Strategies for Strength

The TBN Online format is working well and is being well-received by existing members, new visitors, and returning friends.

Sam Dyer is doing a highly engaging and professional job of being the charming glue that holds each virtual event together, and we all know that it is frantically focused attention from Jacqui Frampton and Justin Wharmby – supported by Jamie Forster’s additional technical expertise – that is making it ‘look’ easy.  I can assure you, it isn’t!

This week’s event focused on strategies for strength.

  • Kay Harrington explained the power of overcoming beliefs that may limit our business and personal success
  • Ellen Stokes, interviewed by Sam, talked about the future of the Events Industry, and encouraged us with her flexibility
  • Aaron Whiffin shared sophisticated and bold strategies to keep the 7-strong team at Webbed Feet gainfully employed!

You Are In Charge of the Upgrade

Kay Harrington, Rapid Transformational Therapist and Hypnotherapist, expanded on our understanding of how our beliefs can limit our success.  In a particularly powerful metaphor, Kay suggested we were all covered in tags, labelled by other people’s assessment of our personality, performance, and potential.  If we believe what it says on the tag, we may never challenge these labels, and may also never discover our authentic potential.

In a really helpful move for my blogging, Kay was able to provide me with a transcript of her presentation, and since this is in her own words, I have previously published this as a separate blog here:

Kay Harrington TBN Online

The key take-out for me was Kay’s assertion that, whilst we may have been powerless to resist tagging and labelling during our formative years, we, as adults, are 100% in control and in charge of upgrading our beliefs, our mental programming, and thus our opportunities.

Quoting C S Lewis, she says,

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending”

Do read the whole transcript and watch the presentation by following the dedicated link.

Kay’s website can be found here: kayharringtontherapy.co.uk

Understanding Flexible Space Brings Fresh Opportunities for Be Exhibitions and Ellen Stokes

Sam Dyer’s interview with Ellen Stokes begins with her background in the Exhibitions and Events industry for the last 7 years – 3 years as an independent business.

The focus is on building exhibition stands and supplying space. This means all aspects from design through to manufacture, installation and removal at the end of each exhibition – an end-to-end service giving clients peace-of-mind and a trouble-free experience.  With Ellen’s support, her clients can get on with the important task of concentrating on getting new business.

The Impact on the Exhibitions and Events Industry of the current crisis

The ban on mass gatherings has stopped the former style of exhibitions and may well influence what happens in future. Social distancing will always be a challenge for live exhibitions and events. There may be some return to live exhibitions in September, albeit on a smaller scale. Like TBN, it is going to be essential to make people feel (and genuinely be) safe going to any event.

Events are about Marketing. Companies will still be coming up with new products and services that the Market needs to be made aware of.  Thus, Ellen is keeping her own brand alive – making her existing and future customers aware of opportunities both traditional and alternative.  The shift in time frames gives visionary businesses the opportunity to think strategically whilst, at the same time, strengthening the back-office systems that ensure that everything flows smoothly.  It’s very much about being ready for the return, to move quickly off the blocks.

Short-Term Opportunities may bloom into a permanent product offering

In the short-term, Ellen’s skills, resources and experience offer a way to accelerate a business’ return to productivity.  The beauty of being in Exhibitions is that Ellen knows all about making temporary spaces. This means that she is in a position to help organisations create temporary working spaces for their employees. From a new mini-site, Ellen emphasises how they can help with:

  • sanitising stations
  • acrylic barriers
  • workspace barriers
  • temporary walling
  • innovative desking…

Whether this remains as an additional offering going forward does rather depend on what happens next but it stands as an excellent example of adapting to the Market’s requirements.

Personal Resilience

In terms of personal resilience, Ellen cites ‘wine’ as a great strategy to deploy!  A positive and tenacious spirit help Ellen even through the odd down day.  She is not a quitter.

The quality of Ellen’s existing clients and their commitment to the future is a huge encouragement even when current projects have necessarily been deferred.  It’s a golden opportunity for keeping in touch with clients, building the trust and commitment that comes from strengthening relationships through good communication.  WhatsApp takes its place alongside picking up the phone, and, of course, email when it comes to keeping client-connections alive – staying in sight, in mind. (And I am certain we will see the failure of companies who went out-of-sight, out-of-mind in this season.)

“I don’t think anyone wants ‘sales’ at the moment,” is one key insight from Ellen.

It’s contact, not contracts!

Predicting the Future

Ellen predicts a slow start for the Industry returning to strength. Not, she hastens to add, from the providers of services and products, but rather of footfall.  The belief is that many people will have a fear of proximity. However, she says we shouldn’t underestimate the power of face-to-face interactions – the very thing many of us are missing so intensely.  The desire to get out of the office or the home office to see someone different will be a powerful motivator for action and inclusion in live events.

For future flexible space solutions and current answers to your workspace challenges, contact Ellen!

Discover more about Ellen here: https://beexhibitions.co.uk/about/

You can also check out Ellen’s Radio Show on Mixcloud https://bit.ly/TBNfmEllenStokes

Best (Webbed) Foot Forward

Our final TBN Online presentation was delivered by Aaron from Webbed Feet – a web agency with 7 team members.  They build new websites and take on third-party sites seeking to raise their game or solve issues that are holding back their growth.

Marketing Strategies

Aaron’s presentation was rich in marketing strategies to adapt to the Covid Crisis.  From the outset of the lockdown, Aaron told the team,

“We are not going to shut, we are going to stay open, we are going to fight, we are going to do everything we possibly can until the end.” “Other web agencies are going to close but it’s not going to be us… we are going to fight right to the very last minute.”

Those of us who know Aaron’s fighting spirit recognise how authentic and deliverable this intention was.  However, circumstances soon shifted in the favour of Aaron and Webbed Feet.  Furlough and Grant Schemes provided a safety-net if they needed to press ‘pause’ but the commitment remained to stay open.

First, The Newsletter

The first bold step was a newsletter that highlighted the opportunity Aaron’s clients had to deliver content.

Getting content from clients is one of the most common challenges facing any web agency.

The downtime that many of his clients were facing meant that now was the ideal time to get writing!  Whilst this led to a couple of clients, the important message was, “We are still open!”  As Aaron says,

“It’s almost impossible to keep making money if you’re not open!”

Within a short period, clients started being drawn towards Webbed Feet because their original agencies had either closed or furloughed key members of staff who had previously managed their account.  By not setting up a mechanism for getting back their existing customers, these competitors have been losing clients.

The Power of Urgency

The next layer of sophistication was with a few of Webbed Feet’s existing clients. They were sent the message that Webbed Feet were due to be furloughing team members who managed their project.  If there was work that needed doing urgently, now was the time to act.  That worked much better than imagined, with some clients giving them two-months’ worth of work.  Genius!

The furlough message can be a powerful catalyst if communicated appropriately.  Saying, genuinely, to clients that we may be having to furlough team members, but that we won’t if we have sufficient work coming in, was an additional catalyst for action.

Asking specifically for clients to get back to Webbed Feet quickly with answers to questions, and giving the agency content when needed has worked really well.  Some formerly ‘awkward’ clients have changed their behaviour and have become some of the best clients in terms of speed of response.

Bouncing Back

The Government Bounceback Loan Scheme has proven a powerful opportunity for people to invest in their future profitability by investing in a website.  Aaron shared how he had three enquiries this very week.  Investing the Bounceback Loan wisely can enable companies to hit the ground running on their return to business, thus getting ahead of the competition.  Other key shifts are where businesses are adapting their business model and their websites have to reflect the new direction.

For TBN members who have clients who want to take action but are saying that they haven’t got any money, encouraging them to apply for a Bounceback Loan means that they could be moving positively forward within a couple of days.

Transforming Company Value Through Training

What if the time comes when Webbed Feet run out of sufficient work to preclude furloughing staff?  Aaron sees this as a massively positive opportunity too in that it will give him the chance to get team members trained up in areas they’ve been seeking to explore for some time.  Upskilling furloughed members means added value to the company when these members eventually return, ready to add fresh capabilities to what Webbed Feet can offer the market.  This was already part of an existing training plan – but one that would have been far more expensive in terms of the opportunity-cost of time lost and the added expense of salaries during training.

Now, if they have to shut for a month, there’s a plan in place to increase the value of Webbed Feet ready for the return.  They’ll come back stronger, with a lot more skills, so that they can help a lot more people.

And Personally…

Personally, Aaron is getting time with the family as well as pressing on with his loft conversion, and teaching one of his children to ride a bike.  Proof that when opportunity knocks, Aaron and Webbed Feet leap in and make a splash!

TBN Online

If you’re new to TBN and want to experience the productive power of our online meetings, check out our new membership options for getting you plugged into a well-established network of professionals who can help you deliver your best results ever.

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Header Image Credit: Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash