Well, I’ve had a rather exciting day today, so I thought I’d pen you a quick blog to tell you all about it. I know, I know; you don’t deserve me.
So, what have I been up to that’s been so important? I got a free lunch for one thing, and very nice it was too. Suitably vegetarian. Besides that – and possibly more importantly – I also got an incredibly useful mentoring session on how to make an impact in business. Plus, I met some lovely people too. What more can you ask for on a Wednesday in mid-March?
Where It All Began
A few weeks ago, somebody – I forget who now; it’s not important – forwarded a tweet to me about local funding for women in business in the Rossendale area. As I am a local woman in a local business, local to Bacup, I suspected that this might be just up my street, so I responded to said tweet and filled in the online form as requested, little suspecting that anything very much would come of it.
That’s why I was a little surprised when, a few minutes later (literally a few minutes!), I received an email from an actual person, requesting a follow up phone call to sign me up to a free business mentoring course. I won’t bore you with all the details but, basically, I thought it was all a little bit too good to be true, and it turned out I was completely wrong. There really is an awful lot of practical help out there for Rossendale businesses who want to grow, when you know where to find it.
Supporting Women in Business
The real life person who rang me up turned out to be the fabulously knowledgeable and well-connected Wendy Bowers of Role UK, a national organisation designed to help women in business reach their full potential and achieve their goals. According to Role’s website;
“We are a team of diverse and experienced business professionals who coach, mentor, teach and inspire future female leaders. We work with incredible people across the UK to develop young leaders, build confidence, improve management skills, develop succession planning and ensure opportunity for all.
Our Founder, Wendy Bowers, is an experienced board member at regional and national level and has been instrumental in the growth of hundreds of successful businesses. Our coaches and trainers have a breadth and depth of experience at both national and international level. Our members and clients encompass business owners, aspiring managers, executive teams and individuals who understand the importance of equality and opportunity for all.”
Role provide the full gamut of practical support and mental guidance designed to make sure more women can first get in to business, and then succeed in business, through their ethos that more women in business is good for both genders and the UK economy to boot.
Help for Women in Business
Just one of the multitude of services offered by Role currently is growth mentoring support for women in business in the Lancashire area generally, and the Rossendale Valley in particular, offered in connection with Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. This course is aimed specifically at women who run their own small business but who want to grow within the next few years to become employers, providing both revenue and jobs for the local economy.
Since taking over the reins of GrowTraffic a few years ago, we’ve been a small to medium business, headed by a woman (yours truly), based in the Rossendale Valley, looking to expand and grow into a bigger, better business. In fact, you could say that we fit perfectly the criteria required for this particular scheme.
Nevertheless, I was still a little surprised when, following a couple of short and painless assessment interviews, I was accepted onto the Women in Business Group Mentoring program. Again, it turns out there’s quite a lot of free business support available for women, once you know how to access it.
Boost’s Growth Mentoring Support
Thanks to their funding by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund (which is already paid for, regardless of Brexit!), Boost are able to offer free business mentoring to a small group of hand-picked Lancashire businesswomen, who have a desire to grow both their business and their personal expertise.
As one of the lucky chosen few, I am now eligible to receive over 12 hours of completely free business mentoring, plus access to various other means of practical support offered on both a group and a one-to-one basis, which will prove invaluable in enabling GrowTraffic to evolve and reach the next level. As part of the course, I get to work with experienced business advisors, who will help me to analyse where the business is at now, set clearly defined goals for where we want to be in 3 years’ time, and equip us with the skills and expertise we need to get us there.
I’ll admit, it does all sound a little bit daunting, but it’s also incredibly exciting and I can’t wait to get cracking.
Making an Impact Group Mentoring Session
But I digress, to get back to the reason for this blog post in the first place; today was my first taste of the program and it more than met my expectations. Entitled Making an Impact, today’s group mentoring session was hosted by Boost at the Pendle Innovation Centre, and was run by Wendy Bowers and Amanda Jackson of Tigerfish PR, an Associate Lecturer in PR at Edgehill University and a Director of the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.
According to the learning objectives, this initial day session set out to equip delegates with the tools and techniques required to;
- Help me to build effective networks, partners and contacts
- Promote myself and my business both face-to-face and online
- Perform confidently in meetings and when presenting
- Develop resilience, focus and the mindset required to keep pushing forwards towards my goals and, most importantly,
- To make an impact.
In addition to being packed with useful information and handy tips, the day was also much more enjoyable than expected, mainly thanks to the other four women who attended it with me. Rather than being a purely classroom based teaching course, the session was much more student focussed and interactive, comprising mostly discussions and mutual learning between the whole group, which in addition to me, consisted of;
- Vicky Blanken of Blanken Care Ltd.
- Justine Hodgkinson of Advocacy Focus.
- Deborah Smith of Fennel UK Ltd.
- Laura Hartley of LH Recruitment.
Fortunately, all of us got on like a house on fire and it made the day both fun and informative. Plus, the lunch was good too, and suitably vegetarian. Did I mention the lunch?
Get in Touch
All in all, I had a thoroughly good day (to be honest, it was just nice to get out of the office for a bit!) and learned a lot too, so not a bad way to spend a Wednesday, despite the sun shining outside the closed windows. I’m now looking forward immensely to the next session.
If you’d like to know more about any of the business support mentioned in today’s blog, or if you’d like to know more about GrowTraffic’s plans for expansion and growth, then please do get in touch with me and I’ll be happy to talk your ear off for half an hour. You can contact me in any of the usual ways; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on the phone on 07495181007, by completing the contact form on the website or by leaving me a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.