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How to celebrate success – Spacemen, Mary Poppins, Celebrant, Cake & Magic!

Its not every day a business celebrates 10 years and possibly even more impressive when you consider that the Founder has Lupus, Fibromylgia, 2 other auto-immune diseases and 3 other permanent conditions and despite that has won international awards, visiting the House of Lords, 10 Downing Street, featured in the press and on national TV and raised thousands for charity with the help of the wonderful BWN business owners.

We wanted an event that would showcase what The BWN is really about.;

  • Not just business card swapping.
  • Not a glorified coffee morning.
  • A room full of men and women (yes business men attend our events) actually exchanging opportunities.
  • Making sales
  • Learning new skills
  • And growing their businesses.

To have Mary Poppins (Nicola Goodchild) A Spaceman (Lee from Spacesuit Rentals) Jack Kempton the Magician, Michelle Taylor the corporate celebrant and a cake designed by Adavista (Robyn Banks – yes, really her name! Topped off this exceptional event with 50+ people from 5 counties, including 5 men, 1 baby and Ben from BBC Essex Radio Breakfast show.

Thank you to everyone that makes The BWN as awesome, and exceptional for building confidence, raising standards, increasing sales and profit margins and be an awesome place to stay motivated, never feel alone and get the results you want from professional life.

Here’s to the next 10 years!


  • April 2, 2019

Funny how things happen – Norfolk Business Women You Will Love This!

Founder of The Business Womans Network (The BWN), Mandie Holgate shares her excitement and the weird coincidence that led to our newest team member joining us….

“I’d been invited to speak at the Norfolk Caistor Hall, Norwich event. And when I arrived I sat down to get a cup of coffee and this lovely lady sits next to me.

She sums up the new business women that walk through the door of our events, because she said “I’ve never been to one of these before I don’t know what to expect”. That always makes me smile, because one of the things that matters to us dearly is that everyone gets a warm welcome and that we have the same structure to every event wherever you go. I’ve been that nervous shy person (yes I used to be painfully shy and lacking in confidence!) and I dreaded walking into networking events!

From South Essex to North Norfolk you will hear business women tell you what to expect from us, and we care deeply that every single woman in business gets that networking experience – friendly, welcoming, reassuring, supportive and business focused. Denise Bretton was the coordinator at our Norfolk events and like every other coordinator at 10.30 Denise stands up and welcomes her guests and then reminds people of the structure so that those that are new to us, new to networking or nervous can feel at their ease.

To say I was sad when Denise told me that she needed to step down was understatement.The BWN laughing and learning networking at The BWN Norfolk The BWN coordinators aren’t a team, we are a family. And I respect and care about their families, dreams, businesses and big ambitions in life. What I love is that all coordinators feel the same. We meet up when they want some training or advice (I’m happy to do this up to once a month and I’m always there on the phone/text/messenger/pigeon) and so I feel we get to know each other very well and have shared a lot of opportunities between each other over the years. Not forgetting the kindness, support and friendship too.

So I’m sat here thinking “I will really miss Denise, whose going to look after our Norfolk events? And then the phone rings and it’s this lovely lady I’ve sat and got to know only a few days earlier at The BWN in Norfolk!” We chat for ages and I don’t feel like I’ve only just met her, but hey, that’s The BWN. That’s what happens, we start to build relationships that turn into good relationships and then lifelong friends. I know that some ladies that have networked with me have now moved away and will still drive for 3 or 4 hours just to meet up and have a coffee and “boost their confidence” with a session at The BWN.

I mentioned the news I’d just had and how sad I was feeling and the lovely lady says “well, I have been thinking for the last few days, The BWN was amazing, how do I get more involved in this? And so I decided to call you.”

That’s the interesting thing about us business women, we do worry far too much about phoning people. I know that there is a whole chapter in my book (Fight the fear) about picking up the phone, because;

  • We don’t want to get in the way
  • We worry about saying the wrong thing
  • We worry about what people will think of us
  • We worry about looking desperate

The list is long!

And rarely accurate! The fact is picking up the phone (instead of hiding behind email) enables miscommunication to disappear, the risk of tonality or your own beliefs being interpreted or assumed incorrectly goes away and usually the opportunity for clear focus, new action and new business.

That lovely lady is called Olivia Bucher, and Olivia is a Financial Advisor at Anderson Wealth Planning Ltd. Olivia BucherWe met up a few days later and  sat in the sun in a garden again I felt like I’d known Olivia for years. I’m really excited to welcome Olivia to the team.

That’s the thing about life, you are sat next to a stranger and you have a nice chat oblivious to the fact that this person will feature heavily in your future.

Would Olivia have joined the team if I’d have chosen a different chair to sit in?

Would Olivia have joined the team if we hadn’t had the chance to chat freely?

I don’t know, but what I do know is that when the phone rings I know it’s usually a great opportunity heading in my direction that is likely to be good for business women too.

I spend my life asking “Will this person/company make a difference to our BWN members?” and it has to be a yes for me to move it forward. With Olivia it was most definitely a yes!”

To learn more about Olivia and her Norfolk events click here

Olivia has a special offer to welcome you all to her BWN Norwich events to the end of the year – £40 for all four events to the end of 2018 AND get a free stand at any 2018 event worth £35. It’s a mini Golden Ticket! Just contact Olivia to learn more.

  • August 11, 2018



A small word. If  you were being chased by a tiger you would be screaming it.

If your house was on fire you would be screaming it.

And it would appear they are about the only times us business women say that word.

Why is that?

What stops us very talented, educated, successful women from saying four letters?

Why are we so frightened of saying help?

I’ve learnt recently that I don’t say the word at all. And its become natural just to “get on with it”. I’m capable and able so I just do it. That’s good right?

or is it?

You see going it alone is fabulous for so many reasons, however never saying help is dangerous when it comes to success. I worked on my own success 2 weeks ago with a mentor, because I am always looking for ways to power up my own success as I do for those of my clients and that of the women attending the BWN, and I realised working with this business woman that I just don’t ask for help. And even if its offered I tend to say “I’m okay, thanks for the offer.” So I set a goal to change that and ask for help. It’s already paying off dividends in my business. (I really recommend creating clear goals, you are far more likely to achieve them that way and they don’t turn into gaols, which is a goal gone wrong if you aren’t clear enough about it!)

I know you are mega busy so let’s look at why you should accept help and how to do it in easy quick top tips;

  1. If you ask for help then you can do the things you are good at, which means you can get through your to do list faster. Which means more brain space to come up with more creative solutions. More you time. And more time to do the money making bits of your business. All positives right?
  2. If you ask for help you are enabling someone else. Letting someone else be good at things is good for other people too. It’s not fair that you do all the work and get all the praise. Spread the work, spread the praise, spread the opportunities. If someone else does the work then could get an opportunity off of the back of it. Remember success is better shared. (It really is!)
  3. Create a strong enough sense of pain to make you ask for help. If you don’t ask for help what are you agreeing to? Less success? Less money? Less free time? Less family time? More work? More time in front of the screen?
  4. What are your long term goals? Are they really achievable if you do everything yourself? Can you physically do it all alone? Tot up the hours. When I work with clients its amazing how often they over or under estimate how long a task is going to take.
  5. Fear of what people will think of you could be stopping you from asking from help. What are you assuming people are going to be thinking? Power up your self belief and what you tell yourself about you. If you love yourself enough (and we are not talking about a big head here, just a genuine appreciation of doing what’s right for you) then you would respect you as much as you do anyone else at work, right?
  6. New skills and ideas could be yours if you take on board someone elses help. As brilliant as you are (and yes you are brilliant) by getting someone else’s input you could learn a new way of doing tasks that could make you more productive and give you new skills. There fore powering up your success.
  7. Success really is better shared. By letting someone else help you, you grow your network in a sustainable way. And by doing that, you grow a trusted network. If you really need help in the future, by having taking the leap of faith and trusted someone before you will know who you can rely on in the future.

A brilliant business woman reminded me of these points when I posted a public thank you. Because as people help you I think its always good to say thank you. (My thank you’s don’t tend to be thank you cards, I tend to give testimonials on LinkedIn and Facebook so that they can grow their business and use them powerfully in their marketing to gain more happy customers – just a thought for you there!) This lady said;

You’re very welcome – I’m pleased my diary allowed me to help. I can relate to the whole asking for help. I’m incredibly independent which is positive. There are times when working as a team gets much better and bigger results and you get to enjoy the journey so much more when you have great people around you (cheesy I know but true!!)  Xx

You know what? I don’t think its cheesy at all. A Business woman with a powerful network is far more likely to be successful. See you at some BWN networking events this month, let’s help each other, network together and do business. It’s going to be an awesome month for business.

I’m on TV speaking about issues impacting on women in business and at Mums Net Work Fest national conference. And we have a very special BBC Essex Radio 30th Birthday show being broadcast live from my house on the 13th May. So much good stuff for business!

To get my book to help increase sales, confidence and success the 6 week course or learning about coaching and training visit. www.mandieholgate.co.uk and do say hi on social media too (all accessible via my website) its great to connect and grow my network!


  • May 3, 2016

Charity of The Year – Why We Bother – And Why You Should Too

Every year the BWN year is choosing a charity to give a little extra love to.

If you are a charity that we haven’t chosen this year, that doesn’t mean we don’t love you. As a charity you will always get to attend our events for a discounted rate (even on the day on the door!)

We will retweet, like and share all of your content that you share with us.

(All of our social media is accessible via our website – top right.)

And when we have room we will happily let you bring your banner along to our events.

You can also write for our blog whenever you wish.

(Just ping us the details)

Got an event coming up? We are happy to mention it in our business ops slot. Just email it to your local coordinator.

(Because we really do love everything local!)

However we want to do more (well that’s typical us!) and so we thought how great it would be if we could make every business woman from across a whole county talk about one charity. One charity that works tirelessly to make a difference. As founder of the BWN Mandie Holgate has worked with lots of third sector organisations and so knows first hand the obstacles that they face. And the pots of cash are not so easy to get to any more.

But fear not, charities don’t want just your money. Here’s our top ways to support our charity of the year. If you attend our events we would adore it, love it, and thank you forever if you would do the following for our charity of the year in your county;

Retweet, like share and talk about the charity of the year on line. That way we can like your comments, and share them too. That way your followers and your brand awareness goes up too!

Want to get in the local press? (The answer to that one is yes you do!) Raise a few quid for our charity of the year, mention us and together with the charity there is good chance your smiley face and your bit for charity could get your business in the press. And that is not just good for them, its good for you too. Charities aren’t daft, they know why businesses get involved. Yes we love the warm fuzzy feeling that it gives us, but its also good for business, stands your business a part from the rest, shows you care, and a ton of other things. All good. All worth doing. So fancy sitting in a bath of beans? Giving a £1 for every sale next month? Doing a nude calendar? (We’ve done that…twice!) then go for it!

And its worth remembering your gestures don’t need to be huge. Just talking about the charity, really does help them.

Attending an event? Could you carry a few fliers for our charity of the year?

What about having a 1 2 1 with a member of the charities team, so you could understand what they do, what they need, who the would love to talk to. Knowledge is power and big powerful networks are very good for charities. Could your network be helping our charity of the year?

Add a logo to your website? Remember for charities if you knew the extent of the work that they did you would probably want to be able to do more. Could you add a logo, a mention of The BWN’s charity of the year to your website, social media, business literature. Help us, help our charity of the year.

Write a blog article? Could you write an article sharing what you know, care about? Anything. Remember a charity is not just after money. It’s after staying power. Charities are created all the time, which means that the ones that are already here have to work twice as hard. What could you write about to support our charity of the year? Raise their profile and give them staying power and ensure their future? Charities live on a knife’s edge, never knowing how they will fund the following year. Scary right?

Every £1 spent on a charity in the UK is being fought fiercely over, so if you can raise the profile of a local organisation that is helping in your community you just became a really nice person. Good feeling right?

And here are our loved up Charites of the year;

Essex – Colchester Community Voluntary Services – CCVS

The title may suggest they only work in North Essex, however their work supports groups CCVSand organisations across Essex. So by supporting them it means Essex business women really are supporting community groups. And get to attend events meeting third sector, public sector and private sector. Their Banking on business events are proving a great success and Dawn Moss our Saturday Essex events coordinator is already signed up as a Volunteer. And with over 600 volunteers, that’s a lot of good happening in Essex. Can you feel how good that is!


Shirley is the business woman from CCVS that you can expect to see at our Marks Tey Hotel Shirley CCVS Essexevents. Get in touch with us to share your ideas to raise money, raise their profile and get your warm fuzzy feeling that makes Essex that much better.

Learn more about CCVS here and please please, prettiest of please’s do get involved in their social media and let them know we told you to!



Suffolk – Age UK Suffolk

Our Bury St Edmunds events are hosted at Age UK Suffolk’s HQ and so how perfect to support them.

Kinsey Foster and Susan Pope host our Suffolk events and would be happy to talk about how you could get involved to support Suffolk’s charity of the yearAge UK Suffolk

Learn more about Age UK Suffolk here and please do let them know that we said they were awesome and deserve your support. You can contact your local Suffolk coordinator direct via your page. However feel free to contact us if you wish to.

  • April 6, 2016

How To Get The Most Out Of Exhibiting With Us

Spending £25 on a stand to exhibit your products and services at one of our events is not going to break the bank, however we want to share ways to help you really maximise on exhibiting with us. Here is our quick top ten tips to help you get the more out of exhibiting;

1. Know why you are exhibiting. Yes you want people to buy from you, but what else? Signing up to your newsletter? Getting to know you on social media? What actions do you want people to take? And don’t assume anything, if you want people to connect with you on social media, have a clear poster that gives a QR code and says “Use this QR code to keep in touch. (You can create your own QR codes easily, just Google it); QR code for BWN mail chimp sign up

2.  Exhibiting is just that, a chance to create a shop front that enables people to see how you can help them. The full scope of what you do. Think about what are the assumptions that are made about what you do and ask yourself do we address them on our stand? Do we answer the “No’s” that people have? (A top tip here that by knowing and understanding the “No’s” that stop a sale, you can get them into your marketing to break down the No’s. Cool right?)

3. What are the big goals? Okay so you get them to sign up to get to know you on social media, they want to know more and sign up to your newsletter and email campaigns but what would the ultimate goals be? If you sell something what would the follow up purchase be? What else or how often do you want them to buy? Do you tell people about these opportunities when you exhibit?

4. Tell everyone! Okay so with The BWN you know we go out of our way to promote the fact thatThe Business Womans Network you are at our events, however it is not an assumption you can take the risk on taking. What warm leads do you have that you would love the chance to tell them more about what you do? What connections do you have that could also benefit from this event? By spreading the word this can help your event success in a number of ways; firstly you get to spread the word on the event to increase the foot fall, secondly you get the chance to remind people why you and how you invest in your business and the professionalism of your company and thirdly think how much the event organisers will love you for spreading the word. The next top tips share how to do this!

5. Share the link to the event you are exhibiting at on your social media. Include the organisers social media (ours is @BWNcouk in case you were wondering!) so that they too can spread the word on you, promote the event and raise yours and the events profile. The more people that know about the event, the more people know about you and your business.

6. Tell people in your next newsletter or email campaign. Writing a blog article? Add in there something like “If you would like to learn more I will be offering taster sessions/bringing this fabulous product to this event, and it would be great to see you there. Include a link. Remember marketing is about making it easy for people to get involved.

7. If you are networking, add it to your 60 seconds promo slot. The more people you can get to your stand to see what you do and how you help people, the better.

8. What do your guests get? So a freebie chocolate, free pen, pad or entry into a raffleMaldon Soap Company exhibiting at The Business Womans Network Essex may get you a smile out of a delegate, however if there are 20+ exhibitors in the room will you be remembered in a weeks time? What can you do to ensure people stay in touch? What about saying thank you or “Hi” on the coordinators social media. Getting in touch after the event. Remember to be consistent, relevant and non salesly. If you have attended an event its highly likely many will automatically have added your details to their data base. The epitome of salesly, no respect for your time attitude that can seriously risk your ability to create and nurture a new relationship that will enable business to happen, so what would work?

9. Think about the delegates event experience. By the time they get to your stand, they’ve been asked maybe 20 times “What do you do?” “What do you think of the event?” “Do you use X?” How can your stand have an impact? How can you ensure people walk away from your stand smiling and thinking “That was good!” rather than here we go again!

10. Don’t stand behind your stand. One of reasons you are exhibiting is so you can expandJan Dey Exhibiting at our Essex Networking Event on the business card and 60 second promo slot so that people want to buy from you. To do that you want to build relationships either with people that don’ know you or who know you a little. A table is basically a physical barrier between you and the delegate. It can send a sub-conscious message to the brain that says you are unapproachable. When The BWN exhibit, we put the chairs to one side of our stand and encourage delegates to take a seat. Most women are in heels and guess how popular we are when we encourage people to have a seat and tell us about their business and how we may be able to help? By being on your delegates agenda and finding out how you can help them, you can really start a great relationship. And exhibiting is about creating a shop front that people want to stick around and learn more about and then buy. So from today to the event, make the journey into a sale a fun, enjoyable (and easy to achieve) one!

We hope you find these top tips helpful. There are lots more resources on our website under blog and reports and our founder Mandie Holgate‘s Website, who will be selling her books. Ooo did you see what we did there!

See you at Our Big Christmas Events this December!


  • November 24, 2015

Why Networking Is Not Working For You

Most businesses at some time have dabbled with networking but how is it possible that some businesses love it and think it is the key to growing and sustaining their business. When others find it a waste of their time, a drain on their resources and worse still dipping into their profits!

If you’re not getting the results you want, here’s our guide to getting it right and why you could be getting it wrong…

First of all you need to know why you are networking. If your plan was to runBWN networking 1 in a room and run out again with 30 sales, then first of all you need a reality check. Unless you’re selling designer shoes or 5 star holidays for £5 its unlikely the sales are going to be pouring in. For networking to work it needs to factor as part of a structured focussed marketing strategy.

It is important to understand that networking enables you to;

  • Get known as the thought leader in your field.
  • Raises your profile above your competitors.
  • Re-engages with past and current customers.
  • Reminds people “Why you.”
  • Ensures people know all that your company can do for them. (So often you will hear someone say “I didn’t know you did that too”.
  • Remember this key phrase “You can’t not dictate when people buy however you can have a say in who they choose to buy from.”
  • Build and protect your reputation and credibility. Valuable for creating a loyal client base.

To enable the above to happen you need to;Essex Networking for women The BWN

  • Know what outcome you want from networking. Remember the reality check? The goal is not to walk out of the door with 30 sales (although if you get your marketing and networking right, over time that is more than achievable!)
  • Do you want people to sign up to your newsletter, follow you on social media, know about an event you are going to be exhibiting at, refer you to certain trades, help with solutions in your own business, know about special offers you have. Go with a clear idea of what you would ideally be speaking about if you get the right opportunity.
  • Be interested in the other people in the room. We often tell shy people that you are in actual fact perfect people to network, because you are so scared to say the wrong thing you create a natural environment that enables the other party to share all about their business and why they love what they do. All networkers would love the chance to tell everyone why their business is awesome. The key is to build good relationships and by showing a genuine interest in other people you are helping that happen.
  • In advance prepare some questions that you could ask people, such as; Who could the ideal person be for me to be looking to connect you with? Are you based locally? Do you trade nationally or just locally? Is it okay to connect with you on Facebook and LinkedIn? Do you have any suggestions on how I could handle X within my business? Questions that are open ended that allow the other person to feel respected and listened to. (Genuinely listened to.
  • Know the answers for yourself to the above questions. Who would your ideal client be?
  • Prepare a 60 seconds. Okay so not all events create the opportunity Fiona Moonan sponsoring a BWN Networking eventfor an elevator pitch however practicing on the journey there what you could concentrate is a good idea. Aim to be less than 60 seconds, include statistics & facts and don’t try to cover too much. You can access more ideas on your 60 seconds success here.
  • Don’t apologise for having no business cards, take theirs gracefully and say that you have just run out and will email them as a one off (you don’t want to look like a spammer) so that you have each others details.
  • Don’t add people to your data base. Yes Business to Business you are allowed, however what does that say about your level of respect for that busy business owner?
  • Do find people on social media and say “Hi.”
  • Don’t find people on social media and start selling at them. Networking is about building a good reputation.
  • Know in advance the follow up strategy you will have. If you don’t follow up effectively then in theory you have wasted the time you networked, the time you travelled to and from the event and the time you could have been doing something that actually would have put money in your bank account.
  • And lastly if you don’t get a reply to an email, pick up that phone thing you carry around and talk to people.

After all great networking results are about communicating effectively to get connected.

And the bigger your network the more benefits you could be getting!

  • May 12, 2015

What The BWN does for Business Women – FACT

As Essex Coordinator I often get told “There are so many networks to chose from, how do I know yours is any good?”

And its a fair point. There is a ton of choice out there – which is great for the consumer…..and the network. You see we never placed ourselves as a rival, on the contrary we regularly promote other networks and business groups, why? Because if its good for business we want to be telling you about it.

A different approach you may say, well yes, but then it works. You see we are here to do the hard work for you. Try out the networks, the seminars and workshops and we share with you the good stuff. You can expect to hear about those ideas at every event in the business ops slot at 10.30.

But lets get down to the nitty gritty – you network because ultimately it leads to leads and sales and profit and success. On top of those things at the BWN you can expect support (it can be a lonely world for a business woman – and its great to know what you are experiencing or finding tough someone else has the answers to – probably because they have been through it too!)

You get motivated into action – so often women say to me, thanks to coming to The BWN last week, I picked up the phone/got in touch/changed my website/got up and spoke about my company/challenged their decision/went for it/took my business to the next level. And that results in even more success.

The BWN blogs and “What Business Women Say” pages of our website are packed with testimonials of how we have helped business women get what they want for their business and their success – all in an environment that is always welcoming (never clicky!) motivational and business focussed – we may mention what gorgeous heels you are wearing but then its straight back to business. Because we know that’s what matters to you.


  • January 29, 2012