Chairman’s Business Networking Blog, Thursday 26th March 2015.
17 members were present and 2 visitors. Donna Evans visited us for the second time and new visitor Silvia Meredith a Life Coach was also present.
A surreal meeting or so it seemed to me.
First impression was an addition to our venue, namely a chairlift from the ground floor entrance to our meeting room reminiscent of skiing holidays or a reminder that Brian Painter will be back with us next week.
The next image that greeted me and leads me on to sartorial matters was David Plumley, resplendent in double breasted blazer nicely set off with light grey slacks, and as our American cousins will have it, loafers…or rather that’s what it should have been. Set against the blues and greys was a cross striped tie that resembled a wasp. This rather fetching ensemble was worn in conjunction with socks to die for. Hoops of black pink orange and blue; if ever there was a man dressed to present a 10 minute slot it was our worthy Education and Development Officer.
If his socks appeared garish by contrast to the rest of his attire he was well supported by other members. Scott Griffiths sported orange and black hoops on his socks; NickCooke, red and white and finally Stuart Smallcombe, socks that were patterned gray green and white. What a feast of colour!!!! I cannot leave matters of fashion without once again congratulating Howard Bullock on another checked shirt that gave a general purplish impression.
So we all sat down and the meeting began. As I looked down the table, it was clear where any trouble would come from; at the end on the left was what became as the meeting progressed, the “naughty corner”. Inhabited by Messrs Booth, Bullock, Caldon and Smallcombe, they generally misbehaved through the meeting. At one stage during the 60 second round there were snorts, giggles and titters, which I particularly noticed after I had sat down after delivering my 60 seconds. The message was soon set round, my flies were undone. Well spotted chaps. I suspect you missed the message, that I will produce a basic employment contract that is legally compliant for £350.00 plus vat. Richard Reed was not here this week to take advantage of this Blog to further plug his products so I will unashamedly do it for myself.
What the otherwise sharp eyed Naughty Corner failed to spot was that my esteemed colleague, the Meeting Secretary, went through the whole of the meeting with his flies undone. I hope that this does not become a trend for future meetings.
The Ed Slot delivered, by the dapper Development Secretary tested us on our knowledge of what each other did as a prelude to warning of the importance of the 60 second presentation and, if I might emphasise, the need to turn up and deliver it.
Nuggets from the 60 second round included Neal Lewer with a very apt use of props. These came in the form of various drawer runners which he assured us were all German products, thereby implying quality. My favourite was the extension runner which brings a drawer right out and means that you either cannot hide things at the back of a drawer or you can hide them more effectively with the drawer being pulled out.
The School of Whimsy made it’s regular contribution. Nick Cooke, like some drug enforcement officer, referred to crack damage. Alan Shaw talked of designing animal hospitals and putting roofs over court yards…Oh and by the way, he is busy for the next 2 weeks. Stuart Smallcombe took Mrs S to the West End and appeared somewhat triumphant over managing to get half price tickets in the best seats. So overwhelmed was he with this triumph that he revealed the show exposed him and his Mrs to the Commitments and he then proceeded to regale us with a short medley of said bands greatest hits. It might not have been the “wall of sound” but it won him the Oscar. It was Alan Shaw who was in charge of the award. He found himself slightly overwhelmed by the process, uncertain as to his choice and at one stage he even declared that he thought that he should give serious consideration in awarding it to himself. I remember once attending a BNI (there…I have said it) training session when one Chapter boldly declared that the 60 second round was far too important to leave it to any previous winner and there was an appointed Oscar awarder. It seemed a stupid idea to me at the time but if I had to vote for someone it would be Alan Shaw.
After breakfast we had an excellent presentation by Mr Plumley who seemed comfortable in his clothes. If we learnt nothing more from his presentation that he is meticulous and effective that is in itself reasons for us to go out and find him more referrals.
Talking of referrals; this week there was in effect 20 referrals from 17 members. An average in excess of 1 referral per person seems to me a good result and the basis of a good referrals round.
Next week we hope to be welcoming ex Billericay members to our fold so please turn up in your droves and with their presence lets this make a well attended meeting.
Chairman’s Business Networking Blog, Thursday 19th March 2015.
16 members present and 1 guest, Donna Evans who is threatening to come back next week, a potential new member.
The Ed Slot was delivered by Scott Griffiths. He illustrated the importance of 1-2-1s by getting us all to fill in a mini questionnaire that enabled him to get 5 “volunteers” to guess “who the person was”. The presentation revealed 2 things:
- Scott’s willingness to spend time in preparation and
- The importance of 1.2.1’s which is often neglected in a group where we all have known each other for a long time. Regular 1.2.1s with each, however much “we think” we know someone invariable reveals aspects of our businesses that will make referrals easier. This was one of several good Ed Slots that we have been treated to over recent weeks.
The real boost to the meeting this week, notwithstanding a visitor and a good Ed Slot was the presence of Graham Wright. It’s good to see him back in action, welcome back Graham.
Turning to matters sartorial; Howard Bullock never fails to deliver, this week’s shirt was the third check shirt in a row, but this one was red. Marcus Brown, only a shade away from his name, was wearing the Dacco red sweatshirt but Mr Bullock won the day.
Two members of the School of Whimsy were present and this week it was Alan Shaw who held sway. Back from a recent holiday he told of an interview he had with two clients where one of them fell asleep. He then went on to assure us that it was nothing to do with the way in which he was conducting the meeting. He then appeared to slightly lose his way and when asked where he went on his holiday he remained mesmerised. I will break my time honoured tradition of indicating who won the Oscar until after I have reported fully on the 60 second round and declare that Howard Bullock looked no further in awarding the Oscar to Mr Shaw. He had remembered his name, forgotten where he went on holiday and we were all very much aware of his presence. We all know he is an architect anyway…
Mike Rogers produced a stunning performance when illustrating how the budget allowance for first time buyers would make little difference. He rattled off his illustration in mind boggling fashion and when asked to repeat it he managed to do so. If I have been a first time buyer listening to him I would have been depressed but by contrast old grumble guts himself remained thoroughly cheerful throughout.
David Plumley for once produced something that would have been puzzling for the uninitiated. He is apparently “beefing up his remote tools”. We of course all knew what he was talking about. Anyone who has had David fiddling with their computer remotely will treasure the close encounter with his remote tools.
It was a relief to hear Richard Reed back on message; first off he was able to tell Alan Shaw where he had been on holiday, which brought a smile to everyone’s face, including Alan’s. I think it was something of reminiscence. It was as if he had been transported back to that beach, running in to the sea wearing his red Speedos. Well I rather hope they were red, it would have linked in with Howard Bullock,s red and white check…but I ramble…back to Richard Reed. I was slightly bemused by what turned out to be a 3 minute session. He seemed to be offering turkeys at £49.99, but of course really it was a holiday in Turkey for £499.00 per person. A 21 night cruise for £1,569.00 per person also seemed rather alluring but the down side was that you had to be ready to depart within two days.
Breakfast was upon us before we could blink and then we were into the 10 minute presentation which this week was from Gary Waskett. He was able to regale us with tales of insolvency and misbehaving directors and was a very assured performance. He had gone to the trouble of turning up his collar before he delivered his pearls of wisdom and what colour do you think the inside of his jacket collar was…yes, you’ve got it, red. He did make us realise how we can find referrals for him and typical of a well delivered 10 minutes, he was asked a lot of questions at the end.
The meeting wound to an end with the referrals and testimonials round and when the draw came for the speaker’s prize who should win it but Alan Shaw.
We finally departed out of the fire door because of work that was being done at the entrance of the building and so another meeting came to an end.
Chairman’s Business Networking Blog, Thursday 12th March 2015.
An unusual meeting, relocated to the downstairs area of the golf club whilst work was carried out to our usual location.
With many people on holiday it was a good turnout of 18 in all Danielle White representing Redwood-Clarke.
A more intimate venue with members occupying booths with a central table to each booth; all in all we seemed to cope with the different surroundings.
David Plumley kicked us off with a Ed Slot entitled back to basics which was aimed the importance of keeping the meeting moving by keeping your 60 seconds to just that length of time and keeping the referrals round short and sharp.
I think we followed his advice during the rest of the meeting.
With his warning ringing in our ears we launched the 60 second round.
Absent were all current members of the House of Whimsy, Messrs Shaw and Painter were on holiday and Mr Cooke had an argument t with his alarm clock…the night before. What would the contributions be we wondered?.
First of all, from a sartorial point of view the main contributors were David Plumley and Kevin Brooks….. red Pullies and Howard Bullock his trademark checked shirt, not the table cloth green and white one but one with a purplish tinge…. let us call it heather.
We were hardly into the round when Janice stood up, seized 3 golf balls from a display on the wall and began juggling. The point……. we juggle things in our business and should be careful not to have too many balls in the air. It would probably be fair to say that her skills as a business coach in stopping you juggling too many balls far our weighed her ability with the balls themselves.
The slightly tight seating arrangements also meant that interesting presentations involved Kevin Brooks and Alan Moller sitting up on the back of the seating to deliver their offering and Paul Booth standing on the seat. Richard Reed talked of the Greek Islands and the sum of £349.00 came up. Although I thought this referred to a holiday, more likely it is the value of some of the Greek Islands given their current parlous financial state.
Many of us told of the work we had currently had on. Pride of place must go to Alan Moller who had one client who was always looking over Alan ‘s shoulder but on the other hand he had a lady feeding him short bread fingers and other delicacies whilst he fiddled with her water works.
I have to report that Mike Rogers had cheerful news with regard to current mortgage products including a TSB 10 year fixed rate of 3.14% with the ability to get out of it after 5 years.
Pride of place however went to Danielle who was selling Redwood-Clarke credit control services which include phoning up recalcitrant payers of invoices.
Breakfast passed off without a hitch despite the proximity of the tables, the food and people milling around.
Paul Booth gave us a report on the recent Finance Synergy Meeting which, as always, had been a constructive meeting.
It was Neil Lewer’s turn for the 10 minute presentation and he espoused technology, giving us a visual presentation of who he is and what he did and demonstrating with photographs the high quality of his work. A really good advertisement for him and his services!!
We were then simply left with the referrals and testimonials round which produced 22 referrals (it is always good when the referrals always outnumber the number of members present) and £9,000 worth of business recorded.
All in all a very enjoyable and very effective meeting with good statistics;
Next week we are back up in our usual location, let us see a good turnout.
Chairman’s Business Networking Blog, Thursday 5th March 2015. (Which also happens to be World Book Day? More of that later…..)
There were 18 members present with 1 visitor, Hugo Heij sometimes of the Billericay Meeting.
The Ed Slot this week was delivered by Janice Bentley Pearson. Her message was for us to be positive in the conduct of our businesses. She had already started as she meant to go on, signing the members register clearly in her best joined up writing. It was a very good first effort.
Now back to World Book Day; Scott Griffiths was inspired to suggest that everybody, in honour of said Day, as a prelude to their 60 seconds, briefly review the last book they read or are currently reading.
So Dean Caldon kicked us off. Whinny the Witch, a children’s fantasy, links in with his duties as story reader for his children. His actual 60 seconds seemed almost like fantasy as he talked of the manic house market and the rising prices.
Peter Hood was next up and he is reading “A Calculated Life” which tells of someone who sees every potential action they take in the context of all probabilities in relation to outcomes. I suspect this is reflective of a plumber’s life. “…if I unscrew this I might finish up ….” And so it went on.
Noticeable contributions were, Gary Waskett appropriately reading Alan Sugar’s biography and Alan Shaw reading “Bird Song” which is largely set in the trenches of the First World War. He then talked of assembling objections in relation to the planning application that is currently before the Council for turning an area between Brentwood and Basildon into a Garden City. Not only is the bird in Bird Song reminiscent of gardens but the fear of the objectors is that the result might be something of a battle field. A good steady performance from the principal exponent of the House of Whimsy.
Our Pilgrim is reading “Gamble” by son of Dick Francis; I thought it was Dick’s wife who wrote them anyway! It is all in the title, he went on to describe the gamble that smokers were taking, all 8.4 million of them. Patches don’t work and one out of two dies prematurely. He recited the poisons more methodically this time and I was able to get most of them down; Tar, Arsenic, cyanide, DDT and so the list went on.
Stuart Smallcombe, consistent with his media related business takes his literature through audio books. Although Terry Maylin’s message was TM Law’s connection with Spanish Property Lawyers his book was Chief Scout” which apparently documents how football scouts go all over the world for simply petrol money in order to seek out the next Christian Ronaldo. I think he empathised, what with lawyers being relatively poorly paid for their efforts.
Janice Bentley-Pearson maintained her positive attitude explaining the book she is reading is “Business in the 21st Century”. Something of a busman’s holiday I suspect, which linked up with Paul Booth who is alternating his literary attentions between “Williams Tax Tables” and the “Fall of Kings”. Once again he left us all envious of those who dine around the Booth dinner table and the small talk that accompanies it.
As another technology based business, Alex Pink, also relying on audio books, is reading/hearing about the angst of the scientist who invested the atomic bomb, perhaps something of a sobering read.
When Kim rose to her feet we were treated the first real bit of fantasy, the “Constant Princess”, all about Catherine of Aragon. I suspect said queen was probably rather bossy and probably had “the stare”.
It was left to Richard Reed to indicate that he did not have much time for reading, although his reference to “Lord of the Rings” left me expecting a special offer to New Zealand… but none of it. This week he as suggesting a Safari to Tanganyika; yes I can spell it, could any of you…Tanganyika, that is. Anyway £954.00 per person to enable you to chase after animals who, without as gun, can do more damage to you than you to them.
Alan Moller is reading “Touring Europe by Motorbike”. We can all see what he daydreams about whilst he is doing his rewire at Thundersley.
I do not normally mention in this Blog the contributions of our visitors but Hugo Heij is different although an autobiography by Dennis Birdcamp was not such a surprising choice. In defence of any accusation of parochialism, he explained that on a recent visit to America he was accused of having a typically British accent…..what the hell do they know anyway!! Fewer than a third of them have passports!!!
Oh yes…and what about me, well I reverted to the first book I ever read, “Little Noddy Book 1”. The opening chapter has Noddy’s mate Big Ears arranging a house for him to live in and reacting in a pitying fashion to Noddy’s rather reasonable suggestion that if they put the roof on first it would keep them all dry whilst they built the rest of the house. I was going to genuinely talk about the book I have just finished reading, “I am Pilgrim”. Two things stopped me; the first was Brian Painter’s presence and his indictment of smoking. I felt that we had enough from anything to do with being a pilgrim and secondly the rather novel way of constructing a house seemed to tie in with Kevin Brooks who had spent his 60 seconds telling stories that had nothing to do with building. I felt the need to remind the meeting of what he really does and probably how he does it. If you feel I am being unfair on our Kev I can only put it down to the fact that this week he was not dressed with anything that was sartorially eye catching, something I look forward to every meeting.
And so it was, dear reader, that we had a highly entertaining 60 second round. David Plumley, who was awarding the Oscar, felt that Kevin’s anecdotes deserved recognition and rightly awarded him the Oscar.
Our meeting Secretary’s Report had Scott Griffiths announcing just under £40,000 worth of business written for the previous month and having earlier awarded the network leader for February to Kim Redwood-Lee. Although he was there or thereabouts she managed to knock Paul Booth off top spot. Well done Kim.
We were all very hungry when we broke for breakfast, given the amount of brain power that was forced upon us by having to review books as well as give a 60 second presentation.
Breakfast was followed by a very well presented 10 minutes from Alex Pink. If any of us had any doubt either of the quality of his product or of its importance in modern business promotion, this was very effectively dispelled. So inspiring was Alex that I was slightly disturbed by the behaviour of my business partner at lunch time later in the day when he walked round the approach to our offices with a video camera giving occasional commentary. All for the web site he declared!
Alex, you have a lot to answer for, but all the same, not only a most professionally presented 10 minutes but a really interesting presentation that gave us all something to think about. The one criticism that might have been levied at him was that he was not going to tell us how must this all cost but the day was saved by who else but Alan Shaw whoposed the question. Basic price was £450 with bits to be added on that would increase the cost. Half the cost for an individual to go on a safari to Tanganyika and if you do not smoke and therefore survive long enough you can probably organise yourself a video for your business as well as a holiday with Richard Reed.
Some of our members will be on holiday next week. May I particularly ask all of those reading this Blog who are not on holiday to make the greatest effort to attend next week; if for no other reason than, if the meeting is half as good as this week it will be great entertainment and worth getting up for.
17 attended in all including visitors Nige Kirby from the Billericay meeting and Jonathan Woolley who deals with printing and training support. There was a very appropriate Ed Slot delivered by our Education and Development Officer himself. He quoted Wayne Gretski. For those of you not in the know he is an ice hockey player and his utterance was worthy of our Wayne, the footballer called Rooney. The pearl of wisdom was as follows “100% of the shots you don’t take don’t go in”. This entirely appropriate quote must be a reminder to us all that if we do not turn up at meetings we cannot reach our referral goals.
Whilst he was at it, David also suggested that we break up our working day in order to help maintain our mental alertness and concentration. He listed, micro breaks, drinking plenty of water, going outside, having a nap or jumping up and down. He then selected jumping up and down to put us all through our paces. I would have preferred the sleep one but there it is.
By this time in the meeting I tend to be looking for fashion statements or something on the sartorial side that cached my eye. Kevin Brooks can always be relied upon; he was sporting a distinctive green pully. He has been on this job opposite Madame Tussauds a bit too long. Having locked himself in a loo, any other activity that might make him notorious could result in a waxen image in the aforementioned establishment. My vote is that he is cast wearing the green pully. Pride of place however must go to Kim with her vivid mustard yellow dress. Kim will no doubt correct me if I have mis-described the colour. Nonetheless she was a ray of sunshine on as dull and gray morning.
This week one member of the school of whimsy was head and shoulders above the rest. Last week it had been Nike Cooke (in conjunction with Alan Shaw) who presented the 10 minute slot. This week it was Alan Shaw himself but, before embarking upon this event he told of a nightclub that he visited 10 years after he had been involved in its design and building. Apparently it was in a tatty state and he followed this description with a request that that was exactly what he was looking for this week….. nightclubs. I think it was for the purpose of designing the same but if he is looking for an architectural legacy, perhaps this is not a good choice.
Brian Painter was confronted with a hoarder whose behaviour was based upon having toys taken from him when he was a child and given to his mates when they played with them. Needless to say it was his mothers fault on this. Brian’s homily has at least had one profound effect; I view my wife’s wardrobe more with affection than blame.
Now I am going straight over to the 10 minute presentation to which I am becoming inexorably drawn. Alan did not disappoint. First of all there was the strong and rather unnerving impression given that he had mastered technology. He was using the TV screen and as he pressed the appropriate button of his lap top the screen filled with the names of himself and those who work with him and a short resume in relation to each. Underneath there were some rather attractive drawings but underneath does not mean on the screen but on the settee below.
He then launched into his presentation ignoring the information on the screen and indeed the drawings below. It was an insight into the making of the Alan Shaw that we all k now and love. He explained that he had a book on Picasso signed by …here we all held our breath, had he got a book signed by one of the world’s greatest artists, well almost….. in fact Picasso’s daughter but that not too bad.
He has worked for Leman Brothers and the Sultan of Brunei. When a building was not going well the later former employer sacrificed a lamb. Whether this was to appease the gods or send a message to Alan about what might happen to his parts if he didn’t make sure the building went well was not explained.
There was talk of concrete works on the opposite side of a river where he was working that was run by the mafia.
He described Bow Street Magistrates where he had worked as Victorian and Grim.
Until he set up his own business by his own admission he moved around every couple of years. No doubt this was to present a moving target; he auditioned for being involved in building a temple on the river Ganges, fortunately he didn’t get the job. History should have told him what happens to people who build fantastic edifices in India like the Taj Mahal…they get their hands chopped off.
What with the Sultan of Brunei, the Mafia and Hari Krishna, who says than as architect’s life cannot be exciting.
He then went on to speculate that if he had married a friend’s wife he would have been in the Seychelles… leaving us to imagine, what if he had married Princess Anne…. would he have finished up in a palace!!!!!! Now here is a task for you all to add to your comments to this Blog. Please share your fantasy of being married to someone and where you would be now if you did?
Finally when we thought his 10 minutes was about to come to an end he started using the technology. Drawing after drawing appeared on the screen to a mesmerised audience. I got the impression that the odd drawing related to projects that didn’t go forward but by then none of us cared. We were all daydreaming of our hero straddling the world.
At the conclusion of this 10 minutes we were not only breathless but aware that our meeting would be a much poorer gathering without the great man. We now know we can look for referrals for him, not only when we go about a daily work but when we are on holiday particularly if we go to places like Dubai, thank you Alan for brightening up our day.
I am not even going to mention any statistics.
I will simply confine myself to recording the sad news of Marcelle’s husbands passing and that all of our thoughts are with her. We all look forward to when we can welcome her back to the meeting of which she is so much an integral part.
Chairman’s Business Networking Blog, Thursday 19th February 2015.
Half Term: low turnout. 15 members in all with 2 visitors to make up numbers to 17; Richard Willis from Suth Comms, a Billericay member and Dave Rogers a Gardener who gave all an insight as to what Mike Rogers might have looked like many years ago. Of course the converse applies, Dave Rogers has an insight of what he might look light many years hence….
Paul Booth, standing in for Scott was able to confirm that Nick Cooke had taken an early lead in the performance league.
The Ed Slot was Kim’s first attempt and she gave an interesting little insight into how your accounts system can be used to produce details of where your work is coming from. A useful tool for developing our businesses;
And so to the 60 second round. It was great to welcome Marcelle back and she used the opportunity of listing the full extent of her services which became something of a trend as the round went on. David Plumley sought to demonstrate that he was a one stop shop for IT matters and Gary Waskett listed the sort of problems that make businesses finish up in the hands of Anthony Batty.
If I had wanted good copy for this Blog from the School of Whimsy I was let down this week. Nick Cooke and Alan Shaw were on message, Nick was dealing with party wall act matters and Alan Shaw listing what he can do and talking about a lodge project. Mike Rogers even produces a list of sorts. On one day he paid to go to Kent and also come back as well as going to Bishops Stortford and Hemel Hempstead.
Kim, having already suggested in the Ed Slot how your accounts can be used to help you manage your business, took it a stage further by emphasising the importance of understanding management accounts etc and making sure your book keepers set you up for this to be available.
Richard Reed was also into lists, various excursions across the globe were costed at reasonable prices, the best being round the world in 16 days. The chance to be Phileas Fogg for as little as £2,900.00.
On a sartorial note, Howard Bullock,who was modelling a green checked table cloth masquerading as a shirt that would have graced any country kitchen table, warned us to use up tax allowances before the end of the financial year which of course is fast approaching.
A question for all of you…… save for the Oscar winner, who won it after Alan Moller had originally indicated that it would otherwise have gone to guest Richard Willis.
During the week Richard Reed’s Synergy Team meeting, Business to Consumer, met with 9 people in attendance. A very successful meeting in relation to which please look for his Blog which will be posted shortly and is hopefully to be regular monthly feature for both Synergy teams;
When we broke for breakfast our thoughts were solely on food. Little did we know at that time the treat that we were in for with the 10 minute presentation?
It was Nick Cooke’s turn and as usual he had taken the trouble to do something different and had scripted a discussion between him as a Structural Engineer and guess who as an Architect.
Both prominent members of the School of Whimsy settled in their seats, our learned architect treated us all to insightful questions regarding Nick’s business. As most of the questions called for a yes/ no or a short answer we heard quite a lot from Alan Shaw giving explain actions as to what Nick did. There was a fair smattering of steel beams, the nature of party wall awards and foundations. The only distraction from the excellent performance by this double act were the socks that Nick was wearing. The red and white hoops strengthened the atmosphere of whimsy in a sort of Alice in Wonderland sort of way. May I ask you all to comment on this Blog by voting for the most sartorial presentation? You have a choice between Howard and his green and white checked shirt and Nick with his red and white hooped socks.
The referrals and testimonials round was a steady round but no referrals matched Neal Lewer’s 60 second presentation that he had an order for 56 radiator covers. If during the meeting I was in any way disparaging of a fellow members product I offer my apologies. By way of penance I will make an extra effort to find people who are indeed looking for such useful additions to the central heating.
And so came to an end of the first meeting of the groups 5th year. When we left we were bathed in sunshine. Let us hope that the sun shines on us for the rest of the year.
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.