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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in networking

I run my own business, which has its pleasures and its challenges.  I started to do what I do for good reasons, and I keep doing it for good reasons, but those reasons have perhaps evolved over time.  I recently worked out what is actually the most important thing to me – how I did it and how it’s helped me might be of help to you.

I was at a small independent networking group in Marlow (let me know if you want details – you might like it) and Helen Isacke of http://www.crowncoaching.com/ ran a great session on just this topic.

Helen provided us with a list of potential answers to the question, such as:

  • To maximise my income
  • To not have a boss
  • To manage people how they should be managed ... and so on.

There were about forty of them – not an exhaustive list, but a pretty good one.

We then went through a guided process to narrow down our top five, and then finally to end up with just one.

If Helen had started with simply asking what was the most important thing to each of us, it would have been a really tough question to answer.  By taking us through the process, we all ending up with one solitary item, we all enjoyed the process, and we all learned something about ourselves (and each other) along the way.

Thank you Helen!

And what was top for me, I hear you ask?  “Making money” was on my list, as was “Being my own boss”, but the one which came top was “Delivering value”.

Why? 

Primarily because I feel a huge burden of responsibility when working with clients.  They are entrusting me with their secrets, their worries, their dreams, in the hope and belief that I will help them achieve their objectives, whatever those objectives may be.  I need to charge for my services (mortgage, family and other calls upon my cash), so I don’t only want to help people, I want them to consider that the sum they pay me is more than outweighed by the return on their investment.

When I reflected on this afterwards, I came to the conclusion that if I achieve this, then the other things which are important to me also come to fruition. 

If you’ll forgive me saying so, I have a need for revenue.  If I deliver value, then clients will come back for more (more of the same, or services with a different slant), and that will result in more revenue. They will also feel more comfortable writing a LinkedIn testimonial, and in mentioning to business connections of their own that I provide a good service which could also benefit them, all of which can lead to additional revenue for me.

Running my own business is also a biggie for me. I like to go in the direction I want to go, and to do so in the way I want to.  To have those outcomes, my business needs to be financially viable.  So, delivering value leads to repeat clients and new clients, which leads to financial sustainability, which means I can carry on running my own business.

I’ve always tried to deliver value, as an employee and when running my first business as well as now that I’m running Enterprise Doctor.  Since I’ve been through this process, I’ve had more of an active focus on delivering value – I think I’ve perhaps moved from unconscious competence back to conscious competence, which I see as a step forward.

 

So – what’s top of your list? Or might you need help working that out?

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Today marked the start of Laptop Monday – an idea which has been kicking around for a few years, but to which I really started paying attention a few short months ago.

I work from home, and it can be pretty isolated.  Sure, I chat to people on the phone, and even Skype with clients, but that’s just not the same as interacting with people face-to-face in the same way that those who work in an open plan office get to do every day.

So, I designed & built Laptop Monday – a co-working event, to be held every 2-3 weeks at a hotel nearby, and started to promote it and invite people.  I did lots of tweets, pushed the events on LinkedIn, got articles in both of the relevant local papers, advertised on Marlow FM, used the auspices of the Marlow Chamber and generally networked my socks off!

The result?  There were 10 like-minded people there and, I am delighted to say, the objectives were achieved. 

Sometimes there was absolute silence, with 10 work focussed people hunched over their laptops.  Sometimes, only one or two were working, while the others had a group discussion about the late lamented Mr Bowie, the benefits of FSB membership or the latest resignation from nice Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.  Sometimes the babble was all pervading, as four or five separate conversations took place simultaneously.

Some of those conversations were most certainly within the domain of “co-working” – a range of help was given, a number of business cards were swapped, some old acquaintances were renewed and some new relationships began – as I left, the last two were in the bar discussing how they may be able to be of help to each other moving forward.

The only formal-ish part of the event was the “Lunch’n’Learn”, delivered by Sally Hindmarch of http://partnerswithyou.co.uk/, covering off “The five P’s of Presentations”, although she actually gave us six!  A useful interactive workshop from which everyone in the room benefitted.  As someone said afterwards, that session alone was worth the £15 for the day (which included tea & coffee all day, as well as free parking & free wifi).

So – onward!  The next event is 25th January.  Two places already booked.  Some of those in the room today said they’d be back.  10-ish people seemed to work well, but there’s room for more – happy to have you join us for 25th Jan, or one of the other planned events.

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