Posts tagged ‘Networking Events’

Obviously, we all network to build a contact database in the hope of developing relationships that create business leads, but for those of us who are commited to business networking, both online and offline, the benefits are multi-faceted.

When I look back over the last ten years and reflect, I am amazed a how much I have changed as a person as a result of my networking experiences.

Skills

By rolling up my sleeves and getting involved, I have learned many skills that my retail training and professional accountancy training could not have taught me.  These include;

  1. creating, organising, promoting and hosting events
  2. managing a team, including chairing a committee of volunteers
  3. opportunities to work in the charity sector, which have since been a significant part of gaining my Diploma in Charity Accounting
  4. many different forms of marketing, communication and negotiation skills
  5. and of course – blogging and social media techniques.

Friends

The number of great friends I have acquired as a result of networking moves me.  Friends that I can pick up the ‘phone to, banter with on Twitter, share books with, ask both personal and business advice or simply meet for a cuppa whilst our children play.

So the second half of my “10 ways” is devoted to paying homage to them as a small token of my appreciation.

  1. Mervyn Foster.  Looked after me like a surrogate father in the early days of my time on the HBN committee; partnered with me when hosting The Missing Link in Cambridgeshire; “bullied me” into attending Toastmasters and is often my chaparone to networking events allowing me to chew of his ear in the car!  A life-long friend and trusted counsel.
  2. Julie Buck.  Another HBNer that has had a significant impact on my life.  Her passion for business and helping others to be healthy and successful is infectious, and as a result Hunters’ Health was conceived.  She is a great leader, and like Mervyn someone I can confide in.
  3. Heather Townsend.  A more recent addition to my networking circle, Heather was one of my first Twitterbuddies.  Her no-nonsense approach to business and love of networking drew my attention.  We now chat for hours on social media about business and personal issues. She is now an accomplished author as well as a successful coach, I am proud to know her.
  4. Other Twitterbuddies and Bloggers that deserve a shout out: Helen Stothard, Katherine Connolly, Maxine Welford, Darren Leighfield, Jim Connolly.  Thank you for your support, entertainment and generosity.

Number 10

And finally, it has to be said that the biggest benefit that networking has given me other than an amazing Linked In, Twitter and Facebook contact list, is BELIEF.

My networking experiences have helped me to become the person I am today by developing my confidence and helping me to enjoy my work, knowing that I add value to my clients business.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

If you found this post interesting/useful please share it with your social network and/or bookmark it.  Also, your comments are always valued and will help me to write new posts that are relevant to readers of this blog.

As an avid networker, I am constantly intrigued by “experts” offering networking advice to small business owners.

Personally, I have rarely struggled with networking.  In fact, I find it enjoyable and sometimes exhilarating, but I completely understand why for many it is an uncomfortable experience.

I recently read a blog post about being self-conscious when at networking events that I felt worthy of sharing with you, because it offers clear advice that I am in complete agreement with – It’s not about you!

http://myescapevelocity.com/take-the-self-out-of-self-consciousness-when-youre-networking


To summarise the author, Liz Strauss writes:

“Everyone likes an intelligent, interested person who gives us true attention.
We all like people who ask meaningful questions and listen to how we answer them.
I learned that being that person makes walking into a room of strangers easier to do”


So, next time you are at a networking event, stretching your comfort zone, anxious and sweaty palmed, take the heat off yourself and focus on others and you will be surprised what an adept networker you will become.

For further tips on developing your networking skills, try “Joined Up Networking” by Heather Townsend.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.


Forms and more forms, rules and regulations, sign here, don’t forget this, do that…

Entrepreneurs are often discouraged by the bewildering amount of bureaucracy and problems which they come up against.  But with a simple checklist of tasks and a little support, your small business could be up and running in no time.

Do I need an accountant?

It is not essential, but advisable.  An accountant will have the specialist knowledge and experience to assist your business, help you make decisions about the future and relieve you of most of the administrative burden associated with being self-employed; enabling you to devote more time to developing your business and earn that all important cash.

If you are going to engage an accountant it is essential that you involve them from the outset.  Decisions taken at the early stages can affect your business for many years to come.  For example, they can advise you on the best structure for your business and how to deal with other people that have a stake in your business.  (I will deal with some of these points in a future ‘accountancy’ post)

How do I find an accountant?

There are many ways to source professional services, but the key is to find someone you can trust and can work with.  You may be discussing sensitive issues so you need to be comfortable communicating with them.  Ask other business people for recommendations and introductions or attend networking events where you have the opportunity to speak to a potential adviser and find out whether they suit you and your business. Check that they are qualified, as this will ensure the quality of their services is regularly monitored.     Look no further! www.georgehay.co.uk

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Assuming you plan to operate a sole trader, here are a few pointers for you to consider.


  • Inform H M Revenue and Customs

You must inform the Tax Office that you are operating a business as a self-employed person so that  a ‘self-assessment record’ can be created. This will ensure you are issued with a Tax Return

You will also pay Class 2 National Insurance.  This ensures you are paying enough NIC to keep a continuous record should you need to claim benefits or a state pension in the future.  

If your household income is low, also ask them for tax credits application pack.


  • Open a business bank account

It is important to open a business bank account, not only will your bank be disgruntled if you continue to use your personal banking facilities for business, it will be difficult to segregate business transactions from personal, which may lead to complications later.  Shop around for the best deals, most high street banks offer free business banking for the first year for start-ups and don’t forget to build a relationship with your business bank manager, they have a lot of business experience to share with you.


  • Keep adequate records

You do not have to be a trained bookkeeper to maintain adequate business records; however failure to do so could make life very difficult if H M Revenue and Customs randomly pick your business for an enquiry as you will be unable to substantiate the amounts you have declared. In fact, you may find that you are not claiming relief for all that you are entitled if you do not have a clear record of your transactions.

Maintaining records is also a key part of managing an effective business as they will allow you to review your performance, check your customers are settling their accounts and assist you in managing cash flow.
  • VAT Registration

If your turnover exceeds the registration limit in any rolling twelve month period, registration is compulsory.  Until then, the decision whether to voluntarily register is dependant on your customers.  Generally, if they are registered, you may as well be.


  • Taxation

The tax year runs to 5th April.  Soon after this date you will receive a Tax Return.  You may need professional assistance with completing this, but if the business is very small and you have kept adequate records, it is fairly straight forward so should not cost you an arm and a leg!  This form must be completed and submitted to H M Revenue and Customs by the following 31st January.  If you are not completing the form online, it must be submitted 31st October. The Tax Office will calculate your liabilities for you, before they fall due on 31st January.


  • Business Support

There are many sources of business support for small businesses.  Search on the internet for local networking organisations, where you will find like minded individuals who are experiencing similar anxieties as you.  You may also find these networks are a valuable source of contacts for developing your business.

Find out if you have an Enterprise Agency or Business Link in your area.  These supply consultancy and workshops at heavily subsidised rates.

Ask your professional advisers, such as your accountant or bank manager, if they don’t know the answer, they should know some one who does.


  •  Business insurance

Can be an expensive overhead for a new business, but needs to be considered carefully.


  • Think positively

You are only as good as you believe you are….


The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.