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I have fond memories as a child going shopping with my parents - before the days of supermarkets we used to get most of our food from our local shop but once a week we made the journey to visit the delights of the greengrocers, butchers, fishmongers, and more in the small market town of Blandford Forum.

I can remember the first time I went to a supermarket - it was called Normans and while it was amazing to have everything in one place (and huge great big boxes of quavers crisps, which I remembered being particularly excited about!) it was pretty much the last time we ever went to any of the local shops for our regular food shopping.  Quite quickly more supermarkets started to spring up closer to home - Safeway, Co-op, and the big bad Tesco - and this is in a pretty rural part of Dorset!

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I've just come back from the New Anglia LEP's 'Next Generation Conference' at Wherstead Park. There was a good turnout (about 350 people) but once again, the question was asked, "Where were all the businesses?"

At the last NALEP conference I went to, I asked Andy Wood what he was doing to engage with smaller businesses and since then I have had a number of conversations with him. Frankly, I have a lot of sympathy for him. I know that this conference was well publicised. The content promised to be good and they more than delivered on their promises. There were some inspiring speakers and some very good exhibition stands offering loads of help for SME businesses, often with funding attached.

This time, I will not ask Andy what the LEP is doing to engage with SMEs. I'm asking SMEs, "What are you doing to engage with your Local Enterprise Partnership?" What do they have to do to attract you?

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Q: Firstly is networking selling? People do business with people they know, (seven touches) therefore it’s important to get a network of contacts, customers’ and prospects who know what exactly it is you do.

In Summary: • Before you sell anything you have to sell yourself • Secondly - people really need to know what it is you actually do

Your Objective is to

a) Establish what you want from your networking – and how you can make it happen

b) Devise a strategy for your networking – you do need a strategy

c) Understand more about your business so that you can put it across in a way that people understand – without ‘pitching’ to others which will help you to:-

d) Develop your networking confidence and success to grow your business – more sales!

 

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We lost a large cedar tree in the storms last month. When I say lost, I don’t really mean it. I knew exactly where it was – it was lying across my lawn having demolished a large section of my garden wall!

A friend very kindly cut the tree up with his chainsaw leaving me the task of splitting the logs. We won’t be needing any firewood next winter!

Whenever I do jobs like that I find myself looking for business analogies. So, what did I come up with this time?

Planning – If you are going to do a job properly, it really helps to plan well in advance. You need to prepare your workspace, ensure you have the right tools to hand and the right resources available to help you complete the task efficiently.

Sharpen your axe – Making sure your axe is sharpened makes the whole job a lot easier. The same applies in business. Your job becomes a lot easier if you keep yourself and your team well trained.

Use the right tools – Half the battle is having the right tools to do the job. In the same way, you need to have the right tools to run your business. And those tools need to be up to date if you want to be competitive – you don’t want to be on an analogue dial-up connection when everyone else is on superfast broadband!

Confidence and practice – Everything becomes so much easier and more effective when you approach the task with confidence; and confidence come from practise. There is nothing more satisfying than splitting a log with a single well aimed blow of the axe!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Logs.jpgI’m off for a long soak in the bath to sooth my aching back!

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CryptolockerLR-300x232Each month we blog about IT issues with many a jovial tale sadly this month’s blog  couldn’t be more serious so please do take heed:

Here at React Computer Partnership are seeing a lot of a virus attacks called Cryptolocker it’s probably the worst we have seen for a good while. Cryptolocker basically encrypts your data and gives you a message saying you have something like 70 or 100 hours after which we will destroy the key and your data will be useless.

And it’s serious.  Once your PC is infected you have two options; remove the virus and go back to a good backup, or pay the money.

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