Monthly Archives: February 2020

“Eek I’ve booked to attend a BWN event and now I’m full of nerves and anxiety about it!”

We hear this a lot and we want to share with you some tips, useful information and ideas so you love The Business Womans Network too.

  1. Our Founder Mandie Holgate used to be so scared of networking if she could get herself in the room of “grey suits” she needed every great song on in the car, her best heels and to really work on her own mindset to get in the door before she even could work out what she was supposed to say when networking! The 60 seconds was a whole new level of fear that would see Mandie pretending she had an “urgent call from school, so sorry, miss me out” So when we say we know networking fears, we really mean it! And that is why we work hard to ensure you enjoy every second at the BWN, a popular statement we hear at our events is “I wasn’t going to attend today but I’m so glad that I did!”
  2. That is why at the BWN we have a policy that all coordinators are actively taught “Watch the door!” All our coordinators have a clipboard and they hang out at the door ready with a smile. So, they can greet you and share with you how the morning will run.
  3. When they greet you, they will say something like “Lovely to see you today, did you book online? No worries I can send you an invoice, could I get your business card or your email address? If you’d like to make yourself at home, you can put your coat on any chair, tea and coffee are there and the Business Promo Table is there feel free to add your business literature just ensure you take it when you go. We sit down at 10.30 and I will guide you through the morning”.
  4. We know a big source of fear and anxiety is around the dreaded 60 seconds. Why is it everyone else looks at home and is brilliant and you feel like a 4-year-old bumbling over your words! Fear not, Mandie had a phobia of public speaking and knows how to fix it. Mandie coaches businesswomen in how to overcome that fear of public speaking and speak at international conferences so we have lots of top tips to help you overcome your fear too. Your coordinator will ask “Would you like a 60 seconds slot to speak with the audience?” And if you don’t want it, don’t have it. We do encourage you to stand up and say something like “Hello my name is…. And I’m pleased to be here today.” Break down your fear anyway that suits you – and we will help you too. But if you really don’t feel up to it, your coordinator will ensure you don’t speak. There is no issue with this at all. We want you to feel happy and relaxed while networking with us. It is a popular (scary!) activity on the Insiders getting businesswomen to go live and deliver a 60 seconds so they can get feedback, practice and learn to feel comfortable and confident talking about their business.
  5. Tell your coordinator you are nervous. They will either encourage you to “Stick with them” or introduce you to a regular attendee. Our regulars want you to feel at home. So, they are quick to befriend people. We are very familiar with New people being nervous and want you to enjoy your time with the BWN – it’s easier to make sales and talk business that way.
  6. No clickyness policy. It is actually written into our Coordinators Handbook that we don’t tolerate clickyness. If you are on the inside it can feel great to be part of the cool crowd but we aren’t on the playground and it all it does is isolate people. Being in business is isolating enough so we work hard to ensure you never experience it at the BWN.
  7. Prepare a 60 seconds – even if you don’t want to speak it will help you focus your mind on what to talk about and give you a place to start.
  8. Good questions to rehearse so you don’t have to do the talking and can relax a bit include “Have you been attending the BWN for long?” “This is my first time do you have any advice for me?” The obvious is “What do you do?” but don’t feel you’ve got to start there. Some amazing sales have taken place because a businesswoman has said “I love your brooch…” What questions could feel natural to you that are open questions.
  9. Don’t feel obliged to talk. Being in a group of business owners, just listening is a great way to get to know people. Ask for their business cards so you can get to know them online. Our members are very active on our social media and it will help you feel more connected to the group before next time. (You can find all of our social media on our site – do get involved and share your news and blog articles.)
  10. Post to the Facebook event. Say something like “I’m attending The BWN for the first time, any advice for me?” or “Looking forward to meeting you all – it’s my first time!” People will be keen to support you.
  11. It is very important to us that if you don’t feel completely at home you tell us. If you are nervous to do that then you can email our Founder. Mandie set up the BWN because she wanted us to be an inclusive organisation helping women in business achieve what they truly wanted to without the big price tag – so if you don’t get that feeling from day one we want to learn. Email our Founder here.

And that is the important thing to remember. As businesswomen we are naturally supportive and caring and want others to benefit from the things we benefit from. That is why increasingly we see businessmen at our networking events because they know they can be honest, network, gain business and learn new skills.

You can’t learn new ideas for your business if you are petrified so congratulations for being honest, we will do all we can to ensure you feel right at home in no time. And then you will be one of the smiley people watching the door for Newbies too!

  • February 13, 2020

Dear Boris Johnson, we’ve a free way to help women in business…

We are lucky enough to work closely with NatWest and their regional Business Growth Enablers. You don’t even have to bank with them to experience their genuine passion for women in business (and no we aren’t getting paid to write this!)

So when NatWest told us about the Alison Rose Review we wanted to know more. It makes for shocking and worrying reading for women in business and so when we heard Boris was keen to support this intiative and make big changes a reality for business women in the UK, we had a few thoughts we wanted to share.

So Boris, what do you think?

“Dear Boris Johnson,

We welcome your address for more female entrepreneurs. Many can recite facts on the importance of women setting up their own businesses and scaling them. And many will be able to cite what stands in their way.

While many will tell you Mr Prime Minister that we need more investment and more initiatives and more and more and more, take a moment to look at success stories already happening around the UK. And you can see that what needs to happen is a lot simpler (and a lot more cost effective.)

The Business Womans Network was established in 2009 to help women in business do the very things you look to achieve. The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship that was bought to our attention by local NatWest Business Growth Enablers who have supported our work for many years, highlights many of the issues that we see impacting on a woman’s ability to thrive in business. And we know first hand what impacts on women in business and have been helping to obliterate those obstacles with great success.

You are looking to help women;

  • Set up businesses.
  • Scale up businesses.
  • Take on staff.
  • Take on premises.
  • Challenge themselves to go for big contracts.
  • Create innovative solutions that enable the UK to be at the forefront of industry and technology.
  • And a lot more besides.

We saw your speech at Make Business Your Own event filmed by Oscar Fairchild and know exactly what you are talking about when you mention the fear of failure. Our Founder Mandie Holgate has a book that has been translated into 5 languages that looks at the 12 biggest fears that impact on success and a whole chapter is dedicated to the fear of failure. Our members know how to override that fear, have faith in their capabilities and access the support they need to ensure they achieve. It is a big part of our ethos and mission.

If you are looking to help create 600,000 female entrepreneurs and help the UK Economy to the tune of £250 billion we are here to say we can help, and best of all it is not going to cost you a single penny.

As hard as it has been at times, we’ve never had a membership or increased our prices since 2010, so that we are accessible to all women in business. We should register as a CIC or charity however all coordinators also run their own businesses so we concentrate on getting results for our members and our own businesses.

We were ridiculed for being a “Bunch of women sat around drinking coffee” when one business woman in the room makes over £100k of sales through just 1 event they attend in 2019 we would say that is one hell of a coffee!

We don’t want any money, just to show you how we are helping women and how easy that is to replicate to help your mission. We help women to;

  • Have courage and overrule that negative voice in their heads that says “You can’t do this.”
  • Access some of the Top speakers and business leaders in our masterclasses to help them be inspired, motivated and empowered and learn new skills to ensure they are always ahead of the game.
  • If childcare lets our members down and their children aren’t poorly they are welcome to attend our events, because we believe their children are the next generation of entrepreneurs and we want to “Get in there early” to ensure they start young with the entrepreneurial can do mindset. We have offered our services to local schools, alas apparently this is not their focus?
  • We are lucky enough to have had MP’s, Councils, investors, funders and banks that have wanted to know how they can support our members with many attending on a regular basis so our members feel confident to discuss their financial needs.
  • We share local and national events that could be good for business even those that are considered our competitors – our ethos is that if it is good for business, then we want business women to know about it – this includes initiatives from WE Connect and the NHS Entrepreneurial Programme (which our founder Mandie Holgate has been a speaker and mentor for as well.)
  • Our members know how to communicate powerful to get the best out of networking and opportunities for business.

We are keen to launch in new areas and all we ask from you, is that you tell people we exist and if you’d like you could come along to see what our women are achieving.

Our members (anyone that walks through the door is a member) achieve all the things you are looking for women in business to do and a lot more.

On top of the essential skills that women are considered to need we build confidence and create the mindset that ensures that no matter what we know we can survive and thrive in business.

We are inclusive organisation and so business men often attend too. And if childcare lets our members down then they are welcome to bring them along (just to be mindful during our masterclasses – since our speakers are exceptional and include international entrepreneurs, TV presenters, best selling authors and top Forbes 100 writers.)

We actively encourage public sector organisations to attend and offer discounts to charities so they don’t miss out too. Ensuring people learn best practices. As mentioend in the Rose Review we are keen to promote all opportunities for women in business and so have a Business Ops Slot at every event sharing local and national opportunities too.

600000 female entrepreneurs is worth 250 billion to UK economy and all we ask to help us help more female entrepreneurs is tell people we exist. We are happy to supply you with 100’s of successes stories to showcase to you this is not about a coffee morning!

Thank you for your time Mr Johnson, we hope you will get in touch.

Best wishes,

Mandie Holgate and the growing BWN team.

01206 381482

07989 935556

  • February 6, 2020