WIBN Hants & Wilts - Putting your Business into Gear

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Driving a business starts with engaging – whether it be with other like-minded businesswomen through professional networking, taking on suppliers, delegating admin tasks or other aspects.

The Women in Business Network (WIBN) Hampshire and Salisbury regional meeting attracted 45 ladies, a respectable turnout considering the summer holiday getaway has just begun. Held at Chilworth Manor Hotel in the Lord Selbourne Suite, regional associate Jacqui Frampton 'borrowed' her trusted MC Jay Rachet (from The Boardroom Network) to welcome everyone and keep the event running smoothly and to time.

Regional gatherings present an opportunity to meet members of other groups and warmly welcome visitors, whilst featuring spotlight presentations from established members.

First up was  Dee Harrison (Philobiz), who spoke about 'Our Relationship with the Internet'. Dee believes it creates possibilities for every small business to punch above its weight and reach new audiences, but issued a caveat – 'know what you are getting into'.

Educational mentors enabled Dee to forge ahead and achieve what is now a thriving and successful digital marketing company. She views websites as cars: "You can get sucked into the aspirational side when really they are functional vehicles to get you from A to B.

"A website should take your business where you want it to go. Yes, there are running costs, but you need to become more informed about what you need. Be sensible with your website, especially if it's in start-up mode, because you can upgrade later. The World Wide Web is like the M4, crowded with traffic jams.

"Throwing money at a website build doesn't necessarily mean increased performance, therefore learn to undertake basic servicing. Drive your website so it is really going somewhere."

Dee is running a 30-day challenge to teach people to grow email marketing lists, so please get in touch if it is of interest.

Next was property investor and webinar trainer Bronwen Vearncombe, well known to local networking regulars. In recent years, Bronwen and her husband have swopped commuting to busy City jobs by investing in a property portfolio which gives them the passive income they need to maintain their chosen lifestyle. Always eager to share her combined property/finance experience, she suggested top tips: education (learning from experts); FOCUS (Focus on One Course Until Successful); using others for tasks which you don't want to do (like bookkeeping or cleaning); being strict with time management and confronting fears by taking action.

The final speaker was Dinah Smith, who trained as a nurse and now works as a natural health adviser. Dinah embarked on a natural health regime when knocked severely by illness and turned her life around in two months. She is keenly interested in gut microbiomes and 'putting the body back into balance' through using ethical and innovative products which she has incorporated to improve her lifestyle and overall wellness.

Venus Awards' ambassador Pam Bates closed the meeting by telling us about 'The Big Give Christmas Challenge', in aid of Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity, an appeal for SMEs to pledge a sum which will be match funded in the future.

Networking won't necessarily get you from A to B in one trip, but it's those meandering little journeys to follow-up meetings which may make the road ahead seem clearer.
After all, neither cars nor our businesses can run on fumes.

• WIBN currently runs groups in Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire. Contact Jacqui Frampton to find out more about these, The Boardroom Network and Business club sessions for 2017-18.

Words: visiting copywriter/editor Sue Hughes, suehughesltd.co.uk

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