Monthly Archives: March 2020

Molly Olly’s Wishes

Charities are really struggling thanks to Covid-19. Here our Warwickshire coordinator Amanda Miller shares why Amanda has chosen Molly Olly’s Wishes STELLA WOMEN – Rachel Ollerenshaw

Amanda Miller and the Warwickshire The BWN group are raising awareness of Molly Ollys Wishes, a local charity founded by Rachel Ollerenshaw. Amanda is aiming to arrange a Promises Auction later in the year.

Rachel and her husband Tim set up the charity after their daughter, Molly lost her fight with Wilms Tumour in 2011. She was just 8. They had spent a large part of the preceding 5 years in and out of hospital, and Molly wanted to help other children who did not have the support that she and her family had.

Money raised helps support children from birth to 18 and their families who need additional help to ease the burdens of living with a terminal or life threating illness.

Learn more about their activities at And you can join their online world too. Even sharing their posts can help them raise their profile.

At this time you may not be able to give money but you can give time. Maybe share a few posts, like their pages, if you have skills in IT, admin, social media, PR, blogging, marketing, fund raising – give just 1 hour a month. That could mean the difference between your local charities being here in 6 months time and them closing their doors.

All offers of help can come to us or head to Amanda’s Warwickshire event page to get in touch directly.

  • March 25, 2020

Advice to stay motivated, productive and grow despite Covid – 19

Here our Founder Mandie Holgate shares two articles on how to stay positive, be productive (and probably get more done) what warning signs to look out for and how to cope with home working. For good measures Mandie has added some ways you could actually grow your business despite this tough global situation.

We’ve all seen tough times but this is possibly unprecedented so we are upping the content we create to help you learn new skills, stay positive, access high quality proven experts to help you and your business find practical ways to survive and thrive.

Read Corona Virus and working from home – how to stay motivated, productive and achieve more here.

Read Corona Virus and practical support for your small business here.

Don’t forget we also have a webinar series over on the Insiders.

  • March 19, 2020

Could Covid-19 effect your cyber security?

As Covid-19 takes its grip on small businesses around the world, your data security could be at greater risk.

Jayne Meek from Spritzmonkey shares some guidance on safer homeworking for businesses.

Jayne attends our Suffolk and Essex events and is happy to answer questions. If you have concerns around any aspect of your personal and professional life right now and we will find an expert to share some ideas and top tips. Stay safe, lean on your network, ask for help and let us know how we can help.

We’ve lots of ways and most of them are free or very low cost.

  • March 19, 2020

Covid 19, Importing & Small Business – is it all bad news?

Chris Murphy from Tide attends our Essex events. Chris has big ambitions to support local small businesses with his “Ethical” approach to importing. Here Chris shares his own personal views on Covid – 19 and our businesses.

We appreciate the situation is changing very fast with this pandemic and as such wish to confirm these views were shared on Wednesday 11th of March.

As international authorities track COVID-19 through Europe, even the most affected countries such as Italy are reporting incidences of less than 0.02% of the total population with a death rate of just 0.001%.

Of course people must be responsible and vigilant in order to limit the spread of any disease, particularly at this time of year. But amidst the panic one very important part of the jigsaw is being omitted from the information we are receiving through the media. In order to understand the potential consequences of this pandemic in this part of the world should we not be focusing on it’s origin – China?

  • How has the situation been handled there?
  • What has been the effect?
  • And most importantly, what is the situation there now?

I work with China on a daily basis, I talk to colleagues and friends throughout the country constantly. The situation took hold around 6 weeks ago, action was taken and, from where I’m sitting, things now seem to be returning to normal.

Working in the shipping industry you start to notice patterns in global trade. The UK is a consumer economy and by monitoring import volumes from China at the point of departure it is possible to successfully forecast peaks and troughs in British economic fortunes several months ahead of official reports.

February / March is always a slow time for global trade due to the impact of the Chinese New Year holiday, when nothing ships from China for around 2 weeks in late January / early February.

Businesses have learned to factor this in to their plans and forecasts. The Coronavirus situation effectively extended the Chinese New Year holiday period by around 2 weeks this year, since then there has undoubtedly been further delays and disruption but now, as the spread of the virus in China subsides, trade is starting to move again.

After CNY, Tide would normally expect to receive the first stock from China at our warehouse in Essex around mid to late March. As it is, this year we are now expecting shipments to start arriving in mid April.

Sure we’ve got a few tough weeks in front of us but the light at the end of the tunnel is booked on a ship from Ningbo next week!

I fully expect this outlook to be reflected in the wider economy; Coronavirus will be one of those situations that we look back on and learn from.

Take care of yourselves but don’t panic!

Thanks for sharing your view Chris. We are now actively looking to collect your thoughts and fears around Covid 19. In light of this research we are putting together a series of online training opportunities specifically aimed at supporting you through this tough time with international speakers!

This will all be accessible on the Insiders which remains at £5 a month so it is accessible to all.

Complete survey here – feel free to share this survey so we can help more business owners.

Learn more about the Insiders here

  • March 16, 2020

Happy International Women’s Day – a word from our founder

Mandie Holgate didn’t mean to set up the BWN, but it was a lucky accident that came from a conversation with a local newspaper that has shaped her career.

When you considered first experienced success as one of the UK’s youngest bodyshop managers in the automotive industry it is a ironic twist of fate that she set up The BWN.

Here she shares how we can all play a part in International Women’s Day – men, women and children and the benefits it could bring to you, your business, communities, charities and even help save lives.

Read the full story here.

  • March 7, 2020

Business Cards, Data Protection and Networking – What you need to know.

Robyn Banks – Data protection expert – as Robyn likes to say, “Robyn Banks is my name not my profession!”

We do our best to put the finest quality experts in front of you our business women (and increasingly business men) because we want to ensure whatever the law or the trend you are bang up to date.

Here Robyn Banks from Adavista shares some essential information for every business owner around data protection legislation, networking and business cards.

I have recently been made aware that there’s still a lot of misunderstanding about the impact of the UK data protection legislation on businesses, particularly when business owners are networking. 

At The BWN I know they strive to ensure that they act appropriately with the data they hold on behalf of their members and contacts.  (I’m The Data Protection Specialist that Mandie Holgate – Founder of The Business Womans Network and her team use for their own compliance.) The success and building of the businesses of our “members” is fundamental to our ethics and every month I network with The BWN I do my best to ensure everyone is getting it right.

As a data protection implementation specialist I know how the law is supposed to work however I can also see how complicated and confusing it can appear for business women.

When Mandie and I spoke recently I decided to write this article to give some guidance to remind business owners of the protocols around networking and business cards. (These are the “rules” that I help The BWN, Mandie and her team follow.) 

Look out for this smiley face because Robyn is always happy to talk about data protection and your business. Robyn networks with us in Essex, North London and Suffolk.

Networking is big business in today’s corporate world as we all strive to take our place in the workplace.  For many small business owners (and even some larger corporates) networking and learning about other people’s businesses and how they can complement our own is a vital, or even the only, marketing tool we use. 

To help a person remember us and what we do, we hand out business cards at networking events.  A business card holds personal data as defined in UK data protection legislation, including the UK Abridged “GDPR” – but the concepts around the protocols of utilising this data have been around in previous legislation too –namely the Data Protection Act 1998.  The new legislation of May 2018 did not change these protocols. 

If I am given a business card at a networking event, then that is “consent” from the individual to contact them and either

a) seek more information on what they do.


b) market my services to them. 

This I can do once without seeking further consent from them. If they do not wish to receive further information from me, then they should send a polite email asking me to desist from sending them “stuff”. 

If I ignore this request and send more, they should ensure I have received their request to stop!  If I have and still persist in sending them information, then they have the right to take this further with the  supervisory authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). 

ICO are very unlikely to take any action, even investigate, if the person has not “unsubscribed” and ensure I have received the “unsubscribe”!

I was at a BWN event recently where the respect for data was taken even one step further  – and for the record, it was not just because I was there! 

One lady present at the event really did not feel comfortable being included in any of the photos taken by the event photographer  – and so she wasn’t.  No fuss, just noted and no follow up needed as no pictures of the lady concerned have been included in any of the “publicity” for the event. That’s respecting Data.

The key point here is to be professional and not use a misunderstanding of the law to “put down” others  – especially competitors.  However well meant it just causes aggro and can be avoided if everyone respects the protocols in the first place.

Let me sign off by saying that there are still a lot of business owners out there who think they have the premium knowledge on data protection impacts on business – only to show themselves up as non-professional in their approach.  This then impacts more on their business than those they are trying to “harm” as it damages their credibility and reputation more than those they were trying to be clever about.

Data protection is not a new thing, business owners need to be interested in it, is. If in doubt ask an expert not someone that “heard a talk once.” I find that the companies (and I include Mandie’s here) that get it right easily are those that were already getting it right.

I know that The BWN does not add people to it’s data base and uses platforms like Mailchimp to ensure when they do get in touch they are doing it in an ethical, professional and legal way – something that the law now looks to enforce, I feel that the smart businesses already have a respectful approach and that makes my job easier!

I attend many BWN events and I’m happy to have a chat anytime. I will also be one of the experts on hand on the 20th of March at The BWN’s 11th birthday so feel free to pose questions on the day too.

  • March 2, 2020

Networking & Collaboration In Action

We love it when Golden Ticket members* write for our website. It’s a great chance for us to see networking and business from women in businesses viewpoint.

Here Helen Clyde and Alexandra Stanley share why collaborating with other businesses doesn’t always mean you are obliged to buy each other’s product and why that’s good for business.

We met back in late 2019 at The BWN event in Colchester and immediately made a connection.

We met again in January and set a date in the diary to meet for lunch.

During our conversation we learnt about each other’s businesses and how our week had been, which then led to brainstorming ideas on how we could support each other.

“Alexandra mentioned that she was looking to set up social media workshops that gave business owners an overview of the basics to get them started for an affordable price. Social media is an area that I needed to up my game so I realised that with my Utility Warehouse team and local business owners that I knew, I could help make this happen. I offered my home as a venue to keep costs down and off I went inviting people to attend” Helen.

“Our meeting was successful. I had this idea for the workshops and together we turned it into a reality. Once Helen had sent the invitations, I set up a WhatsApp group for those people to communicate with.  Helen had kindly offered a free venue with tea and coffee thrown in which I was grateful for as this is often a stumbling block when setting pricing.  The turn-out was great, we had a room of seven business owners all looking to improve their Social Media skills and the buzz was electric.” Alexandra.

We both gained from this experience. Helen improved her Social Media knowledge and went away with an action plan and Alexandra had the opportunity to deliver something she had been looking to expand into within her business.   

“On the day a couple of people were unable to attend so Helen offered for me to have her house as a venue again. She then wrote a recommendation on my Facebook business page which resulted in more of her connections wishing to join the next workshop”. Alexandra

When attending networking events, you don’t always have to feel obliged to buy from the people you connect with as there are lots of ways that you can still support each other. Having a 1:1 with someone can result in so much more.

If you would like to find out more about our collaboration, please feel free to get in contact with either of us.

Helen Clyde – Utility Warehouse – 07789 000209

Alexandra Stanley – Alexandra Stanley Social Media – 07769 805579

We love that Helen and Alexandra are seeing the deeper level of benefits of networking in their business. In our experience we often see what starts out as a 1 to 1 and then a little bit of partnership can quickly escalate into some great opportunities.

Getting to know other business owners is an important part of networking and you can always arrive early or leave late and sit and have lunch and get to know people at our events. We won’t disturb you.

Helen from Utility Warehouse is exhibiting at our 11th Birthday event on the 20th March.

With a Golden Ticket it is just £13.50 to exhibit and without it is £35 and that includes 1 ticket. To learn more click here

The Business Womans Network has lots of ways to support your business this March including our 11th birthday event.

*Anyone that walks through the door is a member, with a golden ticket you get discounts on attending our events, all BWN offers and a chance to write for our blog free of charge. To book your Golden Ticket for 2020 speak to your coordinator or head here.

  • March 2, 2020