Archives for February 2014

A Review of Networking in Cambridge

cambridgeDuring the Summer of 2013, I was asked by Cambridge News to take a tour of Cambridge networking events and write about my experiences, as well as offering tips.

This is Part One of a list of Cambridge networking articles published in the Cambridge News every Tuesday.  To read an article, just click on the link…

Pitch’N’Mix

CambsHour Day

B2B Exhibition / Business Owners Breakfast

Connected Cambridge / CamCreative

Networking is a skill you need to work on

4Networking

BNI 

Cambridge Network

Taking a hard look at in-house networking

Profit Dojo

Startup Grind

Cambridge 100 Club

Link4Growth

Big Xmas Party

The Inspired Group

 

Don’t Wait; Start Networking Now!

Here is an article that I wrote for the 8th edition of IQ Magazine

Cambridge NetworkingStarting your first business will possibly require you to create the longest to-do-list of your life so far. There’s the bank account to sort out, a business plan to write, website to design and build, equipment to buy and so much more. With all this to do and so much to learn, how high up does the need to connect with other businesses and build a business network appear on your list of priorities?

Nicky and I started the plans and research for Cambridge Business Lounge early in 2012. We then registered the company the following August and on 8th January 2013 we opened our doors for first time. On the evening of our opening day, we held a launch party to thank people who had helped us and also invited a selection of people that we had met in the six months leading up to first day.

It’s this point that I’m making now, that too many businesses I speak to simply seem to forget. Networking is more than simply meeting new contacts when the order book is looking a little bare. It’s an opportunity for people to meet the real you, find out the person behind the business and to build a professional relationship with them. Then, when your business takes one of its inevitable downturns, however small and short term that may be, you have a wider pool of connections that you can turn to in order to build it back up again more quickly.

I spent several months attending networking events and engaging in social media groups, so that when we did finally opened our doors at the beginning of last year, we had customers using our services on our first day.

So, whether you’re in the process of starting your first business or have already been trading for a number of years, go to your nearest coworking space or networking group and build on your list of business connections. I genuinely believe that if I hadn’t put the effort in before we started trading, Cambridge Business Lounge would have struggled to reach its first birthday.

Is This What You Need To Stop Doing To Grow Your Business?

This week, we asked our coworkers at Cambridge Business Lounge, and other members of our growing business community, to share their experiences to help other businesses grow.

This week we asked the question “What do you need to stop doing to allow you to grow your business?

2014-02-14 15.39.00I can’t promise they will all action their thoughts, but this is what they fed back…

Procrastinating on calls to major potential clients (I find this very scary!)To clarify, they meant wasting time instead of making the calls, not procrastinating on the calls themselves.

 

Trying to deliver everything myself

 

Trying to control everything

 

Allowing difficult clients to disrupt good clients, by absorbing your time and attention to detail with their mis-management (yes, Gov’t IT)

    • Yes. 80:20

      • Totally agree!! I will stop taking on clients who strike me as potentially difficult – Just did it today!

 

Sitting at my desk (i.e. getting out of the building and talk to potential clients)

 

Thinking about version 2… 3… (before v1 is sold)

 

Slacking off like a pro

 

Thinking I was a good measure of what customers want

 

What about you? What do you need to stop doing to scale your business? Email info@cambridgebusinesslounge.com or tweet @CamBizLounge and we will post a selection of responses below.

How Coworking is Changing How and Where We Work

Watch one of the best videos to explain the concept and benefits of coworking…

Now you’ve seen it, have a look into working from Cambridge Business Lounge, or try us out for a day with our compliments. Email info@cambridgebusinesslounge.com for more details or call 01223 324040.

Face The Fear of Running a Business and Kick It Into Shape

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” However, and for many, that’s easier said than done when it comes to running a business. Thankfully, Nikki Butlin, Director of Athena Business Services, who has over 20 years experience running and developing businesses on both a local and national level, and has written this guest blog to help you face you fears full on, and move from fearful to fearless…

Fear – don’t hide from it – face it full on and kick it into shape!

Nikki ButlinNow I’m talking about business here. The kind of fear that stops you from being the great business person you’ve always wanted to be and always known you can be. Fear can be a debilitating emotion and one that, if we’re not careful, can hold us back from some wonderful experiences and achievements.

I’ve been afraid…many times. Too afraid to put myself out there, afraid of what others may think of me and my plans. Afraid that I’ll mess up and be a failure.

It can be a difficult thing to live with. But once you’ve mastered some tools on how to deal with the fear; assess, analyse it, put it into context and move it…it can be mighty liberating.

How do you get from fear to fearless?

1. The reason fear exists
We’re humans, we have an inherent, instinct for fear and we avoid certain things to protect ourselves. When we were cavemen, the fears were actually life-threatening; sabre tooth tigers, not enough food, where to get shelter, how to mend a wound. Our stresses and fears in today’s world are quite different but our minds still process them in the same way. We will get prompts about what to avoid because our minds deem them to be life-threatening when in actual fact they’re not. Because we feel the fear, we stop ourselves from doing things without too much thought about what we’re avoiding.

2. Addressing the actual fear itself
If you’re experiencing a constant fear that is preventing you from achieving in your life then it’s time to face it full on.

What is it you want to do? And what is it EXACTLY that you are afraid of? Because often we don’t go far enough and ask ourselves this question. Once you know what the fear is, you can address it.

3. Analysing what the fear represents and whether it’s real
Once you’ve identified what the EXACT fear is…ask yourself this…What is the absolute worst thing that could happen if I was to proceed with my actions? Is my life in danger? Will I lose my house? Will my family suffer? Will I lose face?

4. You have to assess your own risk factor
Once you know what the fear is, and have assessed the potential outcomes of your desired action you can decide whether or not to proceed and what you need to deal with internally to overcome the fear. If it’s going to be some life changing event, you have to assess your level of resilience to the fact it may not work out as a worst case scenario. Also imagine how great you’ll feel when you achieve it too! If it’s a fear of losing face, then you can look at whether that actually will happen or you’re assuming it will. Most people admire those who are willing to get out there and do something for themselves. Those who snigger and ridicule are often facing their own internal conflicts…but that’s another story.

5. Get out there and do it…!
Once you’ve analysed, assessed and are ready to do it…do just that! Get out there, be positive, be strong and be resilient to the knocks along the way, because they will happen, but your strength will get you through.

For more advice and tips on facing your business fears, contact Nikki Butlin at nikki@athenabusinessservices.co.uk, on 01553 650182 or on twitter @AthenaBusServ.