Last year I delivered the annual review on the second meeting of March which was just after we had returned to Calcutt Hall Farm after our second lockdown. It’s therefore been almost a year since we finally emerged to a slightly different reality. We had lived through the zoom experience and as a group had supported one another very effectively through difficult times. Inevitably referrals and business done had been diminished since pre Covid times but membership had prospered and most of the new members who joined us during lockdown remained with us as we returned almost back to normal.
So what has changed?
Our venue thankfully remains a constant. We have an almost tailor made room in which to hold our Thursday meetings and the staff remain as helpful and friendly as they always have been. Indeed they have probably gone one better with Sharon who serves us our drinks not only knowing what everyone’s preferences are but even going to the extent of delivering to us personally at the very beginning of the meeting. The only change for the worst is the reduction of choice in our breakfast fare but this seems to be a common problem with all breakfast networking groups reflective perhaps of the recruitment difficulties that the hospitality industry is suffering across the board. So thanks therefore to Calcutt Hall Farm for letting us effectively take off from where we left off.
Our synergy team meetings
Finance and Business to Consumer continue to meet once a month although Richard Reed’s retirement from the EBF meant we lost his contribution as chairman of the Business to Consumer team. His successor was the doyenne of the Cream Tea, Jane Malyon. As well as introducing us to the age-old conflicts between scon and scone; cream first or cream second she also altered the meeting time and venue and the once monthly meeting is now held on a Thursday after the main meeting as a result of which attendance has now reached the giddy average of between 10 and 11 members. Can we all expect to be transported in other ways in the coming year. Watch this space.
This has also felt the loss of Richard Reed’s retirement but as with his synergy team, a worthy replacement has stepped up, to wit Mr Vincent Goode fictional Mayor of Gants Hill Village where the sun always shines, small children’s laughter can be heard as they play happily in the street and all businesses, including his, operate at great pace.
These were all was compiled manually by Scott after the meeting when he retained and sifted through the paper referral slips and activity records In order to compile our very necessary stats. The lockdown forced us to record these electronically. We have retained the practise of passing those pieces of paper that is so central to the effectiveness of the Referrals and Testimonials round. This is one of the important parts of the meeting that could just not be captured by zoom. This round is back to normal now but the paper that is passed is not the basis for recording. We have retained electronic recording which is a great improvement in the management of what we do. However some members, no names no pack drill, seem to have failed to grapple with the need to make the electronic entries after the meeting. You will improve going forward so that Scott will not be presented with something of a herculean task as he was this year of re calculating the figures manually in order to arrive at the true position.
Pre COVID the annual minimum of business passed was in the region of £650,000 with the giddy heights of £1,115,000 being reached in the third year of existence. Last year 2021-2022 the annual figures were understandably reduced to £382,020. This year we have however started the process of climbing back to where we were with £520,000 being the assessed figure for this year. A cause for congratulation and the anticipation that next year we will do better and Scott’s job will be made more easy again by everyone diligently making their electronic weekly returns.
The meeting has benefited from the lockdown in that the Education Presentation overseen by Ben Golding had assumed a greater prominence. And this has continued.
Brian Painter as our Soc Sec oversaw various successful social events. The main event had that strange feeling of Déjà vu namely our 2022 Christmas dinner in Billericay in April and our Christmas Dinner at Turkish Restaurant, Mesken in December. We had been there before when it sported a different name but not a different quality which was excellent. 21 of us had a really enjoyable evening at both. Brian supervised the whole event in immaculate detail. He probably still remembers what we all had to eat. The activity events were Go Karting and Airsoft, which events managed to stir up the competitive juices in those members who took part. So far as I can see the winner of the Go Karting still has to be resolved……..I’m not even going there!
I also have a revelation for EBF members. Secretly and decidedly under the radar a group of aged retired and aged non retired members have started regular quarterly lunchtime meetings. I understand that to qualify you have to have reached 65 years and be an old fart. EFF, as we will call them, can be contacted through David Plumley. It’s not a secret society and I suspect that there might be some leeway over the question of age but not over the other.
This year we managed to demonstrate how ineffective we can be in organising a visitor breakfast. We were looking at a window one month in which to positively approach and invite visitors with a view to maintaining our membership levels. We excelled ourselves by managing to attract not one visitor for those weeks but immediately after two or three emerged. This year it is hoped will be a year of effective recruitment. We have started the process of looking for potential new members through a team approach. The four teams have been selected and any new member will be allocated to a team. So there is an ongoing basis and a regular drip feed approach which I hope will attract several visitors every month. This is not the first time that I have urged us to aim for a membership of 40 so that with the inevitable weekly wastage we always have 30 people sitting around the table. Do not forget what should become our mantra.” More bums on seats means more business passed”. With this rather disturbing vision in your minds let’s move forward and have a great year.
Well done guys and a great meeting as always.
A worthy review from our spiritual leader Aidan Squire. Onwards and upwards EBF!
Good meeting and another fantastic year as part of this great group. Thanks Aidan for your review and thank you to all of our members for the continued business that I receive as a result of being there.
I really enjoyed the meeting (despite have to sit there hungry while everyone else ate! I wasn’t able to eat or drink anything but water until 5pm!!)
Great review for our newer members to see and a lively referrals round. Great Ed Slot fro Paul and a worthy Oscar winner Melissa
Oh Toby. It’s all very well having to fast at home but having to do it surrounded by people tucking in to bacon sarnies, is another level of sainthood entirely!!
Well done Paul on your novel education slot and well done to the award winners and great annual review from Aidan.
It was another great meeting and thank you to the top table. Well done Paul on the ed slot and Melissa winning the oscar. See you all next week
Another year done! Good meeting. Better start my 10 minute prep now
Well done Aidan and Scott for organising the annual review and delivering it. Also thanks so much to everyone for the nomination and prize re the 10 minute speaker slot. Aww – that’s lovely! Finally a thanks to Paul for a thought-provoking start to the meeting. Well done peeps, well done x
Well done everyone, another successful year.
Thank you, Aidan, for your stewardship for the year and the state of the nation report Congratulations to the winners all richly deserved. We did have a 10 pin bowling event earlier in the year which turned out to be fiercely competative. Here’s looking forward to another great year with a great group
Great meeting, thanks everyone.
Great meeting and a great bunch of professionals! Not only passing work between us but also supporting each other.
An eloquent annual review and EBF has proven again what a fantastic networking group it is for all members and continues to go from strength to strength.