This is our fourth anniversary and once again the group has continued to function very effectively as a networking organisation for another year.
We have seen a year when membership has only fluctuated slightly and we are now at 28 members. This is an improvement on this time last year when our number was 26. Our success remains grounded on the fact that of the majority of the founding 19 members that broke away from BNI four years ago 16 still remain.
It has also been a more troubled year for three or four of our members who have suffered illness themselves or their spouses have. We wish them all well for the future and an early return to the meeting. Linked with this it is worthwhile mentioning here that we were treated to the sight of Howard Bullock’s bare legs. His bare legathon endurance test meant that he braved the elements at every meeting that he attended all the way up to Christmas. Why did he do that? Well it was all in aid of cancer research and with contributions from other members including the traditional Movember moustache growers created a charitable donation of £665.50.
Statistics are reflective of a steady year with 838 referrals passed (an average of 17 referrals per meeting) and £640,571 worth of business written which makes the average referral this year worth £764.40.
In the autumn the format of the meeting changed slightly with breakfast being served at 7.45am, just before the 10 minute presentation. This is due to continue through the winter months. This change was brought about by the requirements of our venue and everybody has taken the change in their stride indeed I suspect there are some of us who think it is an improvement, at least as a temporary arrangement.
Paul Booth and Richard Reed have continued to chair these very successful extensions to our meeting. They provide a very useful addition to the groups networking facilities with non-members continuing to attend.
On this our anniversary meeting it is essential we focus on looking forward to the groups requirements over the coming year.
We must aim to increase our numbers substantially. The more members; the more referrals. The more referrals; the more business. I really think it is as simple as that. With this in mind a recruitment drive is to be launched from next week. Brian Painter has agreed to take on the role of Recruitment Coordinator. He will have a weekly slot in the agenda and will be revealing all next week. We want the inviting of guests to be regular and an activity ALL members are involved in on a week to week basis.
On the whole, attendance has been good over the year and Terry Maylin has effectively fulfilled the role of “whipper in”. His telephone call in the middle of the day has become an object of fear to some of us. The fact remains that, although we require a bench mark of 75% attendance; many members have pressure from their business commitments that makes this difficult. Although we should expect, as members, to make the commitment, there is no doubt that some of us find it difficult to achieve much more than 50%. This is another good reason why we should be looking to recruit members and get our numbers up at least to 40. It does mean that if this happens, those who find it hard to hit the 75% mark will not be missed as much.
By way of encouraging interaction with our website in addition to the weekly Blog that reflects on the particular weeks meeting there will be a Blog/Minute of the Synergy Team meetings that will be by way of a report of what happened at each of the monthly meetings.
Kim Redwood-Lee remains our Social Events Coordinator and after tramping around the Sahara earlier this year she is up for the more exacting challenge of arranging social events. I must emphasise the term coordinator. It is not her job to organise all of the events. All members should think about possible social events and organise it through Kim but expect to be involved in the organisation.
In a show of enthusiasm I have volunteered to be involved in two events which we did not have last year but had the year before, namely the spring visit to Hyde Hall and the August Garden party. You will be hearing more of this as the year progresses and hopefully lots of other events. Meeting at social functions with partners just helps increase our understanding of other members and our ability to give effective referrals.
Targets for this year
The main target will be recruitment and building the meeting to a level of at least 40 members. As we are organised at the moment, that is a big ask but I think with the appointment of our Recruitment Coordinator this will involve us all in chasing visitors I think it is perfectly achievable.
Let us also hope for a lot of social events when we can enjoy one another’s company in a different context. Remember, social events come in all shapes and sizes. A meeting between four of us down the pub can be as social as attending a formal function.
A final warning to all of us; we have been and remain a very successful group and at the heart of that is the meeting, its positivity, its friendliness, its banter and that must not….will not change over the coming year.
Chairman’s Business Networking Blog, 5th February 2015.
Was it the wind chill; was it the promise of snow; was it both of these coupled with it being dark at 5.30am? Whichever, we had a turnout of 18 members, not bad I suppose.
Anyway, it was pleasantly warm at our venue as we drank our coffee and orange juice and did our pre-meeting networking.
It was Peter Hood and Neal Lewer who were there first which was enough to warm the cockles of your heart.
When the meeting got underway Howard Bullock attempted to educate us with a very basic message of “…don’t forget to look after your existing clients!!” Simple messages are often the most effective. I still can’t get used to Howard Bullock in trousers.
I was now very concerned what sort of quality we would have in the 60 second round, such concern being due to the total absence of any of the members of the 60 second School of Whimsy. Alan Shaw, Nick Cooke and Brian Painter were all missing as was the Bard of Hadleigh.
I am relieved to tell you that the second team stepped up to the plate.
Mike Rogers spoke about Japanese Knot Weed. At first I thought he was a describing what the Japanese did…. but it turned out to be a warning of how invasive said plant is and how it’s presence can make your house unmortgagable. Although he described its consequences he did not offer up any suggestion as to how you can prevent it getting into your garden in the first place. Chairman’s suggestion, beware of people carrying plants. If he looked as if he was tiring by the end of his 60 seconds I learnt later it was because of a diet our Bellman is currently observing. His breakfast consisted of 1 egg on half a piece of toast. Diets normally make me feel grumpy; I shudder to think what this diet will do to the Old Curmudgeon, he needs our support.
Kevin Brooks is leaving off the water tablets as he continues his job opposite Madame Tussauds. He is no longer uses his all purpose van for relief. Instead he uses the local McDonalds,…Oh and yes, you have to have a Big Mac if you are going to use the toilets. You can’t just walk in there, only paying customers!
Stewart Smallcombe entertained us with a description what can be done with your telephone whilst clients and customers are on hold. Either bleeps or music can be very irritating; his recommendation is a bespoke message commercially produced outlining your range of services. You could see the look of disbelief on everyone’s face when he indicated that this was not an expensive process. Pressed to provide a much more precise answer he responded, “…it’s just a fraction of the cost that you think it might be”. There are salesmen better than most of us who would kill for that sort of insight.
Peter Hood has had an interesting week so far. What was most interesting was his Monday where he was dealing with a silicon replacement which I rather stupidly thought had something to do with breast implants. Why is it that everybody else’s job seems more interesting.
Terry Maylin was awarding the Oscar and he took pity on Kim Redwood-Lee, who described herself as a positive person but then listed the disasters that had befallen her so far this week. I think Terry thought he ought to be the person that had turned round her luck for this week and awarded her the coveted statue.
With information about next weeks anniversary meeting from Scott in his role as meeting secretary we moved to breakfast. Most people ate heartily even though Mr Rogers was confined to the aforementioned egg.
It was Terry Maylin’s turn for the 10 minute presentation. Fortunately the breakfast did enable him to build his strength after the multi tasking he exhibited in adjudicating of the Oscar. He produced a very polished explanation of the TM Law set up which was not only easy for everyone to digest but I can confirm that it was accurate. Most people have used Terry’s services and therefore in the referrals and testimonials round were able to confirm his expertise and the reason to keep making referrals him. In addition, the referrals and testimonials round produced £16,150.00 worth of business written with 14 referrals. Pride of place went to Howard, I counted 6 referrals…. and he still didn’t win the speakers prize, whose privilege was Steward Smallcombe’s. He received a bottle of wine which hopefully was not a fraction of the cost that you think it might be.
I end with a call to arms. It is our anniversary meeting next week. Be there, it is like the Oscars and Baftas all rolled into one and if visitors turn up so much the better.
Chairman’s Business Networking Blog, Thursday 29th January 2015.
19 members and 2 visitors Sarah and Geoff from a marketing company.
The Ed Slot was a David Plumley special. Do you remember a bloke called Demming? Shame on you if you don’t, he is the man who rebuilt Japan, and in relation to matters of business he has enunciated 7 deadly diseases. David Plumley regaled us with 2 of them. One was lack of consistency of purpose, the importance of maintaining momentum in your business. The other was a warning against short term-ism in your business which prevents successful long term planning and losing potential to loyal customers.
Chairman’s Business Networking Blog, Tuesday 27th January 2015.
9 member’s present and 1 guest, Danny, a stationer invited by Christine Arnold.
It was with bated breath end with upturned eyes that we gazed at Hugo Heij as he rose to his feet about to deliver the final episode of DEBRA O upside-down. Nothing to do with Dr. Deb but about being either proactive or reactive in business; last week it was reactive; this week it was proactive and the letters OAR were there to refer to business owners taking Ownership Accountability and Responsibility. Puzzled?… look at last week’s Blog and it will give you the full picture.
Highlights of the 60 second round included Paul Lefever passing round a piece of wire that he had found being used in a house in Loughton which was about to cause disaster.
Ian Nicholson is looking for people who are in the process of divorce. This is a not a method of speed dating but a method of his being introduced to clients so that they can be advised on pensions where these are being divided up in financial settlements.
Dr Deb once again extolled the virtues of the three S’s. This has nothing to do with a bloke’s morning ablutions but Savings S…….and Service. Please in the comments to this Blog (not you Deb) complete the word that is the second aforementioned S.
Richard Willis illustrated the importance of branding by how members of different trades and professionals dress and how this is reflective of society’s expectations based on what they do. If it’s a tailor its probably which side your trousers fall, if you know what I mean…
Pride of place, with the Oscar was Lewis Hackney. He produced his Marshalls catalogue with lots of illustrations including before and after photos.
The ten minute slot treated us to one of those very professional performances that we have come to expect from Hugo Heij This was a sort of valedictory performance that made us realise that we will miss him when he departs after next week. He has given us two leads as replacements. Let’s make sure we chase these down.
Richard Willis passed on the good news based on both earlier weeks of this month and today confirming our gradual improved performance in referrals and recording of business passed. We were just shortfall of £10,000 this month. It’s something to build on and lets all make the effort to indeed do so.
Chairman’s Business Networking Blog, Thursday 22nd January 2015
There were 18 members present and 3 visitors being Keith Edwards and Heather Smith from Ardleigh Green who are suppliers of cleaning products and Dean Turner a builder who came along to see how our meeting worked as a prelude to attending Billericay.
I recently spent some time reviewing my business and its incoming work schedules. Its great that we are incredibly busy at the moment, in fact we’re actually turning away work as we just don’t have the resources available to complete any more for a few months.
Being busy is great, however it is important to be busy in a profitable and sensible way, not just busy for the sake of being busy. We’re hopefully much closer to the first example but we could easily improve I am sure.
And so this thinking led me to think more about my own ongoing marketing, and then to think about some of my clients. My own website is so incredibly out of date that it needs to be replaced. I’ve spent a long long time creating a new one, but haven’t been able to find time to complete this. If I don’t launch my new website soon I am in danger of losing the status and authority that I have spent so many years building.
Here begins the “Swimming metaphor” of your online marketing. We generally all learn to swim and can manage on our own quite easily in a nice and safe environment like an indoor pool. If the swimming becomes difficult then we can stop and perhaps even put our feet down for a rest. If the water is a little too deep then we can tread water and remain exactly where we are.
Out in the real world however we arent swimming in an enclosed pool but we’re in a metaphorical flowing river. In a river that flows, even slowly, then you must remain swimming at all times just to remain in the same place! As soon as you stop swimming you begin to get washed away and are quickly gone.
There really isn’t an opportunity to stop for a rest with your online marketing. You need to plan ahead and schedule your activity, and make this work or risk being washed away. It doesnt have to be lots of work, just continuous forwards movement just ahead of the tide will keep you moving forwards or at least stop you from moving the wrong way.
Advancing the metaphor, to get ahead of the game you’ll need to work hard. To put your head down and swim. But we are all human. We cant swim at “race pace” forever and so we need to find a way to get ahead of the game.
Why keep swimming forever? It requires lots of energy and consumes lots of time. There are much easier ways to travel our metaphorical river. The best way is to travel in style, and in the metaphor this is in a speedboat!
Your online marketing company is your metaphorical speedboat. Their skills at website design, search engine optimisation, social media, email marketing and other skills can let you sit back and relax while your online presence zooms ahead.
This metaphor could be taken a lot further, infact it is quite likely that I will do so in subsequent blog posts, but for now I will end with one final warning. Speedboats are awesome, but not all speed boat drivers are equal! Choose which boat you get into carefully…
If you would like assistance with your online marketing then please contact me. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office on 01277 849443.
Chairman’s Business Networking Blog, Tuesday 20th January 2015.
9 members present and 4 guests.
Robert Jones, there for the second time promising to attend with an application form next week to join Nozzy for the second time of asking, and Brian and Dean Hunnikin who run a security business. A very satisfactory turn out with a promise of new members.
Chairman’s Business Networking Blog, Thursday 15th January 2015
19 members saw David Plumley get things under way with the Ed Slot. His theme this week was the necessity and obligation for members to follow up on referrals. Both the referrer and the referee must liaise to ensure that we convert as many referrals as possible and also the final act of thanking the referrer for the money and recording this is essential for our records and plotting the progress of our group. On that note, later in the meeting, Scott Griffiths was to refer to our upcoming anniversary. He made a request that all members review the earnings they have made from referrals this year and put in all outstanding thank yous during this month. An important message for all of us individually as well as for the group collectively;
Two awards were made in this meeting, one for the winner of last month’s performance league and the other, the “jolly good egg” award. The winner of both was Paul Booth. Not only were both well deserved but this should pose a challenge to all of us out there to do better in the performance league. In case you haven’t noticed, really good scores come from bringing visitors and in particular converting these visitors to members.
A couple of visitors in a month, whether they are converted to members or not will always get you closer to the top of the league. We should all bear this in mind.
Apart from celebrating Paul Booth’s success, a word of warning to us all came from the 60 second round. The celebrated Mr Booth posed a question as to whether PPI Compensation was taxable. If anybody cares, apparently it isn’t!! However any interest earned on the compensation is. To be a guest at the Booth meal table means that any time the conversation flags it will inevitably turn to such stimulating matters, beware!
In fact the 60 second round kicked off with the Old Curmudgeon himself who had briefly been denied his customary seat at the table. Alan Shaw and Janice Bentley-Pearson finally bowed to the pressure and moved up to allow him in. That seemed to cheer him up no end and he opened with a 60 seconds that reviewed the year 2014 so far as mortgage business was concerned. Apparently the last two quarters could be described as “fizzle, fizzle, fizzle”. His prediction for the first two quarters of 2015 is apparently the same, more fizzle, even though more lenders are now coming back into the market. It took him almost two minutes to deliver this message. It was something of a relief when he was relieved by Kevin Brooks. On a sartorial note, without being flamboyant, our Kev was wearing rather well cut jeans. Maintaining the sartorial theme, Howard Bullock was back for his first meeting after the New Year and he also sported jeans. This was also something of a relief after the weeks of seeing the exposure of his lower limbsalbiet in the cause of charity. He also sported a full set (full beard and moustache for those not in the know). His 60 seconds was about the FTSE. Most of us were recovering from the altered image of our Clear Financial Adviser to pick up on the importance of the performance of the said financial indicator which apparently dropped a lot on Wednesday. It would be unwise, I think, to place Mr Bullock alongside Mr Booth at the dinner table if the conversation might be in danger of flagging.
And now to Whimsy Corner. The usual protagonists slugged it out, Alan Shaw complained that he had a client on his back all week starting with calls at 8am in the morning, when he was in bed and general harassment throughout the day. His request was not for us not to refer clients to him but not to refer any potential persistent clients. On the other hand his brother in whimsy, Nick Cooke had been dealing with structural problems on Canvey Island. Apparently if you get a structural problem on Canvey Island you either instruct Mr Cooke or perhaps more sensibly shoot yourself. This week they were joined by our Pilgrim, Brian Painter, who attended a client who was addicted to chocolate and who on his instructions, attended their session with a bar of the said addictive substance. He did not regale her however with details of the toxins that her addiction brought her into contact with, but rather asked her to eat a piece and then later on in the session when he weaved his hypnotic magic he asked her to take another piece, which she promptly spat out and declared that if felt like a slug in her mouth. Hypnotic slug pellets are obvious running the virtual gastric band a close second.
In the last couple of weeks one or two members have declared that they are a little behind in getting to their invoicing. No names no pack drill, but may I introduce you both to Tina who weekly in this round offers her services to relieve the pressure of organisational matters such as these. This week in addition however she was talking about a private airline she was involved with. This made Richard Reed’s ears prick up but inexplicably we got no special offers this week; merely a warning that we should choose our holidays to fit our lifestyle. If any of you wish to make suggestions as to the sort of holidays that would suit certain members then you must feel free to add them to this Blog.
This interesting 60 second round however was topped by Dean Caldon who won the Oscar for his description of the new portal “on the market”. It was informative in that he not only explained how it was a “good thing” in that it would break the monopoly of Right Move and Zoopla and “a bad thing” if you find an estate agents who uses it, you mustn’t expect to appear on Right Move or Zoopla. He will no doubt keep us up to date as this particular conundrum develops.
By this stage however we were all starting to feel the hunger pains, we all tried to pay attention to Scott’s delivery of the Meeting Secretary’s report. About £5,500.00 of business at this meeting and 14 referrals; We then broke for breakfast and soon a contented hush fell over the room.
The 10 minute slot was Allan Moller’s. He had filled a table with his literature including his many certificates; he filled his presentation with a description how he became an electrician and, as with all good 10 minute presentations, he demonstrated his enthusiasm for his business. It would appear that most of us have experienced his expertise over recent months as shown by the verbal testimonials that followed his presentation. Once again we have a member who we can confidently refer to our friends and acquaintances. His presentation was followed by the referrals and testimonials round which was of its usual good quality. The meeting closed with a request from Kim Redwood-Lee to keep suggestions coming for future social events.
For those of our member’s indisposed we wish you well. For all members I request the highest possible attendance next week.
Chairman’s Business networking blog, Tuesday 13th January 2015
We had as many apologies for absence as members present. May all illnesses be cured and other difficulties resolved for next week. However, thanks to all for their apologies. If you cannot be with us your apologies are important and a second best. With only 8 members present there was however a good turnout of visitors, 3 in all, Keith Edwards and Heather Smith from Ardleigh Green, a janitorial supply company and Nozzy Njathi from Cleaning Service. My congratulations to those members present who put on a really good show as a result of which all visitors took away membership applications and Keith Edwards from Ardliegh Green showed serious commitment to joining when I spoke to him afterwards.
Nige Kirby kicked off with the Ed Slot, substituting for Hugo Heij and very much in the style of Hugo delivered a message that we should work out how much free time we have and use it profitably within the context of our business. The message was simple enough and well put over but the “math” was something different. I think Stephen Hawkins would have had problems with it and if anybody said that his calculations were not rocket science, I would tend to disagree.
Dr Deb is in the lead in the performance league for the first week.
The 60 second round was more workman like than inspired, but everybody got over details of the sort of clients they are looking for at the moment. Adam Hotson awarded the Oscar to Jim Henshaw because he was offering something free – a sort of protection insurance health check. Like Adam I am all for acknowledging a bargain.
No 10 minute speaker this week but the replacement question and answer session proved a very effective way of introducing our guests to what we all did and indeed was our opportunity to get more information about our guests. It lasted nearly half an hour and in many respects made up for the lack of numbers.
Jim Henshaw did his bit with the recruitment section of the meeting. He is going to produce an overview of the results of the various enquiries over the last couple of weeks concerning potential visitors. His efforts seem to be bearing fruit. For those of us who were not there in either mind or spirit this week’s trade is car mechanic. Let’s all make sure that we have some names and addresses for Jim in this particular area of expertise next week.
I understand there are one or two guests expected next week. May I make a plea for all of you who either attended or were not able to attend this week Please let’s have full turn outs in the coming weeks as visitors arrive. The better the turnout the more attractive it is to visitors.
Well done everyone this week who did attend.
Chairman’s Business networking Blog, Thursday 8th January 2015.
20 members turned up after the Christmas Break, like children back for the first day of a new term.
Amidst a general “swinging of satchels” and shouted greetings, there were one or two notable absences with varied excuses which were duly noted by Tina who marked the register. Best apology for absence was Peter Hood, apparently he did not realise it was a Thursday. Like a latter-day Bob Geldorf he can probably be heard singing to himself I don’t “…I don’t like Thursdays”…… horrible child!! Debra Glover made up for his absence, a visitor from the Billericay group.
And so the meeting kicked off and before the lessons started we were regaled with the exam results for last month. We learnt the top of the class was Paul Booth with 186 points and we congratulated ourselves that we had had a reasonable good December as far as business passed was concerned…£50,400.00.
The first lesson, Head of technology AKA David Plumley asked one of his better pupils, Nick Cooke to deliver the Ed Slot. Young “Kookie” had certainly done his homework. He rose purposefully to his feet and strode to the end of the desks. He had two pages of notes, which was essential, because he set himself the task of explaining new technology. He even sought to demonstrate his own grasp of the subject by holding up a diary which looked remarkably like a mobile phone.
When he sat down I think most of us felt that the new term had got off to a good start.
It was no time before the 60 second lesson was upon us with an instruction, from the head master no less, that all essays must contain a reference to our New Year’s Resolutions. The instruction was observed to the letter by everyone, most people linking it in with their plans for this year within their business. Kim Redwood-Lee vowed to make her business more profitable. Janice Bentley-Pearson had 3 aims, to grow her business, grow herself and drink more champagne but did not explain how the later linked in with the two former resolutions.
It really became more interesting when people were more specific.
The self styled “ding dong” Mike Rogers considered himself already perfect but then rattled off some eye watering fixed rate mortgages that are available which went towards explaining why he remains the most cheerful member of our group.
Nick Cooke ran through what he did. The most interesting claim in relation to buildings was that Alan Shaw designed them and that he made them stand up. He was followed by Alan Shaw, Nick’s his twin in whimsy who rather speculatively suggested that he was intending to sort out his website, take more photographs of his jobs. He missed out that can’t have Nick Cooke with him at all times to make sure that his designed buildings“stood up”.
Alex Pink vowed to produce more videos for himself and Alan Moller was going to try to keep on top of his invoices…and eat fewer sausages. It was not clear whether the two resolutions were linked but Tina’s vow was to expand her business including helping businesses with their invoicing. If she had only mentioned her willingness to eat other people’s sausages I think she would have got a job there and then.
It was all going so well…. then Brian Painter stood up. On the bright side there were no dire warnings of death by poison that will be the just reward for all smokers but a tear jerker of a story about a gambling addict who finally got his act together by consulting our pilgrim. We all like tear jerkers with a happy endings… and he even managed to fit all of this in to 5 minutes and also, and here’s the trick…finished before people started booing.
Paul Booth is offering glasses of Port when you visit his office, which seemed to me to be the best resolution by far, but those of us who were guessing the potential Oscar winner of course had taken our eye of the ball. The Bard of Hadleigh rose with Union Jack style tie and was in every sense the John Bull of the meeting. He produced, in keeping with his poet laureate status, a ditty of great profundity that genuinely demonstrated how easy it is to put a rhyme to “RMK”. Any suggestions that his wife really writes his poetry only goes to strengthen his status as our foremost poet; wasn’t it Wordsworth whose sister Dorothy wrote most of his ditties, and like our own Bard of Hadleigh, became Poet Laureate. Of course Alex Pink awarded the Oscar to him and before we knew it breakfast was upon us.
Amidst an excited hum, everybody rose and rushed over to the tuck shop where they filled their plates with all sorts of goodies and a silence then descended upon the room whilst we filled our faces.
David Plumley finally rang the bell for the next lesson and we all grabbed our chairs and ran to the back of the gymnasium to watch Scott Griffiths deliver his own version of a Punch and Judy show on the television at the back of the room. As always, a good and professional presentation.
It was the last lesson that really brought the day to a virtual end in a most exceptional way. The referrals round started with Kevin Radford producing amongst other things 5 referrals. A good round of applause was well deserved and the words were heard for the next performer…beat that. Well it was Dean and he also produced 5 referrals…more applause. One up from Dean was Terry Maylin and he also produced 5 referrals. Of course it didn’t go on forever but it was a fantastic start and really an excellent referrals round. There were 22 referrals in all and £6,500 of business written.
Before we broke up for the day Kim Redwood-Lee, in her role of Social Secretary requested suggestions for after school activities. I think she is going to put round an email but, whether she does so or not, please overwhelm her with your ideas so we can keep her busy in conjunction with our own efforts for the rest of the year. Whilst wishing to encourage as many pupils as possible to comment on this blog two words are forbidden….Gym Slip and Grooming. Now that’s a challenge for our Pilgrim!!!!!