How To Say No

April 20, 2016 in Money, Small Business

by Marcia MacLeod

I turned down two pieces of work this year, much to the horror of some of my friends. “You can’t turn down work!” they screamed. “The client will never come back to you!” “Don’t you need the money?” others asked. But the best response was from a friend who asked “How can you do that? You’re in business!” when she, bless her, is near exhaustion because she is terrified of telling clients she will be late, or has to say no to new work,  because her mother is extremely ill in another part of the country and she has no siblings to  help take her to hospital appointments, try to organise social services, and do the shopping. Read the rest of this entry →

Channel Your Inner Self – Or Someone Else’s!

April 6, 2016 in Marketing, Muswell Hill Meetings, Search Engine Optimisation, seo, Small Business Networking, Small Business PR, Websites

One of the hardest things  many small business owners face is promoting themselves and their business. They simply do not have sufficient self-confidence to go out there and tell the world (or even the local neighbourhood) how great they are, or why people should buy their product or service.

But Shay Allie, the speaker at Small Business Network’s February meeting, suggested a way in which everyone – small business owner or not – can get round this: pretend you’re someone else. It may seem strange, and you’d have to hear Shay explain it, but sometimes just coming at something from a different angle can give you enough of a different perspective to push even the most reticent into the limelight. Read the rest of this entry →

Plan Your Business

December 1, 2015 in Business Networking, Muswell Hill Meetings, Small Business, Small Business Advice

Whenever anyone launches a business, however small that business is, they need to develop a business plan. In fact, advised Rasheed Ogunlaru, author of the book Soul Trader and speaker at the last Small Business Network meeting on 21 September 2015 in Muswell Hill in north London, all small business owners should update their business plans on a regular basis, and certainly when something changes. “Just come back from holiday? Review your business,” he suggests.

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Marketing, Mentalism and Movember

November 24, 2014 in Business Networking, Marketing, Muswell Hill Meetings, Small Business Networking

‘Where are you on the marketing continuum?’ asked Karen Knott of Prime Time Business, whose talk on The Myth and Magic of Marketing informed and entertained networkers at this month’s Small Business Network meeting. Are you a ‘1’, hating the very idea of marketing,  a 10, feeling confident and enthusiastic or a 5, understanding the concept and making tentative efforts to market your small business, but not really feeling comfortable with it?

Karen took us through the process of how to change your thinking around marketing so that it becomes something you love doing, rather than something you avoid like the plague. It’s all about seeing marketing simply as a way of connecting with your ideal clients or customers – people who are looking for exactly the service you provide and will be so happy to have found it. If you don’ tell them about it, how can they find it in the first place?

Most small business owners at the SBN meeting, held on 17 November 2014 at Sable D’Or in Muswell Hill, fell somewhere in the middle – but hopefully, after Karen’s advice and very useful tips, they went away a lot more confident about how to market their products and services.

The regular business talk is only one really useful aspect of Small Business Network’s monthly meetings: meeting other small business owners, itself a form of marketing, can bring new customers and allow members to find the products and services they need, from accountancy to business coaching, alternative therapies to natural chocolates. Karen herself asked if anyone could suggest an entrepreneurial business woman that she can speak to for her monthly inspirational interview.

Four new participants joined the November meeting, including keynote speaker and entertainer Tom MacKay, who bills himself as a mentalist. No small business owner is likely to forget Tom’s amazing display of mental powers, in which he correctly guessed the number Karen was thinking about.

Other new networkers included Lee Dein, who has just launched Magic Link Handwriting Programme, a video tutorial teaching people of all ages how to physically write legible letters, school reports and so on; Heather Holden, whose Coco Business provides a personal assistant service for any business owner needing help with secretarial tasks, marketing, or utilising technology and social media; and Meb Vidic, The Career Blog, who offers business and personal coaching and careers advice.

Ben Chapman, a financial adviser, and Bella Beraki, whose FeelSoFab.com is an online gift shop for women, were second-time visitors to the Small Business Network meeting. Ben has just become an SBN member.

But regular attendees revealed new projects, too. Johanna Green has added ballroom dancing for fitness to her keep fit repertoire; Marcia MacLeod announced she has more time to help small business owners write their web and print blogs, leaflets and brochures, now that she has closed her magazine, Your Allotment; and Nathalie Roth, who runs Nurse Your Tree alternative therapy service, is running a course right after Christmas to help people to relax after the stress of the holidays;

If you want to try out some of Nathalie’s alternative therapies – or Peggy Guglielmino‘s hypnotherapy service – visit the Highgate Holistic Clinic‘s open day on 6 December, where taster sessions will be on offer.

So that’s the marketing and mental tutoring covered; where does Movember fit in? Well, commercial solicitor Philip Deja, who specialises in helping small businesses, sported a moustache for the first time as part of the Movember fund-raising project. He promises it will be gone by the next meeting; if it isn’t, he might need legal help himself as his wife has threatened to divorce him!

Don’t forget the next Small Business Network meeting, to be held on Monday, 8 December, will not have a talk but will offer small business owners a chance to showcase and sell their products. The first meeting of the new year, on 19 January, will include a talk on Creating Healthy Boundaries on the Yo-Yo Journey of An Entrepreneur, by Mark Leruste

8 Reasons To Go To Business Networking Meetings…..Aside from Getting More Customers

May 16, 2013 in Business Networking, Small Business, Small Business Networking

If you don’t network – whether on or off line – no-one gets to hear about your product or service, and of course no-one gets to buy from you.

So networking is as natural as breathing – we do it every time we tell someone what we do for a living.

Business networking events are a logical extension of this – they provide a focused way for lots of small business owners to communicate to each other what they do, and thereby get more customers.

This is of course very valuable in itself. However, it is easy to forget the other benefits of networking for small businesses:

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Small Business Network Muswell Hill Meeting Report February 2013

February 22, 2013 in Business Networking, Meetings, Muswell Hill Meetings, Small Business, Small Business Networking

Nine new networkers joined the February meeting of the Small Business Network at Sable D’Or in Muswell Hill, swelling the number to a very healthy 24. The eight ranged from alternative medicine practitioners and business coaching and marketing professionals to de-clutterers and chocoholics.

Vikki Parker, who offers reflexology, Reiki healing and Indian head massage under the name Gaialuna, plans to set up groups for parents and children, aged 4-12. Bebe Jacobs’ Energize Your Business also provides Reiki, Indian head massage and other therapies, but she combines that with things like parenting coaching for those with pre-school and primary school aged youngsters and business services such as Talent Dynamics, a profiling of employees’ strengths and weaknesses.

Chris Clayton also offers small business coaching, but with a difference: her company, achieve with an LP Ltd, specialises in helping musicians. Zoey Cooper works for Polkadot Global, which creates marketing material and offers translation services, while Sarah Pollinger, a financial adviser for small businesses and individuals, likes to ‘keep it simple’ so small business owners aren’t confused by economics. Read the rest of this entry →

Small Business Network West Hampstead Meeting Report March 2012

March 8, 2012 in g+, Google+, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, seo, Uncategorized, West Hampstead Meetings

There were eight of us at this meeting, so it was a small, but very enjoyable and productive, event.

Some potentially very productive connections were made, for instance between SBN member Eileen MacCallum, a copywriter who specialises in writing/editing web content (amongst other things) and Ciaran Ryan who does Website MOTs for £99.00.

Also present were Melanie Oakley who provides virtual support, Katharine Locke – herbalist and iridologist, accountant Michael Gainey, Marcia MacLeod, copywriter and owner/creator of Your Allotment magazine, Paul Melnick, a representative from Barclays Bank, and yours truly, Liz Bygrave, my other hat (aside from SBN) being raw chocolate.

Our themed discussion, How To Drive More Traffic To Your Website, was really lively and interesting although naturally, we were barely able to scratch the surface of this vast subject in just 30 minutes! It was great to have Ciaran there as SEO is his area of expertise and he was able to give us some fab tips on the topics we did manage to cover: whether it’s still worth doing ‘reciprocal links’; google (how could one have a discussion about seo and not talk about google?!); and how blogging can help to drive more traffic to your site, including how to set up a blog site that will actually help the seo of your website (more on this at the April Muswell Hill meeting – see below).

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KICKSTART Your Autumn with SBN!

September 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

So you’re back from your summer break and…hopefully…raring to go!

September and October are traditionally a time of new beginnings, whether it’s a completely new business, a new project within your existing business, or simply taking some time to re-assess your direction.

The work you do now on your business will have a big affect on the next few months. And as you are most probably feeling quite energised after the summer (do I hear a few ‘I wishes’?!) then now is a good time to really make some progress whilst you have the impetus.

With this in mind SBN has a number of offerings to make your autumn one to remember:

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