Small Business Network Muswell Hill Meeting Report June 2012

June 26, 2012 in Business Networking, Meetings, Muswell Hill Meetings, Small Business Advice, Small Business Networking, Small Business PR by lizbygrave

23 people attended this June Muswell Hill meeting, including new members Idit Gold, who runs singing groups in Highgate and Islington, and Karen Knott who offers coaching to women in midlife.

Practitioner Jo Tocher, who specialises in helping people with ME, arrived with a noticeable glow and aura of wellness – apparently this was due to having just had a Chi Reflexology session with Louise Exeter!

During the One Minute Go Round, cake maker Debby Sass asked for feedback on her new paper decorative stars, whilst feng shui expert Chrissie Parker gave her tip of the month: to keep electromagnetic devices like mobiles and clock radios to an absolute minimum in the bedroom: time and again she has seen their removal solve long term sleep problems.

New attendees included VA Jackie Goldenstein and graphic designer Paul Rumball. Business coach Rebecca Fischman offered some 2-for-1 sessions to those present at the meeting – as she said this was the best way to introduce her work to SBN members, so that they could find out if it could help them or anyone else they know.

In fact, there was a very generous collaborative vibe to this meeting: for instance, long time member David Roth, who runs a busy North London based computer support company, gave a recommendation for new attendee Anwar Puthil, who had recently carried out some work for him. SBN doesn’t have any limitations on how many people of one profession become members – whilst there’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition, we encourage collaboration and believe that members of the same profession each have their own style and can often learn from and help each other.

The 2pm Talk – 10 Ways To Get Free PR
Practically everyone stayed for the talk by PR expert Maud Davis. They were rewarded with some very down-to-earth easy to implement tips on how to make your existing customers your ambassadors and spread the word about what you do in a low-cost way.

Whilst PR expertise can easily cost £10,000 a year Maud emphasised that small business owners in fact need not spend anything, apart from time and effort.

Anything you can do to interact with your customers and potential customers, to get them to not only try your product or service, but tell all their friends about it, too, can work the same sort of miracles for micro businesses as an expensive, high profile consultancy can provide for bigger corporate clients.  “Business networking events in London, like the one we are all at today, is part of PR,” Maud emphasised. “Talking to people, getting them interested in you and your offering, is as good a way of creating your own PR as anything else.”

For example, coach Franziska Birke explained how Nicola Charalambou’s creative writing workshop gave her the confidence to produce her own written material. That one referral is worth a few hundred pounds’ worth of professional PR advice.

But, Maud added, as well as attending small business networking events like those run by SBN, there are ten more things small business owners can do to get their name out there. Small business owners could, for example, give invite-only previews of their next launch. Vicky Williams, who makes beautiful jewellery, could show customers her newest range; artist Isa Levy could promote her latest paintings one evening over a glass of wine. The trick is to make your existing customers feel special, and also encourage them to bring their friends along.

Another tip was to give out free samples at a corporate event, sporting match or a local organisations’s ‘do’. Maud explained that the way to make sure you weren’t wasting your time by giving out free samples at an event where people wouldn’t be interested in what you offer, was to ask your existing customers which events they attended and then contact the organisers of those events to see if they would like some free samples. Beauty products, like Sarah’s Aloe Vera range, or chocolate, always go down well.

And while for many, PR’s main purpose is to get your small business name in print, Maud emphasised that we don’t need a fancy PR firm to do it for us. Call your local paper, suggest an article on a topical, interesting subject, and before you know it, you may just see your name in lights. Becky Beach’s Muswell Flyer can be a good place to start: just keep it local, keep it short, and make sure it doesn’t read like an advert.

These were just three of the ten tips Maud gave during the talk, and the enthusiastic applause suggested that we had all learned at least one tip that we could put into practice straight away from this very inspiring but practical talk.

For more information on Maud Davis click here