Tuesday, 30 September 2014

How business networking delivers inspiration and support

When you are running a company, or working hard in someone else's business, it can sometimes be tough to drag yourself back out in the evening for a networking event or meeting when you'd really rather crash in front of the television or spend some quality time with friends and family.

But more times than not it's worth the effort because of the lift it gives you - and the ideas and inspiration you gain.

Last month I shared the guest speaker slot at Burton-on-Trent's WiRE network with book keeper Alison Bradley. Alison and I are volunteer leaders of this not-for-profit women's networking and support group along with Forever Living distributor Lorraine Holden.

Burton WiRE women's business networking

We were thrilled to receive this lovely message afterwards from HR expert Karen Kirby, which she posted on the WiRE Facebook Page.

"Why I love WiRE, especially Burton WiRE (back-handed compliment coming)..... After a long day, out of town, poor traffic, I didn't fancy going out and had heard Elaine Pritchard & Alison Bradley speak a number of times. But SO pleased I did. However often you hear someone speak, you always learn or refocus on something and the energy in the room rubs off and I'm now home feeing invigorated. That's why I love WiRE. Thank you."
If you are a woman in business looking for new connections and fresh ideas, I can recommend our next WiRE meeting which is on Wednesday October 8, 7pm to 9pm at 107 Station Street.

Victoria Player
Our guest speaker is Victoria Player (pictured left), a certified coach, international speaker, author and online entrepreneur who is passionate about empowering women to live the life they want.

Victoria understands all about the challenges of running your own busy and balancing life-work priorities. She was once a struggling lone parent with a newborn, facing a life on benefits. Now she's a successful businesswoman generating regular five-figure income months.

Her talk will focus on how to attract new clients, increase cashflow and build more fun, flexibility and financial freedom into your business.

You can read more about Victoria at her website victoriaplayer.com.

It  is just £7.50 to attend the meeting - or £5 if you are a member of WiRE - including refreshments. Payment is taken on the night. All working women are welcome to attend. If possible, please book a place in advance through the WiRE website at - http://www.wireuk.org/burton-on-trent.

Everyone who attends is invited to give a 30-second introduction to their business and bring along business cards to share. There will also be time for informal networking. Hope to see you there. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Seven top tips about words and images for your website

Projecting the right image through your business website is crucial to success.

Finding the words that describe what you do can feel like a time-consuming chore - but it's worth persevering. Getting it right will help you to turn casual website browsers into prospective customers, and convert leads into paying clients.

When it comes to creating or improving your website you need to think about the design, the technology and the images as well as the words.

Here are my top tips for choosing the right words and images for your website.

1. Everyone has a story to tell - and your website needs to tell YOUR story in a way that strikes a chord with the people that you want to buy your products or services.

2. Think about how you want people to 'feel' when they look at your website. Do the words and the pictures match your business brand? What emotions do you want to trigger in people's minds? Do you want to be seen as fun, professional, nostalgic, honest or authoritative? Make sure you are projecting the image that is right for you and your business.

3. Be sparing in your use of stock pictures (or even better, avoid them all together) and commission unique pictures relevant to your business. Stock pictures may seem like a quick and cost-effective option - but consumers are getting more savvy about spotting stock pictures and it can make them feel a little uneasy. Why would you not want to show the real people, products and services in your business? A good photographer can produce a set of pictures that can provide long term value as you can use them on your website, social media, business cards, press releases, flyers, exhibition stands and banners.

4. If your business sells services rather than products, don't assume you have to settle for stock pictures. With a bit of imagination there will be many images you can take - or hire a photographer to take for you. For instance, all the images in this blog post were taken for me by Joanne Cooper Photography. I love the way she's captured a feel for what I do and the tools of my trade.

5. The days of stuffing your website full of keywords and phrases to try and cheat your way up the search engine results are long gone (thank goodness). Search engines want people to find relevant, useful, quality websites quickly so you need to write with your target audience in the front of your mind. You must, of course, include the words that you want to be found for - but in a natural, authentic way. Think about what content is relevant and useful to the people who are looking for the products and services you sell - and give it to them.

6. All the words and images on your website should be yours to publish. Never copy and paste someone else's work. Don't think they will never find out. There is every chance they will. You could find yourself in a time-consuming - and potentially costly - dispute and you'll have caused someone else unnecessary hassle too.

7.  Search engines do like websites that are updated regularly and provide a good quantity of relevant content. Think about useful, helpful articles you could add to your website, or perhaps a blog or latest news section.

If you would like some help with creating compelling content for your website, I'd be happy to have a free, no obligation chat. Contact me here.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Spreading the love for LinkedIn

When someone mentions LinkedIn to you, do any of the following thoughts run through your mind?

  • "It's just putting your CV online."
  • "It's only for people who are job hunting."
  • "I don't see how it can help me with the type of business that I run."
  • "I've never created an account and I have no idea how to do it."
  • "I've created an account - but what do I do now?"
  • "Won't people just steal all my best contacts?"

I'm planning to answer all those concerns (and more) when I present at the next Women In Business event being run by the Burton & District Chamber of Commerce on Thursday October 23, 2014, at the Burton Albion Football Club.

LinkedIn has helped me to grow my business over the last four years and I'm looking forward to sharing all its exciting possibilities with other women in business.

Find out more details and book your place here