Getting the NRG into networking!

As the group leader of the NRG lunch group at Cadbury House, Congresbury, Somerset, I am really interested in what makes a networking group successful.

For me it actually does not matter what the format of the sessions is; it is about the quality of the people in the room. I love NRG, because it embrasses professional business owners who are looking to build long-term referral relationships. Members end not to sell to the room (as happens in so many networking events) but concentrate on really getting to know each other. This means that when the opportunity arises they can effectively refer each other.

So, a successful group needs great members, but it also needs great guests. Guests provide the group with vitality and stop it from growing stale. If these guests become members that’s great. However, their very presence will have brought something to the lunch, even if they don’t join.

Finally, I think it is great if there is the opportunity to take time out of the business and learn something pertinent. Our half hour seminar slots are designed to do just that. I find they force me to look at aspects of my business I would otherwise try to ignore. As we all know ignoring the issue does not make it go away!

So if you agree with these points why not give NRG a go? Our website gives the dates of all up-coming meetings – there may well be one near you.

Fiona 🙂

The price is right?

Pricing is an area many businesses struggle with. It is part science, part art and part psychology. Confident pricing is as much about how we feel about our business and our product/service, as it is about rules and processes.

Many businesses will stick to a cost plus method of pricing. They will add up all the components of a job and add a percentage for profit – job done (?). However, this approach takes no account of the market in which they are trading or the value of their product/service to the customer.

If you don’t know enough about your market you run the risk of overpricing by using the cost plus pricing method. If other suppliers are providing the same product/service as you and charging less than you, you need to know! If you constantly loose work it may be that you are pitching to the wrong type of customer for you.

Alternatively if you don’t understand the value of your product/service to your customer, you could be regularly underpricing. Take, for example, an instance which happened to me a couple of months ago. We had just had new carpeting through out the upstairs of our house. You know how it is, for a micro second everything looks great until… the cat gets trapped in one of the bedrooms and rips up the carpet in front of the door!

I phoned our lovely carpet guy who came along and patched in some of the offcut left over from the original fitting. He did such a good job that we cannot actually see where the join is. Obviously for me this job had a good deal of value because our carpet is pristine again. But he priced on a cost plus basis and so only charged me £15! He probably left over £80 on the table because the job was worth at least £100 to me.

Now cost plus as a starting point is not bad, because at least you ensure you get the minimum price you need to cover your costs – as long as you have a very good idea what those costs are. But relying on it alone will mean that you undercharge clients for whom the value you provide is more than the costs of providing it (plus profit).

For effective pricing you need to do your homework. You need to understand the market you are in; who your ideal customers are and what they value; and you need to have a very clear idea of what you need to achieve to make a profit.

Fiona 🙂

Can you save a life?

Last evening I attended an excellent MBWF presentation on First Aid by JaLee, at Dining Divas in Frome.

Many of us probably feel that we know what to do if someone stops breathing but, what I certainly did not realise is that, best practice is constantly changing and for us to have the best chance of making a difference, knowing the current thinking is key.

Lee and Pete from JaLee gave a very practical talk and demonstration of what you have to do to give someone CPR, but more importantly how you should deal with someone who has passed out.

I can imagine few circumstances when I might be called upon to give CPR but, with teenage boys who will, at sometime, have exposure to alcohol, knowing how to keep the airways open of someone who has passed out in a drink induced haze is something I can imagine far more readily (obviously in my mind this involves friends of said teenage boys rather than my, perfectly behaved, examples of the species!).

Before yesterday I had not realised how easy it is for someone who is unconscious to choke on their own vomit and die – maybe a couple of days after the incident itself. So being able to put them in the correct position to stop this happening is easy but crucial.

In our businesses we will have a designated first aider, but I think it is important that every one in the business have a basic knowledge of how to offer life saving first aid – you never know you might be someone’s only chance of survival!

Fiona 🙂