Over 25 Norwich and Norfolk small business owners met to share top business tips and news, in our monthly Business Growth Club meeting in Poringland earlier this month.

The topics discussed were varied as ever, to include the following:

The TSB debacle rumbles on, and one of the key problems has been the lack of a full and frank apology from the bank – too often this has been fudged and half baked, trying to justify what has happened.  A classic example of how not to do it – why not just apologise unreservedly, immediately taking the heat out of the situation – it is very hard to stay angry with somebody or an organisation that grovels!

Following our highly successful LinkedIn workshop last month, a number of members report great success engaging with more and more relevant people on the platform.  Mark White, the trainer, has provided us with further templates which are ideal to use with Shortkey Lite in particular, where we can have up top 15 free macros which makes life so much easier.

A number have updated their LinkedIn banners, some using Fiverr which is very cost effective and quick too – Fiverr isn’t entirely suitable for any complex design work, but a simple banner is perfectly fine.

We all know the importance of a decent headline to grab people’s attention, indeed it is one of the Business Boosters – however they need to be genuine! Great example in the Times recently of a spurious headline – “How to beat the curse of hayfever” caught my eye, and as a lifelong sufferer of course I read further.  However their top two tips were stay indoors and shut all windows and doors!  Hardly ‘beating’ hayfever, more abject surrender and desperately annoying way for the Times to behave.  Lesson here for all of us.

GDPR is of course on everybody’s radar but it has got out of control – we should already be treating data carefully and honestly.  The Information Commissioner herself issued a very helpful statement recently, saying don’t panic and as long as we show a commitment to comply, that is enough – the new rules are aimed squarely at large companies.

Cyber security is the key and we discussed the different things we should all be doing here – password management, two factor authentication, taking expert advice to make sure we are as secure as possible.

A very interesting book called ‘They ask – you answer’ provideD great insight into how to become an authority in your area, simply by answering openly and honestly the key questions your prospects want to know.  The key question is price of course, and even if it is difficult to be entirely accurate it is normally possible to give a range.

According to the author, by the time a prospect gets in touch, they have already undertaken considerable research and are pretty knowledgeable and so why not give them the key information they want? By thinking of everything from the prospects or customers viewpoint, understanding what they want to know, it is easy to provide answers with blogs and sections on our websites and become the ‘go to people’ – be honest and unbiased, and wouldn’t that be attractive and give you a lead on the competition?  Great concept which I am sure many of us could adopt.

There are three important activities that every business needs to focus on – namely generating leads, having a sales process to convert these leads and finally looking after their existing customers. However all too often we concentrate on generating leads, which not only is the most expensive but the hardest too!  Real returns can be made by simply making sure our customers know exactly what we offer, the full range of our services and products as all too often they don’t – because we haven’t told them!

The trick is to find a way of doing just this, ideally visually and this gives a track to run on which can be used in meetings, placed on a website and sent as a pdf.

We discussed the different ways open to us in a group activity – plenty of ideas were forthcoming and now we just need to use them.

Two very relevant articles published by the Harvard Business Review including how to get the best from any freelancers by asking them how they work best, what would a good result be in their eyes – all to often we just leave them to get on with delivering the project.

The second article was on the declining importance of blogs, purely because so many people now write them and the real value is in writing case studies, in particular in the B2B market – one reason being people need and want to understand how other people are using your product or service, as they need a story to tell their own colleagues.

Finally the last session of the Daily Accountability programme has ended with some great success stories – simply by taking small, daily steps towards a goal, even only 15 – 20 minutes a day makes a huge difference over the course of a month.  Classic tortoise beating the hare!

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 12th June.