As if by magic, it was Thursday again and my 5.30am alarm shook me from my all too brief slumber. I’m an “8 hours a night” kind of guy and would usually be in a foul mood for having to get up at such an ungodly hour. However, Thursdays are the exception. No snoozing. No prevaricating. No dawdling. With a routine now firmly established I’m up and out of the door in 20 minutes flat and arrive at Calcott Hall Farm 25 minutes later. I’m like a well-oiled machine, although I do worry that I’ll turn up at EBF in my pyjamas and dressing gown one of these weeks, having relied on auto-pilot too much! Thankfully not this week though, and with a much needed coffee in hand, it was straight into our pre-meeting informal networking session, which is always a lot of fun. Gradually the room filled up and very soon we were twenty-two in number, which included a guest.
With Aidan Squire still exploring the hills and valleys of the Lake District (he is, by his own admission, an expert in planning flat walking routes), Scott Griffiths was in the chair again and at 7.15am we began.
This week Ben, Ben Golding, our education coordinator, explained the importance of planning when it comes to networking. He reminded us that if we “fail to plan, we plan to fail.” We should set networking goals and work out how many referrals we need to help achieve what we want in our business. Ben advised that, as a rule of thumb, you should aim to provide twice as many referrals as you would like to receive. As always, great advice from Ben.
The 60 Second Round
This week’s 60 second round was kicked off by last week’s Oscar winner, Mike Hickson. Unfortunately, Mike had forgotten his glasses so couldn’t read what he had pre-prepared but ploughed on anyway. He is seeking referrals to schools that need Wi-Fi with controls on what pupils can and can’t access. He was followed by Keiron Peaty who advise that there is an imminent change in building regulations to ensure new planning applications are more energy efficient. Continuing the housing theme, Emma Taylor advised that properties are tending to sell within four weeks at present and is keen to hear about any properties that haven’t shifted in that time.
Mike Skinner was next and is keen to hear from anyone who wants to make their website more engaging through the addition of video. Another way to improve your website is through the addition of testimonials, such as the one Tony Acton read, which another satisfied client had provided. James Humphreys wears a few insurance hats so can help most businesses with their insurance needs, whilst Ben, Ben Golding is also looking to help people – particularly through the cost of living crisis – by saving them money and helping them earn a bit more!
Sarah Steel is looking for businesses who want to help their staff prepare for retirement, but someone who has no has no plans to retire is Brian Painter who has been running his hypnotherapy business for 27 years! Richard Read is also in his third decade of business and has helped create bespoke holidays for hundreds of people, at no additional cost to themselves.
We then had Stuart Smallcombe who can connect you to the internet, even if you decide to set up an office in the middle of a field! Someone else who is ‘outstanding in his field’ (See what I did there?) is Colin O’Connor who has been providing health and safety training on risk assessments and accident investigation.
Next up were our ‘foodies.’ With the cost of living an issue for many, Neil Belham has seen a drop off in private dining bookings but is busy bidding for event catering. This includes a 1,000 person sit down dinner! Jane Malyon is also looking for big business. Having recently distributed five hundred treat packs to employees of a big company, she is looking for other businesses that are looking to say thank you in this tasty way!
The ability for technology to trip businesses up if things aren’t done properly was the common theme in Scott Griffiths’ and John Hammond’s 60 seconds. Scott highlighted the importance of setting strong passwords on systems and software, whilst John is very much a proponent of “doing tech right.” Fortunately, for John, a lot of businesses don’t which is why he had a week of sorting out other people’s shoddy work.
Terry Maylin was next and is keen to build ties with a family lawyer and a conveyancer. If you know, please put them Terry’s way. Our resident accountant, Paul Booth, then advised that the biggest tax saving for higher earners is through salary sacrifice and he’d like to chat with anyone who would like to find out more.
We then moved on to our third Mike of the morning, Mike Rogers. With interest rates rising, and the average standard variable rate likely to be 4.5-5% soon, Mike has just helped a client secure a 10 year fixed rate mortgage at 2.5%. Someone who much prefers to be flexible though is Tina Walker, as her flexible approach means that clients save money by only using her services when they need them
It was then the turn of our guest, Sophie Newbold. A lawyer by trade, Sophie has recently started a tech business which we hope to hear more about when she returns as a guest next week.
The winner of this week’s Oscar though was Matt Barry. Matt gave out templates for a ‘bunting competition’ he is organising for Brentwood Council. There is a £100 prize for the winning entry, but we are unlikely to ever find out what the ‘naughty corner’ had drawn on theirs…. Well done, Matt!
Synergy Team Meeting
Richard Read advised that there had been a Business & Consumer Synergy meeting this week and the subject of discussion was “How To Get More Bums On Seats At EBF.”
10-minute presentation by Stuart Smallcombe
This week’s 10 minute presenter was Stuart Smallcombe from LG Networks. LG Networks has been providing business telecoms and internet services for 20 years and Stuart is its co-founder. Stuart is an excellent presenter, and it was a hugely interesting and engaging 10 minute presentation in which he made a complicated subject easy to understand! Well done, Stuart!
Our conclusion to the meeting was, as always, our referrals round, which saw lots of lovely referral slips being passed about.
As is tradition, one referral form was drawn at random to receive a “speaker prize” from the 10-minute presenter. This week’s prize was, rather appropriately, a blue tooth speaker and was won by Matt Barry! Well done, Matt!