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 a coordinator?
I wanted to try my hand at being a BWN co-ordinator to develop and push my own personal skills further. Public speaking has always been something that has filled me with dread, even the 60 second pitches would scare me. Rather than running away from something that made me uncomfortable I knew that the only way I could get better was to face it head on and actively look to improve myself by taking on new challenges. I love being the person responsible for giving business women a great morning, filled with relevant information that is key to them not only in business but on a personal level too. Being able to connect women who could really help each other out is a great feeling.
Would you recommend it to business women and why?
Hosting the BWN events has really helped me to grow as a person and develop my skills. Being totally honest, there were moments when I wondered why on earth I had taken this on, and thought there were some things that a technophobe like me would never get the hang of! However there was, and continues to be as much support as I need in order to make a success of my events. I would recommend to any business women who is thinking about hosting a BWN networking group to stop thinking, and start doing! Obviously it is great for raising your own profile, but the biggest reward for me is bringing other ladies together who can really benefit from each other.
What inspired you to take on the role of a second venue? It’s not even in the same county!
On a personal level this year has been particularly challenging to me, but without a doubt I always feel 100% better when I have hosted a BWN meeting. The amazing women, the support, the knowledge, the learning, the inspiration, it all goes such a long way in keeping me motivated within myself. Seeing a group of like minded women connecting with each other is wonderful. When I heard that a new location was in need of a host I knew that it was the next step in my BWN journey, it excites me that I can now bring to BSE what I have to Tendring.
What do you want to do for Suffolk business women?
I want to spread the BWN love and build a really solid group of business women in the Bury St Edmunds area. Somewhere ladies can feel comfortable not pressured, empowered not judged, motivated and inspired to lead their best lives, personally and within their businesses.
How do you see your role?
Facilitating this, bringing people together and providing them with speakers who will add value to each and every woman who attends. I want people to leave my events feeling awesome, feeling that they have invested a few hours into themselves and their businesses that will continue to have lasting effects.
What is your best/happiest moment of hosting a BWN event?
My first ever event was in November 2018, and I was terrified! But I was also excited! 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.
Here our Founder Mandie Holgate shares a lesson that she has learnt about The BWN…
When people get in touch about attending the BWN they assume it’s going to be about increasing sales, confidence and success…. well our tagline is “As passionate about your success as you are.”
And we have cut a path for ourselves as an organisation that offers networking that gives you coordinators that go out of their way to learn more about you and your business so that they can help you get the results they want. (As a member we get you to answer 5 questions that we then post on our blog about you too)
And put you in front of some of the top speakers in the UK, that is why we know that our networking genuinely delivers. However more and more over the last few months I’ve become aware that the BWN does something just as powerful.
The BWN was founded by me in 2009 after my coaching practice saw me working predominantly with business women and regardless of what they brought to the table I realised we needed an environment where we could ask any question, say anything and get the results we wanted to succeed, overcoming fears and striving for success.
Creating an environment where you could confidently say anything and not feel stupid or self-conscious about it has had a knock on effect. I’ve heard story after story of life long friendships being created.
Of business women dashing across the UK to be there for one another, why? Because they met at the BWN many years ago, and that’s what you do for friends right?
Whether it’s a bereavement, , illness, a divorce, a poorly loved one or just a lousy week, these business women know that whether you need to be able to turn up on a doorstep and have a hug or just talk in a direct message on Facebook, BWN are there for each other.
This is a whole new level to our network and one I for one had not foreseen but I’m immensely proud to hear is happening.
If you don’t want to be a part of this, you would never know it was happening, because I’m so adamant there will never be any clickiness to our events. Why?
Because I was on the outside of that as a young girl! Hearing girls giggle and making the ridiculous assumption that they were laughing about me, regardless of what the laughing is about, it’s horrible right? We need to work together to achieve success, however it’s all too easy to slip back into that negative mindset when you hear laughter at an event and think “What are they laughing at?”
So if you are looking for events that could help you gain new business, increase your confidence (because as a coach I see this play such a critical role in people’s success) and increase your success AND gain some team members that will be there no matter what. I highly recommend the BWN.
I too have found myself on the receving end of love, kindness and caring. Now when you consider that also comes with buckets of sales and new skills, that’s definetly a win win situation and all with no membership!
(The BWN is growing fast with new locations launching in September in October. If you don’t see a venue in your area, have you considered getting paid to network? Learn more here, or get in touch.)
You see an effective marketing strategy WILL deliver leads, and if you are getting quality leads then guess what that leads to?
You guessed it, more customers.
But I do appreciate it can be tricky to factor in time to market your wares as well as to make and deliver them. So what can you do to make life easier?
Before you even think of aiming to make marketing easier to manage. Do you know what works?
If you don’t know this STOP right now. You see, you need to know what is working to deliver great leads and enquiries so that you can replicate that. So first of all concentrate on researching and analysing what works.
WHEN you know this information you can then use tools such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule your social media. Taking into account when your ideal clients have the time to read your offerings, comment, reply, etc.
Next look at the real world marketing that works for you. Picking up the phone, public speaking networking, meetings, etc. What have the biggest impact and concentrate on making them deliver MORE to you.
For instance networking can only be effective if you dedicate to it. Know what you want beforehand. Attend regularly to build relationships so that people want to do business with you and most importantly follow up after EVERY event.
This approach needs to be applied to all areas of marketing that you have and constantly consider this…
What are you doing so that people are automatically keeping up to date with you and your business?
How can other people support your marketing strategy?
Affiliations, discounts, special offers for loyalty etc.
A VA could be a great resource for you too. What areas of your marketing could you outsource to someone else to do?
At The BWN we have a number of great VA’s that attend our events that would happily produce your newsletter, look after your social media and pick up the phone for you. (You can check them out here – https://www.thebusinesswomansnetwork.co.uk/the-business-women-of-the-bwn/)
Unless you are a larger company with a lovely thing called a “marketing budget” this is going to come down to you and if you don’t find a way to create a marketing strategy that fits into your busy life you will always have dips and troughs of customers. Now wouldn’t it be nicer to just have that steady flow of new customers heading to your door?
(This blog came out of a number of conversations with business women this week and has sparked this blog so thank you for sharing. And it has also sparked the next BWN Business Clinic with me – to learn more.)
I suppose if someone had asked me a few months ago, what networking does for your business I would have listed the obvious;
I would have said it connects me with my ideal clients, it finds me solutions to my business, it basically ensures that I have what I need to succeed in business through a vast network of contacts and business associates.
I know that for some it still proves to be a struggle to make networking effective (ie, it helps you sustain and grow your business.) and the problem for many is they tackle networking in the wrong way.
It is about getting to know other people. For years sales and marketing gurus have been talking about getting to know, like and trust people and this is imperative in every format of your marketing strategy that truly ensure that this is being allowed to happen. So networking is not your opportunity to run around a room selling at people, it is about the basic essential knowledge that every sales person needs to know and that you are probably already aware of that people buy from people. I know it is often banded around, but stop for a moment and think about this statement.
The last time you were networking (and here you can now add social networking too) what was your approach? Was it how can I help you? Was it “here are some free connections/ideas/solutions for you and your business? Or was it top heavy with we are brilliant, and we do this and we do that?
From day one of a networking relationship it needs to be about the other person and their business needs. Think about this, if you are seriously doing this, then in every situation everyone would be doing their best for everyone else and thus everyone would get the results they were looking for. Great right?
But a word of caution.
It is an investment of your time and your money, as with any area of your marketing strategy so invest wisely. Test and measure the impact of your networking. Do you need to network in more than one place? With a different group of people? Or do you need to reconsider your networking style?
So you know what networking can do for your business success right, but here is a thought from someone who is considered a super connector. (Not my words I hasten to add)
I have always gone out of my way at every opportunity to answer the question for you “What can I do to help you?” in doing this I know that I am now considered a valuable person to network with and know, which means that when someone is ready to buy the first person they will think of is me. Remember you cannot dictate when someone is ready to buy however you can determine who they remember first when they are ready to buy. But just as importantly I recently learnt another power that networking has.
After experiencing a year of continual illness I’m glad I have a powerful marketing strategy because something that was not listed on my marketing production line (ask me about it sometime) was other people networking.
You see despite being unable to “get out there” my business didn’t suffer, new customers continued to contact me and business has steadily continued to grow. Because?
Because I have been a tireless campaigner for other people’s business success guess what happened when the chips were down and I needed help?
You guessed it.
I was inundated with offers of help and support.
So effective networking will not only provide you with contacts, potential customers and the answers to your business success. It also becomes a powerful ally to your marketing strategy.
So today ask yourself is your networking powering your success?
If not what do you need to do?
And if I can help feel free to give me a call – 07989935556 or see you at an Essex BWN event soon.
Best wishes and Happy Business
This week 1 business woman told me that I helped her get her biggest contract of 2011, another I got on ITN news and another told me where she was close to quitting she now has 3 employees – knowing me is dangerous!