Cambridge’s Favourite Networking Event

In Cambridge, there are well in excess of 50 regular networking events, each with their own niche, target audience, time of day and formality, all aimed at a small number of the 9,000+ self-employed workers in the city. Many of these are so popular, they also attract many from neighbouring towns and villages.

Networking is frequently seen as a valuable tool to increase brand awareness, reach out to new audiences, as well as to share ideas with their peers. But which is the city’s favourite?

Here at Cambridge Business Lounge – where we host our own Mastermind Group and CBL Women’s Network events – we are looking to find the city’s favourite networking event/group, as well as the reasons why.

To cast your vote ==> CLICK HERE

Everyone who votes can also enter a draw to win a 4 Day Coworking Pass, worth £70.

You can also access a list of all the networking group and events that take place in Cambridge by clicking here.

The survey closes on Thursday 31st August and results will be announced soon after.

The winner will be featured – with the results – in the business section of the Cambridge Independent in September.

What Do Coworkers Do at CBL?

Every day we welcome coworkers who choose to work from Cambridge Business Lounge for the day, rather than from home or elsewhere. On the surface, I know what they’re doing. For example, today working from here is an Architect, Design Agency, Events Management, Accountant, Web Developer, and Town Planner, amongst others. However, I’m always curious to know what it is they’re actually working on.

Therefore, today, I decided to go round and ask some of them “what are you working on right now?” and these are their answers…

“An analytics tool which reduces millions of lines of cloud billing data to useful charts for businesses and academia to work out how their money is being spent” – Dan Frost, http://www.3ev.com/


“Assessing the environmental impact of various worksites required for construction work to implement a major rail infrastructure scheme” – Sheena McCallum, http://cam-planning.co.uk/


“Right now I’m working on eating a pastrami and Gouda cheese sandwich I made using two Tesco bread rolls, leftover from a barbeque I held on Saturday afternoon, and other ingredients purchased from Waitrose.”

He added “I’m then working on designing integration workflows between our in house investor services and wire processing systems and our new Hedge Fund research and portfolio construction platform.”


“A large-scale support ticket session to help customers who we’ve migrated to our new platform.”


“Writing a job spec for a junior developer” – Kelly Molson, http://www.rubbercheese.com/


“I’m currently working on a company away day to Lisbon. The logistics of getting 75 staff plus their partners to Lisbon from a variety of airports is interesting!  We have a wonderful hotel booked, I’ve found a stunning water front restaurant for dinner and we have some fun activities planned.  I just need to get everyone there now!” – Sabine Edwards, http://pendletonevents.co.uk/


“Architecture design; I’ve just finished sketching an alternative floor plan option for a new medical practice in London.” – Jon Clayton, http://complete.archi/


So, there you have it. Each person is heavily focused on completing their to-do-list and has chosen Cambridge Business Lounge as their place to do it. Somewhere where they feel productive, with the benefit of other professional minds too.

Try it for yourself, for free, and see how coworking can benefit your productivity. Get in touch here for more details.

Ed’s Top Tips – Tip 3 – Managing your cash flow

Ed Goodman, business mentor, author and co-founder of Cambridge Business Lounge, presents Ed’s Top Tips – a series of short and useful guides for starting and running a business.

Tip 3 – Managing your cash flow. It’s all about the money, money money…

One of the main reasons why a business fails is its mismanagement of its cash flow. In fact, according to a U.S. Bank study, as many as 82% of business failures are due to poor cash management.

Watch this video where Ed talks about the importance of managing your cash flow.

How do you track your finances? What lessons have you learnt in ensure your cash flow is managed effectively?

Let us know in the comments or Tweet us using the hashtag #EdsTopTips.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen…then drink!

In the professional world, collaborations can be an extremely powerful partnership, designed to accomplish what no single organisation can achieve on its own. Every partner of a collaboration can be a business in it’s own right striving to successfully provide a service to their customers. However, partner that business up with someone different and they can now reach out to a new audience, provding an exciting new service and sharing the risks and rewards of their new venture. For example, an author, web developer and artist (on their own, talented individuals) could combine to create a fully interactive, online book for children, which one of them couldn’t have create on their own.

_DSC2587Now transfer this idea to a the humble Fruit Punch. On their own, ingredients such as Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice and Rum, are delicious and refreshing drinks, but put them together and an entirely new experience is created.

That’s what Cambridge Business Lounge is all about – bringing businesses into our environment to focus on their own growth and prosperity, while introducing them to other professionals that could see the birth of a whole new venture.

To celebrate this fact, Steve The Barman, Owner and Chief Shaker of Thirst First, created a cocktail at our Christmas Party in 2013 which was also present at the inaugural CBL Summer Networking BBQ – Stop, Collaborate and Listen. Here is the recipe so you can join us. Cheers!!

Stop, Collaborate and Listen

  • 35ml Rum (we used White Rum)
  • 15ml Triple Sec (or Cointreau)
  • 15ml Strawberry Liqueur
  • 15ml Grenadine
  • 75ml Orange Juice
  • 75ml Pineapple juice
  • 15ml of Vanilla Syrup
  • 2 Lime Wedges
  • 1 Strawberry

And why did we call it “Stop, Collaborate and Listen?” I’ll leave that answer to the opening line of this Vanilla Ice track….

How Social Media Brings The CBL Community Together

CBL TwitterSocial networks are a fantastic opportunity for small businesses to communicate and is considerably more than a sales tool. 

It also allows each business to listen to their audience, to learn from their peers, to help others and underpin their expertise, monitor their reputation and humanise their brand through engagement. There are things that we’ve got right on out social media channels, and things we’ve learnt from.

Hashtags

Our community often comes together on Twitter before, during and after key events with #CBLLive, #CBLBBQ, #StartUpCambs and more, and the hashtags allow participants to tweet before they meet, and build on many of the conversations that happen at the event.

Biscuits

More recently, our Ultimate Biscuit Challenge has brought out the passion in our community by finding the most popular biscuit in Cambridge. What’s the point? To create activity around our brand and to create awareness about our personality.  The result of which has been Cambridgeshire professionals (aka. our audience) walking through our doors to take part. Not only that, but a local training company came to view our facilities as a direct result of the #UltimateBiscuit hashtag on twitter.

Book

Late 2013, Ed was approached by Pearson Publishing to write a book. As a result, New Business: Next Steps, written with Ann Hawkins, will be published early in 2015. How did they find Ed? As a result of searching on LinkedIn.

 

Now, we’re not Social Media Consultants and there are better people to guide you through setting out your social media strategy and helping you to measure your ROI, which by the way is vital before embarking on your own social media journey. But there are many things that we’ve learnt that have worked for us. This is why Ed was asked to appear on the weekly Business Hub on Star Radio in Cambridge.

The show is available on Cambridgeshire’s Star Radio and downloadable as podcast at: http://www.starradioonline.com/podcasts/the-business-hub/

On the show with Ed, hosted BY Steve Elsom, Area Director of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking and Ann Hawkins, Business Mentor and creator of The Inspired Group, is blogging expert, Yasmin Chopin.

Listen in and tell us what you think @CamBizLounge, @edagoodman and on our Facebook page.

Coworking at Cambridge Business Lounge

One of our regular visitors to Cambridge Business Lounge, BluntBrit.com, has shown off their animated media skills by creating a new video detailing what coworking is all about, and how it works at Cambridge Business Lounge:

If you’d like Blunt Brit to create a video for you, then contact them through their website, tell them Ed sent you and receive a 30% discount. You’re welcome!!

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.

10 Tips For Starting a Business

Each week, we ask the coworkers at Cambridge Business Lounge, as well as other members of our growing business community, for their thoughts and ideas to help other start-ups and  small businesses.

This week, we asked the question “What advice would you give to a new start-up?

As ever, we weren’t short of responses (thank you to every one who contributed) and the responses were…

  1. Don’t take all of the revenue out of the business – re-invest!!

  2. Make every friend possible and help them.. It pays back.

  3. Be flexible and provide what the market wants, not what you want them to have

  4. Get your product sold to paying customers asap. i.e. validate that people will pay

  5. Sometimes things that are really low cost are great, but sometimes a false economy. Learning which is which can be painful – best consult people who’ve done something similar and vet your vendors carefully

  6. – Consult people lots

  7. Being self employed, doesn’t need to mean ‘being by yourself-employed’

  8. Fail often and learn

  9. A start up is like having a baby. Think twice before doing both at once.

  10. Do at least two years of financial projections before you go ahead

What about you? What advice would you give to a new start-up business. Email info@cambridgebusinesslounge.com or tweet @CamBizLounge and we will post a selection of responses below.