Investing in business relationships….or eating breakfast?

Business Networking in High Wycombe over Breakfast

Why would you find yourself presenting to an interested audience straight after a very satisfying fry up? Well it might be that you have joined Chiltern Business Connections, a fine group of people who like to network and, help each other’s clients and customers…..whilst indulging themselves in a hearty breakfast every Tuesday morning at Wycombe Heights Golf Club, High Wycombe.

Having joined this year, my colleague Vanessa and I found ourselves in the spotlight last Tuesday presenting the business we represent – Financial Management, a financial advice practice of 25 years standing and based in Penn. Unbelievably people paid attention, asked questions and occasionally smiled. The shouts of “get off” were barely audible and Vanessa and I walked away thinking what a lovely bunch they are.

Maybe more importantly, as always it showed that there is real value in helping others understand what you do and the essential fundamental of everything….. why you do it? It’s the latter that demonstrates the sincerity of your motives, helps people relate to why you are talking to them (so early in the morning)…. and ultimately builds the trust individuals need to refer one of their customers onto you. The old adage of needing to “know, like and trust” a person before you can confidentially refer them is still true; afterall you put your own reputation on the line when you recommend someone, so you need to be confident they will provide a good service or product as promised. That’s precisely why business networking works so well.

The level of sincerity might of made the breakfast a touch difficult to digest in other circumstances, but thanks to the warm and welcoming platform provided at Chiltern Business Connections we felt comfortable sharing our story and excited to discover that the audience were happy to listen and interested in hearing more. Networking over breakfast……yes, for any business looking to grow, definitely the way to go!

Eight great reasons NOT to make a will

People will often put off making a will. With just a hint of irony here are 8 reasons for them to continue not to do anything

  1. You like the idea of intestacy

You’re perfectly happy to leave someone else to decide who will benefit on your death. You like the inflexibility of the intestacy rules. If you’re unmarried your partner can’t benefit under these rules, but you’re sure they’ll be fine. Hopefully the cousin or other distant relative who ends up benefitting will help them out

 

  1. You don’t want to appoint executors

You don’t need to appoint people you trust to make sure that your estate is properly distributed after you’ve gone. You’re happy to leave it to someone else to step up and apply – no matter their suitability for the role.

 

  1. You don’t mind who will care for your children

You’re reasonably confident that someone will take care of your  minor children after you’re gone. Failing that you’re certain that if the courts need to appoint someone it’ll be exactly the person you’d have chosen. They may not be raised the way you want….but never mind.

 

  1. There’s no need to provide for anyone in particular

It doesn’t matter who gets your great-great-grandmother’s wedding ring which has been passed down through the family for generations. You’re sure that someone will look after this.

You’re hopeful that someone will make sure your other half is looked after. If you’re not married you’re sure that your partner won’t mind the stress and cost of going to court to claim for any provision from your estate.

 

  1. You’re not bothered about your nearest and dearest paying more tax than might be necessary

The intestacy rules might not be the most tax efficient way of passing on your estate but you don’t mind that there’s a larger tax bill to pay – after all – the politicians will spend it wisely enough

 

  1. Trust? Trust who?

You can’t see any point in using trusts in your will to protect any of your assets after you’ve gone. You’re happy just to leave your estate to whosoever the intestacy rules say is entitled and so be it if they’re bankrupt – or divorcing – or just intend to gamble it away. With any luck the people you care for the most will get looked after by someone……won’t they?

 

  1. You’ve supported charities enough

If you’ve been a regular supporter of any charity – who cares that they’ll receive nothing from your estate after you’ve gone?

 

  1. You don’t mind how your funeral is handled.

You can let someone work out what you would have wanted and if there’s any disagreement amongst the family let them argue it out. Why should you bother to set out some clear guidance for them to make their lives that bit easier?

 

I’m a professional estate planner and will writer and  spend a good part of my time encouraging people to make the effort and to put wills into place. It’s a way of making life that little bit easier for the people you care for the most in the worst of circumstances.

I act in accordance with the strict codes of practice of the societies of which I’m a member (SWW and STEP) and am approved by Trading Standards

Paul Beck

CBC member

Tel: 01628 634294  Mobile 0795 7263990

Email paul.beck@appliedls.co.uk

Local Business Networking Group brings charities together

Keep our kids safe

Ok Our Kids and Wycombe Youth Action combine forces in schools

Don’t ever say the benefits of networking are just about getting referrals on bits of paper, or invoices for money in the bank business! Yes, of course those things are important and a staple part of a good networking group. However, there’s a lot more to it than that, and really good networking groups work to bring people and businesses together in ways that will help them flourish and grow through collaboration and sharing of skills.

This is just what has happened with OK Our Kinds and Wycombe Youth Action who today have spent time together at a local primary school helping the young people to understand how to be safe in today’s world, so that they can enjoy their childhood and build positive memories.

What a great way to end the week, well done to all involved; if you’d like to be a part of a powerfully engaged business networking group in High Wycombe, then get in touch, because it is indeed: Time to make a difference!

Rare Design Logo Animation

Communication Through Design

Why is a business networking referral process important?

Some networking groups use slips of paper to note down business connections and referrals to new contacts for members. At CBC it’s certainly not compulsory, however it does make a difference.

The reason it makes a difference is threefold.

Firstly, it helps the person making the referral remember what they have promised to do, and we all know that it’s so easy to simply forget these things when we get back out into our day to day business, so having a slip of paper with the details to hand does help the brain to stay focused.

Secondly, the person who receives the referral knows what to expect and can make preliminary preparations such as researching the contact’s website or social presence to get a feel for their brand. It also means they are prepared for the contact and it’s far more engaging to show recognition and interest when the referee makes contacts, which they usually do fairly soon after the recommendation.

Thirdly, it gives a fairly informal means of the group keeping an eye on how they are doing, a kind of taking the temperature of business in general, and raising concerns if any particular member doesn’t appear to be getting relevant introductions. It’s a great way of learning too; for instance, if one or two members are making a lot of validated, quality referrals, other members can gain inspiration from looking at how they do that, and overall the group can develop and hone their listening and connecting skills to ensure everyone is getting value from their membership.

Value of Business Networking Referral Process

Jay Blake, Take One TV, is an experienced networker; he would say it’s pretty much a part of his life blood and certainly something that he enjoys; nonetheless, it is something that needs effort and dedication to build the trust that ultimately leads to business referrals. Jay finds business networking an inspiring and engaging activity, he treats every meeting as a business meeting and his top tips for a succcessful networking are:

Always check out the venue the day before and ensure you are there on time, or even a little early. Often the most productive part of a meeting is that first free networking session where you can catch up with people, make appointments and sound out on ideas. Secondly, listen as much as you talk, actually listen more than you talk! If you can practice actively listening you’ll find it much easier to connect with people, and thirdly, be there regularly and be patient because it is only through regular and reliable attendance, active listening and the willingness to give before you get, that you’ll build the trust and rapport that leads to quality business referals.

Props morning highlights CBC business profiles

Adding a bit of variety to networking can bring some interesting results.  CBC members were asked to bring a prop to the networking meeting which would help the rest of the group remember them more easily in the coming week.

Referrals from networking excellent

Paul Beck leaves a sweet flavour with clients.

We were treated to a box of chocolates from Paul Beck of Applied Legal Services who explained that he likes to leave a ‘sweet’ flavour with his clients, after they have completed their Wills and Powers of Attorneys with him.  Jason Chapman of Rare Design showed the group his trusty sketch pad, together with awesome hand drawn illustration, highlighting his love of actually picking up real pens and paints to create fantastic images.  Faisal of FM First Aid Training brought a portable defibrillator and reminded CBC members of the value of ensuring their first aid training was up to date.  Ian Horler of Excel Office Supplies brought one of his original Day Books from way back when he first started in business running – a dairy and milk round, emphasizing how times have indeed changed.  And, Jay Blake from TakeOne TV emphasized the value of a steady shot on video with the use of a tripod, giving a steady message to a potential audience!

Networking provides access to new clients

Jay Blake of Take One TV

Two guests at the networking meeting included the Chair of Wycombe Youth Action who told the group about the growing need for support of vulnerable youngsters in the Wycombe area and the need for collaborative funding sources.   Tony Churchill, founder of OK Our Kids and newest member of CBC, brought the good news that as a newly formed Community Interest Company OK Our Kids would potentially be able to help Wycombe Youth Action going forward, perhaps starting with the OK Our Kids Gala Dinner on 29th September at the Crowne Plaza, Marlow, where the new edition of the Watch Out book will be official made available.

OK Our Kids Gala Dinner Poster networking help needed

Gala event 29th September 2018 for OK Our Kids

So all in all, a grand start to the day with some great local businesses! If you’d like to get in on the action with CBC give us a call or drop us a line. We love to meet new people and are particularly looking for someone in HR, a general solicitor or a bank representative to join the group in the future.

How to develop a Marketing Strategy for your Business

CBC member Tracy Reader of Marketing Mechanics treated the group to an insight into the essentials of developing a marketing strategy for businesses that delivers positives results.

Tracy specialises in delivering high impact marketing communications campaigns, using sharp, consistent messaging and design to increase brand recognition, customer loyalty and sales. With strong written, visual and social skills, she is determined, decisive and has great team spirit.  As a result she has a track record of delivering maximum results from challenging briefs.

Prior to setting up Marketing Mechanics, Tracy worked in two central London PR consultancies, then at the BBC – first as a publicist and then a marketing communications manager. After leaving the BBC, Tracy set up The Publicity Network to help small businesses to cost effectively manage their marketing projects.  Tracy has developed a vast knowledge of print, broadcast and new media communications, devising and delivering many innovative campaigns to reach a diverse range of audiences.

Where marketing is concerned, Tracy knows what to do, how to do it and who to call upon along the way.

Sharing her insider knowledge with the CBC members she talked through a handy acronym for good marketing planning:

 

M – get your messages clear and consiste

A – Check your activities are co-ordinated and relevant

R -Build relationships, this is where the real benefits begin

K – Keep at it, consistency is key

E – Always evaluate what you’ve done  and check against expectations

T – Think, refine from the results you get, be open to new ideas

Skills and experience

Marketing isn’t rocket science, however it does need to be planned and it does take time, so if you want help to get your business moving forward why not give Tracy a call, or arrange to meet her at CBC with the other group members?  You’ll find it well worth your while, she has helped CBC with their marketing strategy plan so we can give her a first hand recommendation!

Check out our new logo sting

Video Stars in the Making

Many thanks to Chris Nisbet from the Fish Partnership for agreeing to take part in CBC’s new video marketing content being produced by Take One Business Communications.

Chris is a qualified Chartered Accountant and is now a Director at Fish Partnership, having originally trained and qualified with the firm.

His friendly and supportive approach has allowed him to build strong relationships with his clients based around his experience within the SME market; on video, Chris shares his views on the value of CBC membership to the Fish Partnership, who were indeed founder members of the group over 10 years ago. “Attending the business networking meetings really helped me to develop both personally and professionally.  I still remember the first time I had to enter a room of strangers and stand to do a 60 second pitch; I had nothing to worry about as the group was so welcoming and supportive – it really helped me to understand the best ways of promoting the Fish Partnership and to discover the value of building trusted relationships for future business.”

Chris has an audit background and has particular interests in the field of Internal Audit, working with and advising councils, academies and charities.

Chris is an avid sports fan with a particular interest in a red, North London based football team.

The video will be ready soon so watch this space.  If you’d like to find out more about how business networking can help your business, get in touch and we’ll arrange for you to visit.