Author Archives: Mel Wardle

Mixing It Up!

After you have been networking for a while it is very easy to slip into a routine. You visit the same groups, you know lots of people who you always talk to and you have your one minute introduction about your business off pat. All of this is great because networking (like all things marketing) Read more…

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Seize the Moment!

Regular readers of this blog will know that I like to be organised (and yes, I do know this is a serious understatement!) however you may be surprised to hear that I also believe that sometimes in business it is right to be “spontaneous”. However, I do use the word “spontaneous” advisedly because whilst to Read more…

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The broader benefits of networking

When you first start networking it is easy, and totally understandable, to be focused on the immediate and very obvious benefits of networking, namely; having the opportunity to “promote*” your own business and identifying suppliers. * I should say I use the word “promote” advisedly as those of you have read my previous blogs will Read more…

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What do you need to do to make networking an integral part of growing your business?

Two of the most common questions I get asked about networking are: How do I make networking work for my business? Will networking help me grow my business? … and of course, the two questions are inextricably linked, because the effort you put in relates directly to the results you get out. So what do Read more…

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Marketing Coffee and Connect

The last few months have seen record attendances at Coffee and Connect – 48 people last month! Although Coffee and Connect is not a “Business” as such, in reality I run it as if it were so I thought it might be helpful to look at the marketing activities I undertake to ensure we keep Read more…

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Outsourcing, Systems & Support – to make your business grow

Although the official anniversary of my magazines is in the summer, from a personal viewpoint Easter is always when I celebrate my “Business Birthday” as that was when I started work on my first magazine. Twelve years ago I produced one 40 page, black and white magazine which was delivered to 1500 homes. Today I Read more…

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Open Networking – Practical Tips

When talking / writing about networking events we are usually very focussed on the formal part of the meeting – especially the one minute introductions – however the Open Networking sessions are just as important. I have been networking seriously for ten years now and when I first started the Open Networking sessions were seriously Read more…

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Being Memorable

I love the introductions round at Coffee and Connect – it is definitely my favourite hour of the month – hearing about everyone’s businesses. But what should you say and more importantly, how do you ensure people remember your introduction and your business. I stick to a very simple structure: • My name • My Read more…

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Getting Organised For The Year Ahead?

January is traditionally the time when we sit down and review our businesses, making plans for the year ahead. Usually we are very focussed on all the new and exciting things we want to do… however it can be just as helpful to stop for a moment and think about how we run our businesses Read more…

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CRM software – a lifesaver!

I am sure that Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM) does not sound a very interesting topic to read about however please bear with me because a CRM package can really make running your business so much easier… and in a crisis, more of which later, it can really save the day. What is CRM software? Read more…

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Getting the best out of networking

I have just been writing my Networking column for my new Business Connection section in my magazines and I have been discussing all the factors you need to consider when choosing a networking group to attend, but of course finding the right group is only the start. Attending networking events takes up one of our Read more…

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Ideas – Sorting Out The Good From The Bad

Even though it is several lifetimes ago since I was at school I still get that “Back to School” feeling in September and I always find that taking time now, after my summer break, to review my business is far more productive than it ever is in January so I have been spending time this Read more…

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Taking Your One Minute To The Next Level

When you first start off networking just managing to remember what you are going to say is an achievement and using a simple structure that I have discussed in previous posts helps. However after you have been attending meetings for a while you notice that some people do stand out when doing their one minute Read more…

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Collaborations

It has been a very busy time for me since my last newsletter with the launch of our new Farnborough Networking group and our collaborative networking event at The Lismoyne where 81 people came along for a BBQ and lots of networking – it was a really great evening though very busy! Both of these Read more…

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Networking… Mixing it Up

When you have been networking for a while you start to develop a routine. You have your regular groups, you know people at these events who you always talk to and you have your one minute well rehearsed and ready to go. This is all great and very much where you wanted to be when Read more…

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Launch of New Networking Group

One of the real benefits of networking regularly is the great business support network you can build up – people with skills, knowledge and experience in a diverse range of areas and who are always willing to help and offer advice. A few months ago I mentioned in conversation to a couple of people that Read more…

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Patience is a virtue… especially in relation to networking

I went to a networking event last week where the format was speed networking – always great fun! Even better was that I knew almost everyone in the room so when it came to the speed networking I had the chance to have a “catch up“ with lots of people. Thinking about it later I Read more…

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The Art of Giving a Recommendation

I am sure you, like me, will have been asked many times “do you know anyone who…?” and if you network regularly you will probably know plenty of businesses to suggest. But before you say the first name that pops into your head pause and think for a moment because when you recommend someone it Read more…

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Generating ideas for your business in 2016

What are your plans for your business for 2016? Do you want to expand – new products / services or target new customers? Perhaps you want to develop a new marketing strategy Or maybe your systems and procedures can’t cope with your workload and you want to design new systems to run your business All Read more…

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2016 Meeting Dates

Here are our 2016 meeting dates; get them in your diary now! Wed 6th Jan 2016 Wed 3rd Feb Wed 2nd Mar Wed 6th Apr Wed 4th May Wed 1st Jun Wed 13th Jul (Yes this date is correct! It is the 2nd Wed of the month in July) no meeting in August Wed 7th Sep Read more…

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Coffee and Connect Networking Etiquette

I visit lots of groups and they all run in different ways so I thought it might be helpful to explain how Coffee and Connect works; but please don’t worry if you read this and think “oh dear I shouldn’t have done that”. I write these notes simply to be helpful as in my experience Read more…

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Networking – it’s all about the person

Last month I wrote about choosing a networking group and another question that I frequently get asked is “how to make networking work for you and your business”. There are lots of practical tips I can give you – you can see these on my website – and practical information does help, especially if you Read more…

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How To Choose A Networking Group

October seems to be prime time for networking  – I am attending three events just this week alone. But when you run your own business time is your most valuable commodity so you have to use it wisely as not only are you spending your time attending meetings but when you get back to the Read more…

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Making Noise

Business blog posts talk a lot about the importance of planning, using systems etc … and I am no exception to this as I do like to be planned and organised. However fundamentally the two most important things in business are making sales and getting paid …as you only have a business if you have Read more…

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Are you ready for your summer holiday?

I am certainly looking forward to mine though it isn’t for a while yet so plenty of work to do before then…most notably I have the Sept / Oct editions of my magazines to put together first! Although we all like to think of long summer holidays most of us will just have the standard Read more…

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Talking to people you do not know!

Coffee and Connect joined forces with several other local networking groups in May to hold a joint networking event and it was a really good evening. We encouraged people to sit with people they didn’t know and looking round the room it was clear that some people found this easier than others! I am sure Read more…

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Marketing Coffee and Connect

Seven years is a long time in business and even though the past seven years has seen a massive increase in the number of networking groups / organisations I am pleased to say that Coffee and Connect is thriving, with 35 – 40 people regularly attending our morning meetings. Although Coffee and Connect is not Read more…

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Coffee and Connect “Networking Etiquette”

I have had several conversations recently with people who have been interested in coming along to Coffee and Connect for the first time and they were asking me lots of questions about the style and feel of our meetings. So I thought it might be helpful if I outlined what can perhaps be called our Read more…

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How to make your phone ring!

Most of the time everyone seems to be frantically busy; lots going on, the phone ringing non-stop and your in-box permanently full with e-mails. Then suddenly …. it all stops and everything goes silent. I am sure you have all experienced this. What to do? Well the most effective way to change this is not to sit down and Read more…

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Ten top tips to help you get the most out of networking

1. There are lots of different networking groups in the area – each one with a different format and style. Try them all and see which suits you best. I set up Coffee and Connect in my favourite format – everyone does a one minute introduction so that we all know what we do and Read more…

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2015 Planning

One of the jobs I enjoy doing the first week back at work is opening all the new calendars I have received for Christmas and filling in all the events / activities I already have planned. Yes you did read this correctly when I said “calendars” plural as I have several pinned up on the Read more…

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Jobs for the Christmas holiday!

Yes you did read this correctly; I am going to talk about doing some work over Christmas – but let me explain: I love the Christmas holidays and in fact the week before Christmas is one of my favourite times of year – the last minute present buying, always a trip to London to catch a show and Read more…

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Time Management

Lack of time is something we all suffer from and managing my time effectively is certainly something I have been very focussed on over these past few weeks as I have been organising the move to new venues / dates for Coffee and Connect at the same time as getting my Christmas editions of the Read more…

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From NOVEMBER New Venues and Days

From November 2014 we are having a change of day as well as a change of venue… but don’t worry you will be getting lots of messages from me reminding you about this!   Coffee and Connect Morning Meeting From November this will be held on the first Wednesday of the month; still starting at 10a.m. so our Read more…

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The broader benefits of networking

Whilst we may not have had meetings in August I have still been having lots of conversations about Coffee and Connect and many of these initial “tell me more about Coffee and Connect” queries developed into fascinating discussions about how to build a successful business. I have spoken to people who are just starting their Read more…

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Practicalities

Over the past month I have had lots of enquires from people wanting to come along to Coffee and Connect for the first time. Many of their questions related to the practical aspects of attending so I thought it might be helpful to cover some of the practicalities of attending a Coffee and Connect meeting: Read more…

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Spontaneity…

Two weeks ago late on a Tuesday evening my husband and I were both working in the office and we started chatting about my business, networking meetings I was attending over the next few weeks and then we moved onto the wider subject of marketing. At some point one of us, I can’t remember who, Read more…

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Building Coffee and Connect

It is Coffee and Connect’s sixth birthday in May. Six years ago a dozen of us got together for a coffee and a chat. Today @65 local businesses attend our meetings each month and I am delighted to say Coffee and Connect is thriving. I thought it might be helpful to analyse how I have Read more…

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Tips for succesful networking

1.  SMILE! Yes that first impression is so important so remember to smile when you book in and when you introduce yourself to people. 2.  Once you’ve booked in the best place to start is at the tea/coffee table – there is always a conversation to be had there – especially if the coffee machine Read more…

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Marketing Activities

First of all at the risk repeating myself (again!) whatever marketing activities you undertake you need to do them regularly and repetitively. You also need to give your potential customers lots of different ways to find out about you. Detailed below is a list of marketing activities that can help local businesses. (This is not Read more…

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Your Marketing Plan

If you “Google” the term “Marketing Plan” and read some of the links it would strike terror into most people. Page and pages of lists of all the things you are supposed to include and I read one feature that said it should take you several months to put one together! Now I do have Read more…

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Reviewing your business

The beginning of the year is traditionally when we get ourselves organised for the next twelve months. However before you launch in and start writing down all the activities you plan to undertake in 2014 stop …and take some time to review your business in a wider context. I have detailed below some of the Read more…

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2013 – What a year for Coffee and Connect!

A Christmas Thank You What a year 2013 has been for Coffee and Connect! We have moved to the fabulous Elvetham Hotel and our meetings have been packed out, with 45 people typically attending the morning meetings and 25 of us regularly turning out on the subsequent Tuesday evenings, so @ seventy local businesses getting Read more…

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The one minute introduction – love it or hate it?

No prevarication from me on this one – I love the one minute introductions! Why? Because I get to find out about everyone’s businesses and there is always such an interesting and useful mix of different services and products. Last month there were 48 of us in the room and in only 50 minutes we Read more…

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Christmas Celebrations

We will be having two Christmas celebrations this year: Christmas Lunch at The Elvetham Hotel after our meeting on Thurs 5th December; cost £27-50 Christmas Curry at Zaal, Fleet on the evening of Tues 10th December, cost £27-50 (in place of our evening meeting) If you would like to receive a booking form please e-mail Read more…

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A random collection of tips & thoughts to help you get more out of networking

1. When you find a group that you like and that works for your business you need to attend regularly. People take time to get to know you and remember what you do. 2. The people that get the most out of networking are those that put the most in so focus on what you Read more…

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How networking can benefit your business

I started going to networking events @seven years ago and over that time there has been a phenomenal expansion both in the numbers of people attending groups and in the numbers/style of groups available. Choosing which group is right for you is a subject in itself (and one I will address another time) but to Read more…

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We have new a “home” – The Elvetham Hotel

I am delighted to announce that The Elvetham Hotel have very kindly offered to host our Coffee and Connect meetings. Yvonne Goodright (The Elvetham’s Marketing Manager) showed Pippa and I round last week and it really does have the “wow” factor and everyone there is lovely – really helpful, so I am sure we are Read more…

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Thanks to The Lismoyne

  My very exciting news is that we have a new venue for our meetings. However, before I tell you about that I must say thank you to The Lismoyne Hotel for hosting our meetings for the past five years. We have held our meetings there since our second meeting in June 2008, staring off Read more…

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“Out of Sight Out of Mind”

I bumped into someone recently in the supermarket who I hadn’t seen for ages – an old Coffee and Connect regular. It was great to catch up and find out everything they had been doing with their business. It got me thinking about all the people I had met over the past five years of Read more…

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