It’s time to celebrate our 5th birthday.

It’s time to celebrate our 5th birthday

5th birthday

5 years ago today I founded Wightbuzz - unable to find the right networking group when I started amy new business as I emerged from a long dark tunnel, I set up my own. Times were hard and life stressful but undaunted I grew my network- 5 years on I have helped well over 200 businesses to make good connections earning the title The Connection Queen along the way. They also called me Mummy Buzz as I nurtured new businesses as I buzzed around .

me with banner and atn small banner

 

Members have come and gone as their needs changed. Many have remained.The successes are many -Graham Reading Photography  has made many connections but one of the best was for the Mardi Gras. I was to be a VIP guest at the lunch before the Mardi Gras (I’m Chair of the Ryde Business association) and I was in front of my computer during the morning. I spotted a cry for help – The allotted photographer was unable to cover the event and there was an appeal opn social media. I knew Graham was covering the round the Island Yacht race from a boat in the solent but I contacted him to see if he could help. He thought he could but wasn’t sure he would be there right at the start. I put him in contact with the New Carnival Company and they engaged him. Things turned a little hairy as Graham was still in Cowes (having to negotiate very heavy traffic as the MArdi Gras started from the top of Ryde ) All was not lost as I kept him up to date with what was happening and he managed to come round a different way so he didn’t get stuck behind the procession. He managed to catch up with the parade and get pictures of the whole parade .Our service was much appreciated.

Another success story that has appreciated our networking is Neil Southwell of Oasis said  “And without you, I wouldn’t be working for Wightlink and Bestival.” What a lovely testimonial that was at our Let’s Leverage conference –

In 2014, my son Tristan (who lives in Australia), suggested we join forces with my networking skills and his social media skills and we have now become a global brand Allthingsnetworking.com – we are able to offer 24/7 support to our members – so today it is time to celebrate and its double celebrations as I have been shortlisted in the Venus awards. – influential woman category. I have just been to face the camera –

face the camera

making a one minute recording to support my entry (and I thank the 4 people who nominated me) Now it’s on to a public vote in January.

 

So here is to the next 5 years as we build our brand globally – helping businesses to grow and prosper – leading them through the social media minefield and helping them master all the latest platforms – Currently we are embracing livestreaming such as periscope and blab and now we are working on snapchat.

why not check us out on facebook and twitter ?

 

 

Networking doesn’t have to be serious.

Day 4 – 30 day blogging challenge

I have been to many networking groups in my time, and I have to say that some of them have been pretty stiff and starchy. Until recently , I was known as the Networking Guru of the Isle of Wight but more recently , Veronica Pullen, The Social Marketing  Queen also living on the Isle of Wight – gave me the more attractive title of the Connection Queen.

Now anyone who knows me, knows that I like to have fun – a day without laughter is a day wasted.

costa coffee and ohoto frame

 

Many will also know me as one half of the Giggly Grannies and together we put the fun into fundraising. Well just like life, networking doesn’t have to be serious.

Tonight, I have had another very successful Wightbuzz, networking meeting and it was anything but serious. There was some of the regular crowd and also, along came Paul as a visitor and potential member. I do encourage folk to try before they buy, to make sure we are the right fit. Paul is the Rodfather. He rods drains, unblocks toilets etc! If only I had known him on Boxing day!!! My mum had a houseful and we had an unfortuate blockage. Little did I know the rodfather comes out on bank holidays – didnt even know him – only actualy got chatting last night on facebook.

Well true to form, my lovely members made Paul feel at home immediately. The fun and banter started almost immediately – when I got his business name wrong and called him the Codfather by mistake (we have a local fish and chip shop that go by this name – and the old brain does get overloaded from time to time as Brian or is it George recently found out!! Brian and Sandy recently joined and have still stayed even though  for some reason I called him George!!! I’ll just put it down to being a poor old pensioner!! Well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. But I digress – and so back to tonight. The whole evening continued with lots of laughs and a great time was had by all. I am aware that my networking group wouldn’t suit everyone but we have certainly proved that networking doesn’t have to be serious.

It was such fun I decided to make a video to share.

Do you like to have fun networking?

Can you afford not to?

30 day blog challenge post 3. Can you afford not to?

I have run a low cost networking group Wightbuzz for businesses on the Isle of Wight for 4 years.

SAMSUNG Now in its fifth year, I have linked with my son and his graduate friends to add to the local brand. We have created Allthingsnetworking.com to take our brand to a global level. As we start expanding, I have been reflecting on the past. I have been very mindful of making sure my group was affordable. Some people pay a years money up front without batting an eyelid. Others haven’t joined because they say they can’t afford it. I find this very interesting. Many of those who say they can’t afford it will happily  have coffee in local coffee shops that are part of national chains

 

Frog and snake in CostaThey think nothing of paying £3 per cup and some of them will do this several times a week – I know I have seen them (social media reveals much) I wonder why then, do they not see the value of business mentoring, networking sessions, one to ones, social media training, ferry discounts, loan of business books, plus much more as excellent value at £12.50 per month? The equivalent of just over 4 coffees a month.  It is clearly down to mindset. If they are running a business what about a marketing budget? I’m hard pushed to think of any other marketing they could get for this price (and they get me too!!) It is all about return on investment. Surely, if they gave it careful thought, they would realise that if they invested in putting in time to interact with members either in our online group or in person at meetings, took advantage of the business book loan system, or the ferry discounts etc. they couldn’t fail to benefit their business. I think I will add to my video trainings with a video about mindset.

I have to admit that recently, I was almost guilty of this (as I was in my early business days) There was a black tie, business to business event, recently with quite a high ticket price. I decided I couldn’t afford to go but after a little more careful thought, I realised I couldn’t afford NOT to go. I run a business networking group! All the attendees were connected to/ran local businesses – sheer madness not to be there. One of my members was also on the short list for an award so it was important to offer support. That was it, my mind was made up. I purchased my ticket (after a slight panic when the system told me no tickets left!! – I emailed to go on the reserve list and was rung next day – system was not correct  –  phewie!!)

I am so glad I went. My son, who works with me now (albeit from the other side of the world) asked me to trial an app which would actually put our skills in front of the attendees via the displayed twitter feed . We dominated the feed all night and it was noticed.  Result!

Suffice it to say, I am now in follow up conversations with several people who I met that night. There is much interest in Wightbuzz and our social media skills. The results will generate far more than the ticket price. I’ll make sure they do. So what do you think? Can you afford not to?

It’s a hard life!

Well, when I decided that 2015 was going to be an awesome year, I really meant it and what a start to the new year. My Wightbuzz members recently helped me celebrate  our 4th birthday with an evening full of networking and cake!! (and a lovely buffet supplied by Janine of Missy J Cafe- who kindly hosted our party too.) Photo by Wightbuzz member Graham Reading of Graham Reading Photography

4th Birthday

There was more than our birthday to celebrate. Not only had I successfully survived 4 years of networking within my own group Wightbuzz, but I was also celebrating the expansion of the business to become a global network - Allthingsnetworking.com. My son, Tristan,  wanted to help me move the business on and what an exciting time we have ahead of us as we maintain and grow Wightbuzz on the Isle of Wight but take the online networking onto a global level. Together with the expertise of 4 other graduates the scene is set for exciting times ahead.

Last night, I decided to arrange a rather impromptu meet up again in Missy J Cafe this morning. This year, on our list of things to do is lots of video marketing for the group and for the members. What better way to start than include a round up of the brilliant networking day I had with some of my members – making more connections as The Connection Queen (the name given to me by Veronica Pullen – Social Media Queen who also lives on this Royal Island ;) )

I am thrilled to see joint ventures and collaborations happening within Wightbuzz. It was a vision I had 4 years ago – to Connect lots of the Island businesses for the benefit of all – and finally – it is really starting to come together. I was taught to dream BIG by Roberta Jerram of Roberta Jerram Enterprises years ago when I joined Giant Potential. Very soon, there will be joint ventures on a national and international level. I love what I do and I love why I do it. It is such a hard life (NOT) I love that I have joined forces with my son. The dream is BIG – very BIG!!

 

Blog Post #4 It’s party night as we celebrate Wightbuzz’s 4th birthday

Blog Post #4 It’s party night as we celebrate Wightbuzz’s 4th birthdayHappy Birthday

I can’t believe we have already reached our 4th Wightbuzz birthday and what a way to celebrate – with the launch of our global brand Allthinksnetworking . It is a very exciting time for us and so I take a few minutes to reflect on why I started Wightbuzz and how it is making my dreams come true. – So a quick flashback in history to bring you up to speed.

I am a teacher by profession and spent 30 years nuturing little people and then slightly bigger people and helping them to achieve their potential. My first jobs were in the primary sector in the state system until my first born,  Toby arrived on 24th November 1975. I spent 18 happy months at home being mum. I decided I wanted to work but didnt want to put my son in care so what better than open a nursery school and take him to “work” with me. Perfect! Baby number 2 , Natasha, very obliging arrived on 24th March 1978, (19 days late and very conveniently made it to the Easter holidays and was born on good Friday and mum and baby were back at “work” 2 weeks later – perfect!) baby number 3, Tristan was born on 15th October 1981 (would love him to have been late and arrived on 24th – do you see a pattern here? – and it would have been half term too) but as Natasha was 19 days late and a 10lb plus baby, they were taking no chances. And here they are now taken at a recent family gathering.

my gorgeous three

Well 21 years later, I began to lose the will to live as the council and government were changing my role.Had I wanted to be  secretary – that is the path I would have chosen!!!

I continued in teaching for another 7 years but along the way I had become a book seller by chance so when teaching had lost all of its appeal, I decided that full time book selling was my preferred option. I had a home based business with a children’s book publisher and I had enormous fun travelling the country in my van laden with beautiful books (I could write my own book about that too!) I won awards and had a lot of fun.

Party Plan Shining star awards

I joined a local referral  network group where I became the top referrer connecting people and introducing thousands of pounds worth of business to the group. Eventually I decided to walk away from the book company as they moved the goal posts and I wasn’t prepared to have my business compromised. Therefore I had to leave the networking group as I no longer had a business for which I needed referrals. .I then decided to take the #ecofriendly route and joined #wikaniko. I needed to find a network group so went back to the one I had been in before.  I went to visitors day, then to two trial days before filling out the application form. I got a call -The conversation went like this!  We are NOT accepting your application. Do you mind telling me why? Oh no I can’t tell you why.

Well when you are a networking guru (as the county press called me – ) or a connection queen (as Veronica Pullen so nicely named me ) you tend to have a big network so I used the network to find out why and sure enough it gave me the answers. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say those who didn’t want me were doing a huge disservice to the group by denying them my skills. However, not to be deterred, I decided the only way was UP!! I opened up my own network group and Wightbuzz was born. Over the years I have helped very many businesses. People have come and gone and many have stayed. Sometimes, like most businesses , the ride was bumpy but we have arrived in a fantastic place as we celebrate birthday number 4.

When I started Wightbuzz, my facebook friends wanted me to bring the networking to the North Isle as we, who live on the Isle of Wight, so lovingly call the mainland. I tried but clearly the time was not right. I continued to network as hard as I could across the Island connecting many people who continue to do business together whether they are still members or not. I had the vision of helping many people. The Island is quite deprived and unemployment is high. I wanted to see more people get into work through Wightbuzz and to help and serve the community too. My perserverance has paid off. I am starting to see some wonderful collborations between members. Members support members in times of crisis and are also there to shout from the hilltop when praise is due. I love my wightbuzz family. They are really doing me proud. When I won my mumpreneur award in 2010,

and the winner is

(when I was in a very dark and long tunnel) I came back to the Island , proudly displayed it on my cabinet and determined to make good for the Island. Tonight I will be celebrating with those who have helped to achieve so much of this. Recently, my son, Tristan, who has also been through a long and very dark tunnel, suggested we join forces. He graduated from Bournemouth University last year and now lives in Sydney. No problem there though as with modern technology we can shrink the world and in fact we talk more now than when he was in Bournemouth. What he and his graduate friends don’t know about social media simply isn’t worth knowing. So together with them and my other son Toby, of Cubic Mushroom we have set up AllthingsNetworking – our global brand. Wightbuzz stays as it is unique to the Island but all my members will also benefit from being members of Allthingsnetworking. ATN will  allow us to go national and global .as we network across the world. We will be able to deliver networking skills and business mentoring and training online. What a journey it has been but I can truly say tonight I will really celebrate as we start that fantastic new journey beyond the Island. I do hope many of you will join us as we start that journey. Pop over and sign up for our newsletter and see what we are doing. We do hope many of you will join us if you like what we are delivering. Yes it has been a bumpy ride and I am sure there might be the odd hiccup but the future is looking very bright. What is this thing called retirement. It certainly isn’t for me. I’m having way too much fun and meeting so many lovely people and now I’m even learning to blog!!!!

Susan and Lyn at the B2B expo

 

 

Wightbuzz does Cowes Week

Wightbuzz does Cowes week

Wightbuzz does Cowes week

When the opportunity presented itself, for me to represent my Wightbuzz members at Cowes Week, it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. So here is my report on Wightbuzz does Cowes week.

I saw this as such a fantastic opportunity and offered it to my members for just £10 each. It was a no brainier really. Which members could refuse the option of such a fantastic baron – the chance for their businesses to be represented to a massive crowd for such a small fee. There was, not surprisingly, a high take up and all members had to do was to get their literature or goodie bag items to me in time for the set up. The goodie bags has been supplied by Beta pak and I was lucky enough to have wifi sponsored by Wightfibre. This meant I was able to promote the sponsors and members all week on social media live from the sea front! Members dropped in to see me and pictures were taken. It was a long and tiring but fun week. It was made so much easier when Chris Cardy of Staddlestones garage offered me the Nissan Leaf, ( an electric car ) for the week. Having no vehicle at the moment, this proved to be a godsend. Not only did  I drive it, but as the networking guru, I also heavily promoted it and have raised a lot of interest in the Nissan leaf, a perfect car for driving in the Isle of Wight.

The week was very successful. We have many potential new Wightbuzz members as well as many members of the public who would like to receive a Wightbuzz customer newsletter. It was tiring but fun land Soo worthwhile. I’m grateful for all support but especially to pin cola Broadsmith , Charlotte Smith and Debbie Frost for helping me man the stand and to Sean of A1 garage doors who helped me break down the stand at the end of a very tiring but productive week.

Wightbuzz- affordable networking for the Isle of Wight and beyond.

I never really set out to run a network group. Often things that I do are never part of an original plan but when an opportunity presents itself, I grab it with both hands.  I used to belong to a network group on the Isle of Wight when I was running a previous children’s book business. As far as I am concerned, and many will agree with me, networking is key! Word of mouth is the best way of getting business. In this network group, I was the top referrer for months. Recommending other business people to each other is one of my strengths. I always have seen how easy it is to connect people and have always done so whether or not it has been of financial benefit to me. It is just what I do and the way I operate. Unfortunately, when the company I represented moved the goal posts and I gave up that book business, I had to leave the network group. After all, I had no business so there was little point. A short while later, when I had set up my eco-friendly business, I applied to rejoin thinking it was merely a formality. Never assume anything!! My application was turned down and when I asked why, the powers that be would not give me a reason! I have since found out why! I  (The beauty of having many friends on the Island!) I was regarded as unsuccessful. Hmmmmm depends how you measure success doesn’t it? Clearly in their world it meant the value of your bank balance. In my world it is very different!!! In my world it is how you relate to others and help them that is important. As the winner of two national awards and a finalist in a third, I don’t regard myself as unsuccessful. I mentor, help and inspire others to improve their lives as I indeed was helped and inspired by others.I run several home based business now and through my Primary Stars business , Phoenix Cards, Wikaniko (eco friendly products), Barefoot Books businesses I have ample opportunities to recruit and train those who want to run their own businesses. If these are not to their liking, I have many contacts in the direct selling industry so can find opportunities that do fit the bill.  In financial term I have a  way to go to recover from the situation I was forced into (although that is happening faster than I anticipated!) but in terms of happiness – it is immeasurable! No amount of money can replace some my recent  experiences. I must say, it did seem very strange to refuse an application from the top referrer when the group is a referral group but hey ho that is their problem. Wightbuzz wouldn’t exist today if that hadn’t happened. I needed networking and if I was not allowed to join an existing group, the answer was to set up my own. This was not done out of spite but a necessity. This has become very successful. I am playing to my strengths and the group is going from strength to strength. Growth was steady over the first year but it is now set to grow rapidly. The need is becoming huge. With the abolition of the tourist information offices on an Island where tourism is the main industry, networking is the only way forward.  I am now starting to recruit Isle of Wight hoteliers and b & b owners and in turn they are spreading the word. Due to facebook and twitter and other forms of social media, the good works of Wightbuzz spread and thus Bizzness Buzz was born. There is so clearly a need for affordable networking and so BizznessBuzz Kent, Bizzness Buzz Staffordshire are lining up with Hampshire, Dorset, Worchestershire following close behind and other counties will be added soon. Of course anyone joining any of the groups will naturally be linked to the others. I think you will agree this is phenomenal value for just £30 annual membership. I think that being refused entry to the other network group was actually a godsend. Not only has it saved me money but it has helped so many others. Isn’t it funny how things often work out for the best? Not only have I saved financially, I don’t have to get up early to attend a breakfast meeting when I could stay in bed longer and the benefit to others is growing on a daily basis. Am I enjoying life? That would have to be a resounding YES!

 

And I would like to share those moments of pride with you for being recognised as successsful!

and the finances – well that success is following but it has never been my main goal! Funny though, with personal success comes the financial success. You will read it in my book!!! Hmmm better get that started then and when you read my journey, you will read how ordinary people doing extraordinary things has influenced my life. You will also read about those who tried to crush me, only served to make me successful!! Funny old life isn’t it? And I am a great believer in Karma!! So my advice has to be “treat others as you would wish to be treated!” (or watch out for the consequences!!!)

Party Plan Shining Star Award

  When I was recently shortlisted as a finalist for the Party Plan Shining Star award I was thrilled. I had been a previous winner of awards and I knew what a difference it could make to my business. I had won previous awards with a company I represented for 7 years. When they moved the goal posts and I was totally devastated financially, the glamour of those awards seemed a long way away. Life took a downward turn and I found myself in a long dark tunnel through no fault of my own.   I had to move in with my parents due to my financial situation – not really something I wanted to do at 58! However, the upside was that I got to spend my dad’s last months with him and for that I am very thankful. I had no money but I had a roof over my head, food in my tummy and I was warm and I enjoyed an incredible amount of happy banter with my dad. During this time I started to rebuild my business – deciding that the best plan for me, was to spread my eggs into more than one basket. In fact I chose several party plan business opportunities. I became an ambassador for Barefoot Books, I am now a Primary Stars Advisor and a trader with Phoenix Trading. I also enjoy being a distributor for Wikaniko, marketing a range of eco friendly goods. Back in February 2010, I was criticised for choosing more than one business. I was told it was foolish. In my mind, given my previous circumstance, it would be foolish not to!! I wonder if my critique would have had the same conversation with Richard Branson. I do wonder about the sanity of the man that criticised me – especially as he stood to gain financially from me! He sponsored me into Barefoot books and guess what – I asked the company to move me to a new sponsor which they did! What a silly man! Not only did he tell me I was foolish but he went on to tell me my team members were being critical of me. I was told that they didn’t like my rants on facebook nor my happy banter! One thing I never do is rant on facebook. I do share happy banter and find that I attract people to my business as a result. Most people hate doom and gloom and a bit of fun tends to cheer them up and they constantly tell me so! I am not going to give up anytime soon. As for being an inefficient leader – I don’t think so. I have a long string of testimonials from team members – so if one or two had a problem well then they were right to leave me. I have been rewarded for the hard work I put in. The journey has been very long and very dark! I knew that one day I would emerge. I worked hard, perserverance and persistance were key! I never gave up believing in myself. Well I think I have proved a point now. In 2010 I was awarded the Mumpreneur Saleswoman of the Year

and in 2011 I was runner up in the Hampshire Winning Women Business Awards Networking category. On winning the Mumpreneur award, I used it for the good of the small businesses on the Isle of Wight were I live. Life is tough, very tough and I knew in order to survive, we needed to pull together. In the wake of the award, I set up Wightbuzz, an affordable networking group. It has gone from strength to strength and is expanding to the mainland as Bizzness Buzz. Winning the Party Plan Shining Star Award is thrilling. Although it is only just over a week since I won, I have set to work on another project for the good of the Island in the absence of our tourist board (The council closed them all to save money but maybe not their best idea yet given our main industry is tourism!!) I am working with my son who runs Cubic Mushroom and a new website will be online shortly. To say I am excited about my new project would be an understatement.  Am I proud to have won this Party Plan Shining Star award. I most certainly am. I am grateful to the Party Plan Guru for setting up the conference and awards and I am grateful to all the postive people I followed (shedding many negative ones enroute ) There are those who dared me to dream big along the way, Roberta Jerram  being one. She created the Giant Potential website for ladies who dare to dream big.( It is undergoing a revamp but you can connect at the facebook page  She certainly encouraged me to do that. My dreams are huge. Winning awards can really have a great impact on your business (and on your community). I urge you all  to enter next time.