Wow, what a week it has been!
Leeds Business Week (LBW) commenced 12th October 2015 and kicked off for me bright and early Tuesday morning, attending Entrepreneurial Spark’s overview of the business growth programme. Claiming to be a ‘people accelerator’, successful applicants are eligible for completely free support as funded by NatWest and put through their paces with apprentice-style challenges, Dragon’s Den-type pitches and, upon completion of the programme, a select few will gain mentor support, free office space and even the chance to win free financial investment.
I heard from an advocate of the programme, Sarah of SL Social, who I felt inspired by and having spoken with her after her talk, I quickly gelled with. I felt so excited and empowered to ensure a place on the programme for myself that I skipped on over to further LBW seminars.
A friend and associate of mine, Laura Pegg has recently become a Watertight Marketing accredited consultant and so I attended the event by lead Watertight marketer and founder of the programme, Bryony Thomas. The session provided a useful 13-step guideline to ensure your ‘customer bucket’ is leak-proof, allowing each of us to assess our own marketing efforts, identify potential leaks and adapt as necessary.
I geared myself up for a full day of knowledge gaining and networking on Wednesday, starting the day with a useful session on ‘the art of saying no’ by NGA Training. I think this is particularly important to owners of new business start-ups such as myself (who I believe often lack confidence in the early days and therefore think we must go above and beyond what we’re being paid for, in order to satisfy client demands.) The interactive session provided constructive advice how to effectively say no in order to say yes to the important tasks at hand.
I then attended a rather lack-lustre event on leadership but a useful sheet was provided which I promptly filled in with key traits to make sure I will be a great leader of MacComms –particularly important given my impending new starter joining the firm soon!
And it is then safe to say that the next seminar was a controversial one. Entitled ‘Why my business is better than yours’ really I should have anticipated the ego upon booking. Given it was run by a media and PR agency, not dissimilar to MacComms, I booked on, ready to hear some pearls of wisdom from my peers with years more experience than myself. Instead I left shocked. Providing such advice as (and I quote) ‘We steal ideas from the best and steal clients from the worst’ left me flabbergasted.
The day concluded for me with another friend in business, Gary King, presenting on his business, Tendo, which provided information to work less and (seriously) earn more! Having us on our feet provided some useful interaction and the firm’s single-sided A3 page strategy document with short-term (now), mid-term (3-6 months) and long-term (up to 12 months) goals ensures you have a constantly visible, easy to adjust plan of action to keep your business on track.
Having met with E-Spark contacts Tuesday, I was invited along to attend the Yorkshire Mafia’s networking drinks at Chaophraya Thursday evening. I arrived to a packed room and meandered my way across to chat to a number of old and new contacts. It was a bit too busy for my liking but another batch of contacts are now added to our mailing list, one lead has already come through from it and so I believe it is always worth taking a punt on networking.
Finally I ended the week by attending the Ladies that Launch event organised by Superfast West Yorkshire. My friend in business, Katrina Cliffe was on the mentor panel and Huddersfield was put firmly on the map at the central-Leeds event with Janet Bebb of Huddersfield-based Social Progress joining Katrina’s firm, Lindley-based KC Communications too.
The event was useful for to hear from fellow and inspiring women in business with the mentors answering a series of questions, an overview of Superfast West Yorkshire’s support and a fantastic two presentations from Pascal Fintoni who provided practical tips to enhance our digital presence and inspired this very blog!
It has been time out of the office but the knowledge gained, contacts made and inspiration felt has been incredibly worthwhile. I would strongly recommend anyone to attend the next business week, or if you can’t make as much as me, watch out for another overview blog post!
Well done and thank you Yorkshire Mafia for organising the successful week.