Working from home? Things to consider.

There are two elements of working from home:

1) working under flexi rules for the company that employs you, or

2) running your own business from home.

If the former, please agree with your boss what they are going to cover expense wise, and how they will agree the hours you work. You should also seek a bonus, since you are reducing company costs.

If you are renting, then you are obliged to inform the landlord and if you have clients visit, please have your insurance revised to cover that.

If you are buying then please inform the mortgage company. Insurance has to be amended too.

Such as contents and also public liability cover.

In most cases, flexi working does not see clients visiting.

So onto number two and running your own business from home – link to follow.

2) running you own business from home.

All the above apply and more so – I would seriously discourage having people visit – suggesting a coffee shop or hotel as better, especially for people who work alone. You really do not want a nutter in your house or flat.

Create a routine in your life and build in social, me time, otherwise you will become stale and very quickly. In an office there is interaction, on your own at home, there is not.

A daily To Do list done the night before is now vital. Too many distractions otherwise.

Go out for a coffee/tea or a walk at some point – I have made friends with all the independent businesses locally and often pop in for a chat.
Also look for support such as here in this group, where you can share your success and seek guidance.

Keep an accurate record of all expenses – they are tax deductible.
Don’t forget energy a percentage of your council tax charge.

If your profit is less than £10,000 then claim working tax credits – these apply to the self employed too.

Create a phone line for business use only – it is 100% tax deductible. My link will explain more. And of course good broadband, go fiber if your area supports it, especially if you have family too.

Check you can use your home address for correspondence purposes. If not, seek an alternative, such as MailBoxes Etc. or your accountant.

Don’t be afraid to seek help and see what grants may be available as a start up or small business.

Networking groups have already been mentioned – there are also others less formal that meet as a coffee morning and some Chambers of Commerce run lunch time events, plus offer training in skills you need.

That covers most of it and my link is here:

Bingo – what a great place to network

This morning I attended the Sutton United FC Business Club monthly networking event – I was a guest of the organiser Jeremy Ramsden.

It was unusual, since it was held within Riva Sutton, Bingo Hall, and yes we all had a game too. Didn’t win, so no chance to shout: house.

There was informal networking over breakfast, some short presentations by members, more networking and then on our way.

Hosts at Riva were Nuala and Tony Lynch, and this is one of three locations they run around the United Kingdom.

All very modern with electronic cards now, nicely upholstered seats and plush carpet throughout. A hugely comfortable environment from what I can remember some thirty years ago.

I expect to meet them again and discuss some corporate ideas too.

Structured Networking delivers every time

Finding the right group to build your network is pretty vital in any business.

Thankfully, I found structured networking many years ago, and I encourage any
business serious about its growth to do likewise.

Presently, I am supporting a group at the
Second Floor
The Exhibit
Balham Station Road
London SW12

Commences 6:45am and concludes 8:45am each Thursday morning.
Meeting fee £10 and the breakfast there is excellent.
Would you like to attend? If so, please drop me a message and I can reserve you a place.

It is a lively group, and I am sure you will enjoy the meeting, should you choose to attend.

Please bring plenty of business cards.
I have over the last 15 years grown three businesses through networking, so am confident you will get an excellent return on your time involved – do come along and give it a go, and see whether you like the environment and meeting format. As one of my friends said the worst that will happen is that you enjoy a great breakfast. 
As a bonus you will pick up new business contacts and tap into their network.

Why not have a conversation?

Many years ago, when at school, the idea of debates and discussion were common in the sixth form, even to the extent of having a debating society. They were good fun, and perhaps were our first form of social interaction and a way of influencing how others’ thought?

For those who were aspirational, they could go a stage further and head off with a soap box (to stand on) to Speakers Corner by Hyde Park, London.

Now, whilst Speakers Corner was great, today anyone and everyone can be their own broadcaster whether through the medium of a blog and newsletter such as this or by creating a video and uploading to You Tube or Vimeo and create a social media following. You don’t need to be skilled, since a mobile phone will do the job for you.

In fact there are some people, who will record anything and everything in the hope of creating something similar to Charlie bit my finger, which now generates a six figure income from advertisers.

Now that really is the power of social media.

There are however downsides to this prevalence of moving pictures and that is the fact too many people fail to communicate by word and deed; is the fabric of society being destroyed with easy social comment such as through, video, twitter and facebook?

That has got to be a fear, since the younger generation are being starved of social interaction and learning to have conversations. What is more frightening still is the fact that teenagers are being stabbed on the streets of London for failing to respect someone by looking at them in the wrong way.

We all laughed at Little Britain and the characters within, but humour such as this is only a reflection on society today, previously Monty Python and That Was The Week That Was did the same too. Is this the sort of society we want, where everyone is out for themselves and what they can take?

There has been much written in political circles about the Tory Back to Work programme; cost about £5 billion so far and created so few jobs, in fact less than the average prior to the scheme starting, that some are openly doubting the sanity of our politicians and their support for the United Kingdom. Is the coalition really working for the betterment of us all?

What are truly inspiring though are the many entrepreneurs who in the face of too much legislation create their own businesses and at the same time, play their part in regenerating their locale by providing hope for others. These are the true wealth creators.

So is the support of independent traders a debate worth having, or should we simply hide ourselves behind our computers and continue with social media interaction and online purchases, which generates money for the few rather than the majority?

Laurence Lowne is the owner of Combyne Group based in London and working countrywide, helping people and businesses to control their utility costs through a range of award-winning services.

5 Top Networking Tips

These are my interpretations and what works from experience, and forms part of 20 tips – have chucked in a sixth one as well, and please remember Networking is not Selling:

1) Attend events where you will meet people that suit your profession/industry/business. Some events are industry specific. Some also insist upon one represntative per sector. No point going to an event where you are not welcome.

2) Set yourself a target of what you are seeking to achieve at each event. SMART Applies. Mine is usually Five proper conversations with a total of Ten business cards/contacts based on a two hour event.

3) Prepare yourself before attending – right image (formal or informal), business cards, A6 book or pocket diary, pens x 3, own professional badge (costs £6). Often people will attend events without business cards or simply run out. So having a pocket diary or A6 book, means you can write down their details, and make contact after. I just picked up a new business colleague, because I was the only person to do that at a recent event.

4) Speak to the organiser prior to the day to find out how the event works – are you able/expected to address the room, or is it a round table event? So a 60 seconds presentation should be prepared to reflects the needs of the people in the room. And very importantly what you can and cannot do at the event. Some have house rules.

5) Make a friend of the organiser, and ensure he/she knows, who you are seeking to meet, and ask them who are the best networkers within his/her group, who are likely to attend. Ask for a direct introduction. Find out beforehand, whether there is a list of attendees issued, and it becomes a great tool to establish, who you wish to meet and therefore part of SMART.

and a number 6 – follow up by phone everyone you meet, not just email, and if you have promised something, an introduction, a further connection, do deliver. It will ensure people remember you for the right reasons.

Two excellent books to help you on your way

……… and Death came Third by Andy Lopata and Peter Roper, plus

Little Fish Guide to Networking by Jackie Barrie

All three great networking colleagues of mine.

Seriously Networking?

Are you serious about your networking or simply playing?

Networking is one of the most effective, cost efficient methods of generating new business and very importantly lasting business.

Having started in 1996, I now rely on more than 80% of my referrals being created this way, and that is the key. It is personal recommendation, rather than outright sales creation.

We all make recommendations, but very few understand how powerful these are.

I can place an actual value on each referral given and received – are you able to, as well?

Even better I work within a business that is often referred to as Referral Marketing – you can take a look here, if you wish – the 3 minute video won’t bite, and could create more than 10 new income streams for you on a part time basis:

www.future-biz.co.uk

So how important is networking to you?
What works and what doesn’t?

Please share your ideas below.

TWC – 10th Birthday Celebration – Tuesday 19th June 2012

Just Do It Conference and Gala Dinner – Tuesday 19 June 2012


How would you celebrate your 10th year of business?

A big party and invite all your friends, or perhaps a conference too and celebrate successful business women.

Well why not combine the two, throw in some excellent speakers, raise money for a charity that is doing some amazing work, plus a venue, which provides some of the best cuisine in London and has done for a number of years?

It seems that is what Jackie Groundsell of The Womens Company is doing on Tuesday 19 June 2012 at Quaglinos in Bury Street, London.

There is an array of talent, speaking during the day plus experts to give one-to-one guidance, two master classes, an expo too, for those wish to parade their wares, then in the evening a gala dinner with entertainment and Andy Lopata will be speaking as well, no doubt with a mention or two of Charlton Athletic following their Championship winning season and promotion.

It gets better, since I have also been able to arrange a 10% discount as well – but you will need to drop me an email to find out how. Please send to info@combyne.co.uk together with your name, business name and contact number.

and the charity, Ovacome. Jackie tells me: ‘For the past 5 years 1230 TWC has been proud to support Ovacome the support network supporting those affected by ovarian cancer. This year we are supporting them with a Fabulous Raffle.’

Just Do It!” is an exciting and powerful Conference for Today’s Business Women, whilst the Gala Dinner in the evening see the guys n gals welcome in their finery.

Full details and booking can be found here: http://www.1230jdi.co.uk/ – don’t forget your email, if you would like to secure your 10% discount before ordering.

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