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How Neil’s helping small business owners grow and guarantee it’ll work for you.

It’s a sad fact that many small businesses fail. At Thrive, we’re committed to doing all we can to help sole traders and entrepreneurs build an excellent network of connections and grow organically. But it’s not just potential client connections that count, we’re also lucky to have experts with a wealth of experience among our membership. In our Thrive Friday Breakfast group, Neil Foley – the founder of the Business Growth Club – is happy to share his insights after coaching hundreds of SME owners to success. Now he’s put his knowledge online and is reaching more people than ever before with a new website launched recently. Read more

Hypnotherapy a very cost-effective way to handle employee stress

Thrive Spotlight: Lorraine Grant, hypnotherapist .

Thrive is a network of professionals from all sorts of jobs but even in our eclectic group, a hypnotherapist is going to stand out. Lorraine tells us that she laughs at comparisons to Derren Brown and Paul McKenna, but that this powerful way of treating patients has been life-changing for her and her patients. Here Lorraine explains why she chose to retrain as a hypnotherapist and that she was born to do this important work.  Read more

Five top tips to keep your business finances working for you

Thrive members work in different sectors doing different roles, but one thing we all have in common is the need to be financially savvy. Luckily, at Thrive we have expert accountant Mark Johnstone from Argents to give us his insight into money matters. Here are Mark’s top five tips for keeping your business finances in check. Read more

Are you responsive? You should be!

We all know that if you want to succeed in the digital age you’ve got to have a website that showcases what you do. But looking good is only the start of the process. Norwich Thrive member Tracy Martin from it’s eeze websites says that it’s not just having the right content and images that’s important, being responsive is crucial too. Read more

Networking – don’t just turn up when you want something

The more successful networkers, the people who use networking to build their business, are very used to spotting the people who only turn up when they want something.  Most people hate selling and I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being sold to, just hearing someone’s hard pitch, their words often make me mentally switch off.  I think that hard selling is now old fashioned, we’re subconsciously aware of these selling methods and marketing has come round full circle, it’s about building relationships rather than about ‘selling to’ and for me I think that all hard selling does is hack potential clients and customers off and send them rapidly on their way to someone else who doesn’t do it. I like to buy, the way I want to buy, when I wish to buy.
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Will you be my friend?

With the summer holidays almost over and the children ready to go back to school, it’s time to turn our attention back to business.  The first day back at school children look to catch up with their old friends, share their holiday stories and look to make some new school friends.  Now we’re all grown-up is it the same for us?  How do we, as business people do this? The answer – network! Read more

Done right, networking builds trust, an important element for success in business

It’s my belief that the most successful people are the usually the best connected, this isn’t because they have the best contacts or are known more people but they instinctively know how to build develop and nurture their connections. Read more

Make your branding work for you – not against you!

Lee Turner, creative director at design agency The Creative Armoury gives us a quick masterclass on how to make your brand deliver the right results.

Prepare to stand out

“For any business, a strong identity should serve as an iconic shorthand, clearly conveying, with an appropriate level of gravitas your key point of difference in the marketplace,” says Lee. “Your logo and your brand expression should be a distillation of what your company stands for and why you are different. By channelling these values, you can begin to communicate in a truly relevant way.” Read more

Why strategic alliances will help your business boom

Beat the Brexit uncertainty – form your own strategic alliance!

The impact of Brexit has sent shockwaves through the business world, and it’s no wonder people are panicking about the uncertainty ahead. However, the most successful businesses are those who are resilient in the face of uncertainty and harness it to creative, innovative change within their enterprise. A shifting environment is nothing news, and plenty of us have navigated change in a positive way. The most crucial element of this is to look where opportunities are to develop and move forward. Read more

Success comes from building real relationships and having meaningful conversations

Conversation is an art and like any art some people are more practised in this than others but whatever your skills, this can be developed further through practice and have the art of meaningful conversation become a good habit.  Read more

Thrive Spotlight – Michael J Flynn, European Patent & Trademark Attorney

If you’ve had a bright idea that needs protecting, Michael Flynn is your man. A specialist in intellectual property, Michael helps creative types navigate the complicated process of safeguarding their ideas, and helps inventors and brands owners on the tricky journey to market. However, this niche area of law isn’t Michael’s only passion – he’s also got a vintage VW campervan hire company and has an impressive collection of guitars.  Read more

Thrive Spotlight – Sandra Flanagan, director of Maynard Training and Consulting

It was just last year that Sandra Flanagan left her role as deputy CEO of mental health charity Norwich MIND to set up her own consultancy. Her mission is to teach companies how taking care of their employees wellbeing has huge benefits to the business as a whole. It’s been a big leap of faith but Sandra is now working across the country with all kinds of different professionals. Here she tells us about striking out on her own, how Thrive keeps her sane and her passion for fashion. Read more

How do you meet with people who want you to succeed?

I am on a mission to get people thinking about networking differently. Why? Because many people totally write off networking as not for them, they see it as a pushy sales technique that they’d rather have no part in. This could be true of some networking, I often hear that I the phrase “I don’t need to network” or “I tried — once and hated the experience, it wasn’t for me”. Read more

Networking Tip: How to exit a conversation without being rude

Walk into any business networking event and there are usually two types of people you are most likely to meet, the first set, these are the people who are inspiring and stimulating, they leave you feeling upbeat, glad that you’ve encountered them and you look forward to having another conversation with them in the future. The other set, these people suck the energy from you, they monopolise the conversation, only talk about themselves and frankly you wished you had never met. It can be awkward moment knowing how to end the conversation and move on, but how can you make a graceful exit? Read more

A networking gaffe that weakens your reputation?

Have you heard this? “I don’t need to network”.  What you’re really saying is that you will never be in need of the help of others.  

Networking is just a fancy word for relationship building, in which business people and entrepreneurs meet, so what you’re basically saying that you are happy to live enclosed within the group you’ve created, you know all you need to know and have put up barriers to stop anyone else entering in. We rely on our networks to advise us and keep us on track, and we give back to our networks in return, the better your network the more knowledge you can tap into. Read more

Is growing a successful business a puzzle for you?

Growing a ‘thriving’ business requires you branching out to find new contacts, including partners to collaborate with, along with clients and customers to sell to. We all at times need a little help and guidance opening specific doors, with networking key to making this possible. Networking should not be sly and devious, treated as an unscrupulous strategy that takes advantage of others’ talents, rather, we should embrace networking as a creative skill of relationship-building and treat it as the precious resource which it is. Read more

Networking: my not-so-secret weapon

Before I started my own business, the very thought of networking made me pull a face – and it was not a pretty one. This face was the result of hearing one too many corporate presentations and spending agonising hours having strained small talk over a prawn vol-au-vent. These experiences were the very opposite of inspiring.  Read more

Missing Networking Ingredient: Are you sharing with your network what you need?

Building a tight-knit network helps get you and your products or services get noticed by the right people in the right place, but keeping your network informed is just as important as having great people in that network, if not more important.  Read more

How to turn your social chit chat into business chat.

Socialising is all part of networking, but networking is more extensive than this.  The purpose of networking is to create connections between different people with different needs, so how do you turn the socialising and get to the point of having a deeper conversation with someone in the first place?  Networking is a skill, like any others, which means that it needs to be practiced on a regular basis.     Read more

How to business network to a higher quality and our Thrive tips for building a seriously tight network

Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about our network, it’s just something we do, this is the same with those you are networking with. What are they thinking about? Most likely it’s not you.  Read more

A great place to make surprising and lasting connections

Being a member of Thrive has opened up several business opportunities and helped me to expand my network of professional contacts, many of whom have become friends. I’ve been impressed by how several aspects of Thrive has helped change and shape my business.

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Tours tastings and talks, not just your Grandad’s beer.

Last year Cheryl Cade gave up her day job to embark on a business built around her true passion – beer! Now she and her husband Mark run The Thirst Consultants, a company committed to celebrating beer and elevating its reputation. Here Cheryl tells us about turning her hobby into a living, and how networking is key to making her business a success! Read more

Networking know how: What’s your networking strategy?

There are plenty of people who turn up to networking events believing that their very presence will unlock doors and help them build important connections. At Thrive, we passionately believe that face-to-face connections are vital and that forging personal relationships at networking events is the key to building a strong business network. But simply arriving and shaking hands is not enough to make networking work most effectively for you – you need that all-important strategy. Read more

Networking: an apprentice’s view

It turns out there is more to life than the school bubble I’ve sat in for the last 13 years. Whilst some of what I learnt at school has turned out to be useful after nearly 4 months into my first full time job I’ve learnt a lot, too much to write in one go. What I’ve learnt about the most is networking. Like most people my age I had only really heard the word ‘networking’ if it had been preceded by the word ‘social’, I already knew that social networking was important for businesses but my apprenticeship with Thrive has taught me the importance and power of face to face networking. Read more

LinkedIn Pulse an under-appreciated gem!

Why publish on LinkedIn Pulse?

Most of us don’t have time to tweet, post or publish from every available platform with any level of frequency or quality. LinkedIn reaches more than 364 million professionals worldwide, with the focus being on the professional life, this is what differentiates it from Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. B2B marketers rate LinkedIn the top social media for delivering B2B content and most effective for generating leads. Read more

Make networking an art . . . not an accident.

Today there are all types of opportunities to meet people and strengthen business connections, but it’s only with time and patience that these relationships will thrive and flourish, but naturally like anything good, this takes some effort. Read more

How to publish blog posts and articles on LinkedIn Pulse

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and it’s a great way to increase brand awareness, to reach, nurture and acquire professional customers on and off the LinkedIn platform and ultimately drive leads to get in touch with you. It’s really easy and can be a great way to: Read more

Can you compete with the ‘big boys’?

It has long been recognised that for successful business to thrive, working with other businesses on a sharing or collaborative basis can give you a competitive edge but for these relationships to work, knowledge, trust and efficiency are key elements to building a collective co-op of like-minded businesses and individuals so I believe that it’s vital that small businesses look at each other as partners and not competitors. Read more

Do it yourself and Thrive!

As small business owners, we all know that spending money on advertising and marketing activities can be seen as a small drop in a large pond and even then not making very big ripples. Last week at our Thrive meeting we were given some real good hints and tips on marketing and we were surprisingly told by Nial Adams of Make Marketing Work, that every business owner or manager needs to understand how marketing really works and preferably do it for themselves! Read more

Top tips for successful networking

By Rhian Morgan
Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM)
Succeeding in business is all about making connections, as one of the world’s top entrepreneurs, Richard Branson, once said. Rhian Morgan talks to Lorna Burroughes, director of networking group Thrive, about why we need to network, how golf can help with business, and her top tips on making networking central to your business success. Read more

Are you beating the feast or famine cycle?

Business may be great at the moment, and if it is I’m pleased for you. A couple of months ago I spoke with someone who was struggling with his time – quite simply he had so much business that he couldn’t prioritise his networking and yes you guessed it, when I met him last week he’s coming to the end of this and he now needs to look for work. Read more

It’s not about networking, it’s about making opportunities happen

Do you have you a networking strategy?  There’s more to networking than ‘turning up’!

From identifying who you want to connect with, to knowing where to find them, there are some essential questions you should answer in order to create a networking plan that will work for you. Read more

‘Old-boy’ networking!

Trust is the fundamental basis of any relationship, building relationships with people you can trust is essential in business. People do business with those they know and trust, but how you can build that trust without face-to-face interaction. It’s not an overstatement to say that relationships are everything, the people we spend time with largely determine the opportunities that are available to us. Read more

How to Thrive on Linked In!

We are passionate about the benefits of face-to-face networking, but there’s no denying that technology has opened up a whole new way of connecting. In the UK, 17 million people use Linked In, the social network of choice for business people. With that sort of reach and potential, it’s a great way to support your other networking efforts. Here are some tips on how to be a Linked In networking master. Read more

Make ‘real’ connections

How to be brilliant at networking: make real connections

It’s never been easier to engage in networking for your business. These days, it can be as simple as a click to follow on Twitter or a ‘like’ on Facebook. If we take the notion of networking at it’s Wikipedia definition, which describes it as a ‘socio-economic business activity by which groups of like-minded business people recognise, create, or act upon business opportunities’, then perhaps a Google hang out can do the job. Except that’s not been my experience. Read more

Go to networking events regularly and build relationships

Networking events are a complete waste of time unless you are prepared to invest regular time and effort. If you are mostly networking and meeting people once and then you’ll never see them again, this is wasting your time. People don’t usually do business with or refer business to people they just met. Read more

Connections count

When I went along to my first Thrive meeting I had no idea that, just a few weeks later, I’d be handling the public relations for a music festival.

It all happened so organically, in the way that many Thrive connections do, during the second conversation I had with one of my fellow group members. Read more

Thrive Face of the Fortnight – Caroline Billings

Caroline Billings – solicitor, Hatch Brenner.

Forget what you know about aloof legal eagles in a stuffy suits, Caroline Billings is a solicitor on a mission to bring the human touch to this serious business. That’s why she’s found Thrive to be the perfect place to reach out to other professional people, and ensure she’s giving her clients an even better service.

Thrive: Give us your pitch, Caroline.

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