Archive for the ‘Business Advice’ Category

Acorns into oak trees

July 9, 2010
When I was asked to write the Editor’s Note for the summer edition of our newsletter I put some serious thought into what I was going to write about. People often ask me for advice on networking, which is something we live and breathe here at Corkscrew Events.
We partner with companies who share our ethos and, evidently, our clients do too.  So we were surprised to find that only 3% of businesses use networking as a way of finding new business. If so many businesses are unconvinced and are surviving without networking… then why network at all?
I can think of hundreds of reasons (low cost, direct communication, relationship development… to name but a few) but instead of boring you with those, let me share an anecdote with you. When we first started we ran one of our famous Speed Networking events. We fell under the spell of an advertising agency who promised for a modest (debatable) fee to fill the event with desirables off the back of a sexy ad in one of their publications. After a lot of hype and promises I was left with one week to go until the event and 60 places to fill. I managed to get 56 businesses through the door, 2 of whom came from the magazine.
I learnt a valuable lesson that day: out of 56 people who attended that night I still keep in touch with 52 of them. Networking is about relationships and not only did I solve the problem in the short term, but I no longer felt isolated as a business owner and as my company approaches its fifth year they will be there to celebrate with me.
Ultimately networking is sociable – a nice way of getting new business. You can make the right impression and truly build a business relationship that could help you in the long term. After all, some small acorns turn into bloody big oak trees.
Mark (MD Corkcrew Events and The Business Growth Show Franchise)

Business coaching doesn’t work?!

July 8, 2010
Many business owners decide to invest in business coaching or additional training for their employees and find that nothing changes.  Results don’t improve, the staff remain disengaged with the goals of the business and the business owner has less cash in his bank account.  So why does this happen?
Simple.
The success formula being coached isn’t congruent with the success formula of the business owner or employee.
This means that even if the coaching and training is logical, tried, tested and proven to work, it doesn’t fit with the core values and beliefs of the business owner or his team.  Without this essential link, the business coaching or training simply won’t work.  The business owner or his team may initially pick up on the suggested actions of the coach or trainer and for a short period, activity and results will change.  But soon, habits will re-emerge and old behaviour will replace any new ideas.
So what can be done?
Before undertaking any form of help, advice, or coaching, the business owner must fully understand his core values and beliefs, his unique skills and talents, and his life purpose.  Ideally, he should know this for his team too.
Some consider this approach to be “soft”, “irrelevant”, or “life coaching” and not relevant to them.  The bad news for those that dismiss this part of their development is that without considering these factors, it is possible that success will continue to be elusive as all of our decisions, actions and progress is made on the basis of these factors.
Within each of us is a unique combination of values and beliefs that direct our behaviour and control our decision making. Logic is conscious whilst our core values and beliefs are largely subconscious.
So if you have invested in business coaching, training or consultancy and you are finding that progress remains behind the goals you have set for you and your business, ask yourself some simple questions:-
  • Who am I?
  • What do I believe in?
  • What am I good at?
  • What could others do better?
  • What is my purpose in life and is this aligned with the purpose of my business?
Work with your coach, trainer or mentor to uncover the real you and soon you will find that important decisions will become easy, that direction will become clear and results will improve.
Real Success is only possible when your business purpose is in line with your life purpose.  And if you don’t know what this is, this is the place to start. So why doesn’t business coaching work?  Well it does actually – very effectively.  But only when combined with a long, hard look at your core beliefs and values. Speak to Paul Harris from Real Success Ltd
(0121-711-1494) if you would like to discuss things further!

Business is the same the world over!

July 7, 2010

The Business Growth Show is currently held in the UK only, but we meet all sorts! It’s what makes networking such a rich experience and is great for meeting people you would not normally be put in front of. Our friends at Biskits do business all over the world and have some advice for those marketing to a varied cultures:

After delivering several marketing workshops recently for SME UK & European businesses, the old adage “business is the same the world over” gained extra significance. Culture and currencies might change,  but most businesses share the same common issues. So, how can we turn these to our benefit? There are lots of points to consider, but I like to focus on the 4 main ones.
Know your differences.
  • What makes you different from the competition?
  • Don’t just ask management, ask the team that delivers the difference day in day out.
  • What makes you believe that your customers share the same view?
  • Are these differences delivered throughout all of your customer points of contact  – from phone calls to delivery?
  • If you don’t know, get feedback.
Communicate them well.
  • Every part of your marketing communications strategy needs to work hard for you. However, I guarantee that some parts will be working harder than others.
  • How well do your current channels to market communicate your brand values ?
  • If you marked all of your marketing communications against your brand values, how would you score out of 10?
  • Which are your weakest areas of communication?
Communicate often.
  • Never before in history have there been so many channels to market.
  • Online and offline, you can segment and target like never before.
  • So… do you ?
  • Do you have a formal strategy to communicate with existing and potential customers?
  • Do you engage with your customers and stake holders at different levels?
  • Do your existing channels to market really  address all of your target groups?
Measure.
  • What measures do you have in place for each part of your marketing communications plan?
  • How do these compare with industry averages?
  • Do you get a sufficient return on your investment?
  • Are there any alternative channels that you can use, at a lower cost which will provide more measureable results?
  • Whether you are in profit, making a loss…or just starting out. There will be some aspect of your marketing communications which could be improved, and give you an improved return.
Realising this is half the battle, changing it is the other half. Do both, and you will be in the minority of companies that perform exceptionally well.
Thanks to Edward Ryder, Director of Biskit Marketing  (www.biskit.co.uk) for this great advice.

Video Tips from our friends at Vizable

July 6, 2010
Most businesses understand that from a marketing point of view a website is a basic requirement these days. But now that everyone’s got a website it can be hard to make yours standout. That’s where video comes in. Your 53 times more likely to have a front-page Google result if your website contains a video. The simple inclusion of tags on your video can ensure that you rank even higher. So what’s happening here?
You might find it hard to believe, but YouTube was actually only founded in February 2005. At last count, more than 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute! Video consumption is growing rapidly. YouTube is now the second largest search engine behind Google its parent company. People are actively searching for information in the form of video and Google are enthusiastically responding to this demand. In time, it’s a good bet to say that the majority of businesses will have a video to promote themselves. But just as we’ve seen with websites, it will become less about whether you have one or not and more about the effectiveness of the marketing tool itself.
So what makes a good video for your business?
People who are searching online are generally seeking information. This means that your video needs to be informative, authentic, engaging, and above all real. If your video is too glossy the viewer might not believe the information presented to them. 78% of people believe peer-to-peer reviews and messages, but only 14% believe advertising. So ensure that you have a customer testimonial to sing your praises. Make your video feel personal. Don’t use actors, gimmicks or flashy graphics. Speak candidly to your customers about your business; it’s you’re business, so you can speak passionately and knowledgably in your own words. If you do, people watching will recognise that sincerity and understand the potential of your offering. Speak to Richard Guy on 0118 941 8926 or visit http://www.vizable.com for more information.

Green Water?

July 6, 2010

Our Speed Networking sponsors for The Business Growth Show Birmingham, Tycoonita,  offer a good thing, one we have installed and fallen in love with. Here’s an article they provided for our Summer Newsletter:

In 2009 the UK Water Cooler Industry witnessed a decline in the bottled market, whilst the mains-fed plumbed in sector continued to be on the rise. Businesses in the UK are doing their bit for the environment by using mains-fed water coolers, not only is this the green environmentally friendly option but logistically its healthier and far more cost effective than bottled gallon systems, it eliminates carbon emissions and reduces global warming.
Companies in the UK  often ask how can mains-fed pou (point of use) systems guarantee clean, purified drinking water?  The response is very simple, mains-fed pou (point of use) machines have built in filtration systems, through the filtration system the blocked carbon filter completely eliminates all micro-organsims, waterborne bacteria and even the smallest traces of contaminants to ensure that the water never tastes bitter or musty, through a comprehensive service regime these filters should be changed regularly by experienced Engineers. Whilst bottled water on the other hand can become stale and stagnated esepcially if it’s been left in a storage cupboard or a warehouse for lengthy periods of time prior to being lifted onto a dispensing unit.
Ultimately mains-fed water coolers have proven to be saving businesses hundreds of pounds a year. If your company is interested in speaking with Tycoonita UK get in touch on 01926 659000 or look at their website,  http://www.tycoonita.co.uk/2-minute-video.

Getting the most from The Business Growth Show

May 5, 2010
Many small businesses heavily rely on networking as a source of lead generation, but few receive any training and rely on confidence and natural charisma to get results.
   
On the eve of The Business Growth Show Central London we are making final preparations to host a great event. The event is geared up to allow our delegates and exhibitors to have the best networking experience possible, but there are certain steps that people should take to get the most out of the business opportunities that are in front of them.
  
Here are a few tips we have collected over the years that may help get the most of the event tomorrow:
  
1. Be open to offers: many forget that networking is a two-way process. It is networking suicide to go to an event with a short term sales goal and not look at the return to be had from building long term relationships. Everyone remembers the ‘compulsive business card distributor’, and not for the right reasons. Take interest in your peers’ offers: it may be of interest to you or to someone else you know.
  
2. Remember the power of referrals: A network is not only who you know, but also who you know, know. If you make a good impression and build a relationship, you gain a lifetime of potential leads instead of a one-off sale.
  
3. Make new contacts: You haven’t left the office to catch up with old friends, but because you saw the potential in meeting new businesses. It is easy to fall into the trap of staying within your comfort zone and catching up with old acquaintances for hours, but there is little return on the investment in time you committed to attending the event. Although it is good to rekindle old relationships, use the event as a way of setting up a meeting or scheduling a call, then move on to meet some new contacts you otherwise would not have the opportunity to be in front of.
  
4. Follow up: networking is a sociable way of getting new leads and can be very enjoyable – but it is a waste of time if you don’t chase up the leads. If someone has given you their business card they are effectively giving you the opportunity to give them a call. So do give them a call.
  
I know that this will be preaching to the choir for many businesses, but I also think it is a healthy reminder for some and a good starting point for others. We will be sharing many more tips and pieces of advice, not just from our own experiences but also for our partners. Stay tuned for more!