Using events to promote what you do


Do you use events to promote your business? You probably go to networking meetings, to connect with new prospects, but have you thought where else you can go, or what else you can do?

Attending workshops. If you’re attending a workshop as a delegate, you can also use it as a networking opportunity. There will be other business people there and some of them could be potential clients or suppliers. I’ve been to business workshops on a weekday, where people have turned up looking like they’re just going to the shops on a Saturday morning. Not quite the impression you want to give other people, so make sure you make an effort.

Running workshops. Do you run workshops to demonstrate your skills and experience? If you provide a service, delivering a workshop is a great way to show people what you do and how good you are. Use the time to give away advice, rather than spending time telling people what you do, and you will build up rapport with your audience. Once they trust you they are more likely to buy from you.

Conferences. Attending a conference is a great way to learn from the speakers. It’s also a great networking opportunity. Some conferences arrange networking sessions in between speeches, so make the most of. Take plenty of business cards and dress like you mean it. If you can, speak to the speakers too, because you never know who they know.

Open days. Moving offices? Launching a new product? Celebrating a success? Through a party or open day and invite everyone you know. Last summer we celebrated our 10th birthday at Appletree with a party. We put a marquee onto the lawn outside the office, wheeled in a hog roast and poured a few glasses of wine. We invited all our clients, past and present, along with lots of our suppliers. It was a great networking event for us and for everyone else who came – lots of business cards changed hands!

Think about what events you can go to or run yourself, to help you promote your business beyond the reaches of networking.


What gaps are in your communication strategy?


The fourth assignment for my CIM Professional Certificate in Marketing involves creating a communications audit on the organisation I have based my assignment upon. After I had fathomed exactly what was required, I started to enjoy analysing every aspect of communication the organisation did, including the ‘external’ stakeholders involved, such as the media and pressure groups, the community and those involved in corporate social responsiblity.

This may all sound complicated, but there is no need to get apprehensive (unless you haven’t done much about communications in your business). First you need to work out all the different aspects of communication: websites, social media, blogs, PR, newspaper reports, articles written online and paper published, recommendations, networking (off and online), participation in events in the local social diary, corporate social responsibility and involvement in local groups. There are probably more you can think of, depending on your kind of business.

Go on the web and find out what other companies, especially your competitors, are doing to publicise the communication strategies they have in place. Sometimes a little light secondary research can reveal a lot about them, as well as yourself. How visible are you, both off and online? How much information do you make available about your company and the things that you do? How easy is it to find?

Then you need to work out the impact your communication strategy has on your business and your stakeholders, which includes past, present and potential customers, your competitors and suppliers, as well as the general public. How well do you communicate with them on the areas that are relevant to them? What kind of things do you need to tell them? How frequently do you perform this and what have the results been? Have you achieved your objectives from these ventures? What strategies do you have in place to continue, improve and achieve success in your future endeavours?

I have only just scratched the surface on this subject, but hopefully to get the strategic juices flowing. Being visible to the appropriate stakeholders could make a real difference to your business, not only to publicise what has been going on and any future projects, but to increase awareness, explain more succinctly exactly what you do and what you are aiming to achieve, increase networking opportunities and relationships that could evolve into joint ventures and other likely connections, and much more besides.

Let us know what you are doing within your communication strategy – it would be exciting to find out how successful you’ve been and what tactics you have thought up to set the communication wheels moving as smoothly as possible!

CSR – An Admin Assistant’s view


How this Administration Assistant became aware of Corporate Social Responsibility:

 “I will set you a challenge” said my boss. “I would like you to go out into the community, find yourself a job and volunteer your Administration services for one week.”

I thought this a stiff challenge. I might have to leave my comfortable office, meet new people, take on a task and successfully complete it within a given timeframe. Success or failure, how will I fare? How can I combine this with helping within the community? Where can I look for such a task, and who will help me? With all these thoughts running through my mind, I turned to the one source I usually turn to when I need information and set about searching online using key words such as volunteer, charities, events. There were pages and pages of these so I decided to take down telephone numbers and a few contact details of local charities in my area. 

I considered emailing the various charities with details of when I would be available for work but this would take time. The only course of action was to pick up the phone and talk to someone. It is now March and I needed to get things moving quickly if I was going to get involved in a key event being held this year. 

After many phone calls I discovered the Newbury Volunteer Centre and spoke to Garry Poulson the Director. I outlined briefly what I would be able to offer in terms of admin support, and my time. As a result, I am due to meet Garry to discuss a project that he has in mind for me. After our meeting I hope things will become clear. I want to feel a sense of achievement at the end of my task. I will ask myself, has this work been worthwhile? Who in the community will benefit? How can I spread the word about this? What have I gained from it? I will keep you posted. 

Are you doing anything similar with your company?