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The value of a networking event

For many, the thought of a networking event fills them with dread (or indifference)… could that be you?  Quite frankly it has, at times, been us!  But learning from – and helping – other businesses is important to us, so last Thursday we joined many Basingstoke based organisations at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce’s networking event, Basingstoke Business Matters.

The Learning Bit…

After a welcome talk by Gary Livingstone, Spencer Gallagher of Cact.us inspired us with his story about making it all the way from ‘the bottom’ to a hugely successful business owner over the past 20 years.

 

Our 2 big take-aways…

1. Mindset and culture are vital to success. Spencer is passionate about the growth mindset – you are in control of your own ability and how you can continue to learn and improve. Here at Juicy we love honing our skills and learning new ones to keep on being the best at what we do!

Creating a great culture is also fundamental for any business. If you value and invest in your staff, they’ll work hard for you! They spend a lot of their time in the office, so making sure employees are happy and empowered at work helps increase productivity and staff retention. Our Juicy people get ongoing training, the latest software and equipment, flexibility when they need it, a great outdoor space for lunch in the sun, fizz and cake on their birthdays and a fab Christmas party, amongst other things! It’s why we love working here and go the extra mile to make sure Juicy is proud of everything we do.

2. Paying it forward makes a difference. The next generation are starting their own businesses now, and it’s not easy. Spencer highlighted the importance of sharing your knowledge to help others, as more than likely you were in the same position once upon a time. At Juicy, one of the ways we pay it forward is by supporting local start-ups alongside the Basingstoke #GetLaunched

The panel discussion…

There was loads of feedback on how good Basingstoke can be as a place for business, and we agree.  But there is still room for improvement, which the panel highlighted as education, office space and community areas.

Perhaps the most contentious topic was recruiting home-grown talent from the millennial and Gen-Z generations. Things really heated up as two very contrasting opinions were aired… one was a sweeping statement that young people aren’t enthusiastic, aren’t ambitious and don’t care about work. Yes, really! There were gasps from the audience and many heads shaking; we were quietly raging in the back corner. ‘Writing off’ whole generations with a sweeping generalisation is no way to inspire them and secure a future for your business.

Fortunately, like us, the rest of the panel (and the floor) DO believe in the younger generation. They are enthusiastic, they are ambitious, and they do strive for success! Building a business which offers potential for progress, provides great training and gives the right support – as well as the fun stuff – is vital for attracting and retaining great millennial and Gen-Z talent.

The general consensus was that improving Basingstoke for young people and giving them better leisure facilities will help to keep the talent here, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed there is change over the next few years.

The Helping Bit!

A key aspect of these particular networking events is the 1-2-1 Advice Clinic.  We set up our own small, but very lovely area – complete with our snazzy new banners! – ready to share buckets of knowledge with 1-2-1 attendees.  We loved chatting with all the small businesses who dropped by.  Our ‘thing’ was to pinpoint their main challenges quickly, so that, even in such a short time, we could share some simple tips to really get their marketing going.

Our top suggestions:

1. BLOG! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again (and again, and again)… blogging is one of the best things you can do to make your website more discoverable. The more content you have on your site, the more likely search engines are to find you. Simple as that!

2. The 5 Rs… reuse, repurpose, recycle, rinse and repeat. When you’ve created one great piece of content, use it for other formats. A blog post can become a video, a podcast, a social story, an eShot, etc. Use it absolutely everywhere and then repeat the process! And don’t forget to reuse and repurpose old content too. Discover how right here.

3. Know where your audience are. If you want to reach your audience, you need to know where they are, what platforms they’re using and what form of media they like. Be it millennials on social media, or marketing managers via direct mail. Knowing where they are is essential to reaching them effectively.

 

 

So there you go, even if you didn’t make it along to our advice clinic, you’ve got our 3 top tips from the day!

If you’d like to know more or want some help with your own marketing challenges, do get in touch with our team of experts.

Thanks for having us, Basingstoke Business Matters! We hope next year is an even bigger success.

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