Unleash The Power Of Your 1-2-1 meetings

  • 0
Business networking 1-2-1 meetings 10to12 Business club

Unleash The Power Of Your 1-2-1 meetings

Here at 10-12, we are big fans of 1-2-1 meetings. So much so, in fact, that we include a special slot for them in our networking events, right at the end. This means that everyone has had a chance to find out who is in the room and what they do, so they can figure out if they want to talk to them further. 1-2-1’s are arguably the most powerful tool we have as networkers, but why?

Why We Have 1-2-1’s In Our Meetings

One of the things our visitors and new members always comment on is the fact that we hold 1-2-1’s within our meeting. For many networking groups it is a bit unusual, as most spend that time doing longer pitches, feature presentations or passing around slips of paper. But we prefer to dedicate time to having short 1-2-1s because it creates a stronger bond between our members and allows us to get to know each other a little better. For visitors, 1-2-1’s allow you to get 10 minutes of someone’s attention and ask them all the burning questions you thought of during their 40 seconds. For members, they help you reconnect and find out new things about your fellow members. The thing that networking is famous for (and women’s groups in particular) is creating meaningful relationships that generate business for everyone involved, and the way to really maximise the chances of that is by utilising those 1-2-1’s.

Taking It Outside

10-12 meeting 1-2-1 meetingsOf course, within the confines of our monthly networking meetings, you only really get 10 minutes to chat – 5 minutes each really. And while that’s really useful for building a foundation and understanding of someone’s business, it’s the external 1-2-1’s they lead on to that are truly powerful. You see, there’s a reason most structured networking groups encourage 1-2-1 discussions and meetings. During these external meetings you have more time, are often in a more comfortable environment and can really dig deep into meaningful conversations about you and your business. The power of 1-2-1’s isn’t really about business – it’s about getting to know someone and making a deep connection that strengthens trust and builds a rapport. All sorts of things can come out during a good 1-2-1, and many friendships have blossomed from them as well. In getting to know other business owners, you get to know who you like, who thinks in the same way as you and really come to understand how you can help each other. Without 1-2-1’s, all you would have to go by is your 40 second pitch and a few brief moments of casual networking, and not much business comes out of that. But with that added trust and bonding that only comes from a one on one meeting, you have a much more powerful tool at your disposal – a networking partner who actively wants to get you business.

10-12 Business Club Networking ReadingUltimately, everyone who comes to our networking group is there for the same reason – to build connections and do business. But expecting someone to want to do business with you and refer people they know to you when they don’t really know you themselves is a bit like expecting to be able to swim after reading a book on it. You can apply all the right techniques and still end up floundering. But by taking the time to get to know someone, showing an interest in their life and business, you can start to build up the trust that leads to fruitful business. Want to see the power of 1-2-1’s in action? Come along to one of our meetings and discover just how good 1-2-1’s are for relationship building.

 


  • 2

A Guide To Dealing With Difficult Clients – That won’t Pay!

No matter what you do for a living, there is always one thing you can count on. Difficult clients plague everyone from time to time, and they never get any easier to deal with.  With that in mind we hope our guide To Dealing With Difficult Clients – That won’t Pay, helps you make some changes in your business process. Do any of these issues with clients and invoicing sound familiar to you?:

  • Asking for much more than originally agreed but  insisting the price stays the same.
  • Discounting because they don’t agree with what they have received.
  • Constantly refusing to pay your invoices on time. Or at all!
  • Saying the invoice never arrived, they haven’t seen it!
  • Promising payment that never arrives.

It can be difficult to stay in control of the situation and ensure you don’t end up out of pocket. At a recent 10-12 Business Club meeting this was our the topic of our brainstorming session. We came up with a few ways to keep your cool and deal with difficult clients.

Get Payment Up Front

A lot of the difficulties, we discussed as business owners tended to revolve around customers not paying their bills on time, if at all. Cash flow is a really important thing to all business owners, but even more so to smaller companies or sole traders. Getting invoices paid on time is crucial to your success as a small business!

Peggy_Marco / Pixabay

If you have dealt with a client previously who has missed payment dates, the easiest way to avoid the same issue happening again is to get full payment up front. If your client makes an issue of it, simply explain that due to the issues you experienced last time you worked together, up-front payment is required to ensure payment is received, and no work will be done until this is paid.

You can of course do this with new customers who you believe will be an issue, or instigate it as a general policy if this happens a lot. If you’re not comfortable with asking for so much up front, you could split the difference. Many companies operate on a payment basis of 50% with a confirmed order and balance due on completion or delivery, which helps you and the client with cash flow.

Make sure you have sent your invoice on time and that the client has received it. This can be the biggest delay for any small business in receiving payment for work agreed.

Start Using Service Agreements

‘Scope creep’ can happen during any project, but it tends to happen most in the creative industries, or any area where something is being built.

service-contractThe client will give you an initial brief, but as you go along they start adding things until the workload is actually twice the amount you quoted for. The client of course then expects all of this extra work to be done at the quoted cost, because it’s ‘all in the same project’.

To avoid this, service agreements will become your best friend. When you get the brief for the project, put it into a basic contract and have your client sign it before work commences. You can also include a pricing structure for extra work on top of the agreed brief, based on timescale, volume, whatever you want really. Always include your payment terms and what will happen if they fail to meet them. Summarise the potential costs of non-payment and state that you will take legal action.

You can use the same basic document for every client and simply substitute the brief in each time. By doing this you have it in writing (and signed) exactly what the quote you gave covers, so any extra work can be charged accordingly. Scope creep has become significantly less of a problem for us since we started doing this!

 Develop A Thick Skin

Sometimes no matter what happens, clients can get angry. They might be frustrated that something can’t be done in the time frame, that you won’t do extra work or that you’ve said no to their unreasonable request. Whatever the reason, angry clients can get pretty nasty sometimes.

To be successful in business you need to develop a pretty thick skin to deal with unsatisfied or annoyed people, no matter what they throw at you. Try to remember not to take anything they say personally, and let it roll off you like water off a duck’s back. If you struggle with this, a support network like one of our networking group of ladies is the perfect way to get things off your chest and let people help you, reassure you and get you back on your feet.

Don’t Be Afraid To Say No!

One thing we are all terrible at is saying no to work. When you’re first starting out you never say no to anything, taking on any work you can just to get by. As you grow and establish yourself as a business you can afford to be more selective about the clients you take on (though many of us aren’t).

noThis is an important step, as many of us get an idea of the ‘red flags’ for a difficult client. If you think a prospect will become a difficult client, don’t be afraid to say no! It’s better to spend time searching for a client who will be good to work with and worth what you charge than to accept a client who will be much more work for you. Sometimes, no price is high enough and you just need to walk away. And that’s OK!

Of course there’s lots of advice out there about dealing with difficult clients, search out some excellent blogs online. If you like what you have read then we have plenty more business topics to choose from.

This is the sort of issue we discuss in our meetings, allowing members to air their concerns and business problems and get advice on how to deal with them in a supportive and confidential setting. If you’re interested in visiting one of our groups, click here to book your place. We can’t wait to see you!


  • 0

Don’t Treat Networking Like The Gym

At one of our recent meetings, a member commented on the fact that many people would book places on her free workout sessions but not turn up, often without any notice that they weren’t going to be there. This is something of a trend across the fitness world, and I have noticed similar things happen for paid, pre-booked gym classes. It’s also something that tends to happen a lot with business networking sessions. Particularly over the summer months, when the number of no-shows soars dramatically and many meetings are postponed or cancelled so everyone can enjoy their holidays. But for the rest of the year, it’s important to remember not to treat your networking like your gym membership.

Commit Regularly

gym membership

Commitment brings results

There is common saying that nothing worth doing in life is easy, which for many things is true. Getting in shape, learning a new skill or starting your own business are all great examples of worthwhile things that are in no way easy. But there are some things, like networking, that fall into the ‘easy’ category while still being incredibly valuable.
The biggest issue people find with networking is not that it’s hard, but that it requires The biggest issue people find with networking is not that it’s hard, but that it requires commitment to see results. Just like you don’t do one session in the gym and expect a six pack, you can’t expect to go to one meeting and come away with dozens of new clients right away. In order to see the long-term results, you need to commit to turning up regularly and interacting with people. If you can do that, the rewards will soon follow.

Don’t Throw In The Towel

I read a very interesting article about gym memberships in the process of researching this blog. It turns out that a staggering 80% of new gym members don’t make it past the 5th month. So even if an average individual has neglected their body for years and wants that ‘beach ready’ body, they are only willing to commit 5 months of their life to trying to get in shape before giving up. This struck a chord with me, as it’s something I often see with networking and even business ownership in general. Business owners are willing to try out networking for a few months, but if they have not seen any results in that time they give up on the whole idea. Networking, just like getting in shape, is a long process that doesn’t happen overnight. So just because you’ve been going to a meeting a week for a month and not got a single referral doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel. Stick with it and you will see those amazing results.

Tell Someone If You Can’t Make It

We all understand that life gets in the way, and sometimes something crops up at the last minute and ruins your plans. But no matter what the situation, it’s important to always tell the person or group that you will be unable to attend that day. You see it a lot with gym classes – you’ve booked in to a class at 7pm and you’re super excited, but by 6.30 you’re exhausted and don’t have the ‘get up and go’ that you did when you booked in that morning. After 5 or 10 minutes of pep talk, you realise you can’t get there in time anyway and just stay at home instead. Meanwhile the instructor at the class is waiting for you, irritated that she could have given your space to someone else if you’d just told her you couldn’t make it.
don't keep it a secretThe same applies for booked networking. Maybe you slept in because you had a long night, or had an emergency issue or your childcare fell through. When you realise you can’t make the meeting, whatever the reason, you should let someone in the organisation know you can’t be there. Often they will be able to find someone to hot seat for you at the last minute – so you can still have your pitch read out and reap some of the benefits of the meeting.

At 10-12 we believe in a structured networking approach combined with a more informal attitude to create the perfect networking environment. Our meetings are structured, but allow time for individual development and conversations to take place. Like all networking groups, it can take time to see results, but our members have all been extremely impressed after building strong business connections and friendships. For more information or to book your place, get in touch today.


  • -
12 Days of Christmas

Business – 12 Days of Christmas

Business – 12 Days of Christmas.

10-12 business club merry christmasI’m sure you will have heard of the Christmas song “The 12 days of Christmas”?  Well this month we are using the theme of the 12 days but applying it to our business.    If your business slows down over the Christmas period or in the run up to Christmas then take this opportunity to give your business an overhaul and do all the things you keep promising to do!

You can decide when you want to start your 12 Days of Christmas for your business. It could be on Thursday the 10th to finish on the 22nd of December or have a few days break and finish on the 31st of December? Or if you want to keep your business mind engaged then plan to do it over the Christmas holidays and start it on the 20th of December.

Whichever way you do it, consider the following actions and if you can think of any others that are more important to you then add or replace to the ones below.  Most of all if your business is quiet at this time of the year use the time effectively to reflect and plan for the future and perhaps even try some structured Business networking by the 10-12 Business Club.

 On the 1st Day of Christmas – Merry Christmas Message

Christmas giftsSend out a Merry Christmas Message to all your existing clients and prospective clients.  Use mail chimp to design a festive mails hot and import your database. Consider

  • What message are you going to say
  • Include contact details
  • Include links to your website
  • Consider an offer

On the 2nd Day of Christmas – Filing

Tackle your filing pile and I mean all of it, including archiving any files that are fit to burst! This could also include looking at your in box of your email! Do you file everything into various folders or does it just sit there in one big in box!  If you don’t have any filing then I’m impressed. Please let me know your secret to keeping it up to date.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas – Accounts

business club giftAccounts. Today, check to see if your accounts are up to date. If you do your own accounts take the time today to get everything up to date including up to date bank reconciliation. If you don’t do your own accounts is everything ready to hand over to your accountant/book keeper?

  • Have you loaded all your expenses?
  • Can you account for all the receipts?
  • Have you invoiced everyone?
  • Do you have a spread sheet or software that accounts for all your sales and expenditure? If not today consider creating one to use for 2013.

On the 4th Day of Christmas – Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan 2016. Today start the foundation of your marketing plan for 2013. Do you actually plan all your marketing activity including when and where you network? Think about your business and whether you could set a 6 or 12 month marketing plan including when, where and what you are going to say and how much it will cost you to get your message across. Consider what you are going to use to market your business;

  • Social media? Which one? How Often?
  • Flyers? What will they say? Where will you distribute?
  • Leaflet drops? Where?
  • Cold calls? When? Source data?
  • Networking? When? Where? How often?

Whatever you decide start to search out the best options for you and the exact costings for your marketing campaign.

On the 5th Day of Christmas – Linked In Profile

snowmanLinked In. do you have a Linked In profile? Is it up to date? When did you last update what you have done/achieved/qualified. If it has been a while then go in and make some bold changes:

  • add new skills,
  • Change your profile picture.
  • Update your opening statement to sell yourself and your services.
  • Recommend some fellow 10-12’ers for their services if you have used them.

On the 6th Day of Christmas – Website

If you have a website, give it a review with fresh eyes. If you don’t have a site, then consider what you would need to have on each of the pages.

  • Does it do what you want it to do?
  • Does it bring you in the right enquiries?
  • Does it have a call to action?
  • Is it getting enough visitors?
  • Is there anything you can do to make it better?
  • Ask friends and family to do the same for you and compile your results. Compare your site with competitors!

 

On the 7th Day of Christmas – Blog

Christmas PuppyBlog. Do you have a blog? Do you need a blog for your business? Do your competitors have a blog? If they do, what do they write about?

  • Think about how you would use a blog,
  • What would you write about?
  • Can you write down 20 things to blog about for your business?

If you can do this in 10 minutes then you need to consider a blog. If you don’t want to start a blog, maybe you could guest blog for others. Search out some other blogs and see if they allow guest blogging, if they do write an article for one of them and send it for consideration. Remember a blog only needs to have 250-500 words!

On the 8th Day of Christmas – Social Media Plan

Social Media Marketing plan. Do you use social media? Do you have a marketing plan? If not then today consider a social media marketing plan for your business. Think about:

  • How often you want to use social media in a week,
  • When can you allocate the time for to do it?
  • Where are you going to find the content?
  • How many posts, tweets, blogs etc are you going to do
  • Set targets for how many new followers, mentions, retweets you want to achieve.

On the 9th Day of Christmas – New Customers

Search out new customers. Today consider new areas where you could find potential new customers. Have you exhausted all areas for potential new business or is there places you could go, people you could see to get new business? Find some competitors and see who they are talking to in their social media, where are they advertising, what are they offering? Can you do similar? Consider using a telemarketing company to get more business leads for you. We have two members in the 10-12 Business Club.

On the 10th Day of Christmas – Business Plan

Christmas networkingBusiness Plan. Do you have a plan for your business? If so dig it out and review it today. If you don’t have one then consider starting to write one, it can be as basic or as grand as you like. At the very least consider setting yourself some goals and write them down to review throughout the year.

  • Does it reflect where you are?
  • Have you achieved what you planned?
  • Consider what you might have to do next year to achieve your forecasts.
  • Do you need to make any changes?

On the 11th Day of Christmas – Emarketing Campaign

e-Marketing or telemarketing Campaign.  Design and set up an e-marketing campaign to send in the New Year to your existing clients and find some potential new ones to send to also.  Consider your Linked In connections, have you ever sent them a Happy New Year Message? If not give it a try, they agreed to link with you so maybe they’d appreciate a short Happy New Year Message. Follow up with a telemarketing campaign to see if they receivedchristmas-kids-gifts

On the 12th Day of Christmas – Review

Review.  Take today to review all that you have done over the past 11 days for your business. Give your self a pat on the back and raise your glass to toast the future and the New Year.

  • Has it inspired you?
  • Motivated you?
  • Have you reconnected with old/new clients?
  • Are you confident of your marketing activity for the New Year?
  • Printed literature planned, costs obtained?
  • Business Plan modified or created?
  • Social Media considered and a marketing plan produced?

  • -
Karen Livingstone

social media content, ideas on what to post

Social Media, what content do I post?

Ever wondered what you should post to your social media feeds? do you look at it and think, i’d like to, but what will I say? What should I say? and when should I say it?
These are all familiar questions raised by business owners who know the need to use social media but are unsure as to what they should say or do. some of you reading this post may even think, why should I bother with Social Media for my business?

At the 10-12 Business club we use social media to drive traffic to our website, engage with our members and discover new visitors for our structured networking.
It’s a free way to reach out to your audience and most of all it is fast, friendly and a more relaxed way to communicate to that of a company email or mailshot.
If you are a self employed business owner you can also manage your social media out of office hours in front of the TV or on your way to work if you commute using public transport.

So all that said what do you talk about and how often should you do it? We all have different opinions on this subject but our co-foudner, Karen Livingstone of Little Acorn Marketing has posted the following blog on “I don’t know what social media content to post

If you enjoy reading this let us know and we will top you up with more 10-12 Business Club members thoughts on social media.


  • -
Karen Livingstone

Networking Events – Does size really matter?

Karen Livingstone co founder 10-12 Business club

This week co founder and owner of Little Acorn Marketing, Karen Livingstone has been looking at Networking and the size of different events. In her blog she has considered which networking works best and if we should really be bothered by size of networking events or should it really be quality of the people that you meet at the events?
Its an interesting subject and anyone that has ever networked, I am sure will have a view on which networking works best for them.

Karen says; “Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time networking in and around Berkshire. I have sampled lots of different groups from ladies only to mixed, informal just turn up style to structured and more formal. One thing I have noticed is how some people are very focused on the numbers. The assumption is that the more people attending a meeting the more successful it will be. But is this really the case? In my experience no it isn’t. (read more on Karen’s experience of networking on her Little Acorn Marketing Blog)

Please feel free to add your comments below on what you think makes a good networking event. Is it numbers that you want or is it quality contacts? Personally I would have to agree on the quality contacts as small events do allow you more time with individuals than often the larger ones. BUT the key to good networking is always staying focussed on BUSINESS and not allowing the conversation to drift into chit chat.


  • -
business networking in your budget

Small Business Marketing Budget

What to do with my small business marketing budget?

Dorreen Gowing hypnotherapy maidenheadI can’t say it is my waking thought. Yet, I’m sure there are those who believe it would serve me well if it was. While it’s not my favourite part of running my own business I have learnt that resisting it is indeed futile. I accept it doesn’t matter how good a product or service is if no one knows about it then no one can benefit from it. So, when I launched my business back in 2010 I set out in search of ‘what shall I do with my marketing budget?’

Networking face to face was one of the first things I did. Taking what I now consider to be good advise. ‘Don’t pay for membership of any networking group until you visit a number of them a few times.’ That’s exactly what I did, week after week.  Considering myself fortunate as I enjoy meeting new people and feel comfortable in a room full of strangers, that was not my main challenge. My challenge was, ‘what is my purpose here?’ ‘how does it work?’ and ‘how do I decide which one if any to join?’

The bottom line is, when I strip away all ‘niceties’ the purpose of networking is to help grow my business. That it works by building relationships and trust among members, getting to know each other what is special about their business. The reality is despite all the social media in the world, people buy from people. The human race is slow to evolve really. Networking for me it is about being in a space where I feel safe to share challenges, safe to share knowledge and safe to create opportunities to grow.

When I first came across 10-12 Business Club two years ago it had just launched. Energy and enthusiasm was sky high. Every seat was full at every meeting, not because we had to be there rather because we wanted to be there.

I have renewed my membership because it still meets it’s number one purpose of helping grow my business. A close second is the fact that working on my own is challenging at times there is so much I do not know. Seats are still filled because we want to be there. Each meeting I come away wiser, inspired and motivated as a wealth of experience and ideas are shared.

It may not be my waking thought but it allows me to sleep peacefully that part of my marketing budget is spent on 10-12 Business Club.

Thank you all for your support over the years.

Doreen Gowing Hypnotherapy