Sunday, 17 July 2011

Networking - the merits of connecting locally

Networking locally has been a useful activity for us at Henmore, even though are clients are UK wide, in Europe and USA.  As a result of local networking we have:
  • formed associations with marketing specialists to offer a wider marketing service 
  • worked collaboratively on new projects with the people we’ve met 
  • been invited as a guest speaker at UK events and conferences 
  • strengthened relationships with existing clients 
  • gained many new business referrals that have generated new customers (thank you to those that have supported us) 
  • built a network of ‘champions’ who help us spread the word about our local marketing training events and programmes 
  • gained insight and feedback on our ideas 
  • kept abreast of issues and events taking place in our local area 
  • made some new friends

After trying various groups and organisations I have settled on a select few groups in my local region of Derbyshire and Staffordshire that suit my style.  I regularly visit these groups:  WiRE, Matlock Business Club, The Business Cub, at Chatsworth, Moorlands Networking, SPDTA.

I am the facilitator of Matlock Business Club, which has enabled me to observe many people’s approach and consider my own.

Here are few thoughts about networking:

Attend with an open mind, go with the flow.  Some people seem to judge an event by the number of business cards they collected.  After assessing the benefits to Henmore of our networking activities, I am not convinced of that as an evaluation criterion.

Be friendly – you would think this would be obvious!  Be friendly even to your competitors.  I’ve heard some horror stories of people slinging some mud at their competitors (worse still dissing them in the one minute slot).  Don’t go there . . .

Be open and welcoming.  Approach those on the edge of the room; invite them into your conversations.  As an extravert, I have to remind myself that some powerful business people are not necessarily natural networkers, so don’t overlook those looking on from the sidelines. 

Stay calm.  If you spot an influential business person please don’t go all gaga around them.   I’ve seen this happen and it is just weird.

Allow yourself to move on.  Some people will monopolise you so be kind to yourself, and to them, and move them on to someone else or request permission to continue networking in the room. 

Keep your business card in reserve.  I am not a fan of ‘card slinging’ networking events. Some people look for quantity rather than quality, but that doesn’t suit our business model.  Unless it suits yours, save yourself the hassle of unsubscribing from a million mailing lists and hold back your details until you are asked for them.

Introduce people within and across your networks – be the real-life face-to- face version of LinkedIn and Facebook.

Source and share in your networks.  If you need something then ask from within your network of contacts.  It sounds obvious, but if it is so obvious why do so few people do it? 

In conclusion, I offer a gentle reminder that your network of contacts is not just a place to push your own wares.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Marketing & Technology - Ideas into Action

Really enjoyed the discussions with everyone at the event today.  Thanks for listening to Chris Woodhouse and me doing our best to share some ideas and strategies to use technology for marketing improvement.  Great to listen to fellow presenters Mathew ( and Paul (

I promised a link to the thoughts I shared on how to make marketing work for small businesses.  This takes you to a tool I use for sharing documents -  Can be handy for sharing.  It also allows collaborators or those you share documents with to leave comments.  And it is free so hey, nothing lost.

Insights, ideas, strategies, ----> actions.
Next steps:
Here are a few ideas to encourage you to take further action - some are free, some are low cost and some are regular price but attract grant funding if you get your skates on and talk to our event hosts at Live & Work Rural.

1.     Free, anytime, LinkedIn Form:  Join our private delegate forum on LinkedIn and post questions and discussions.  We'll answer as appropriate, and maybe others will add the benefit of their experiences as well. Click for the Marketing and Technology Series forum on LinkedIn.

2.     £30 + VAT:  Workshop facilitated by Catherine and Chris
Date:  20th July from 9.30am at Riber Rooms in Cromford
Half day workshop delving into the detail of online marketing and social media. Further info: Marketing and Technology Workshop

3.     £3 approx:  Teleconference Q&A. 
Date:  Thursday 21st July from 2pm for approx an hour.
All delegates of the Live & Work Rural Event are invited to phone in and join some of the panellists from the event today.  All you need to pay is the cost of the call which the provider states is 4.3p/minute (so an hour session is approx £3).  Ask your own questions or be inspired by those of others.  We are using PowWow for this event: Telephone number is 0844 4 737373 and then you'll need to enter a PIN code. If you would like to join us on that call please contact us for the PIN (email:
If you would like to submit your question in advance it may help get a more precise reply in the time available.

4.    One-to-one consultancy 
£400 + VAT for 2 x half days  (eligible for grant funding).   Training and Advice
Help to get your business properly set up for effective marketing and enabling appropriate use of technology.  Making sure you are on track with everything.  Either/both Chris and Catherine will come over and help get your business set up right for what you need to be doing. This consultancy and training package is eligible for grant funding if you're quick :-)  >

5.     Marketing Club 
£500+VAT pa (eligible for grant funding): With 6 x group sessions combined with 2 x one-to-one consultancy sessions and a supportive peer group of fellow members makes this programme excellent value for money. We have members of this year-long marketing programme who are grant funded; again, be quick applying. >  Marketing Club

And here is that thought-provoking YouTube clip, complete with cheesy music.