Weekly Networking Meeting review, guest-written by Jane Malyon:
Despite the fact that Terry who led the meeting refused to welcome us (!) it was a buzzy, lively session enjoyed by all. 😀
The Performance League
Scott Griffiths sparked some controversy over the EBF performance league which reflected pretty low results overall (but top points to Tina Walker, John Freeman, Colin O’Connor and number one Alan Moller!). However, some people couldn’t understand why they had minus marks despite giving referrals and having 1 to 1 meetings. Scott went on to explain that the league table is always a week behind and you will be awarded negative points for being absent without giving advance notification. Aidan, you poor soul, not only are you in pain but you’ll be coming back to minus a trillion points if Scott runs riot!
Of course, the overall aim of this is to encourage regular attendance to maintain great relationships with your EBF colleagues. However, going forward there are plans to decrease points for 1 to 1s and increase them for the ‘harder’ aspects of giving referrals/inviting visitors. The moral is, let Scott know if you’re going on holibobs or at least send him a postcard. Scott will now open his ‘appeals system’ if you wish to defend your minus points – go for it!
Today’s presenter was introduced by Ben Ben after Terry Terry handed over to him. This week’s inspiration was brought to us by the lovely Sarah Steel who had researched the remarkable story of Eric Yuan, Owner & CEO of Zoom. This tale contrasted well to last week’s tale of Jaguar’s non-strategic vision for their future. However, Eric – born in China 1970 – showed entrepreneurship skills from a young age by collecting construction scrap for cash. After graduating university, he wanted to move to the US but it took 9 attempts to get his visa! This finally enabled him to move to Silicon Valley where he worked for Webex (later acquired by Cisco) and he learned the language as he went, growing his team of engineers there from 10 to 800. He wanted more control over the customer experience and dreamed of a more usable platform AND having had a long distance girlfriend at Uni, he was inspired to create the system we now know as Zoom. In 2011 he quit to start on his own but took 40 engineers with him to launch Zoom a year later. Now it has 300 million daily users and Eric’s share is worth $17.9 billion dollars (22% of the co.). The key takeaways for all of us were: perseverance…hard work…overcoming problems (eg a different language)…courage and self-belief. Also though, Eric’s known for his authentic leadership style which enabled him to build good teams and loyalty….and he’s considered the number one CEO in the world. Well done Eric! How many of us would try something 9 times without giving up?!
Gone in 60 Seconds
We began with Alan who won last week’s Oscar:
Alan Moller of Cableplan – just finishing electrical work in Basildon with final cables going in place. Before his move away he’s just looking for small jobs please. Don’t be in the dark, call a spark! BUT in future if you need a light, you’ll have to move to the Isle of Wight!
Howard Bullock of Clear Financial Advice – met a new client on Monday to discuss pensions and found he had very strong views regarding the sectors in which he invested. It all required a re-think and they decided to go with Lion Trust to fit the client’s objectives re ethical funds. Clients no longer want their money invested just ‘anywhere’ so take advice from an expert.
Colin O Connor of Blue Planet Consulting – is still auditing the health and safety aspect of four schools, looking for non-compliant areas. He’s actually found MANY which shows that even when people think they’re looking after a place well, they might not be. Prevention will always be better than prosecution. Take heed!
Alison Bean of Unique Minds Counselling supports those struggling with a mental/wellbeing issue and right now, that’s helping corporate employees who are having to move back into the office again – a situation that’s causing anxiety.
William Verner of Breakwater Commercial Advisors – a regulated company for local businesses, providing funding across the business spectrum eg loans, invoice financing etc. However, he also runs Breakwater Capital aimed at supporting much larger clients (eg Aviva) re pension funds etc.
Dean Caldon of Grace and Rose Estate Agents – reported that the property market is still the same with buyers strongly outnumbering sellers. He launched one new house last week which had 10 viewings and promptly got 7 offers! Also, he advised that Purple Bricks are having to take note that Uber self employed drivers are now legally seen as employees….and PB are moving all their self employed staff into employed status instead.
Nick Cooke, Structural Engineer of Nick Cooke and Associations – gives advice, free on the phone. This might be about building-related problems eg cracks, damp, walls coming down or a loft conversion. He’s looking for people interested in these issues, whether they’re buying or already in a property.
Nathan Howson of Tesla Group – is still having a busy time but continues to put clients’ needs first. This week, one client wanted to build a coffee shop franchise and Tesla have actually advised him NOT to go through with a sale because they have realised it won’t make his business model viable (even though proceeding would be good for Tesla!). Setting the standard, there Nathan, even if you do have to wear a stab vest to work. 😀
Mike Rogers of The Mortgage Store – has for 30 years offered mortgage broking for all sorts of people. Currently, anyone you know coming to the end of their mortgage deal, do put them in touch. The lenders’ tactics easily mean that you could automatically move from your current good contract into a 3-4% variable whereas switching can save hundreds a month. Beware!
Jane Malyon of The English Cream Tea Co – and today’s chat was all about deliciousness! There are many hamper co.s out there but possibly all of them are run on a Pick and Pack basis – with pre-made, factory-produced cakes and goods. Jane pointed out that these cakes/biscuits etc will have super-long shelf lives because they are made with Potassium Sorbate and other chemicals (which have a sour, unpleasant taste). Her hampers contain no chemicals as everything is freshly created with real ingredients, made by her and her hubby’s hands!
Paul Dulieu of Redbine Ltd (Communications) – Now recharged after a holiday, Paul gave tips on avoiding black tea by having your website information kept up to date. For his trip away, he had pre-researched online a village store in Suffolk to be able to collect his fresh milk, only to learn on arrival that the store had not operated for 3 years (contrary to its website). Does your site reflect your current situation? (PS I like black tea but I take the point all the same! J)
Mike Skinner of Black Water Media – reminded us that his company makes Talking Heads videos, ie, company representatives talking straight to camera. He gave us some examples in the form of 2 clients (eg The Victoria Inn) who praised Mike’s ability to make it easy for them. Good stuff.
Neil Bellham of Any Event Catering – is getting ready for a Product Earth festival in Coventry where they can promote their non-plastic stance, using only wooden/bamboo/paper products. They have a ban on plastics including single use water bottles. If you know anyone want a catering co with an ethical backbone, point them in Neil’s direction.
Brian Painter of Pilgrim Hypnotherapy – told us about saw a 74 year old man he saw in early June who wanted to quit his lifelong smoking. When uncovering the reason why (which usually relates to health, finance or being anti-social) the client said he’d been a widower for 17 years but now had got a girlfriend and she wanted him to stop to enable the relationship to continue. The therapy succeeded and so did the relationship – and love or Brian conquers all!
Sarah Steel of Better with Money – providing webinars and 1-1 sessions but also offering free website resources. They have food or budget planners…and even a loan calculator to help you work out how quickly you can pay off credit cards etc (https://betterwithmoney.com/resources/debt-borrowing/). If we know of any useful financial apps, please let her know.
Simon Essex of The Greenhouse in Crown St, Brentwood – told us about the exciting group activities involving the whole street with vibrant offerings such as book reading, buskers and lots of activities in which you can get involved. Visit on Saturday and use it as a crafty 1-1!!
Ben Golding of Utility Warehouse – met Sue last month on her maternity leave and she was hoping to cut her outgoings. Ben managed to save £650 a year for her but then she went on to become a UW partner, helping 4 of her friends/family to save too (but also gaining herself an extra £1400 earnings next month from this). Save AND earn with UW. Thank you Ben Ben.
Toby Acton of Sales Masters Guild – shared his Strategic Battle Board. It works backwards in a reverse engineering sort of way. What’s the goal…. what steps are involved to make it happen, what are the KPIs, metrics and key activities required etc.? This method can help with all sorts of business objectives from creating strategic partnerships to a rebrand.
Mason Edwards of Capitol Cleaning – would love referrals into large multi-sited building companies please as they most enjoy working with customers with numerous locations and this allows them to streamline what they do. Meanwhile Mason’s eye-catching top featuring their logo caught our attention (in a good way)!
Vince Goode of Speedprint Essex Ltd – was delighted to announce that big numbers are back. They had indeed dwindled if the topic is Order of Service booklets for funerals. Last year orders were curtailed to just 20-25 booklets per event but now he’s printing up to 250 at a time, receiving orders via his dedicated website www.funeralbooklets.co.uk (which also shows heartfelt testimonials to his service). Do refer people associated with the world of funerals to Vince, who reminded us that even if popular, the number of people attending your funeral will depend on the weather! (Personally, I think they would show up for mine just because my husband’s food is so good! J)
Terry Maylin of ™ Law – was able to advise an enquirer to pay his debt, interest and reasonable compensation but not to pay one agency’s additional demand for an extra £300. That tip worked out well and the delighted enquirer was so grateful for the free advice that he left a wonderful review on Google for Terry’s services. 😀
Tina Walker of Liberty Executive Services – Tina reminded us that her secretarial/administration services include providing cover whilst you’re on holiday and that can even mean sorting out your post and emails, so you don’t come back to a deluge of catch-up work. Tina says she’s not a 9-5, but a start to finish..and I say she’s a blooming angel.
Scott Griffiths of Eseyo Web Design – the handsome face on Livechat, he declared! Self-belief was today’s topic, so that’s right on cue! Bless. Scott told us about a fantastic yet inexpensive service that helps to convert enquirers into paying customers, in the form of a software plug-in that helps you answer live questions or even offer an AI bot responder (eg on social media/websites). He’s very happy to show you how this great system works.
Paul Booth of Booth and Co, Certified Accountants – explained that they are official partners with Starling Bank and they can guide people through the process of joining that bank. This is a free but valuable service for his clients. He ended with his phrase: Minimise Tax, Maximise Wealth and Purple Plums before being called out for having a secret word competition in collusion with the naughty corner. Ahem! Meanwhile he had to rush because it was GCSE results day for his daughter and others in the group too. Good luck everyone in that situation!
And the Winner Is…
Alan Moller liked Dean and Mike’s 60 second rounds, but awarded the Oscar (hand sanitiser this week!) to Jane Malyon for using ‘deliciousness’ as a lovely describing word in her enthusiastic and cheery 60 seconds (reported Jane continuing the self belief theme today!) 😀
Synergy Team Meeting Report
B2B Finance and Professionals Meeting was held on Tuesday (always the 2nd Tues of each month) and six of us discussed climate change and the effects on our business plus what actions we were going to take in the future. It was great!
10-minute presentation by Simon Essex
Introduced by Ben, we learned about Simon’s bad experience with food (monkey brain soup in Japan: ugh!), that he likes dancing to The Carpenters in his flares….and playing with lego sets except when the previous owner has glued the pieces together!
Simon studied spatial design at Uni and went on to create the sets for Pebble Mill in Birmingham. The contract nature of the work bothered him and he went into sales/publishing including Haymarket (Michael Heseltine’s co) where he did a lot of recruitment which sparked him to set up his own co: Absolute Appointments. Alas recruitment stopped overnight with the pandemic…so he made that co dormant. However, a friend called Annie started The Greenhouse in Crown Street, Brentwood and she asked him if he could get involved to help with the launch and Simon jumped on board as he had time to spare. What became noticeable was that he was, for the first time, in a non-stress environment and this chance to be creative and work with plants was fabulous!
Now Simon works less hours there but is going to continue to support Annie going forward. The initial idea of The Greenhouse was to give people the chance to buy an indoor plant and get advice on it so it doesn’t keel over shortly thereafter. Now Annie also wants to give other local creatives the chance to sell their products through the shop eg Shed Full of Dreams who make plant pots…Earthen Face mugs and plant pots…candles…crystals…macrame etc. Buy local from individuals with passion and love behind their products. Similar to Jane saying factory-made cakes have chemicals in, Simon pointed out that cheap plants from B&Q have glue in the earth to make sure the plant travels well – but that’s not good for the long term health of the plant!
He told us about the WORKSHOPS on offer at The Greenhouse such as how to make a candle or create a terrarium etc. Go individually or book a group in for a hen do/family bash (er, EBF Christmas activity?!) and bring a bottle if you want to your private function! They also offer a service where Simon will come to your office/location and assess your plant needs and return to kit you out with all the green loveliness required to dress the environment complete with instructions – exactly as he’s done already for some of the group. His last tips for hardy, well-behaved plants are to choose an Aspidistra, a ZZ or a Mother in Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant) as they rarely need watering and some are even good for air quality too.
Referrals and Testimonials
A number of referrals, 1-1s and thank you for the money mentions were announced along with much praise for Sarah’s great education slot and for Simon’s extremely well constructed and flowing ten minutes. ‘I could listen to you all day’ was one of the comments. Quite!
- Send your full name, phone number and postcode to Ben to enter the competition!
- Business to consumer meeting next Tuesday. All welcome 4.30 to 6pm George and Dragon