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Hi Amanda,

It felt very weird last week not producing a newsletter! However, I’m committed to trialling a fortnightly issue for the next two months, to see whether you find that more convenient.

Last call for my Time Management workshop this Thursday (29 August). It’s not too late to book if you’re quick. Booking closes at 6pm tomorrow (Wednesday ).

This week I’m taking the opportunity to shine a spotlight on a few other small businesses, so if we’ve connected recently, read on to see if you get a mention!

In my newsletter this week:
  • Networking - a win/win activity!
  • Business planning - pros and cons 
  • Importance of financial planning - pension
  • "There's more than one of me"
Please do read on....

Networking - a win/win activity


I always encourage small business owners to network.

Word of mouth is a really powerful way to generate business.

I network a huge amount, and recently saw the benefits of this in a surprising way.

The leader of one of the groups I belong to set us a challenge at the beginning of the year.

She tasked us with maximising our networking - online and offline - and ran a competition to test how much we did!

Fast forward six months, and I was delighted to find I had won!

Last week I collected my prizes:

I spent a fabulous afternoon with Isobel Penny of House of Colour in Worcester Park, having a make-up lesson to match my make up to my colouring. Isobel is so knowledgeable - as well as being warm and friendly - and I learned a lot!

And then I collected some delicious South African ready meals from Charmaine Mace of Durban Street Food in New Malden. I’m particularly looking forward to the bobotie - which I’ve been fortunate to sample so I know how good it is!

Of course I’m not suggesting that networking will always produce such extra benefits!

But the networking itself is both enjoyable and valuable - you never know when you’ll connect with someone who needs you, or who knows someone else who might.

The pros and cons of business planning


Business planning is SO boring.

I’m not a fan.

I always have a business plan.

Contradictory? Let me explain.

Unless you have to approach a bank or other investor for finance, you probably don’t need one of those long, complicated (and often boring) business plans, full of statistics and fancy words.

However, you will almost certainly benefit from having a simple document that summarises what you’re aiming to achieve, how much money you aim to make, and how you plan to go about it.

Why?

Because it’s a great way of focusing your thoughts, and getting really clear on what you need to do (and what you don’t).


Thanks to a fellow coach, I revisited mine recently and found it a really helpful way to gauge my progress over the year. 

If you need more convincing - and guidance - here’a  a blog I wrote a while ago: Business plan = boring? Think again!"
 

"There's more than one of me"


Sometimes I hear people complain that they’re not unique. They say

“Lots of other people do what I do."

If you sell a particularly unusual service or product that may not be the case.

But for most of us, however hard we try to differentiate ourselves (and we should), there will be others who basically do or sell what we do.

However, the important thing to remember is there is only one of YOU.

In 99% of situations, people buy people. They buy the person they feel will suit them, who they feel comfortable with, and whose approach resonates with them.

I realised I'd had two great examples of this in the last week.

In the first place a close family member announced they were getting married and needed a photographer.

Now I know several photographers, and indeed have used more than one of them in different  situations.

On this occasion I knew instantly which one would be the best fit. Thank you Alex Taibel for being available and willing to step in.

Alex doesn’t even specialise in weddings - but I just knew she was the right person for this job.

Secondly another family member needed some financial advice.  

I know several financial advisers, but I had no hesitation in introducing them to Joy Barden. Again, I felt confident she was the right fit.

So if you are having a wobble and thinking - so many other people do what I do - don’t panic!

That may be true, but none of them are YOU, with your unique personality
and style.

Are you (financial) planning ahead?


I mentioned in my article above that a family member recently needed a financial adviser.

My background is in pensions.

I spent 30 years advising companies of all shapes and sizes  on running pension schemes for their employees.

So it's not surprising that I think having a pension is really important.

Yet I know that many small business owners bury their heads in the sand over this.

If you’re guilty of this, PLEASE think again.

The earlier you start, the better. It gives your money more time to grow, so that even a small monthly payment can turn into a meaningful lump sum by the time you retire.

Whats more, it’s hugely tax effective - as the tax man also contributes to your pension making it grow that much faster.

So please don’t put it off.

Talk to a financial adviser (most of them don't charge you)  and explore your options.

Do it THIS WEEK!

 
Forthcoming Workshops

Details of all my workshops can always be found on my website.

My next workshop is Time Management on Thursday 29 August. We’ll cover how to manage your time more effectively to achieve better business results. 

Currently my other workshops include: 

Blogging for Business – what blogging is, why and how to do it, and where to place it

Using Newsletters for Business – why do it, what to say and who to send it to

Pricing – what to charge and how to negotiate your price with customers

Finding your Ideal Client - how to identify your 'ideal client', and then track them down

Linked In - how to get smarter on Linked In, so you have a credible presence there

If you have suggestions for others, please do let me know.
“Amanda has the ability to get you to find the solution, to work through the issues rather than dictating or telling you.

This approach has been so refreshing, rewarding and enjoyable.

Amanda has a relaxed charm, a good listener but then insightful, getting to the heart of matters quickly.

Every session has been rewarding, with purpose and at a pace which doesn’t feel pressured or rushed.”

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