looking to expand into within her business.
“On the day a couple of people were unable to attend so Helen offered for me to have her house as a venue again. She then wrote a recommendation on my Facebook business page which resulted in more of her connections wishing to join the next workshop”. Alexandra
When attending networking events, you don’t always have to feel obliged to buy from the people you connect with as there are lots of ways that you can still support each other. Having a 1:1 with someone can result in so much more.
If you would like to find out more about our collaboration, please feel free to get in contact with either of us.
Helen Clyde – Utility Warehouse – 07789 000209
Alexandra Stanley – Alexandra Stanley Social Media – 07769 805579
We love that Helen and Alexandra are seeing the deeper level of benefits of networking in their business. In our experience we often see what starts out as a 1 to 1 and then a little bit of partnership can quickly escalate into some great opportunities.
Getting to know other business owners is an important part of networking and you can always arrive early or leave late and sit and have lunch and get to know people at our events. We won’t disturb you.
Helen from Utility Warehouse is exhibiting at our 11th Birthday event on the 20th March.
With a Golden Ticket it is just £13.50 to exhibit and without it is £35 and that includes 1 ticket. To learn more click here
*Anyone that walks through the door is a member, with a golden ticket you get discounts on attending our events, all BWN offers and a chance to write for our blog free of charge. To book your Golden Ticket for 2020 speak to your coordinator or head here.
How can one person walk out of an event and think “That was awesome and so good for business!”
And another walk out and think “What a waste of 2 hours, that did nothing for my business!”
How is that possible?
Who is right?
The BWN has hosted thousands of events across the East of England (and are now in London and Warwickshire too and we never thought we would say this but thanks to Covid 19 we are now seeing business owners from often 7 counties and 3 countries attending our events – recently we had guests from Ireland, Dubai, America, Sri Lanka, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgshire, Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire, London, Warwickshire and Kent!) Our events for women in business around networking and business growth and are now in our 12th year and yet we still hear comments from both extremes. (Mostly we hasten to add exceptionally positive ones with women saying it’s the one thing in the month they will never miss.)
So what makes networking powerful and how can you ensure it wasn’t a waste of two hours?
No one bought anything from me!
If no one is buying from you it is not the fault of the networking organisation, it’s your fault. (Sorry to be blunt) We actually heard someone say “The people in this group don’t spend money” and the very next conversation our coordinator had that day was with a woman in business who told us that she realised that in a year and half she had made just over £50k of sales from our network alone. (She is not alone in results like that we have members making over £100k of sales every year with us! Someone was definitely spending money!)
So how could it be so different for these 2 business women in the same room of people?
A number of things impact on your networking success for sales;
So can a network be good for one and not another? We think there is enough space for all of the networks and that ensures every business owner can network in a style that suits them. We also think that some business women don’t appreciate the full value of networking to grow a successful business and alas as the saying goes “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” And for us, our careers have rocketed since we networked regularly at The BWN and yet we never miss the events we say we will attend. We know the true value of networking and how to maximise the benefits for you too. We are happy to have a chat about that anytime so you can get maximum benefit too.
If you are struggling we have the following additional learning to help your business;
Course – How to find your target audience and get them buying
Course – How to rocket your confidence
Course – Highly effective ways to rocket sales with no cost / low cost marketing strategies.
Course – Supercharge your 60 seconds.
Course – How to be a powerful successful public speaker – anywhere!
Course – Foundation blocks to a highly successful business.
Book – Your Daily Dose of Business Woman’s Confident And Success
Book – Fight the fear – how to beat your negative mindset and win in life.
Book – The BWN Networking Success Manual – the genius book to get the most out of networking.
Book – Taking Control of your mind – lifehacks to resilience, confidence and success.
This article was written by Mandie Holgate, Founder of The Business Womans Network, International speaker and author, her books are highly acclaimed by business leaders, leading authors, a good few celebrities and business owners around the world. Fight the fear (the book that looks at the top 12 fears that impact on success) and Taking Control Of Your Mind are just 2 of the must read books that make business and success easier. You can meet Mandie at the Colchester and Braintree events and she pops into as many events across our network as she can each month now delivering an hour free of coaching and mentoring for all of our guests. Mandie is happy to connect with all women in business so feel free to do this via her website – www.mandieholgate.co.uk
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.
What we love about our business women that attend our networking events is that they don’t just care about their own success they care about other business women’s success too.
Many of our members also have very busy personal lives and yet they find the time to raise money for charity.
We love that!
Jenny has jumped out of a plane, crawled across the Maldon Mud (with Pängel wings on!) and now she is wing walking!
Yes Wing Walking!
It’s even more important to us that we shout about Jenny, because;
How can you not find a fiver for Jenny!
If you can we would be very grateful and you can find out how Jenny gets on because Jenny attends lots of our Essex events. We are sure Jenny will share some exciting stories with us!
Are you doing your bit for a local charity? If so we can feature you in our newsletter, social media and on our Stella Women page too!
Here our Founder Mandie Holgate shares some top tips on the impact of what is going on in your head and how it can even damage sales and networking success;
If you feel good you do good. In a lousy mood? Feeling fat or ugly? Trust me it can massively impact on your results.
Sometimes we deal with the outside of our body to try and make ourselves feel good however if we don’t deal with the way we feel about ourselves on the inside then the results will fade and you won’t sustain the results.
To look great on the outside you have to feel great on the inside. Here’s a quick top tip guide to feeling great all the time;
What is your foundation for wanting to make this change?
Is it a realistic change that you wish to make?
What would you gain from it?
What feelings do you connect with the way you currently feel about this and how do you think this would change?
Answering these questions not only analyses your reasons for wanting to change, to establish if there is an underlining cause to your desire for change, but also when you know these answers you can ensure that you use methods to pull on the emotional strings that affect you to maintain momentum when working towards achieving your new goal.
If you are a member of our mastermind group you will know I ask a lot of questions. Questions help you understand what is really going on instead of what someone wants you to think is going on. That’s when change and success really happen.
2. Know the person you really are.
We all want to fit in and be liked, but when you understand the person you are it can help you appreciate your unique skills and the qualities that you possess. When you admire these in yourself you can truly appreciate the person you already are. It’s not vanity it’s a quick route to success. Shhh you don’t need to tell anyone!
3. We all have rough days, but it’s not the day’s fault, it’s just the mood that you are in that makes the day seem worse – so acknowledge that.
Know what really makes you happy (and not just a glass of wine or a bar of choccy!) Inside the larder cupboard, or somewhere else prominent, put pictures that make you smile, postcards to remind you of happy holidays, drawings the children did, anything that breaks your moods pattern for a split second. And if all else fails get those endorphins flowing and that can be done with more than just chocolate!
4. To feel fantastic on the inside we need to feel loved, appreciated and valued. Do you?
If not what can you do so that you do?
When we do not feel these things it can directly affect the way we feel about ourselves. So what do you need to do?
We often hear that no matter how busy, no matter how sick you won’t miss our events? Why?
Because we boost your confidence, make you feel loved, appreciate your time and help you remind yourself of why you rock. Never forget that your network is not just about gaining sales and new business it’s also about keeping you motivated, inspired, supported, focused and accountable.
As our Insiders will tell you they know they’ve a safe space to talk about anything and appreciate how much they are valued 24/7. It’s essential in business to know where you can get good quality support and advice.
5. What inspires you?
When you feel inspired you feel passionate and fulfilled. When this happens very little can affect our self esteem and our self confidence. So ask yourself this and get connected to what really matters to you. If you are struggling there are lots of articles on mindset, confidence and resilience over on my website – they are strategies that work – help yourself here.
We hope this quick read inspires you and supports a motivated getting results day. Need more support? Then get in touch, we are here to help you and the Insiders is our 24/7 mastermind group where magic happens!
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
If you are looking to grow your business, your confidence and your profit, we are so much more than just somewhere to network once a month. Here is how to get the most our networking with The BWN.
1.Help yourself to our social media. We actively encourage our members (and a member is someone who walks through the door once a month) to talk about what they are doing, creating, building, winning or even struggling with on our social media;
2. A Golden Ticket means you get to network at one venue for better than the early bird rate and you get all these discounts and benefits too;
3.How to make a Golden Ticket really sparkle. If you want even more out of your Golden Ticket you can purchase multiple events tickets and gain even more savings!
4. The Insiders is a confidential learning zone, research centre and advice mastermind group that has helped business owners;
5. Do you find yourself making notes of who you need to connect with on social media and who to email or call and a list of ideas thanks to the speaker then find you don’t get around to taking action and doing the things you learnt. You get back to the office and the business cards, notes and ideas get added to your long list of to do’s but don’t get actioned.
Annoying isn’t it?
The BWN Success Manual is a great way of putting your ideas, notes, your calendar, who you met, what you said you would do, and even create a strategy to ensure you do it, in one place. It includes;
6. Sponsoring the BWN website is a great way to get seen by our audiences all year round. One of our sponsors has already signed up to the end of 2020 so you can see this could be very useful to you and your business.
7. Our blog is packed with ideas and solutions and some really emotional, fantastic and inspiring stories from our members. You can read it all here https://www.thebusinesswomansnetwork.co.uk/bwn-blog/
8. You can sponsor a BWN event. We only allow 1 sponsor per event so its a great way to stand out. You get 1 ticket, 1 exhibitors stand, your business literature on every place setting and your business promoted on all of the marketing for that event on and off line.
You can access all of these offers (and more!) via our website, and just head to the offers heading to find the offer right for you.