Sometimes I think that I could spend my entire day listening to free webinars, reading free downloads and reports and not actually getting on with developing my business! There is a wealth of free advice and tips out there. It is just a question of what you are interested in and how much time you have. Much of the material focuses on social media, however, here are my three top ones for this week.
- blog.hubspot.com/…/Free-eBook-How-to-Use–Facebook-for-Business.aspx . Hubspot – great tool and a free download report on How to use facebook for business.
- www.mindtools.com. Free advice and an e-newsletter on all manner of management tools – decision-making, planning, communication skills, leadership skills etc.
- www.viacharacter.org. A free assessment tool identifying your top character strengths.
Obviously all of them offer further material and tools for purchase but the basic information is interesting.
On Monday I travelled down to London for a meeting with Synogis. A rapidly growing consultancy network of approx 130 independent consultants. They meet regularly and the main purpose is to offer organisations an experienced high-calibre consultancy team delivering a wide range of services. The membership fee is £25 per month and the format appears fairly collaborative. Appears to be one of the better ones around. www.synogis.com
I also joined Skillfair. An online consultancy project brokering web-site. Membership £144 plus VAT for full access. Plenty of projects available and a number of consultancies asking for associates. Again some appear to be there for the marketing opportunity by “searching” for consultants to deliver their licenced approach “after attending their intensive 4 day training course at £…….” etc. www.skillfair.co.uk
On Friday I attended a business breakfast meeting of Colchester Connected. This was extremely well-attended. Perhaps because there is no joining fee and only a £15 charge for the full breakfast? Quite informal networking with a small number of business introductory presentations post-breakfast. They are held every month and I will certainly attend again. They also have a regular magazine. www.colchesterconnected.co.uk
Now, on to the lowlights of my week. I was contacted by a company called Scemes. They found me via Google and my web-site. The proposal was to pay £200 to be included in their select register of consultants for my region. They advertise as the “procurement service for the education sector” and say that all the schools, universities etc use them to find services, including coaching and mentoring. Their web-site looks professional. I sent an email to two people on their register to ask for their experience. Both came back with negative feedback. When I relayed this to the Scemes representative, she showed no interest in finding out more, merely asking me did I not want to try it out for myself. I said I’d rather not and she hung up! My learning? The value of contacting existing members of a network/service for their opinions before parting with money!.
Recommended Reading this week: The New Leaders, Transforming the art of leadership into the science of results” by Daniel Goleman. Goleman wrote Emotional Intelligence and looks at these competencies for leaders and organisations. The concept of adapting leadership style relative to the context, business and employee characteristics is powerful and an important message that “one style fits all” is not necessarily a succesful formula.
Our hallway ceiling came down this week. Another result from our less-than-beloved tenants care of our home whilst we were in The Hague. We knew that they had frequently flooded the bathroom. Indeed our bath has been propped up on the landing for a few weeks whilst James has been relaying the floor. (Let me put minds at rest – yes we have another bathroom!). So, James’ solution for the interesting view of our lath & plaster decor? Well, we are going for planning permission and will be restyling the hallway later anyway. Hmmmm. We haven’t even put in for planning permission yet……!! Watch this space for an update – or perhaps watch the garden for signs of a single tent for husband’s new abode!