Yes, technically, it’s the ‘show’ that must go on, not the snow, so we had the best of both worlds: snow and a show!

 This month’s Bournemouth Blizzard Breakfast featured Steve Bieniek on transaction fees, Liz Gordon on marketing, Lex McKee on the power of sharing posts (and not poking), Graham Down on the best time to turnaround a business, Trisha Lewis on Explory Story and improvisation, and Sam Dyer on the forthcoming Business eXpo Now at AFC Bournemouth.

Stop illegal surcharges!

Steve Bieniek, Business Development Manager for Payment Sense, highlighted Payment Service Directive II – he says it’s a vast improvement on Payment Service Directive I! 

 This came into play as of 13th January, making it illegal to charge consumers (not businesses) card surcharges as processing fees.  Just to echo that point, this is Consumer Rights Legislation, and doesn’t affect business-to-business transactions.

 Setting minimum card amounts is still legal – though there is a risk that customers will take their business elsewhere.

 Process fees for merchants are usually between 0.3 to 0.4%, so businesses will find other ways to recoup this expense.  There’s an authorisation fee as well which means that on a £10 transaction, the cost to the merchant can be 7 to 9p for a Debit Card, 11-17p for a Credit Card (and 20-30p for a Business Credit Card.)

 If you are charged a card processing fee, that fee is legally refundable – though enforcement, via Trading Standards, may be patchy.

There are no free lunches, but there are free marketing workshops

Liz Gordon, from The Marketing Menu, which is a love-child of The Boardroom Network!  (Liz, of Brilliant Fish PR and Marketing, and Nicky Matthews, of Media Box Marketing, met at TBN!  Who knows what new business partners YOU could meet over breakfast?) 

 The Marketing Menu deliver fortnightly free podcasts, online training materials, and all jargon-free – explaining marketing as simple as possible.  Liz contrasted this with the over-promise/under-deliver offerings available from so many ‘gurus’ on the Net.

 The exciting news is that their “Cut Through the Marketing BS Workshop,” is being offered to TBN members, free of charge, after the next meeting on 5th April.  In just 90-minutes,  Liz and Nicky will be covering 9 steps that will lead to more successful marketing activity, plus the 1 big marketing mistake you should avoid; they will show you how your customer ticks, and give away a free identikit!  Nice!

Like, Tag, Comment, and Share

Lex (he who is writing this blog) invited all members to take our relationships to the next level – at least online!  I declared how clicking on ‘share’ and adding a comment to that share is the most powerful, free, and organic way to make sure members’ posts reach the widest possible audience – especially on Facebook.  Clicking on ‘like’ makes us feel good, but the power and the profit is in shares!

Happy St David’s Day and the first day of meteorological Spring

Graham Down, beginning in Welsh, wished us a happy St David’s Day and poignantly drew attention to the 1st March being the first day of meteorological Spring.  He exhorted us to spring into action early if we ever get into significant debt – both in business and personally.  Drawing our attention to the plight of Toys R Us, Graham knows that any size of business can get into trouble.  Equally so, any size of business can experience a turnaround if they take action soon enough, and if they get the right kind of professional advice!

 Graham, and his colleague Anthony Ford, provide a free one-to-one meeting for members of TBN who are concerned about their business performance.  I sat down with Anthony, a couple of weeks ago, to discuss how I might boost my own business, and it was one of the most positive and productive business interventions I’ve ever experienced.  I walked away with clarity, focus, and an action plan!  Hey, he even bought me a coffee!

So, take up Graham on his offer, and act sooner rather than later to ramp up your business to the next level.

 Graham concluded with quotes from St David and from Napoleon Hill.  St David’s last words were, “Do the little things!”  And as Napoleon Hill put it, “If you don’t do great things, at least do the small things in a great way!”

If there’s a story it’s worth explory!

Trisha Lewis, in true dramatic fashion, highlighted the opportunity to join her and Neil Humphrey in their new, joint-venture: Explory Story.  I’ve attended the first of Trisha and Neil’s improv events at The Shelley Theatre, and have enjoyed the gentle s-t-r-e-t-c-h out of my communication comfort zone.

 If you’re ready to communicate in new and exciting ways, talk to Trisha or Neil about what’s coming next!

Business eXpo Now

Finally, Sam Dyer assured our group that my exhortation was to share posts and not to poke one another!  Sam and TBN are collaborating on the Business eXpo Now event on 3rd May at AFC Bournemouth.  We’ll have our TBN Breakfast and then have ample opportunity to enjoy the exposition (at special TBN member rates).  If you’d like to exhibit, talk to Sam.

Fashion Statement

A person highpoint for me was the sight of our MC, Jay Rachet, modelling his bobble-hat to ward off the cold.  And, yes, I took a video of him in it – which you can see on our Facebook page.  Jay, you’re awesome!

 Our next Bournemouth event is 5th April at the Hallmark again (and followed by Liz and Nicky’s 90 minute free marketing workshop).  The next Solent meeting is 16th March at the Solent Hotel and Spa, AND please put the launch of TBN Solstice in your diary for 26th April!