Archives for March 2013

“A Day of Networking, Coworking and Inspiring Talks” When #CambsHour Came to CBL

544286_473528152714820_1804828294_nAfter months of tweeting, many CambsHour networkers who had never physically met before came together for a captivating day of networking, coworking and inspiring talks when CambsHour Day came to Cambridge Business Lounge on Friday 8th March.

From the moment the doors opened at 08:30 the coffee was hot, the pastries were out and the first coworkers arrived for a talk on limited company taxation, but this was no ordinary talk. This was Tax in the Box – A Light Hearted Look at Ltd Company Tax Implications hosted by Peter Cross a.k.a The Tax Father. “Playing with your children’s remote control car ends in tears when the batteries wear out……..” Peter commented after his talk “Keep a stock of spare batteries.” It was clear from the offset that the day was going to be one of high energy and connectivity which grew ever more as the day wore on. Ann Hawkins was next up to pose and answer the question “What does WD40 and honey have to do with networking?” Chris Hornby, Alpha Associates, summed up the talk “I have done so much networking over the last few years but today just confirms one thing and that is it’s (networking) about quality rather than quantity” With 5 talks still to take place the rest of the day covered the future of computing, passion in business, economic success, confident speaking and ecommerce. Here are a few highlights from the talks:

Tax in the Box – A Light Hearted Look At Ltd Company Tax Implications – Peter Cross, The Tax Father @thetaxfather
Transferring or commencing to trade through a company may provide taxation benefits. This will depend on the level of profits generated and whether there is any value that can be attributed to the goodwill element of the trade. There are various commercial advantages to trading through a company which should override the tax implications. However, each business should be reviewed independently to ascertain the best entity to trade through from a tax perspective.

Action Point: Wait until after the budget on 20 March 2013 and then review your business to identify what trading entity is best for you from both a commercial and tax perspective.

Networking For Life, Not Just for Business – Ann Hawkins, The Inspired Group @AnnHawkins
The less you talk about yourself the more interesting people will find you. If you are asked about yourself make your answer intimate, revealing and authentic, not a sales pitch.

Action Point: The purpose of networking is to collect contacts and share them. Actively seek opportunities to be useful to every member of your network by connecting people, not in the hope that you will benefit but just because you can.

The Fast Moving Future of Computing…and Staying Ahead – Ken Seymour, KTS Computers @Ask_Ken
The talk covered a brief look at technology history and the problems each successive development overcame, but also caused. Also at how some ‘evolution’ technologies were unexpectedly ‘disruptive’ to some industries, whilst causing new ones to start up. Using this information we discussed what technologies could be used to move a business forward. Predicting the future is not rocket science! It does require vision, and so do business owners. To decide what technology a business owner should employ, requires they know where their business is going. So – map out business first, then look at the tools to make it happen.

Action Point: Make sure you plan your business first (not looking for 5 years, just 6 months – 1 year) then implement an IT strategy. If required – Ask Ken!

Let Passion Be Your Driver – Pri Bamford, Pri’s Kitchen @PrisKitchen
“Nothing is impossible. if you really want something in your life, there is no reason why you won’t get what you want”

Boost your Social Media Success with Confident Speaking Skills – Jim Doyle, Speaking Confidence @jimjdoyle
The best public speaking prop is a confident speaker, not Powerpoint! We addressed techniques to become focused and effective and how to overcome nerves. Jim demonstrated good and bad eye contact and effective breathing techniques. The event culminated in all attendees deliberately facing the audience in silence for 10 seconds ( it felt much longer! ) and delivering an impromptu speech of around 90 seconds, followed by audience applause. Very positive feedback received from all.

The CBL Interviews – Data Protection for Small Businesses

Cambridge Business Lounge OpeningIn this edition of The CBL Interviews, Neil Hamilton-Meikle from The Safebox joins Ed to talk about the value of protecting critical data for small (if not all) businesses.

To watch the video, visit: The CBL Interviews – Data Protection for Small Businesses and if you’d like to take part in a future edition of The CBL Interviews, aimed at providing help and information to for small businesses, email info@cambridgebusinesslounge.com.

Water Coolers, Yahoo and You!

lighbulb word imageCEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer recently hit the headlines by requesting that all employees down tools at home and all head back to the office. When the world is calling out for more flexibility in the work place, what is the reason behind her demand?

In short, Marissa wants people to share their experiences and knowledge, and believes that great ideas can be born in the corridors and during conversations at water coolers…and I have to say that I agree. However, how does that help people who work for themselves, from home in Cambridgeshire? The resting cat in the corridor at home has little to say on which social media platform is most affective for your business, and a poor opinion on how crowd funding can help you with your cash flow.

What the media and Marissa Mayer seems to have forgotten, is that there is a third option. A place that is near to home, where water cooler moments can provide important inspiration and where you could meet your next key client. This third option is a co-working space.

Here at Cambridge Business Lounge, our days are fueled by the enthusiasm of co-workers meeting new people, hearing them bounce ideas around and collaborate with each other, interspersed with the determined tap of their keyboards.

I have achieved more in the last 6 weeks co-working, than in the last 6 months working from home” , commented one regular co-worker. Another has “achieved more in two hours than in an entire afternoon working from my kitchen table.” A notion accepted by all who work at Cambridge Business Lounge.

Coined in 1999, the term co-working has become widely used amongst small business owners in the UK. Succinctly described as; ‘a style of work that involves working in a shared environment and independent activity.’

I have spent many months researching what it is that makes co-working so popular and can think it’s main benefit for any business professional or homeworker is:

Networking

Whatever the experience of the co-worker and whatever their industry, co-working brings businesses together who may not have had the opportunity to meet without a shared space.

Collaboration

Connecting with other businesses can see the birth of a long term professional relationship or even lead to spontaneous brainstorming, problem solving and discussion.

Confidence

Perhaps the most poignant benefit of co-working is the self-confidence it provides. Interaction, the sharing of ideas, even the commute to a co-working space can all increase this aspect and in turn help to increase your number of clients. Often this results in improved confidence in your brand, concept and product.

Whether there’s a need to work for just one day, just for professional interaction, or a place to work from more regularly, there is a third space. Marissa Mayer and you might just be surprised by how beneficial that third space can be.

If you would just like to chat to us and hear more about what we do, call us now on 01223 324 040 or email info@cambridgebusinesslounge.com

Ready, Steady, Network!

speednetworkingNetworking is like Marmite, some love it, some hate it. One thing is undeniable, it is a key tool in boosting your business’ profile and recognition and a fantastic way to meet like-minded people who may be offering a service that is vital to you and your business.

For those who understand the benefits of networking, but are yet to dip their toe in the water, speed-networking at Cambridge Business Lounge is the answer; a fun and informal event at a welcoming and professional venue.

In true collaborative fashion, two of the region’s most enthusiastic advocates of networking have joined forces to bring the success of Saffron Walden’s speed-networking events to the centre of Cambridge.

The concept is simple – think speed-dating – participants are asked to go and introduce themselves to someone they have never met before. On the blow of the whistle, that person has one minute to talk about their business and product, before the whistle blows and roles are reversed. Business cards are exchanged, the one minute rule if often stretched a little, and then everyone rotates to meet another new face.

As one speed-networker said: “At networking events, I tend to talk to people I already know and leave wishing I had been introduced to more people. Speed-networking is a perfect way of putting faces to names in an informal way, without the pressure of an elevator pitch.”

After nine or ten introductions the evening comes to close and there is more time for everyone to catch up with their new acquaintances. Business partnerships are born and often develop into lasting and profitable collaborations.

Speed-networking is a great introduction into the world of networking. Perhaps, it can be used as an opportunity to meet people you have already connected with on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

If you would like to take part in the event, it is on Wednesday 7 March at Cambridge Business Lounge, 52 Burleigh Street, Cambridge and is priced at £14. Arrive at 19:00 for a prompt 19:15 start. The ticket price includes a voucher for four hours co-working at Cambridge Business Lounge (worth £10).

Book your place by clicking HERE