We recently met Michael Adams from Mikko games. Here Michael shares some top reasons why we all need board games in our lives. We may be called The Business Womans Network, however many of our members are business men too. We would love to welcome you to our mastermind group events too. Thank you for sharing Michael. To read the full story head to Mikko Games website here
The first benefit of playing board games that most people probably think of is that they’re fun. They are a great way to pass the time and enjoy spending time with your friends and family.
A side effect of this fun is laughter. Laughing has been proven to trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. Endorphins have the power to improve conscious and unconscious mind functions, leaving a person feeling cheerful, compassionate and ultimately content.
Action Tip – Don’t underestimate the power of laughing and having fun with your friends. Choose a game that encourages you to be silly and laugh, like Blockbuster or Scrawl. Anything that gets you to break out of your shell and just be in the moment, having fun. Remember, when it comes to having better mental health, time spent having fun is never time wasted.
According to an online survey of over 5000 people by RealNetworks Inc., a casual games developer, found that 64% of respondents said they play games with the primary intention to induce relaxation, and 53% play specifically to reduce stress.
Finding the time in your day to relax and enjoy yourself, such as by playing a board game, has a major impact on both your mental and physical health. Feeling stressed doesn’t just feel bad in the moment. If it isn’t properly managed, your stress can have serious implications on your overall health and life expectancy.
Playing board games can provide you with a much-needed release of energy after a stressful day of work. They help you to unwind, relax, and not let your mind be consumed by whatever negative things are going on in your life that may be leading to stress. Instead, you can have fun and escape into the world of a board game. There’s no need to worry about the trivialities of life for a few hours. Or perhaps the structure of a clear set of rules is a safe barrier against the chaotic world outside.
Apart from the distraction that playing board games can provide, a 2017 study on stress management found that playing certain board games can help train your body’s fight-or-flight response (the body’s natural response to stress). This means that by playing board games, you’re giving yourself healthy opportunities to practice facing stressful situations to develop your coping skills for when you feel stress in the real world.
Action Tip – If you find yourself stressed and unsure of how to handle it, try getting some friends together to play some games. It will help you relax and enjoy yourself and will take your mind off of whatever else is going on in your life and make you happy – even if only temporarily.
When you suffer from mental health issues like anxiety and depression, it can be extremely difficult to go out and socialise with others. Consequently, people who suffer from mental health problems tend to report increased loneliness, which is a contributing factor to worsening mental health. However, board games solve a lot of these problems as they offer a structured way to meet others and provide a social world in themselves.
Playing board games allows you to socialise with a group of people without having to worry about coming up with things to talk about. For people who have mental health problems such as social anxiety, playing games can be a great chance to work through their issues and socialise with others without the presence of any additional social pressures. Playing games also fosters positive relationships and can help fight off feelings of isolation by giving one a sense of community.
While you may not be an overly social person, and believe that you’re completely fine spending time by yourself, studies have shown that socializing with other people and experiencing more human connection is the most effective way to lead a happy and fulfilling life.
Action Tip – If you’re feeling lonely or isolated, reach out to a few friends and try to create a group you can regularly play board games with. Or, if you still live at home with your parents, start to play games with them so you begin to remember what it’s like to interact with other people.
When you suffer from mental health issues like depression it can feel like you have no energy at all. Sometimes even getting out of bed feels impossible. This is understandable and not anything to be ashamed about. When you finally feel ready to break the cycle of doing nothing you may wonder where to turn to.
Real-life chores or work might still be too much for you but a board game can be a great place to start. It’s an activity that’s designed to be fun, and while you’re playing games you will naturally start to gain more and more energy. If you really focus and put your heart into it, you’ll find that being involved in something interactive gives you the boost you’ve needed.
Action Tip – Consider board games as the first step on your road to better mental health. When you feel low and don’t feel like doing anything, try playing a board game to give you the boost of energy you need to start feeling better again.
When you suffer from mental health problems like depression, you can lose confidence in yourself. You can struggle to believe in your abilities and feel useless. Board games can help more than you realise. Not only will board games make socialising easier, but they also help you to become more self-assured.
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We love your good news so when we heard that Isobel Chaplin who set up her business 18 months ago had won her first award on top of having a record breaking profits year we were over the moon to share her article about her growing business and her first award.
Winning awards is a great way to understand your business, how it is percieved and get some free press to celebrate your business and stand you a part from your competitors. Don’t just put your award on your social media and hope it will bring in customers, it won’t!
Isobel works with our Founder Mandie Holgate as her coach and here Isobel shares how it feels to win that first award for her new business;
“My coach reminded me that I should be shouting from the rooftops about my SME News UK Enterprise Award. It’s not something I feel comfortable doing so Mandie Holgate sat and interviewed me because we really should celebrate our wins, shouldn’t we?
As small business owners we work so hard and I’m not sure enough of us take time to celebrate, so thanks to Mandie, here I will share my win. Let me know what you think.
Q: What made you enter the awards?The entry came as a complete surprise. I received an email from SME News to inform me that IJC Finance had been nominated as the Best Emerging SME Accountancy Practice for Essex AND for a Distinction Award for Customer Service Excellence, and I was shocked to be honest. In a good way, of course! I had seen the awards advertised but hadn’t dreamt of entering because of the business being quite young and I wasn’t sure we’d been seen to have enough experience. I think it’s great they have awards for all types of businesses, no matter whether in their infancy or if well established.
Q: How did you feel when you realised you were a finalist?I was told we’d been shortlisted but didn’t expect any more to come of it. This was a typical “Isobel” thought process at the time – I’m quite humble and didn’t think any more of it!
Q: In true Oscars or Miss World style “What does winning mean to you?”It’s given me a real boost in confidence. I think all business owners have moments where they think “can I really do this?”, no matter how long they’ve been in the game, and receiving the nomination and then the award has cemented my self-belief. It’s given me the push to enter more awards of my own volition. You have to be in it to win it so they say, and if anything it’s given me an opportunity to explore the business’ strengths and weaknesses in more depth.
Q: How do you feel this reflects on your business ambitions?My mission has always been to offer a personable and reliable service to small businesses so they feel valued and not just a number (that’s almost a tagline now). Being presented with an award as the Best Emerging SME Accountancy Practice of our region is a fantastic achievement for us, given that we had only been properly up and running for 18 months when the award came through. Also triumphing with a Distinction Award for Client Service Excellence shows me that we are surpassing the standards we set for customer care, which is one of our focuses for continual improvement, and the award helps us to stand out compared to our competitors.
Q: What do you feel it does for your clients?I like to think that our clients are cheering with us about this award. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback and congratulations, and the recognition has helped showcase our standing in the local accounting community as well. Showing potential clients that we have what it takes to meet their needs, and that we were even nominated let alone won the award, is also great for advertising. I think it gives our clients the reassurance that they are in safe hands.
Q: What would you say to someone thinking of entering an award for their business? What should they consider?Do it! Since winning the award we have entered more national and local awards, not necessarily with the expectation of winning, but in just writing our entries it has provided moments when have sat and thought about all the wonderful things we do that we are proud of. That’s something that business owners’ don’t normally do; we are often very critical of ourselves, so doing an exercise on shouting about how great we are has so many positives!”
We are so excited for Isobel who is an active member of our networking events and our mastermind group. If you would like support to grow your business as an Insider and member you can also share your good news, insights, advice and ideas in our blog for free!
Isobel is such a valued member of our mastermind group the Insiders Isobel will be speaking for us at our July event. We look forward to welcoming you too.
So, you’re new to running your business. Or perhaps you’ve been doing it a while and you’re not happy with the way you’ve been dealing with (or perhaps, not dealing with, as the case may be) the business’ finances. I think it’s important to start off any business ventures well organised and having thought through how you’re going to keep track of everything you’re doing in a monetary sense. It sounds obvious, I know, but so many business owners are perhaps a little afraid to face the finances as it all seems a bit daunting. By making sure you have set yourself a few rules to get going, it doesn’t have to be too complicated or time consuming. Step 1 Make sure you have a separate business bank account set up for all your business transactions. For limited companies it’s a mandatory requirement, so it’s one of the first things you should do once you’ve got your business registered with Companies House. Some formation companies even tag on the bank account as part of the process. Although it’s not a deal-breaking requirement for sole traders, it’s something I’d strongly recommend. If thinking about your tax return is a daunting prospect, then having all your transactions on one place makes….
I often get asked by business owners whether they should trade as a sole trader or under a limited company. It’s a decision that’s sometimes simple to make, but there are pros and cons to be considered and you may find that after some thought one style suits your business better. I will explain more on the key differences below and offer some food for thought…
I’ve thought often about writing this article, and always shied away from being a bit controversial. (If you read my articles before either here or on www.mandieholgate.co.uk you will know I tend to be about empowering, sharing top tips to make life, business, success and confidence just that be easier.) However I felt that I’d seen this happening too many times not to say something.
And the reason I say something now is because I can’t believe something that I thought was a given, an obvious expected standard, just doesn’t always exist, and not only is it not particularly pleasant to work in that environment, if you are doing this, then you could be damaging your success too! (So this article does come back to what I normally write about after all!)
The more I get asked to speak at events the more I naturally end up attending a variety of events aimed at personal and professional development and business success. And whether I’m attending a local business show a national one or a special all day event it really shocks me how many people that just don’t turn up!
What’s the big deal you say? It’s a free event, there’s no cost, so?
The big deal is that I personally think it impacts on your professional brand and what people think of you.
Think about it. You posted all over social media you were attending. You said you will be there. And then something came up, right? No big deal. But although there’s 500 – 2000 people at that event and you figure no one will miss you right?
They will, because there in reception when we all arrive is your lanyard with your name and business on, and then at the end of the day its still there!
Sorry did something better come up than what you thought was going to be an awesome day?
A client maybe?
I have a real issue with this, because firstly it shows a high level of disrespect to the organisers. It may seem like just a lanyard to you, but it’s not for the organisers. An organiser of an event need to ensure for every name that turns up there is adequate parking, adequate refreshments, adequate seating, someone has to take the time to print off and make your lanyard. As the numbers for the event increases the organisers think “wowsers we’ve got xxxx people booked for this, we should slow down on marketing, we may have to turn people away, our maximum capacity for safety is xxxx” So you greatly impact on the organisers.
Secondly if you’ve posted you are attending and don’t show, what does that say to those that do turn up? Is it a bad event we shouldn’t be at? Have we wasted our time? It can create unease in the delegates (I do not jest! I’ve seen it across social media damaging the reputation of events for years to come!)
More worryingly those that do turn up know who hasn’t arrived and think “Do they ever turn up to what they say they will?” What does that say about you, your professionalism and your business?
Can someone be trusted if they can’t even turn up to what they say they are going to?
Can they not organise their time to be able to have a day out of the office?
If you don’t know if you will be too pressurised to attend then don’t fill in the form saying you are going. Leave your status as interested.
And if you worry about giving up a day to this event top tips here are our top tips to get the most out of your day and double the usages of your time;
Tell everyone you are attending. This is good for the organiser (you are promoting their event. This may seem like its non beneficial to you, however getting yourself known for all the right reasons is a good way to get remembered. And remember in business its about the quality of relationships you build). By telling everyone you are attending before you even arrive you are getting to digitally network with potential customers and opportunities. It’s a great way to create brand awareness with very little effort.
Organise meetings and 1 2 1’s at the event. We all appreciate the need to know other people, and build good relationships however ultimately sorry to get tough here, those meetings quite from day one don’t always deliver business, and if you are very busy it can be very enticing to not bother with them. If you have been building rapport and getting to know people online, a big event is a great opportunity to spare half an hour and extend that potential opportunity. (And word of caution here, that’s build opportunity for them too, not just you!)
Talk about the event in the run up to the event. This is a great way to get you and your business known before you even walk through the door. There will be companies that can’t make the day, however if you have talked about the event in your own marketing, at events you are attending and to your current customers then you are helping to raise awareness of the calibre of events you attend and how your business is operated. People like professionalism. And to feel that they can trust and know the businesses that they work with. This helps.
Power up your PR! When it comes to trade press and relevant publications to your business, talking about the events you are involved with can be a great way to get your business seen for the right reasons, and raise your name above your competitors. Just remember if your attendtion is to send in a press release saying “SL Products attended this expo” the journalist is likely to say “big deal!” on the other hand if you are saying that your company was awarded the only trade stand for your industry at a UK wide event with over 200 exhibitors for the third year running. That says something about your company doesn’t it?
Don’t create a headache afterwards. One of the reasons people don’t turn up to events I feel is because they worry about the follow up and additional work load that it can create afterwards. Firstly reframe the way you word this. Instead of saying “I’m going to need at least 4 hours to process that event to get maximum benefit from that day and justify the costs.” Reframe this to; “In one day I will be able to generate enough leads to grow our business as planned this quarter, which could substantially reduce my marketing requirements this month and thus further increase our sales this year.” Your mind will happily create belief in what you say. So if you assume it’s going to be hard work, increase your work load and be a hassle enducing process, get what you are going to get? On the day ensure you are getting potential time wasters (you know the types, I call them Likers. They like everything you do, but are never going to follow up, get involved, support you or buy from you. They just take everyone’s freebies and tell everyone about their business and clear off!) So get the time wasters to do the work, ie “That sounds interesting, if you email/phone me next week when I’m back in the office we can investigate that in more detail.” It’s a great way of finding out who is there to do business and who is there to restock their stationery cupboard.
If a conversation is going really well, don’t leave it to the following day (when let’s be honest you are still exhausted from the show!) to get in touch, get it sorted there and then. Have your diary it and show your intent. “That’s great, lets Skype and move this along”. If you want something don’t hang about. There are so many opportunities and so many people talking at an event, you can find that in 2 days time your conversation is getting lost in their minds to a bucket load of work. Don’t let that happen by sorting things on the day.
Create a structure to how you process events. By doing this, you can learn the science of what works for you. Trial different things, until you find a style that works for you. Time how long it takes to process it. This is a great way for you Procrastinators to see an end to the job. Procrastinators stop procrastinating when they can see it’s not as hard, scary or boring as they thought it was going to be. So think about the results you want and how fast you can process it!
I hope you have found this a useful addition to your learning over here on the Insiders and if you have comments and ideas to share, please do! You know the Insiders is awesome because of you, your views, ideas and support for each others success. Awesome isn’t it?