Jane Sheehan discusses the relevance of CPD in holistic therapy
When I first started doing reflexology and foot reading, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) was something that your accountant did. A professional belonged to a professional body and to remain a member, they would have to show that they had continued their development through a formalised system. This was such a tradition that even HM Customs and Revenue recognised CPD, thus allowed tax relief.
More recently, holistic therapy associations have recognised the value in having a formalised structure for CPD… But is this “a good thing?”
As a provider of a CPD course, I have found that each of the associations apply different criteria when assessing a course for accreditation. There isn’t a uniform standard. One of the associations, with whom I am now accredited, required so many additional things from me that I had to spend an extra six hundred pounds over and above the accreditation fee before my course was accepted, yet other associations had accredited the same course without these additional requirements. As a result, I can only assume that members of that particular association will be seeing the cost of attending an accredited CPD course rising.
Another association offers CPD points not just for attending an accredited workshop, but for other activities related to improving your business, such as spending an hour considering your business strategy – things that would be very hard to prove that you did or didn’t do, and therefore open to abuse.
Indeed, some professions request such stringent adherence to their CPD requirements from their members that the required spend before even allowing a client to be touched could frighten off any new members.
However, as a therapist who loves her subject, I hardly notice the requirements for CPD. I love learning and attend several courses a year just because they seem interesting to me. I am continually updating my practice with what I’m learning. I’m wondering whether it’s even necessary to formalise CPD given that I do all these activities out of a joy for learning more about my subjects.
I started to wonder why we needed a formal CPD system at all!
Then something changed. We started to read more and more attacks in the media aimed at non-allopathic practitioners such as homeopaths, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and so on. Given though we have a formalised CPD system and recognised qualifications, it is much easier to present evidence of competency and training against such attacks.
As a result, I’m proud to say that my foot reading workshops attract CPD points as follows:
- Association of Reflexologists – 2 per hour to a max of 10 points,
- Federation of Holistic Therapists – 5 points per day and 5 points for the elearning seminar,
- Irish Reflexology Institute – 50 points
- Reflexology New Zealand – 4 CPD points per year for the elearning seminar.
Some other associations offer CPD points for non-accredited courses too.
If we accept that there is a need for CPD, then why can’t the different bodies standardise CPD requirements and the points in order to present a more credible image of the profession?
David Balen provides valuable advice on how to avoid your business from weakening or becoming terminally ill
It is easy to think of your financial platform for earning a living as a “practice” rather than a “business”. However, as discussed in a previous article for HTM there is a difference between your practice and business (Issue 4). For me, business is an exchange mechanism for goods or services. You trade time, knowledge, experience but above all, you share and communicate your qualities as a human being. Your business is, or should be, a reflection of your values, ethics and aspirations.
For your business to work you have to shift from the “Yin” polarity which is intuitive, passive/receptive, responsive and reflective to a “Yang” one of being outgoing, dynamic, purposeful/focussed, grounded and active. In this article I would like to outline some of the areas that can trip you up, demotivate and ultimately derail you if you fail to take that “Yang” approach.
Failure to Plan – Vision it, then map it out. Think in stages and figure out your initial destination, put numbers and dates into your planning and be specific and practical with this, rather than vague and visionary. Goals and plans should be SMART – specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based.
Not taking care of the money flow – set up systems to audit your finances on a regular basis… know what you are spending versus what you are receiving. Many businesses with full order books fail due to cash flow problems.
Getting into debt – it is easy in today’s society to purchase things on credit. Taking on loans without thorough forward planning and based on assumption which may or may not materialise, is not good business sense. Be cautious about these things and creative to find lower cost or alternative exchange options.
Tax or legal problems – have resilient, efficient recording systems, get professional advice and do things as ethically as you can. Manage this side of the business or get help if required, leaving you to focus on what lights your light.
Inadequate investment of time or money, passion or thought – even when there is no money coming in, use your business time to think creatively, make contacts, network etc. In the early stages you need to build up the soil fertility so growth can take care of itself- this may mean going without and putting back, commonly known as “investing in your business”.
Not evolving – work can be seen as a spiritual discipline, a path to pursue whatever philosophy or world view you have, as well a way of paying the bills. Don’t be content to be complacent – we can always evolve and grow. Standing still in an ever-changing world is not really an option!
Failure to grow people you work with - as well as nurturing the business you need to nurture people under your wing, colleagues or employees. They need a progression path and motivation, together with decent pay and working conditions.
Failure to build relationships based on good communication and trust – as a professional health and lifestyle advocate you have to be congruent – walk the walk don’t just talk the talk. If you don’t have good people or communication skills, work on them, and seek help if you can’t do it yourself. Your work isn’t just about you transmitting a manifesto to the eagerly expectant public and potential clients, or selling your wares, it is about how you relate and engage with the outside world, with lots of little steps, decisions, and conversations over time, where you embody and demonstrate your values.
Being over-arrogant – pride comes before a fall. Having humility doesn’t mean that you are a walk over; none of us have the answer to everything. Keep your mind open, and watch out for this one – it can creep in when you are not looking and trip your business up. Attitude failure = business failure!
Taking without giving back – remember to keep the chain of virtue flowing. Once you get success (whatever that means for you), find ways that you can give back and help the next generation, allowing things to evolve.
In closing, I would like to reiterate the message I intone – mantra-like – whenever I get the appropriate occasion… “Never give up!” Remember why you studied your subject, and remember why you got qualified, despite obstacles you may have had to overcome. Don’t let the difficulties in the “marketplace” discourage you, rather treat these as learning opportunities and ways to be resourceful and get stronger. Trust in yourself and whatever else is important to you in life.
The Therapist: Hannah Lewis B.Ost is a fully qualified and registered Osteopath, and the founder and director of Simply Osteo and owner of Just Holistic Therapy Rooms.
The Story: This is my story on why I chose Osteopathy, setting up my own businesses, and my struggles and successes along the way…. All before the age of 26!
The Dream: As a child, gymnastics was my passion, I represented the United Kingdom aged nine and trained almost daily around my school life. As I reached my teenage years I think I knew deep down that I would never make a career from being a gymnast, but the question was… “What to do?”
I was first drawn to Osteopathy after being a patient following one too many gymnastic injuries as a teenager. I developed an interest in sports injuries and how to resolve them. This led me to train as an Osteopath. I knew I wanted a career in a type of therapy or medicine, as I wanted to help people and due to my experiences at the age of fifteen, I chose Osteopathy.
The Studies: I’d be lying if I said that the educational path I took was easy, as the training to become an Osteopath was a long, hard and an extremely demanding four years. However I knuckled down with my studies and have never looked back. I graduated from the British School of Osteopathy in 2008.
I now had my degree, the knowledge and experience I needed to call myself an Osteopath, but I hadn’t a clue where to start my career. I landed myself a job working at a few different practices as an associate Osteopath. It was great! I was building my confidence and getting hands-on experience. However, the drive and urge to set up on my own was growing stronger and stronger each day. After all that had always been my dream…
The Career: At the beginning of 2010 I took the plunge. I did it! I set up my own business – Simply Osteo. I spent weeks preparing the website, business cards, leaflets etc. But still had nowhere to work from. Then one day on my way home from working for someone else, I found it, I drove past ‘Just Holistic Therapy Rooms’ as soon as I got home I looked it up online and contacted the person in charge. Within a few weeks I had a beautiful treatment room I could call my own (well, at least one day a week anyway!). I was so happy, but equally as scared and apprehensive. It took a couple of weeks for my first few patients to book in, then with lots of hard work and perseverance my company grew and grew. Within a few months I took on another day at the clinic and began to fill that day, as my client base grew at the clinic I slowly started dropping my work at the other practices, which was probably one of the scariest things to do, as no-one wants their all of their eggs in one basket.
The Opportunity: In June 2011 just fifteen months after setting up ‘Simply Osteo’ an amazing opportunity popped up! At this point the owner of Just Holistic Therapy Rooms had just had a baby and understandably wanted to spend more time at home. She had watched me build my business from scratch at the clinic and wanted me to take the whole clinic over… Wow! I was only just over a year into working for myself and was still in the process of building my current Osteopathy business, however this had always been my vision and she obviously felt that I was up to the job.
So June 2011, aged twenty-five, I took over the ownership of Just Holistic Therapy Rooms, I continued to build my Osteopathy business taking on more and more days at the clinic. Looking back I could have said “no”, and played it safe, with less to do, less responsibilities, but that’s just not me, and in life the more you put in, the more you get out!
The Business: I have owned the clinic for over two years now, I currently run my Osteopathy business (Simply Osteo) there for four to five days a week, and the rest of the time I manage the clinic and the other therapists.
At Just Holistic, we have three beautifully decorated treatment rooms; I rent the rooms out to therapists, anyone in the holistic or complementary therapy field. We also have a lovely waiting room, small kitchen and toilet facilities.
I have worked extremely hard over the past two years to not only ensure that Simply Osteo is a growing success, but to also maintain the fantastic reputation of the clinic. Just Holistic has gone from strength to strength since my take over and is currently home to a group of wonderful therapists including; Osteopaths, Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists, Reiki Practitioners, Counselors, Reflexologists, Energy Healers, Shiatsu Practitioners, Life Coaches and many more…
I rent the rooms out on a half or full day basis, and although all of the therapists are there to build up their own client bases, I provide as much help and support as possible… after all, I started off exactly where many of them are now. I know it’s hard work and it is a gamble, but it does pay off and it is so worth it!
The Advice: If anyone reading this is thinking of setting up on their own, then do it, take the plunge, but you have to be dedicated and be willing to work hard. Once you have a regular flow of clients, the rest will follow as we all know a recommendation from someone you know is far better than an advertisement!
If you live in or near the Croydon / South East London area and are interested in renting a room at Just Holistic then please do get in touch, it could also be the starting block for your own business venture… For more information on room rentals or therapies at Just Holistic please call 07828 458 769 or email me (Hannah Lewis) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Fairweather has been earning a living from massage for twenty years from an organisation that started on a shoestring. In this article she shares how you can do the same
Nothing seems designed more to strike fear into the heart of your average therapist than the word “marketing”. The term seems to conjure up images of huge departments of creative gurus, glossy brochures, expensive web campaigns, and yes, money, money, plus more money – big budgets, which as a newbie starting up your own business, you probably don’t have. Yet the good news is that there has never been a better time to create a HUGE marketing buzz with very little cash. Good old-fashioned marketing was always more about passion, creativity, and enthusiasm (all free) than fat wallets, pulsating with pink notes – if you put into the mix the rise of powerful cost-effective online marketing tools, like website templates, Facebook, and Twitter, then you really can have the power of a massive marketing department for the cost of a pair of shoelaces.
Best top tip…
The best business tip I was ever given was: TTP, Then TTMP, (Talk to people! Talk to more people!). Start with people you know – at every social occasion, meeting, workplace gathering, strangers on the bus, rides in taxis. Simple let the people you are talking to know what you do. Tell them with passion and enthusiasm. Let them know what your therapy can do for their life; bad back, arthritic hip, headaches. Get the word out. It’s your duty. Back it up with a well-produced card or leaflet. If you get the opportunity, book them in there and then, on your phone for an appointment or take their details if they are interested and give them a follow up call.
Business cards: Amazingly, there are now companies around that offer free business card design and production – check out vistaprint.co.uk (250 for free – just pay delivery),
or uk.moo.com (free 50 card offer). Or just design and print your own, which works out even cheaper. Remember, that it’s not the business cards that get you the clients (although it’s a good start) – it’s what you do with them. Putting brochures around town or doing a mail-out will give you very little return for your time – for each 100 leaflets you mail out you can expect maybe one phone call – and then you still have to convince the client to come to you.
If you have moved into a new town centre location, take your brochures around to the local shops, but make sure you talk to someone who works there -the owner if possible- about what you do. Introduce yourself, or offer them a free treatment. Give out free treatments or consultations at a local workplace and pass on your business card to everyone you touch. Get the word out there, but always with a face behind the card.
Phone set-up: Ensure you have a professional message on your telephone voicemail, and check it regularly. Keep track of the people you have spoken to. Make sure you have: Names, telephone numbers, email addresses and postal addresses for everyone you come into contact with who might be a potential client. Write down who you have spoken to, when you had the conversation, and what it was about.
Communicate with your contacts regularly – send email newsletters to let them know about special offers, articles of interest or any new training you have been on.
I know this sounds basic – but it is absolutely crucial for any therapy business to exist, that people are able to get hold of you, and are aware of your presence. If not, they will get impatient and go elsewhere.
Keeping your bookings and contacts on your phone enables you to quickly make bookings, take contact details or respond to emails wherever you are. If you are at a party and someone is interested in what you do, book them in there and then. Check your emails regularly and respond promptly.
Online: Do you have a website? If not, why not?
Website templates are available free from Google, they are called Google sites, and are perfect for basic information. You can also get websites free when you buy your domain name, or from sites such as Wix.com.
Social media is what I like to refer to as “word of mouth on steroids”. If you are in fear of Facebook or terrified of Twitter than you are going to have to just get a grip, as you are missing out on one of the biggest free marketing opportunities of all time. Social media is the easiest, most-effective way to get your message out to hundreds of people within seconds. Best advice – Do it now!
Alison Gibbs balances the pros and cons of the different fields of trading as a therapist
From my years of experience as a therapist, my ethos in all areas has been ‘client care’ – with the aim of leaving a client feeling better about themselves in accordance with their treatment or environment. This allows a personal approach and ultimately a relationship to build over time.
Working in a hotel spa, I found I could introduce indigenous treatments and give a taster of what other countries offer, which gave more of a ‘wow’ factor. Some of which were hard to produce in a salon environment, such as outdoor experiences. Often clients would have more time, so rituals of 2-4 hours could easily be sold. I find spas and hotels are very transient, so if you like the turnover of new faces this is the perfect environment for you. If you prefer building relationships then it is better to look for places that offer a stable clientele and membership opportunity.
In a spa environment you can keep your relationship very professional and specific to an appointment time. Clients may still be reserved with the information they share and consultations may be on a tight time scale. I therefore find the therapy approach is limited and the whole holistic approach may have to be tailored. Sales after a treatment are easily taken when you have a display and stock to hand, so retailing is much easier in a fixed location and, of course, if you have a shop front then the location is key for generating new trade and interest. The marketing of a fixed venue is much easier and rewarding as your image can easily be seen and portrayed. The downside is committing to a fixed venue with all the overheads. It’s therefore important to have a guaranteed target market and location and you must seriously consider your demographics and look at values like house prices and shops in your area, which will give you a good indication of the disposable income. Some locations have a high premium but it is quite often a better guarantee of a captive audience.
The rewards of mobile therapy are great, but you must be disciplined with your time and location. Planning is key when you are on the road so you can link clients together. I ran my own business mobile for seven years and I was really successful. Running a mobile therapy business takes a lot of hard work and unsociable hours, as many clients prefer evening appointments. You will be booked in advance for these slots, which limits your social life. An advantage though is the personal approach I could provide from being in their home. I managed to gain a deeper holistic approach to my therapy with much longer consultation times and tailored treatments for better results, as clients seemed open to talking on a more personal level.
The challenge was the travel time, so allow this in your daily planning. I kept a professional image at all times; I wore a uniform and had everything portable so as to maintain this, allowing me also to keep the price point high. There is this illusion that mobile treatments are cheaper but you are giving them the convenience of the home treatment out of most office hours, so there should naturally be a premium on this. If you deliver professionally they will not question the price point. The equipment is a challenge to carry around and can potentially cause problems with securing stock in the back of your car i.e. wax points need to be secure as it gets very messy if they tip over.
Sales can be more challenging but if the trust is there, the sales became easier, and you have to be very disciplined to remember to add a sale on.
Promoting yourself is difficult and you will need to be proactive with demonstrations to groups, organisations and targeting networking groups for link sales and advice. Keep linked in to other therapists and training, as this can easily be forgotten and it’s important to have the interaction with other professionals so you stay up-to-date with latest trends. Lava Shells was set up with mobile therapists as the main capture because it is ideal for transporting around and offers a lovely portable heat therapy, with seconds to prep and seconds to clean.
I will always remember my days and the challenges I faced both working in hotels and as a mobile therapist but most importantly what stays with me more than anything are the amazing clients I got to know.
Karen Watins shares knowledge on foods to create inner warmth during the chilly months
With chilly mornings and evenings, lots of us are pulling on jumpers and jackets to keep warm. In addition to these extra layers, there are a few dietary tips that can help boost circulation and prepare for the cold months ahead.
Chillies There are some ‘super-foods’ that really can enhance circulation. Top of the list would have to be cayenne pepper or chilli powder, which is a wonderful addition for stimulating the circulation. (I had a grandmother who insisted that sprinkling chilli powder inside socks was a remedy for chilblains, but I’m not sure I’d actually want to try it, as it seems somewhat messy to me!). The warming properties come from the chemical called capsaicin, which is what gives the peppers their heat, the more capsaicin a chilli contains, the hotter it will be and the more it will stimulate the circulation. You are bound to have seen someone become flushed when eating a curry or an extra hot chilli, and this flushing effect is caused by a boost in circulation, so, adding chillies to the diet on a regular basis has to be worth trying.
Ginger Another useful spice would be ginger, and on a cold afternoon a cup of ginger tea is a delightful way to take the chill out of any damp winter day. To make, simply steep a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in a cup of hot water for five to ten minutes before drinking. Or, for added flavour, simmer the ginger for a few minutes with some orange slices. In addition to flavouring the ginger tea, oranges and in fact all citrus fruits offer a good dose of vitamin C, which can also help strengthen blood capillary walls and may help to prevent a build-up of plaque, which can slow down blood flow.
Veg Adding in all types of fresh fruit and vegetables can help to clear an excess of cholesterol. Particularly useful winter vegetables, like leeks and cabbage and potatoes, all provide plenty of potassium, which can be beneficial for the circulatory system.
Garlic Alongside this, garlic can aid the health of the arteries and make platelets less likely to clump together. A useful winter drink in our house is lemon juice, minced garlic and grated ginger, perhaps flavoured with a little honey. A morale booster, a cold fighter and a boost to circulation all in one!
Fruit A few issues back, I wrote an article on berries and talked about the antioxidant lycopene and this one has been linked to improving circulation. So adding in tomatoes (perhaps to winter warming stews) along with other foods like pink grapefruits, watermelon, berries, and apricots will help to boost lycopene in the diet.
Fish Avoiding saturated fats and increasing essential fatty acids in the diet, so adding a few winter meals of oily fish like herring, sardines, pilchards, mackerel and salmon can be benefical. Additional sources of fatty acids that can be helpful include nuts and seeds, all of which make great snacks on busy days.
Chocolate Finally, this article would not be complete without mention of chocolate! Cocoa contains flavonoids, which can help with circulation, but make sure it is dark chocolate.
This article has previously been published in a past print issue of Holistic Therapist Magazine, it is such valued advice, that we wish for our online readers to benefit from the expertise of the Managing Director of Balens Ltd, David Balen, who provides advice on overcoming issues with client relationships
How you verbally communicate directly with your clients will have an impact upon the success or otherwise of your business. Most therapists and Natural Health-Professionals tend to run small business environments, which revolve around them personally and so the importance of happy clients (or employees and collaborators) based on good quality communication and listening skills is all-important. So many complaints and claims we see arise from misunderstandings, which can lead to an inadequate client relationship. Of course we don’t just communicate with our clients. There are regulators, educators, suppliers, colleagues and peers, the media, social and family circles.
The rapid fire communication environment of social and online media poses particular problems. Responses to texting and emails can pressurise us into making ill-considered comments all too quickly, and sometimes too publicly! Boundary issues between client and friend can be blurred if a therapist is over familiar, friendly and too much personal information is shared. If things do not go well, it is so easy these days to spread bad publicity or negativity through blogs, forums, and websites etc., potentially causing reputational damage.
So It is important to reflect on and revise where helpful, your own style of communication. If you are not confident, maybe consider doing some inner work alone or with someone- a counsellor, mentor or professional helper etc. There are various courses and workshops to attend and you may be able to claim the expenses as CPD.
It is important to recognised that communication is not just in the language and words we use, but in our tone and perhaps more importantly for any business, in our non-verbal communication. All this is fed into by our various personality traits and tendencies, our life experiences, cultural and family habits and much more; so the drivers and underpins to our behaviour are enormously varied.
As a brief example we could consider Jung’s definitions of the four main psychological types: Sensation (practical, tangible world-people), Intuition (ideas and inspiration,) Feeling (expressing through the emotions and desires) and Thinking (using a rational approach, categorising and analysing). Of course no one is usually only one type or another but a mixture. There are countless other models one could consider, but they all colour the way we communicate. A mainly “thinking” focussed person trying to communicate with a mainly “Feeling” focussed person, may sometimes sound like both parties are talking a different language even though they are speaking in English! Although opposites can complement one another they can also rub each other up the wrong way! It is important to understand what levels your clients operate on and adjust your style accordingly.
For you as a Health Professional non-verbal communication is not just about your body language, you communicate in other areas, for example…
- Presentation – choice of dress and appearance
- Place of business – cleanliness, upkeep, décor, contents
- Advertising and promotional material – clarity, style, choice of images
- Web presence – Website and social media, ease of navigation of the size, how regularly is the information updated, general ‘look’
- Administration systems – speed of response to enquiries, complaints or compliments, how you maintain contact when not seeing them
People often judge others very quickly, often on superficial criteria, sometimes on a “gut” or intuitive sense, so any way you can improve and be ahead of the game in how you relate and communicate to the outside world is to be encouraged.
As I’m sure you are aware, clients tend to vote with their feet and whilst they can have numerous reasons for not continuing the relationship, it is unlikely that you will know why unless you specifically ask. Although this may be difficult, it is useful if done well.
Complaints that are handled well can turn a negative situation into a positive experience, but if handled badly can result in lost business and reputational damage, with the potential to have a financial impact upon your business, not to mention the cost of the time it will take you to deal with the issues, and the possible emotional impact on you.
In dealing with complaint situations it may be helpful to consider the following model of communication styles all of which may come into play-
Passive – Compliant, submissive, vague, non-committal, puts self-down
Aggressive – Superior, critical, bullying, sarcastic, disrespectful of others
Assertive – Clear, direct, firm but polite, respectful of self and others
Clearly, the “Assertive” style is the one to adopt not only in challenging situations, but in your general professional persona. Even if you have no doubts about your own verbal and non-verbal communication abilities and experience, as with all things in life, you can always find new things to learn and there is a wealth of material out there to encourage and help you.
For further information on Issues with Communication please also see the CPD Lecture ‘Negotiating the Boundaries – Managing difficult situations with your clients’ at balens.co.uk/cpd where other Balen Client Education Material about managing your practice can also be found.
It isn’t always easy to design a suitable logo for your company. The ideal design may become apparent straight away, or it may take extensive time and resources to create the perfect one.
One thing’s for sure – for those that order letterheads online alongside the wide range of other forms of print marketing, the right logo is essential. It effectively sets the stage for your brand, and is one of the things that your clients and customers will best remember you by.
Here are a few tips to ensure you get your logo right first time out.
Make it timeless
An effective logo should barely need to be changed for decades. Swerve clear of designs that are simply ‘trendy’ or unlikely to retain their relevance over time. Good examples of ‘no no’ design features include gradients, drop shadows and overly stylized fonts.
Make it distinctive
It isn’t always easy to deviate from the norm, and you may be wary of an overly bold design that differs from what is usual in your industry. Indeed, certain industries may not often use a logo at all on their letterheads – instead just the company name in a stylized font. However, a unique logo can imprint a very powerful ‘stamp’ on clients’ minds.
Make it simple
Just think of the logos of some of the world’s most renowned brands: McDonald’s, Target, Nike. They’re all simple and instantly identifiable with their parent companies. Given how much people are bombarded by images every day, it’s often those profound, simple motifs that make the biggest impact and are the easiest to recall.
Make it versatile
There are so many areas where you could place your logo. It’ll obviously be on your website, business cards and letterheads, of course, but it could also show up on branded stationery or clothing. If you decide to sponsor a major event any time soon, you will want to make sure that everyone remembers your logo.
…but don’t overthink it
With all of the above, it might seem that there’s so much to think about when designing a business logo. You don’t necessarily need to incite an overpowering emotion with your logo, and if the design is being revised 10 times or more, you might just be overthinking the process a bit.
0845 2993 923
Marketing consultant and founder of FindNetworkingEvents.com, Stuart Russell, shares the importance of networking as a marketing tool
Running your own therapy business doing the thing you love can be a great way to way to earn a living, but as with any business it still requires promotion to ensure a steady stream of customers. Unfortunately, for many of you this can be seen as a chore and is often neglected.
However, there is a way that marketing can be fun. Over the past few years more and more holistic therapists are discovering the benefits that attending regular face to face networking events can bring.
Why should I network? Many people have the perception that networking events are all about selling, but the truth is they also offer many less tangible benefits.
If you work on your own for much of the time, networking can provide a useful support network enabling you to bounce ideas off others or perhaps spark new ideas. It may open up collaboration possibilities or enable to you to meet a local designer who can produce you some leaflets.
Thinking creatively, why not offer taster sessions through a networking group? At a recent event I attended, a local Tai Chi Teacher ran a short meditation session for the group. For many of the people present it was their first experience of meditation and their response was very positive.
Over time regular networking will lead to more and more people getting to know you and hopefully becoming clients or potentially referring you on to others.
What types of events are out there? Typically, most events take place at breakfast, lunchtime or early evening so you should be able find something that fits around your client base.
Formats of events vary widely. Some may involve giving a short pitch about your business, others just a meet up and a chat over coffee. It is worth trying out a few and finding out what you enjoy.
Generally organisers are getting more creative and coming up with new ideas for business events. As well as the traditional offerings, some recent events have involved trips to theme parks and boat trips on the Thames!
Have a Plan!
If you are tempted to dip your toe into the networking world then it is important to do some planning beforehand. Make sure you are clear about what you want to achieve from your networking. There are obviously financial and time implications involved so it is important to know how much it is costing you and what kind of return you are getting.
Tips for Attending Events:
- Always remember to present yourself and your business in a positive manner and make sure you know how to talk about what you do in an easily understood way.
- It is worth spending a bit extra on good quality, well-designed business cards. Add your social-networking details as well as your main contact details.
- It is important that you follow up with people once you get back home. If there is someone you hit it off with at an event then drop those people a quick email or connect on LinkedIn.
Finally… The important thing to realise about networking, is that it is all about building relationships with people over the long term, don’t expect results over night. And remember, networking should be fun, so get out there and enjoy it!
Bowen Technique practitioner Mary Macfarlane, who works in and around Edinburgh, shares her networking experience:
“Networking has become the main stay of my business and I go to a meeting every two weeks or so. I have connected with some wonderful people who have supported me during the embryonic stage of developing my client list and business. It’s not all about getting new clients though and it’s vitally important to remember that it’s also about building relationships with people, developing trust. It’s a great way to meet people who inspire and motivate you; it’s about gaining confidence in yourself to run a business, learning from more experienced people you can use as role models, get advice from or discuss new ideas with.”
So we have chosen five free business apps on a previous blog, and now it’s time to share five free apps for a balanced, healthy lifestyle. So here they are:
- Kindle: This means you can download Kindle books on any device and read your fav books, or even business books. The Kindle app is optimized for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, giving users the ability to read Kindle books, newspapers, magazines, textbooks and PDFs on a beautiful, easy-to-use interface. You’ll have access to over 1,000,000* books in the Kindle Store plus hundreds* of newspapers and magazines.
- Daily Yoga Quotes: Yoga is a powerful natural state that can inspire you in many ways. YogaQuote is a simple app for yoga enthusiasts who also like inspirational quotes. It is filled with quotes and beautiful background images that are presented one day at a time. Perhaps one line or even just one word can awaken your insights and deepen your yoga practice.
- Health tip of the Day: An app that helps you to maintain your healthy lifestyle.
- Raw Food Diet: Raw Food Diet Free provides healthy raw food recipes to help you detox and live a healthier, more organic life.
- Holistic Skin Care: Ageless Skin Oil & Salves are made with unrefined oils and organic herbs. All of our products are made with Hemp Oil. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the herbal constituent of hemp that protects & nourishes skin and cells. The products are designed to rejuvenate, balance, soothe and nourish the skin in a natural and wholesome way… So enjoy more from the Holistic application.
So get Appy, with these applications that are sure to make you Happy.
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