Small Business Network Muswell Hill Meeting Report March 2012

March 21, 2012 in Business Networking, Meetings, Muswell Hill Meetings, Presentation Skills, Small Business Networking by lizbygrave

As usual, a wonderful meeting! We had well over 30 attendees at this event, including 11 ‘newbies’.

More than one person came up to me and commented on what a varied and friendly group of people it was, and how much they were enjoying it. And in SBN’s fifth birthday month (can you believe it?) it was SO great to hear people say that they’d heard so many positive things about us over the years, and were very pleased they’d finally managed to make it along.

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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 by lizbygrave

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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Report on the Muswell Hill February 2012 Meeting

February 27, 2012 in LinkedIn, Meetings, Muswell Hill Meetings, Social Media by lizbygrave

This was certainly a buzzing meeting – with 26 attendees, we ran out of chairs! Becky Beach of The Best of News and Events kindly sat on a spare table, which at least gave her a good view of the rest of the room…

We had a really wide-ranging mix of attendees, from a pet/homecare service to garden design, a singing group leader to marketing consultancy, coaching to financial advice, creative writing workshops to computer support. Also present were staunch long term members: personal trainer and Alternative Boot Camp organiser Johanna Green, financial advisor Joe Procopio, aloe vera distributer Sarah Montgomery, reflexologist Louise Exeter, web designer and social media expert Lucy Hall and photographer Amanda Eatwell.


A warm welcome to newly joined members Amber White, Becky Beach and Franziska Birke. Amber is a reflexologist and massage practitioner specialising in  Baby Massage and Maternity Reflexology; Becky is editor of six North London magazines including The Muswell Flyer, THe Highgate Handbook and The N21 Directory; Franziska is a coach specialising in small businesses.

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Think You Don’t Need Employer’s Liability Insurance? Think Again!

February 24, 2012 in Business Insurance, Small Business, Small Business Advice by lizbygrave

Guest Blog by PolicyBee

Employers’ liability insurance is the type of insurance that concerns your staff.

We can’t compare it to anything else (because there’s nothing else like it), so we’ll just stick to explaining what it’s all about instead. It’s worth us taking a look because it’s the only business insurance that’s required by law.


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Why should YOU be on google+?

February 8, 2012 in g+, Google+, Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, seo, Social Media, Websites by lizbygrave

There’s a short answer to this: the google search engines LOVE websites that display the g+ badge.

This means that Google will prioritise websites that have the g+ badge over websites that don’t, i.e. they will be ranked higher in search results (and don’t we all want that!). And even when more businesses have clocked on to this, similar websites that display the g+ badge will be rotated so that they all have a fair go at the top.

Why is Google doing this? Well, apart from their desire to take over the world, they do seem to genuinely want the little guys who can’t afford to pay megabucks for specialist search engine optimisation to get a decent stab at high rankings when their websites deserve it – i.e. when they have quality frequently updated content that is genuinely there to serve the customer. They see the g+ pages as a way to do this…as well as to take over the world.


To display the g+ badge you first need to have a g+ business page – very similar to a Facebook Fan Page.

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Report on the West Hampstead December 2011 Meeting

December 7, 2011 in Small Business, West Hampstead Meetings by lizbygrave

Well initially it looked like it was just going to be myself and copywriter Eileen MacCallum in an extremely small networking meeting! But luckily we had lots of late arrivals so there were ten of us in the end.

Still a small meeting of course, but as tends to be the way with these smaller meetings, they turn out to be just as much fun, and just as productive as the larger events, just in a different way.

So we had what turned out to be a wonderful group exchange, with a particular focus on a couple of the business people there. One was Marcus Greve, a dynamic Dutchman who speaks six languages and has recently set up a fruit and vegetable stall in Brentford, as well as a delivery service for homes and restaurants, with a focus on quality and freshness combined with lower than supermarket prices. Marcus would like to set up a similar stall in West Hampstead so the group was looking at the viability of that (can you believe – one year is the average time it takes to get a license for a market stall?).

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Report on the West Hampstead November 2011 Meeting

November 2, 2011 in Facebook, Meetings, Online Marketing, West Hampstead Meetings by lizbygrave

We had 12 attendees, 4 new visitors, and a very useful and interesting masterclass with the delightful Alicia Cowan, who made marketing your business with Facebook sound like a cinch!

It was obvious that quite a few people had made a special effort to come to this meeting because they are struggling with Facebook, or even with the idea of setting up a business Facebook page. Alicia deconstructed the mystery that is Facebook, and succintly described the exact set up process, also giving some tips on what to call your page: ‘Your Name – Your Business Description’ is a good combination.

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Report on the 17 October Muswell Hill Meeting

October 25, 2011 in Business Support CIrcles, Marketing, Meetings, Muswell Hill Meetings, Small Business Advice by lizbygrave

About 18 people pitched up on this month, including Nichola Charalambou of Creative Writes, Sarah Montgomery of Forever Living, nutritional therapist/kinesiologist Ella Owen, Rebekah Hillman of Hillman Legal Partnerships David Roth of North London IT Support and Louise Exeter of Reflexology Plus.We also had Elena Logara-Panteli of Finchley language school Lexis London (where I currently do a fabulous French class!).

The first timers included artist Gillian Beagley, marketing and website expert Anita Brookes, and natural toiletries maker Jacalyn. Jacalyn’s products were gorgeous, I was toying with the idea of buying the lemongrass scented handcream but Debby beat me to it! Watch out for Jacalyn outside the Crouch End Budgens where she regularly has a stall. Also present was Norman Bailey who has recently opened an art gallery in Avenue Mews just off Muswell Hill Broadway and has an exhibition starting up soon in Sable D’Or (our meeting venue) itself.

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Tamsin Fox-Davies – Marketing Mentor Extraordinaire!

October 13, 2011 in Finsbury Park Meetings, Marketing, Meetings, Online Marketing by lizbygrave

I suddenly felt inspired to write an impromptu blog about  Marketing Mentor Tamsin Fox Davies in order to sing her praises.


Well, we spoke earlier today about her talk at our evening Christmas bash on 30 November, and our conversation really brought home to me how brilliant at marketing she actually is.

All Tamsin did was make a couple of off-the-cuff marketing suggestions for SBN that hadn’t occurred to me before, but nevertheless made perfect sense once she’d shared them.

And it also goes to show how generous she is!

Tamsin has various levels of help on offer, from freebies to your very own bespoke marketing. For instance, why not try her very affordable ‘Your Marketing Strategy Made Easy’ workshops for just £35.00? And if you like her Facebook page you get exclusive free content. Plus her weekly newsletters ALWAYS contain a really useful marketing tip.

And of course, don’t forget to come to the SBN Xmas event on Wednesday 30 November. We haven’t finalised the content yet, but it’s sure to be good. Those of you who attended the two talks on Email Marketing and Social Media that Tamsin gave for SBN earlier this year will be able to attest to that I know.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

More about…SBN Christmas Meeting in Finsbury Park 30 November 2011

Become A Key Person of Influence By Finding Your Microniche

October 11, 2011 in Small Business, Small Business Advice by lizbygrave

by Liz Bygrave

Last Saturday (8.10.11) I went to the Key Person Of Influence event in central London, run by Daniel Priestley of Triumphant Events.

The central message of these events, which take place every 6 months, is that you are may find that you are forever struggling in your business unless you follow a particular set steps that will turn you into someone regarded as a key expert in your field. This in turn will attract income and opportunities that only go to – you guessed it – key people of influence.

One of the first things you need to do according to this method is to find not only your niche, but your microniche – a niche within a niche. This will enable people to quickly figure out what you do and pass the right opportunities to you. For example I met a woman at the event who is an image consultant who specialises in helping people who have lost weight through following a diet and/or exercise regime to find the right clothes for their new look. I also met someone who is not just a food photographer, but a food photographer who ONLY works for the big supermarkets like Waitrose and Sainsburys.

Other examples of microniches might be an accountant whose niche might be small business owners, but whose microniche might be non-retail businesses with no shop front; a nutritional therapist who specialises in one day detox retreats; socks with motivational quotes on them; a carpenter/joiner who specialises in building cupboards etc. Just mentioning your microniche immediately establishes you in people’s minds as an expert in this particular field. You can then take the further steps necessary to build your influence in your chosen microniche.

An interesting idea eh? What would be your chosen microniche?

For more info, visit