Small Business Diva

January 31, 2008

9 tips to gain the most from networking

Filed under: Juggling Work and Family,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 3:06 pm
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Most people who are regular readers of this blog or on my mailing list would know that I organise the JBSS Coffee & Chat Club (business networking group) and Business Growth Sessions here in Brisbane, Australia, and that I’m a fan of networking – online and off.

Coffee and Chat - business networking

One comment I often hear from people when they attend events is how beneficial they have found them and how they know they need to go to more networking events – and how they tend to give them a low priority.

It seems that a lot of people, women in particular, see ‘networking’ as a treat; as something they can do when their families’ and customers’ needs are taken care of… if they have any time left.

I believe that business networking, if done correctly, can be vital for business growth, especially for word-of-mouth and referral marketing. 

How do you do it correctly, so as to make the most of your time? Here are some tips:

1. Decide how many networking events you will attend each month/week (one a week is a good goal, more if time and finances permit).

2. Find out what relevant events are scheduled, starting with your local area. You will usually find a number of events at varying times – breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, evening – so look for those that best fit your timetable.

3. Plan which events you will attend; book and pay where necessary; then write them into your diary.

4. Make sure you keep your appointment. Sometimes it’s tempting to cancel at the last minute because:

  • you’ve got too much other ‘stuff’ to do
  • you won’t know anyone else
  • the kids are playing up
  • it’s too much effort
  • you’re too tired…

Yet if you push yourself to attend, you’ll almost always be glad you went once you’re there.

5. If attending events/meetings that are held regularly, perhaps through member-based organisations, go along to various sessions to get a feel for the people and activities. Once you’re familiar with them, I suggest choosing a small number of groups and participating in these groups and their events as much as possible. You will gain (and give) much more by focusing on a small number of groups than if you are a member of every group under the sun but don’t have time to really join in.

6. When at networking events, don’t try to talk to everyone there and shove as many business cards as possible into everyone’s hands nor push your products/services on people. I have found that these events are a great way to briefly chat with several people, and when you meet someone you feel comfortable with, someone you ‘click’ with, or someone where perhaps you feel your businesses can help each other in some way, swap business cards and suggest that you get together soon for a coffee. Relationships take time to develop and this is where you’ll find most benefit – building relationships, building trust and helping others.

7. Before you throw yourself headfirst into networking, grab any of the books about networking written by Robyn Henderson (she’s written a few – most are available in book stores and through libraries).

8. If getting out of the office/house to attend networking events really is a challenge for you, consider online networking at one of the many business forums that are around. If you do this, I find it helpful to schedule the time into my calendar and stick to that time-plan – otherwise you’ll easily spend all day there chatting!

9. Have fun!

Here’s to your business success…

January 29, 2008

Corporate Gift Giving Made Easy

Filed under: Recommendations,Small Business,Time Management — smallbusinessdiva @ 11:47 am
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I was just reading this Fresh Fruit post on My New Shiny Shoes that talks about giving fruit as a gift (actually, it was the gorgeous pic of a tray of mangoes that caught my attention!)

The post got me thinking about what other gifts you can send to people, particularly gifts to customers, suppliers or business associates, and even more specifically, gifts that you are not able to deliver in person, such as when the recipient is interstate.

I often think of sending gifts to associates, sometimes just for the sake of it or because I know they’re going through a difficult situation, but it’s usually the thought of packaging and sending the gift that puts me off the idea. So, I’ve decided to make a list of my favourite ideas so next time I want to send such a gift, I don’t have to stop and think about it too much.

I love the idea of the fruit gift, and then there’s the delicious gifts offered by Rainbow Designs. Getting away from food, the Beauty Banquet has some tasty looking soaps that would make a lovely gift package and Kylie from Tilda Virtual Services suggests giving clients/associates a subscription to a relevant magazine.

The thing I love most about these choices is that in all cases, they handle the postage and delivery of the gift! If you’re buying for someone in another country, a quick search online will usually come up with a number of suggestions – a great way to save time as well as shipping costs.

Do you have any other ideas for corporate gifts suggestions? If so, please share them… I’ll add them to my list 🙂

Here’s to your business success…

January 27, 2008

How do you find Australian Business News?

Here’s a great site that’s worth visiting – and subscribing too… Plugger – for Australian Business News.

Plugger is an Australian business news website aggregating news and providing a news search engine. You can search for news on your business or industry, and if you register, you can also receive one daily email of news up-dates about your customers, competitors and other related issues from a wide variety of sources.

Plus, you can publish your own news and media releases simply by emailing Plugger (your news must be within the body of the email or a page on a website, not an attachment) or you can log-in and  post your news. Logging-in lets you track the popularity of your post.

Best of all, it’s free to join Plugger. It’s a great way to post and track your news or to monitor customers and industries.

Here’s to your business success…

January 24, 2008

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You Can Stick To

Filed under: Bits & Pieces,Recommendations — smallbusinessdiva @ 6:58 pm
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Okay, I know I’m a bit late with this, but better late than never, right?  🙂

My friend, Ingrid Cliff from Heart Harmony, put together this video to share her tips for setting New Year’s Resolutions, infused with Ingrid’s personal style. Enjoy!

Here’s to your business success…

January 22, 2008

Do you compare?

Filed under: Communication,Marketing Tips,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 10:22 am
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Jacqui at Rainbow Designs has a wonderful post on comparing that I urge you to read. What she writes is so true – how often do we compare ourselves with others? Our blogs, our businesses, our homes, our… everything!

Comparing can sometimes be beneficial but generally, I find it’s much better to focus on being the best, unique you that you can be. It’s all about finding your own personal style and putting that into everything you do.

A few years ago I was part of a team who presented a publishing forum. The speaker before me was so ‘out there’ and everybody loved him. He was really over the top and the audience was so hyped and motivated after hearing him. Thankfully we had a tea break between his presentation and mine.

I was really concerned that I wouldn’t be able to live up to his style and was rethinking my delivery – how could I present more like him? And to make it more difficult, I was presenting on the legal and technical issues! How could I make that more exciting?

Well, I decided it was too late to make changes and I just got up and presented in my usual style. Surprisingly, everyone was glued to my every word, taking lots of notes. Some of the feedback we received later – and some at my prodding 🙂 – was that the audience didn’t want more than one energetic section. They liked my presentation and found it just as useful as the other speaker before me.

So there was no need for me to worry and compare. Yes, it’s good to see what others are doing, to learn from them and improve. However sometimes two people – or two blogs, two presentations, two businesses – can be totally different and neither one is better than the other. They’re just… different.

Embrace your uniqueness!

Here’s to your business success…

January 20, 2008

What do you want to know?

Filed under: Juggling Work and Family,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 7:36 pm
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Could I ask a small favour?

I’m hosting a very short, simple survey to find out what small business owners would like to learn more about and what their biggest challenges are.

I’d love for you to spare a minute of your time to answer two questions. They’re very quick and very easy so it won’t take long. I promise to share the results with you once I have enough results in.

Please go to What do you want to know? now to share your thoughts.

Thank you. Here’s to your business success…

January 18, 2008

What is a mistake really?

Filed under: Words of Wisdom & Inspiration — smallbusinessdiva @ 12:20 pm
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I tend to refer to mistakes as ‘learning opportunities’ or ‘errors in judgement from which we learn’.  I really like John Powell’s comment:

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing,” John Powell.

Next time you make what appears to be a mistake, take the time to really look at it and learn from the experience.

Trust me – running a business can be full of learning opportunities.  🙂

Here’s to your business success…

January 16, 2008

A brilliant idea for laptop users

Recently I met Karin Bryer who runs Global Innovations. One of the products she supplies is this PORTAnoteBOOK (as well as PORTA-Books). This nifty gadget is ideal for resting your laptop on and has many benefits including being ergonomically friendly and helping to increase airflow (thus reducing the heat build up). Plus, it has built in storage space.

At such an affordable price I know I’ll be getting one.

Have a look at this video for more info or visit Karin’s site.

Here’s to your business success…

January 14, 2008

15 Top Tips for Party Bookings

Filed under: Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 9:21 am
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Those who earn their living from Party Planning businesses would know all too well that from time to time you might have a dry patch as far as party bookings are concerned. A lack of future bookings can translate into a lack of future income and possibly the end of your business if it doesn’t pick up.

How can you ensure that you keep filling your diary with party dates?

Anne at The Tall Poppy has some great ideas in her post – 15 Ideas for Finding Party Bookings. It’s definitely worth the read if you’re into party planning.

Oh, by the way, The Tall Poppy has been named on the list of the Top 50 Australian Women’s Blogs! Way to go, Anne!!! Congratulations.

Here’s to your business success…

January 10, 2008

What is real integrity?

Filed under: Words of Wisdom & Inspiration — smallbusinessdiva @ 2:56 pm
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It can be easy to show integrity when you know that people are watching you, waiting to see how you will react to something, but I love this quote:

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not,” Oprah Winfrey.

I think that’s a great philosophy to have. At the end of the day, you will know whether or not you did the right thing.

Here’s to your business success…

January 8, 2008

Interesting figures for online shopping

Filed under: Recommendations,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 3:30 pm
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I’ve just been reading the Tonic Gifts blog and found an interesting post on Some Interesting Statistics for online shoppers.

If you have an online shop it’s well worth reading this post.

Here’s to your business success…

January 4, 2008

Exquisite Christmas Ornament

Filed under: Bits & Pieces,Recommendations — smallbusinessdiva @ 6:17 pm
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One of the Business Forums I’m a member of, Business Mums Network, have an optional Ornament Exchange each Christmas. It’s like a Secret Santa where all participants send a small gift of a Christmas ornament to another participant.

My received gift for Christmas 2007 is this exquisite hand-stitched ornament from Bernadette at the Needlework Boutique. My Mum and sisters all enjoy stitching so I truly appreciate the work that Bernadette has put into this (and feel quite lazy for buying my recipient’s gift from a shop!) I’ve taken a close-up photo to show you however I don’t think any photo will show all the intricate detail nor do it justice.

Thank you Bernadette.

 christmas-ornament-from-bernadette.jpg

For those of you who are into needlework, the Needlework Boutique is full of everything you need. If you hurry, Bernadette is having a huge New Year sale that ends soon.

January 2, 2008

Who else loves to read?

Filed under: Book Reviews — smallbusinessdiva @ 1:14 pm
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I just read about Books, Glorious Books on The Modern Goddess’ blog about how much she loves reading and I just had to share this with you. In the introduction, Nicole boldly and proudly states, “I am a self-confessed book-a-holic. I have a habit of buying more than one book at a time and then stock-piling them in the corner, gathering dust while they wait patiently for me to read them.”

I’m with you Nicole… I couldn’t have said it better myself. I have a pile of books waiting their turn in the ‘to-be-read’ pile, then another virtual pile on my hard drive of all the eBooks I intend to read. Then there’s the magazines, mostly business related, that I keep in my car for those times when I’m waiting for someone. Magazines are great in situations where you may only get short burst of reading time.

What’s more, my Mum and sisters are all avid readers too so we tend to pass books on from one to another, sometimes forgetting who they originated with to begin with.

If Nicole doesn’t mind, I’m going to borrow a leaf from her book (no pun intended 🙂 ) and start reviewing books here regularly. 

Stay tuned for more… and if you’ve read a great business or personal development book that you can recommend (or a not so great book that we shouldn’t waste our time with), please share it here.

Here’s to your business success…

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