Small Business Network Muswell Hill Meeting Report July 2012

July 17, 2012 in Meetings, Muswell Hill Meetings by lizbygrave

Ten new members made up of a third of the total of thirty small business owners who attended the July meeting of Small Business Network on Monday the 16th July.

Amongst the ‘newbies’ Chris Mitchell of Banter Marketing in Highgate helps small businesses with all marketing issues, whilst Alan Howard left a career as TV producer to set up a company that makes promotional videos for small businesses to put on their web site, Facebook and other social media sites. Ruby Visaria, an actress with a flair for design, is now offering small businesses a web design service which can incorporate those videos, or any marketing message.

Many small businesses are reluctant to take debit or credit card payments because of the costs involved and the effort required to set up the right systems, but Anna Lundblad and Marie Wistrand introduced iZettle, a unique new method of accepting card payments through an iPhone or iPad. iZettle only charge a very small amount per transaction, with no set up or monthly fees. iZettle is already well established in other countries and will soon be rolled out to Android. My feeling is that this will completely revolutionise payment transactions for small businesses, as up to now taking card payments has been prohibitively expensive.  So personally, I can’t wait!

 Colette Machado, a former journalist, offers another essential service for small business owners: financial education and planning.

And for those who want to go places they can only dream about, Lytta Hale will help them to find it, whether it is visiting the masked ball at Venice Carnival or having a VIP night at La Scala.

But despite the presence of so many first-time attendees, this Small Business Network meeting also brought news from established members. During the one-minute go-round, artist Isa Levy told fellow-small business owners how excited she is that some of her work is going to be at an exhibition at Stour Space Gallery on Fish Island in Hackney which overlooks the Olympic Park. As she said, one way to get a view of the proceedings without needing a ticket to the Games!

Idit Gold offered Small Business Network members a free session at one of her two singing groups, one in Highgate and the other in Islington, whilst Johanna Green, personal trainer and life coach, also tempted small business owners with a complimentary fitness session.

Chrissie Parker of Feng Shui for Life will carry out a quick overview of any member’s home or small business office for just £65, and members can also take advantage of a free initial consultation from Rebekah Hillman of Hillman Legal Partnerships, which specialises in wills and probate.

Small Business Network welcomed back Jennie Parke-Matheson, one of our ‘old-timers’ from a few years ago. Jennie’s White Wave massage and healing practice has branched out into education. Most courses are for professional therapists who want to re-visit a particular part of the body, she is also staging an introduction to massage workshop.

Paul Rumball’s design company, Niche Creative Services, has also taken a new direction: Get Cartooned provides cartoons and caricatures which can help small business owners attract new business through humour. Small Business Network members benefit from a 10% discount.

Networking is a great way to spread the word about everything to do with small businesses, and two attendees took the opportunity to tell everyone that they are seeking help with specific projects. Sarah Montgomery is looking for people who want to increase their income through the sale of Aloe Vera products. Women’s life coach Franziska Birke is seeking six new clients who will work with her for six months at a reduced rate, in order to help her obtain new training certification.

Business networking is a good way to get more business – but just as important, it is also a good way to find new suppliers. Marcia MacLeod and Rebekah Hillman both recommended accountant Michael Gainey whilst I told members how much I’d loved Nicky Grace’s Vintage Open House Weekend in Muswell Hill – it’s my second visit and this time I found the perfect present for my niece’s third birthday – a little dolls house made of cloth which she can not only play with but, as it has a handle, also carry around with her wherever she goes!


This month’s talk was given by Corrina Gordon-Barnes, a self-employment and marketing coach and author of the book Turn Your Passion to Profit: a step-by-step guide to getting your business off the ground.

The obvious answer to how to get paid more often is of course….to get more work! And most businesses think they should do that by doing more marketing.

However Corrina told us that there is an absolutely crucial step that comes before marketing, and one that most businesses miss out on, partly because they don’t know they should be doing it, and partly because they don’t know how to do it.

And that step? It’s called research, research and more research!

According to Corrina, you need to find out –
– who your ‘tribe’ is, the people you most connect with and understand because they are like you
– what their problems are
– where they would like to be in relation to the problem you would like to solve for them
– what they’ve tried before to solve this problem
– how much money they’ve spent on trying to solve this problem
– how much they would be willing to spend on it.

Corrina gave us various ways to conduct this research, and also pointed what else you gain by doing your research – she told us to “ask people what their problems are, and to use their answer as your marketing message.” People will feel deeply understood if their problem is reflected back to them in their own language, and will therefore be much more likely to use your service or product.

For example, an accountant might ask someone what is their main problem regarding accounts, and discover that it is keeping their books in order or finding an accountant that talks to them in plain English. The accountant’s marketing message could then be ‘Get help sorting your books out – in plain English.”

Judging by the people crowding around Corrina at the end, and looking at her book, her talk got a great reception. Many of us wished it could have gone on a lot longer – Corrina is an excellent speaker with a treasure trove of valuable information to pass on to small business owners who are passionate about what they do, but don’t always know how to go about translating this into hard cash and a viable business.

Find out more about Corrina at You Inspire Me, where you can sign up for her blog posts, or follow her on Twitter, or find out more about her book How To Turn Passion To Profit.