Evaluating The Success Of Your Networking Over 2018

Category : Blogs , Networking

Well, where has 2018 gone! It seems like only yesterday we were talking about how to create a solid networking strategy for 2018, where to focus your efforts and how to make the most of your time. And now, with less than a month left of the year, it’s time to look back and see how well that strategy worked out for you, and think about what you might do differently next year. To help you out, here are a few tips for measuring how successful your networking has been, and what you could change for next year.

 

Know What To Measure

First things first – what do you use to measure the success of networking? After all, it’s a bit of a nebulous thing, not very easy to quantify. But there are a few things you can track to give you an idea of how well things have been going, and how much of a return you’ve been getting from each group:

 

  • Number Of Activities Vs Number Of Sales: How many sales have you made from each networking group? This should be not just the people in the group who have bought from you, but anyone they have referred to you, and anyone those referrals have in turn referred (and so on and so on).

 

 

  • Number Of Activities Vs Number Of Referrals: This is slightly different to the above, because it covers all the things that were referred to you, but didn’t convert into sales. This helps you gauge how valuable the connections you’re making are. If your referral level is low, it might be time to re-evaluate your networking groups and activities.

 

  • Number Of Referrals Converting To Sales: Now take a look at that list of referrals, and work out how many of them actually converted into sales. This shows you the quality of the referrals you’re receiving from each group. If the referral rate is high but the conversion rate is low, then either you’re doing something wrong, or the quality of referrals is bad.

 

 

  • Total Time Spent On Each Group: How much time do you spend on each networking activity? Be sure to include travel time, follow up and any prep-work you do, as well as the actual meeting time. You can then compare this to the return you’re getting from each group, and this will tell you if you’re getting any sort of ROI on your time. 

  • Number Of Referrals Given In Each Group: Remember, networking is a two-way street, and works best when referrals are mutual. If you’re a good fit for the people in your network, you’ll be giving a decent number of referrals out and recommending them as well. If not, then it might not be the right group for you.

 

 

Remember The Added Value

Of course, it’s not all about the money! There are other kinds of value you can get out of networking groups. For example, a lot of members at 10-12 mention that they love the supportive and collaborative atmosphere at our meetings. Because we have breakout sessions to discuss business issues, along with in-meeting 1-2-1’s to get to know each other, the support and learning is often a key value indicator. So look at what you get from each group, both in terms of money, and of other, intangible benefits.

 

But Don’t Jump To Conclusions!

While it’s great to track and measure your networking, you need to avoid the temptation to expect immediate results from them. Networking is a slow burn marketing activity, and it takes time to build up the relationships and trust you need to really get a return. So you’re not looking for the results from just this month, or even this quarter – you’re looking for long-term trends. 12 months should give you enough data to get some pretty definitive answers around how well your networking is performing, but only if you look at the performance over the entire 12 months.

 

At 10-12, we believe that every marketing and networking effort you do as a business owner should bring you some benefit. Whether that’s added income, a sounding board for problems or just a network of people who will support you when things are hard. So when you look back at 2018, we hope you find a positive and fruitful year of networking. And if you would like to try a new group for the new year, we would love to have you visit. Just click here to book, and visit one of our groups in 2019. Until then, have a great Christmas and New Year!


Christmas marketing

How to be heard in the Noise of Christmas

Christmas time is such a noisy time in every household. Its hard to be heard in the Noise of Christmas. Everyones” calendars are rammed with things to do, people to go see and thing to buy! Time seems to fly by at this time of year. As a small business owner, it can be hard to be heard amongst all this noise. So how can you do it without looking like you are just trying to sell sell sell!

Read on for our top 5 tips for the business owner to be heard in the Noise of Christmas.

  1. Send an email marketing campaign with your top tips of items to buy relevant to your industry. This could mention other local business owners that sell items relevant to your industry. Dog groomers could send an email with top tips for dog accessories, jackets, leads and toys for example. Accountants could suggest stationery companies where customers can buy calendars, post-it notes and other items that will help them collate their business accounts.

    image4you / Pixabay

  2. Change your social media profiles to show your festive spirit. This could be a specifically designed Christmas logo or an image of you (and your staff) dressed as an elf or father Christmas. Think about creating a specific Christmas message in a video for your Facebook (and or other social media profiles) Header image. There are lots of options out there so plan ahead and be ready to show your Christmas side socially.

    jill111 / Pixabay

  3. Optimise your local search in Google to adapt to those searches people are making specific to Christmas. Think of items you offer or sell that might be good as Christmas presents and advertise those ready for a Christmas search to be displayed. This could be good for beauty therapists that offer vouchers where they can create adverts in local search specific to the vouchers for Christmas.

    Pexels / Pixabay

  4. Support a local charity and use this to connect with your customer base. Offer a donation to the charity for a certain amount if your customers purchase from you between now and x date.  Explain your reasons for supporting the charity and if personal add your story. People buy from people and sharing a story will help your customers to connect with you on a deeper level.

    rawpixel / Pixabay

  5. Run a Christmas campaign with a prize. Think of an affordable prize for your company and encourage customers to do something and share on your social media profiles using a specific hashtag. Make a big announcement of the winner of the prize and why you have chosen them to win.  Use all your social media channels to generate interest in your competition and include text, images and video. Consider getting involved with another business or businesses to offer the competition to your customers.

    StockSnap / Pixabay

    The 10-12 Business Club is a networking club that meets monthly in a fun and friendly format. Our meetings help local business owners to meet and network together, sharing information and building relationships resulting in business referrals.  If you would like to hear more about the 10-12 Business Club get intouch today or book on to attend one of our meetings.


Back To School – The New, New Year

It’s September, and you know what that means! It’s Back To School time! Businesses across the country are promoting school-based lines and content creators are full of advice about how to make the most of the new school year.

By now, you might even be a bit sick of it. But September is more than just another calendar event to promote your business with.

Many people are using this month as a genuine opportunity to ‘go back to school’ for their business, and really improve themselves and their company for the future.

Attendance to business educational courses, workshops, seminars, business coaching and even educational networking all shoot up in September as we try to take advantage of the inspiration back to school season brings. And we’re all for it! So today, we wanted to share with just 3 of the killer benefits that personal and professional development can bring for both you and your business.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

Self-Awareness

All personal development begins with self-awareness. And by going back into an environment of learning, be it a workshop, a seminar, coaching or even e-learning, you get to know who you really are, your values, beliefs and the purpose you wish to pursue.

It might not be what you went into it for, but learning and self-development brings with it a self-awareness that is critical for the development of your business. It also helps you work out where you want to take your business, and your life, in the future. It also helps you better identify where you can improve, which is a fundamental skill for business owners.

You should always be looking for ways to improve, and part of that is being able to recognise when something isn’t as good as it could be. By being self-aware about your own skills and your business, you can take steps to drastically improve the performance of your business.

geralt / Pixabay

A Sense Of Direction

With that sense of self-awareness comes an awareness of what you want to achieve with your business. Since you can never achieve anything if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, this one is pretty important.

Decision making becomes a lot easier, and you will find you can start to create a road map for your own success, now that you know what that success looks like. Tasks that used to take you a long time don’t even make it on to your to do list anymore, because they aren’t helping move you towards your goal.

Your goal doesn’t become something ‘extra’ to work towards once you’ve done everything else – it becomes the reason you do things, and guides every decision you make. The most successful business people are always those with a strong sense of direction and a goal to strive towards, and that is what going back to school and learning something new can do for you.

Pexels / Pixabay

 

Improved Focus

Another advantage to personal development is a greater sense of clarity. Even with that improved sense of direction, there will always be multiple tasks looking for your attention. As you improve your knowledge and skills, your focus improves and prioritisation suddenly becomes so much easier.

You’re clearer on your objectives, and you can quickly identify which task will give you the best result with the resources available to you at that moment. Improved focus and effectiveness is a natural result of knowing and playing to your strengths – which comes through continued learning and development.

Bess-Hamiti / Pixabay

So, all in all, learning new things and improving your skills is a great thing to do all around. It can make you feel more satisfied with your skills, beat ‘imposter syndrome’, improve how you run your business and give you a sense of direction, both in your personal and business life.

At 10-12, we recognise the importance of continual learning and self-development, even if it is only in bite-sized chunks. That’s why at every one of our networking meetings, we hold break out groups, where we discuss business topics, share ideas and learn from each other.

So while it might be September now, at 10-12 we are going back to school every month! To see more, just book yourself in to visit one of our groups and meet our members. All you have to do is click here.


Can You Run Your Business From A Sun Lounger?

Category : Blogs

Did you know that 76% of small business owners are forced to, or choose to forgo holidays just so that they can keep their business running smoothly? Whether they don’t have the infrastructure in place to keep things going, or the confidence to leave things for a week. But while there might not feel like a good time to take a holiday when you’re the boss, a little time out is incredibly important and can be very beneficial, both to you and the business. So, how do you enjoy some well-earned R&R, and make sure your business is still ticking along without you?

 

Work On The Business, Not In It 

This is one of the favourite lines from business coaches everywhere, but we’re using it today in a different context. Learning how to spend time working on your business instead of working in it is a natural predecessor to being able to leave the business for a holiday. Working on your business requires you to not be focussed on delivery and client facing, and instead delegate that work, or find ways to manage your workload so that you can have time without those jobs. If you can do this effectively, then you have taken the first big step to giving yourself the space to step away from the business without it all collapsing around you.

 

Adaptation, Delegation & Ownership

If you’re like a lot of business owners, then your approach will probably fall into one of two styles – ‘largely hands-off’ or ‘seriously hands-on’. That’s not uncommon, especially for a micro business. Both of these approaches have their place, but if you’re looking to step away from your business for any length of time. Teaching your employees (and yourself) how to adapt to changes in the market and the business with confidence, knowing how to delegate tasks to employees (before you go away) and giving your employees ownership of their role in the business are all critical to ensuring your business runs smoothly without you. By embracing these three things, you create an empowered and confident workforce that won’t feel the need to come to you with every trivial problem or question that comes their way, This goes for outsourcers too!

 

Get Clarity On Your Processes

When the owner steps away for a holiday, they will often leave an employee or an outsourced assistant in charge of the business. But consider this – how much of your business procedures, policies and general ‘this is how we do things’ information is actually written down? Or is it (more likely) all in your head? A good way to make sure your business can run without you while you relax is getting everything down on paper, and sharing it with the people who will be stepping into your shoes. That’s everything from how salaries are paid to how to get into the email servers, how to manage a client account and where to find forms and paperwork.

Take Advantage Of Technology 

One of the great things about the digital age is that you don’t have to be sitting in front of a computer to keep your social media and marketing efforts going. In fact, no one even needs to know that you’re not working! The technology exists that allows you to pre-plan your marketing activities, and schedule them to happen in the future. Before you go away, carve out some time to pre-write your marketing messages for all the platforms you use. You can then use a tool like Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social to schedule and post social updates automatically during your time away. Automating key tasks like this gives you the confidence to step away from your desk without work piling up while you’re away. Your social media presence will still run like clockwork, your marketing messages will still be delivered, and you can enjoy cocktails on the beach without worrying!

 

At 10-12, this is the kind of topic we discuss in our breakout groups at every meeting. As female entrepreneurs and business owners, we are always looking for ways to support and improve our businesses and each other. If you would like to know more, or to visit us at a meeting, just get in touch (or book your place here). We look forward to seeing you! Now, where did I put that mojito?


10-12 Maidenhead networking

6 Ways You Can Improve Your Networking

For some people, networking comes as naturally as breathing. Sadly, most of us aren’t those people, and networking successfully is something we have to work at. Much more than rocking up somewhere to get coffee, networking is a vital part of our marketing efforts, and something we pay a lot of attention to. But if you’re not a natural networking, it can seem a little tough to work out how to change what you’re doing and get the most out of your networking efforts. So today, we have 6 easy and simple ways you can improve your networking this month and see real results. 

Have A Plan

Let’s go back to basics. Why are you going networking? What is it you’re looking for, and how will you find it? Having a strategy for networking might seem a bit rigid, but in reality it’s a vital part of success. For each event you go to, know what kind of person you want to speak to, and how you plan to find and approach them. It might be that you’re asking for introductions to a certain type of person, or you’re going to a networking group of people in only that industry. Planning out your approach will also keep you more focused when you’re in the room, leading to a better quality experience.

Prepare Your Pitch 

In many networking groups, you will be given the chance to stand up and deliver a pitch to the room. It’s usually short – anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute – which means you need to know exactly what you want to say before it’s your turn to stand up. We see too many people fumble over their words and waste their precious time, in what could be a powerful pitch session. But if you prepare your pitch in advance, you will be able to deliver it more confidently and get your point across in the way you want to. Not only that, but you can look up a specific person you want to be introduced to, and ask if anyone knows them in your pitch. Specific requests often lead to people following up on your behalf, or even knowing the person you’re asking for. It’s an incredibly powerful thing to do, so why not take advantage of it? Remember, specific is terrific!

Speak to Everyone

If you’re attending a regular networking event, it can be all too tempting to fall into speaking to the same people over and over again. And while it’s true that networking is all about building those relationships, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of forging new ones. When you go to an event, try and speak to everyone in the room, if only briefly. Getting bogged down with one or two people can mean you don’t network as freely, and you could miss a crucial introduction. So if someone new walks into the room, or even someone who you haven’t spoken with much, make a point of having a conversation. You never know where it might lead.

Arrange 1-2-1’s 

During the meeting, you don’t have much time to get to know each other. Even in our 10-12 meetings, where we give you 2 5 minute 1-2-1’s, it’s still not really enough time to build that relationship up. So it’s important to arrange to meet people outside of the time pressures of a meeting. 1-2-1’s are where the real business is done – where you can discuss the details of your products and services, and find those sparks of interest or collaboration. But so many people don’t make the time to have them. Even if you just set aside an hour after the meeting to chat with someone over a coffee, you will see your networking improve and your success increase. Honestly, we can’t advocate for 1-2-1’s enough. 

Try New Groups 

There’s nothing like a change of scenery, and that goes for networking as well as life. The sad reality is that if you just stick to one group, eventually you will reach saturation point, and you will get nothing more out of it. To really improve your networking reach, you shouldn’t be afraid to try out lots of different groups. Visit different areas, different networks and even groups who meet at different times of day. You’ll meet a lot more people that way, and widen your network even more. This extra exposure will help to grow your business, your network and your skills quicker than anything else. 

Follow Up!

And finally, don’t forget the follow up! This is the thing we wish we could shout from the rooftops at every single networking event throughout the country. Having a great conversation in the room is one thing, but translating that into business outside the room is another. Too many people assume others will follow up with them, when in reality, you’re both thinking the same thing. So many opportunities are wasted because leads aren’t followed up, emails aren’t sent, LinkedIn requests aren’t issued and phone calls aren’t made. So if you take one thing from this blog, let it be to follow up on all of your conversations in the room!

 

At 10-12, we’ve worked hard to build a culture of community, sharing and learning within our groups. That’s why we offer you 1-2-1’s in the meeting and even break out sessions to discuss business topics and exchange tips. In fact, the points above actually came out of a breakout session at our Reading meeting this month – so these are tips from our members, and ways they feel they could all improve their networking skills. If you’d like to join our community, or just see what 10-12 is like, just get in touch with us today, or book your visit here.


Royal Networking

Royal Networking – Making The Most Of Ascot

It’s that time of year! The hats and fascinators come out and the nice dresses come out of retirement to celebrate Ascot races. People flock by the thousands to visit the races and enjoy a day of sunshine, food, betting and racing. But did you know that Ascot is also a fantastic opportunity for business owners just like you? Not just as an excuse for a day out, but as a genuine opportunity to network and grow your business? In honour of the Ascot races being held this month, we have a few suggestions you can use to make the most of it this year.

 Split The Cost Of a Trip With Your Network 

Ascot tickets can be expensive, especially if you want to go on your own. But one of the things we’ve seen members doing in the past is getting together as a group and splitting the cost of the trip. If you go to a regular networking group, this can be a great way to strengthen those connections and maybe even make some new ones. Put out the invitation to your group for an Ascot or Henley races experience, and together you will be able to get better rates than all of you individually. And because it’s a social event, you will end up getting to know everyone much better, improving the chances of doing business together.

Hold An Ascot Party

If you can’t make the actual races, or just don’t fancy being around all the people, you could use the event as an opportunity to host your own Ascot themed event. Plenty of networking groups will hold their own Ascot themed parties as a way of bringing together their members in a more social setting. In fact, we’re holding one ourselves this month on the 19th. Find yourself a venue (even if it’s your own living room), play the races on a screen and serve afternoon tea. Invite your guests to dress up and bet on the races. You could use this as an opportunity to fund- raise for a local charity and invite other local business owners to join in. Holding an Ascot party is a great way to get a group of business owners in a room, enjoying themselves and the races for less expense.

Booking A Box

Of course, if you’re looking to impress some prospects and sweeten up your network, you could always book an executive box or other hospitality experience at the races. At Royal Ascot, there are a lot of options available for you to really spoil your guests. From executive boxes to a seat in the royal enclosure, fine dining experiences and club membership options, Ascot is a perfect way to treat your best customers and suppliers. As well as saying thank you and giving them a great experience, you’re also hosting your own mini-networking event, giving everyone there the chance to meet new people and expand their business. It might cost you a bit to do, but it can ultimately be worth its weight in gold if you’ve got the network to back it up.

 

At the 10-12 business club, we’re celebrating Royal Ascot this year with our very own ‘day at the races. So if you can’t make the races, why not join us for a fun packed afternoon of informal networking. We will all be dressing in our finest Ascot outfits, watching the races on a wide-screen TV and even enjoying a mini-sweepstake on the winner. We’ll also be serving afternoon tea with a glass of Prosecco (because it wouldn’t be Ascot without it!). So come and join us at Bearwood Lakes Golf Club on the 19th of June at 12 pm, and enjoy an afternoon growing your business. For more information, or to book your ticket, just click here.


How Collaboration Can Strengthen Your Business

Category : Blogs , Networking

If you run a small business, you probably already know that it can be lonely sometimes. Isolating, even. Working by yourself has a lot of upsides, but there are downsides too. Luckily, there are some simple, easy ways to combat those downsides, that will not only provide you with companionship, but also a boost in productivity for your business too. Collaboration is proving key to the success of many businesses across the UK, and it could help strengthen your business too. If you’re not sure how, we have 4 reasons for you:

Encourage Innovation

 

Collaboration opens up a wide new range of possibilities for businesses looking to innovate. By working with other business owners, you can discover new ideas, see new ways of solving problems and develop solutions that put you head and shoulders above the competition. It can also be a proving ground for trying new ideas that you perhaps wouldn’t feel confident trying out otherwise. It’s important to take measured risks in business, and collaboration allows space for that to happen. Collaborative working can also open up new ways of thinking, enabling further opportunities and new directions to take in the future.

 

Increase Productivity

 

Working collaboratively can do wonders for the productivity levels of you, and others you’re working with. If you’re working with colleagues, team building or group participation tasks can help identify common goals and build a healthy competition and rapport. If you’re working on your own, then getting together to talk and work collaboratively with other like-minded business owners can leave you feeling energised and ready to get good work done. And by bringing together left and right-brained thinkers, you will be able to come up with new and exciting solutions to your problems, powering you forward.

  

Provides Positive Change

 

Making big changes to the way you operate can be uncomfortable. You have to be willing to disrupt yourself, to change up old patterns and try something new to move forward as a business. Change can make your work processes more efficient, save you money and time, and even improve your own outlook on your work. Collaborating with others will help you do all of this, and better – it will make you excited to do it.

 

Create Partnerships

 

Collaboration also allows you to take advantage of the expertise of others. Working collaboratively means that all parties involved can capitalise on the skills and resources of other people. Cross-skills learning is particularly fruitful in the same way. It helps you to have a broader understanding of other practices and areas of business that you aren’t familiar with, helping build the overall strength of your business. It can even open up the possibility of forming potential partnerships that could bolster your offerings and provide more value to your customers.

 

At 10-12, collaboration is what we’re all about. That’s why our meetings are structured to provide not only networking, but education and the chance for collaboration through presentations and 1-2-1’s during the meeting. And we love seeing our members work and collaborate together on new and exciting projects. For more information, or to get in on the action, just get in touch with the team or book your visit today.


Calculator cost of networking

6 Small Business Tax Breaks You Might Not Know About

Category : Blogs

It’s April, and you know what that means? It’s the end of the tax year! That means that most of you will also have your company end of year coming up as well – since this is the most common time to set it up for. After all, you’re already filling in a bunch of forms (or your accountant is), so adding a few more won’t be too much of a burden. But did you know that there are a number of tax breaks that are available to small businesses like you, that you might not even know about? Well, we’ve collected 6 here for you.

 

R&D Tax Credits

Even if you don’t feel like your business qualified for this tax break, it’s definitely worth looking into. Research and Development (or R&D) tax credits are a valuable government tax relief that rewards UK companies for investing in innovation. Even if your business is running at a loss, you may still be entitled. And because the definition used by HMRC to define innovation is so broad, you don’t need to be in a laboratory kitted out in your lab coat to qualify. If you’re not sure, ask your friendly neighbourhood accountant to check for you.

 

 Annual Investment Allowance

It’s always a good idea to try and make use of your Annual Investment Allowance (or AIA). This will help you claim 100% tax relief on any assets that qualify as machinery and plant in the first year of purchase. However, the criteria for the assets that qualify is quite strict, so you’ll want to check the list before you go spending the money. For example, company cars aren’t on the list. You also need to physically own the assets to qualify – you can’t have them on a lease.

 

The Seed Investment Scheme 

There are a huge number of Government investment schemes you could utilise in your business. The one we recommend is the Seed Investment Scheme (SES). Any business just starting out and looking for additional capital (but doesn’t want to go to a bank) can use this scheme to gain the capital they need. There are also very generous tax breaks given to potential investors in the scheme. So if you’re in your first year of business, it’s a great source of working capital, and if you’re more seasoned, it’s an amazing way to support the local business community – and reduce your tax bill at the same time.

 

Enhanced Capital Allowance

The government, in a bid to promote the use of energy-saving equipment, introduced the Enhanced Capital Allowance (or ECA – they do love their acronyms) to give tax breaks to businesses who made a significant effort to be green. So if you use a car that has low CO2 emissions, water-saving equipment or other products that save energy in your business, then you can take advantage of this nice tax break. This break was formed when the government was in a coalition, and can sometimes be difficult to grasp the details of. So if you aren’t sure, just speak to your accountant.

 

Business Renovation Allowance

If the building your business is planning to use has been empty for more than a year and was previously used in a different capacity, this one’s for you. If you meet the criteria, you are entitled to a 100% tax incentive on any renovations you may carry out on the premises. This is a great option if you’re looking to bring on old warehouse or shop back to life. It doesn’t apply to office space though, sadly.

 

Employment Allowance

Finally, you can also reduce your NICs with the Employment Allowance.  If you employ people, the employment Allowance reduces the amount of National Insurance you have to pay each year by up to £3000. That’s not an insignificant chunk of change. It works by you ‘claiming’ your allowance each month via your businesses’ payroll process as the NIC arise. This basically means that you won’t need to pay NIC until the full £3000 has been used. In some cases, particularly for small businesses, you can completely eliminate your NIC bill as a result. Small foot note though – if your company only have one employee/director, you can’t claim this benefit.

 

Of course, there are many other benefits, schemes and other ways you can more effectively manage your businesses tax affairs. We’re not accountants – we can’t tell you all of them. But what we can do is encourage you to think about how you could manage this year’s taxes a little differently, and maybe even do some good to the community and your business at the same time. For more information, come along to a meeting  and chat to one of our trusted accountants.


10-to-12-business-club presentations

Preparing A Killer Pitch

A lot of things can happen in 60 seconds:

250 babies are born around the world, 1.8 million ‘likes’ are made on Facebook and Americans eat 21,000 slices of pizza. But what can you do in 60 seconds?

In networking circles, you have between 40 and 60 seconds to pitch your business to a room full of potential collaborators, sales people and customers. So what you say in that pitch is really important. Which is why it kills us to see people waste their time with something thrown together at the last minute. So this month, we have a few tips to help you put together a killer pitch for your next networking event.

Actually Prepare!

We see this all too often – people will book on to networking weeks in advance, but when they turn up on the day they make up their pitch on the fly. Now, some people are very good at this – just standing up and speaking about their business in a way that both explains what they do and convinces people to talk to them, in the space of 40 seconds. But more often than not, it’s obvious that they haven’t prepared. So our first tip is simply to actually prepare! You only need spend 5 minutes thinking about what you’re going to say and putting it on paper, and the impact on your pitch will be incredible. Some of our members even prepare them in bulk – sitting down for half an hour at the beginning of each month and writing out a range of pitches, so that if they can’t write a new pitch the day before the event, they can just pull out a pre-prepared one instead.

Focus On Value 

Odds are unless you do something truly, spectacularly unique, most people in the room will at least have a vague knowledge of what you do. So instead of reeling off a laundry list of your services, focus on telling them room how you add value to your customers. What do you do that makes you better than your competitors, and keeps your customers coming back to you time and time again? This gives them all the information they need to go out into the world and sell your business on your behalf, and is a great talking point for those who want to find out even more about what you do. In a world full of commodities, everything is about added value – so what’s yours?

Tell Stories

People connect with stories. They do not connect with lists of services, followed by ‘if I can help let me know’. If you’re in a crowded room full of businesses all pitching, you want to make sure you stand out. And you can do that by telling them a story that will make them remember you. It can be a real story of how you helped a customer, your spin on something you read in the news or even a made up scenario to illustrate a point. But the human brain is designed to lap up stories, and some of the best business pitches are ones that don’t sell, but tell.

Be Specific

If you’re a member at a regular networking event, then after a while everyone is going to know what you do. So instead of just repeating yourself every time, you should alter your pitch so that you can see some benefits. Before each meeting, pick one of your current prospects. Someone you’ve been struggling to get hold of, or who you would just love the opportunity to talk to. Then ask for an introduction to that person in your pitch! It’s not always about the people in the room, but about their own networks and connections as well. Specific pitches are much more likely to result in action, and you never know who knows the person you’re looking for. Honestly, if we had a pound for every time a specific pitch had been met with ‘He’s my next door neighbour!’ we’d be rich. In fact, I attended a networking event just last week where a man asked to speak to a specific woman within an organisation by name. In response, another man in the room stood up and said ‘Yeah, I can introduce you to her. She’s my wife!’.

If you would like to get some more advice about pitching to a room, or would like to try out your new pitching skills on a lovely group of supportive women, then we can help you. Just check out our meetings schedule and come along to one that suits you, or get in touch with us today for more information.


women networking

Why Women’s Networking Works

Category : Blogs , Networking

This February has certainly been important for all the women out there. Not only has it been International Women’s Week, but the 6th of February marked 100 years since women won the right to vote. So in the spirit of women’s empowerment, we wanted to do a post all about women, networking, and women’s networking and why womens networking works!

The Value Of Networking

In today’s ever-growing digital world, customers are becoming more invested in the people they buy from. Gone are the days when the company name mattered – now it’s all about trusting and liking the people you work with. Trusted referrals are almost at the level of currency, and networking is how we build that trust. We asked Issy, 10-12 co-founder and owners of 2 successful businesses, why she thought networking was so important:

“Having worked for myself for over 20 years, the one thing that has always worked for my business is networking. Whether it is in a social or business format, meeting new people is always good for your business. You never know who that person knows or who they could introduce you to that might just help you grow your business. The 10-12 Business Club offers so much more as not every time you network will you gain a sale, so we introduced the breakout sessions, the presentations and the 1-2-1’s from these three interactions I always come away from every meeting having learned something. Each meeting always leaves me feeling highly motivated which is what any good networking event should do.”

You can find out more about Issy, and how she can help you grow your business (with networking, and with a great website) by clicking here.

Networking is now becoming a fundamental development and marketing exercise for many UK businesses. It is one of the single biggest driving forces behind SME growth and has already helped millions of people learn, grow and improve beyond what they could achieve alone. In short, We could rabbit on forever about the benefits, so instead why not just read this blog here.

But Why Only Women?

Now, there are a few different schools of thought on this one, so bear with us. There are some people who believe that women’s only groups are exclusionary by nature and that it is an affront to men’s rights to be included. And on paper, they are absolutely right. But the fact is, women’s spent years being excluded from the world of business, and we have been fighting to level the playing field ever since. And while women’s rights and equality have come a long way, the lack of female representatives at C-suite level just goes to prove the fact that the business world can still be a bit of a boys club. Even now, many mixed networking groups are still dominated by men, which can be incredibly intimidating as a woman starting out in business. It could even affect your confidence and your growth. So women’s networking was created. To give women everywhere a safe space to learn, collaborate and grow their businesses. A place where they can share the common and unique difficulties women’s face in business, and empower each other to succeed without judgment. We’ve talked before about the birth of women’s networking in our blog, here. In fact, Lauren MacPhail, one of the biggest advocates of women-only networking, said of women’s only groups:

 “[women’s groups] allow those new to the industry to meet women in leadership and find mentors to guide them as well as finding new business and partnership opportunities. They help everyone grow.”

At 10-12, we believe in creating these supportive, nurturing environments for all women business owners and future leaders. That’s why we’ve set up our meetings across the South, in the format that we have. So instead of ‘just’ networking, our members can benefit from brainstorming sessions, training and workshops during the meetings, as well as your ordinary networking time. To find out more, or experience it yourself, just click here to arrange your visit. Come give it a try, we know that womens networking works, it just does.