Session Notes - 19th February 2019
February Concannon Connection Business Community
This month’s group session included the attendance of several guests, who were invited to see whether they would like to be part of our business community. Just a reminder that we now have three membership levels (see website) and there aren’t any contracts, so you can stop paying and attending at any time. As our group sessions are growing in size, we will be using different venues, so please tell us if you are unable to attend and keep an eye on your emails for any venue changes. We will also be publishing posts on our members via LinkedIn and Facebook, so please provide us with suitable content (see actions below). Social media is all about storytelling – your posts should be interesting, newsworthy and not too salesy.
Self-sustaining business community
The philosophy of our business community is reciprocity, based on the principle that what you give out comes back. I have applied this rule throughout my entire life, and it has given me everything that I have ever wanted. To achieve success, we need to collaborate with one another. Sometimes, we may give to one person, but it might not be the same person who gives back – you never know where your next win will come from.
Say hello to Donald!
We have a mascot! My horse, Concannon Kinsman (aka Donald - we bought him on the day of Trump’s inauguration) will be making an increasing appearance on social media. Make sure that you follow him online…
Online Reporting Tool
This is a voluntary online reporting tool, which enables us to provide continuous improvement and development for your business. The information you submit on a monthly basis will become a personalised online report and this helps us to track your progress. The data will be transformed into a graph showing your agreed sales-to-date, invoices out year-to-date, cash in year-to-date, and your cash out (costs and expenses). This is different to your online accounting tool. This graph gives me an accurate picture of your business and an understanding of what you need my help with the most.
We have received several reports from you so far, and this information has enabled us to begin a group graph, which can then be used to market our overall success. Just a reminder that this is a voluntary tool, but it is very helpful for you to see how your business is performing, as well as helping you with the management of money. Most people dislike the stark reality of what their figures are telling them, however, you need to reflect on your business to know where your business is heading - see Member Reporting Tool below.
Success = Thinking
Consider the brain as the “control centre” telling your body – “the machine” - what it needs to put its efforts into. Therefore, the act of thinking in itself is incredibly important. One of my high-profile private clients, Ian Mattioli, CEO of Mattioli Woods, says that his success is all down to the thinking he’s done for his business. However, when you’re working under pressure, this can inhibit your imagination. You need to be able to visualise and ask rational questions about your business – see Anna Price marketing strategy section below.
Each group session will also include a section focused on three members’ businesses. The aim is to explore any business challenges and provide group feedback for the member. This month, Sébastien de La Hamayde, Designeering, Richard Moore, In The Market Procurement and Karen Cureton, Cureton Consulting were in the spotlight.
If you haven’t already confirmed your 121 with Julie, then please do so. As a reminder, the first set of 121s will take place over February and March, but those who have booked in w/c 25th March will need their 121s rescheduling, as we are now away that week in the USA.
Further 121s in 2019 will take place, as follows:
Please arrange 121s with each other – this gives you the opportunity to learn more about each other’s businesses, so you can easily refer to one another.
The coloured lanyards worked well at the last event to differentiate you as members. I will be continually looking for new ways to improve our business community and I welcome your ideas, too. I see myself as a “pragmatist activist”, which means that I like to explore different ideas and test these out - some ideas will work, and some won’t. We discussed the idea of a portable exhibition stand that could house members’ marketing collateral. It was suggested this project could be managed by Sébastien de La Hamayde, Designeering and David Major, Creative Direction.
As the Concannon Connection events are your opportunity to showcase your business to a captive audience, we will be looking for more ways to promote you at these events. Our events are rapidly increasing in numbers, so we could be hosting events for 200+ people in the coming months. Please remember to always bring along a guest, so we can keep these events fresh – this could be someone that you are prospecting to.
Anna Price – February Group Session
As the first of four group sessions to be delivered by Anna focused on strategic marketing, this session looked at creating a Vision, Mission and Values for your business. Having a marketing strategy in place will help you to develop boarder business objectives and smaller, individual goals, as well as ensuring that you are speaking to the right customers.
Overall feedback from the room and round-table discussions saw a lot of similarities when it came to the reasons why people were running their businesses. Most people expressed an interest in “helping others” in some way, whether this was through supporting other business owners, employees, families, couples (divorce), older people, or disadvantaged young people affected by mental health problems. Some people identified a gap or a business need – for example, a gap in health and social care, or applying their skills and knowledge to save businesses’ time and money. However, it’s also okay to be honest about why you set up your business - for example, the flexibility of being able to work whenever you choose.
Here are a few ‘take homes’ from this session (see PowerPoint slides for more details):
Vision = this is your reason for being. Imagine what you would like your business to look like and achieve in the future. Stay true to your vision and show that you are passionate about what you do. Every big business started with a vision.
Mission = this is what your business aims to do in order to achieve your vision. Avoid obvious phrases, such as “being professional”, as this is expected of you anyway. Try to be creative.
Values = decide on your business core values, as these will influence the above. Review your Vision, Mission and Values every 3-5 years.
What are you really selling? For example, what problem do you solve for your customers?
Know your customers – put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Picture your ideal client. What are their wants, needs, pain points, etc.? Create a profile of your ideal customer and market to this group.
SWOT Analysis – once you have done this, ACT and revisit regularly. Many people feel as if they shouldn’t have any Weaknesses or Threats, but this is impossible in most cases. Instead, focus on your Strengths and Opportunities – for example, across the wider marketplace, within your business and within yourself.
Brand Positioning – this exercise will enable you to summarise the above points and will help you to create your “brand” (see slides).
Please can you complete the above before Anna’s next session to ensure that you gain the maximum value from these sessions. Next month, Kym Ellington will deliver a group session on finance.
ACTIONS – by 7th March 2019:
Member Reporting Platform – (see below)
Proposition – what value do you offer? Please send this to me.
Photo – please select a head shot from the Dropbox folder for our directory. If you didn’t have your photo taken at the last event, please can you present yourself to Julie Moult at our July event.
Meetings – please add the recently supplied dates to your diary and confirm your attendance to the members meetings with Julie (in case we need to source alternative venues and we need to ensure there is enough tea, coffee).
121 dates – please confirm with Julie (you should have all been emailed). If your 121 is currently booked for w/c 25th March, this will need to be rearranged (see above).
Social media post - starting with “I’m so impressed with [your name] because…”, finish this off to showcase a recent success or win, and we will post on our social media channels.
ACTIONS – by next group session on 21st March 2019:
Marketing Strategy: Vision, Mission & Values – to be completed.
If you haven’t already sent over the following, please can you bring along to your 121:
Business Plan – this can be a short summary of your plans for 2019.
Budget 2019 – this needs to include all expected outgoings, including recurring fixed costs for the next 12 months.
Sales Forecasting – how are you going to generate sales to meet your budget?
Prospecting Plan – how are you going to increase your exposure to gain more customers and sales?
Member Reporting Platform
As a reminder, we need you to complete the following information:
Sales Contracted Year To Date = sales agreed, but not yet delivered.
Invoices Sent Out = enter actual invoices that have already been sent to customers.
Invoices Paid = this is your cash in, therefore, enter all invoices that have been paid.
Costs Incurred Year To Date = this is your expenses and outgoings, including any cash you have paid yourself.
Wins Since Last Report = I want to know your successes and any positive news.
Losses Since Last Report = updates in terms of any negative news.
What Help Do You Want? = this is where you can let me know whether you need more sales, prospects, or help from the group.
Sales Forecasting = review your sales pipeline and look at the confidence levels in relation to potential new jobs – do they have a 20%, 50% or 90% chance of happening? Describe who and what these potential jobs relate to.
This is voluntary – however, if you want to get the most out of your membership and receive a monthly personalised report, then you will need to submit your information by the first Thursday of each month. To complete your monthly report, click the button below: