Conference Time!

I spent last Friday and Saturday at the CIMA MiPs conference.

Now for many people the thought of spending two days closeted with over 150 accountants would be their idea of hell. But it was great!!

The benefit of professional conferences are endless when you are working for yourself, on your own, as I am:

– The main benefit is that I was surrounded by guys who are doing the same work, for the same types of clients, who are experiencing the same types of problems as me. The buzz created was excellent and very motivating.

– The conference was filled with presentations and seminars aimed at exactly the right audience. This meant that there was a terrific amount of educational value. It ticked that CPD box in a way that was meaningful to my business.

–  The conference covered areas I know I need to work on – in particular sales and marketing. As any business owner I tend to concentrate on the activities I like but avoid those I am not confident or comfortable with. Now I have no excuse!! I must bite the bullet and create a proper sales strategy – and DO IT.

All in all it was time, and money, very well spent.

Fiona 🙂

Expect the unexpected!

Last week I had an unexpected holiday!

French air traffic control went on strike and my Tuesday flight from Toulouse to Bristol was cancelled. Easyjet were very good and put us up in a great hotel, with meals included, until Friday when a flight would be available.

However, as good as this was, there was no getting away from the fact that as a sole trader, and thus my business’s only labour, it was very inconvenient. Fortunately it was a fairly light week meetingwise, but I still needed to ensure that anyone I was due to meet knew I would not able to make it.

It was an entirely unexpected situation and, I have to say, one for which I had no contingency plan. I was fortunate in this case as the hotel had internet access for their guests, but it could easily have ended badly. As it was I got away with it and only had to suffer a manic week this week as I caught up.

We are all told to have plans in place – particularly regarding computers and protecting information – but how many of us, particularly if we are working on our own, actually have them. What happens to your business if you are unexpectedly unavailable?

I will certainly be considering what my plans should be!

Fiona 🙂

How best to connect, too!

When you attend networking events how do you view your role? Do you plan in advance so you know what you want to achieve? Or do you just pitch up and hope for the best (this was certainly my approach until recently!).

Many of us spend fairly large sums becoming members of networking organsations and believe that in spending that money we are investing wisely. For our money, we get the opportunity to meet lots of people some of whom will, hopefully, help us move our business forward. However, we can make our investment work best if we just put in a little effort.

For example, if we invite guests along to our group, we can add value to our contacts by introducing them to other group members – and obviously the group as a whole benefits too. And after all, if you have invested your hard earned money in attending a group you believe is great for your business, why would you not want to spread the word? But how many of us take the time to make this relatively small committment to the group?

Another way of increasing the benefits of being a member of a networking group is to help in the running of it – with the added benefit that your membership is often free if you do so! When you go to an event who are the people you remember? I think they are the people are introducing speakers, or presenting in some way. You could be that person!

Since my last blog, which was on networking (rather portentiously), a new opportunity to increase my networking profile has arisen. I now run the NRG lunch meetings at Cadbury House. For me the reasons for taking on this challenge are:

– I believe that NRG offers a great forum for networking in a way which encourages long term relationships.

– I want share the benefits of NRG membership with my contacts so we can all extend our business networks.

– I want to help lots of new people discover this great way of building their business network.

– In running the group I am able to maximise my personal benefits from membership. My personal profile is increased and I will have the opportunity to get to know group members in a more focused way.

How about taking on a role yourself in your networking group – even if it is just inviting more guests?

Good Networking!

Fiona 🙂