Stephenwfoster's Blog

Archive for September 2010

 

Having recently become a member of the Chamber of Commerce I would personally recommend getting yourself involved in your local Chamber.

I decided a couple of months ago to begin attending my local Chamber breakfast club

The goal is to become an active participant within the local community. In the short time I have been a member, my company has benefited by becoming well known with local business and local authority. Not only are the meetings enjoyable but extremely interesting. The best is the support and friendly advice offered and provided.

The advice and help offered are proving invaluable to me and also grounds you when the work load becomes too high. The breakfast club networking event has introduced me to London Borough of Camden and registration with iCAM2. This in turn has led to free instruction on achieving ISO certification made available through iCAM2.

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I have committed the company to working towards achieving the standards of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

Following initial meetings with local business advisor Del Wright, it has been decided that the company will pursue these credentials. On the back of the newly formed contract division, part of the strategy is to achieve work from public sector. The demands are high and increasingly becoming more so. Not only does a company need to register in order to apply to tender but it also has to be ‘fit to supply’. This means that any potential user of your services, be it public or private sector, can to be assured of your capability to supply the goods/service on time and in budget. The awards are the credentials required to succeed in successful tendering.

The company has the four policies in place, together with a business continuity plan and has been accepted as ‘fit to supply’ by local authorities Camden & Islington. Our goal is to work within the standards of Quality management and Environmental management systems.

 

We are very serious about marketing the company to best effect. Enquiries are still being created through the advertising routes traditionally taken like Yell. The emphasis has changed in recent times with the advent of social media. The company has opted to work the new media by posting links to the web site from personnel profiles on linkedin. This option enables the use of a blog and this becomes the vehicle for the monthly newsletter and this is coupled with the use of Twitter to draw interest.

Traditional mail shots play an important part as does direct mail and drop shots. This is a regular activity with our company and a must to generate new enquiries. Our aim is to achieve word of mouth recommendation and this is the most successful by far.

The tried and tested ‘pick up the phone and speak to a prospect’, is still successfully used. Although, cold calling can be very frustrating, as business managers are fielding calls and unwilling to take calls from unknowns. Nothing new here but it has got more difficult. The key is devote some time to it.

The newly created contract division web site, a site within the existing group site, has presented new challenges. It seems that Google does not recognise the new pages until people start landing on the site. Catch 22, how do you get people to look at your site if they don’t know its there? It seems spending a princely sum every month will buy you a shortcut to media exposure but in reality the links you make through your social media and suppliers have a spidering effect. The down side is it takes time.

Networking is a very effective way to get known. I have recently joined the local Chamber of Commerce and attend a breakfast club. Not only is this enjoyable but also introduces new contacts to the business. This is a two-way street, become actively interested in other local businesses and this will create the trust needed.

 

I was invited to a breakfast meeting last month and being keen to promote my company I duly went along. Not ever attending one of these events before I was not sure what to expect. I had one thing in mind, Networking. As a guest I paid the meeting contribution and they welcomed me to the fold and took my breakfast order.

The meeting content was lively and informative. Everybody had a say and sales leads were passed to individual members. This is obviously how it works, I thought. You give someone a positive sales lead and in return you get one back. Not so, qualified leads only. Still, should work, I am thinking.

I can offer lots of leads to the group having been in the business for some time. How often do we meet? I wondered, once a month? once a quarter? These people are really keen, every week. Well, at a push I can do that most weeks.

Then, the newcomer to the group bit. Stand up. Tell them who you are what you can offer, what you would like in an ideal referral and most importantly what did I think of the meeting. Well the first thing that crossed my mind was where’s my breakfast? Everybody else seems to have had one, why haven’t I? Good grief. I had been up since 4.00am and on the road by 5.00am to get into London for the meet. Hungry, I was starvin’. Other than that “I was happy with the content and quality, I think I can fit in well with the group thanks for inviting me”.

I was then supplied an application pack and was asked to bring it in next week with my subscription.

It seems to me that everyone can help, at a price.


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