?This month I have another Interview with an Expert to share. David Wimblett is a Business Success Mentor, who started his first business with just £25 and built a £million pound business.
After over 30 years in business, David’s ambition is to help as many business owners as possible to achieve greater success. He is the founder of 7Training and an Area Director for Business Network International (BNI)
Times are hard at the moment – as a business mentor what are your top three tips on keeping a positive focus in your business at the moment?
1) Seeing tough times as an opportunity is key - truly successful business do well in hard times as they continue to market and explore new ideas.
2) Having a mentor is key, someone to motivate you, who has traded in a tough market (this can be a peer or a professional mentor).
3) To have a real goal - both longer term and short term - but more importantly to know what really under-pins your goal. You want a million pound business. Great goal, but why? You want to retire in 9 years time. Again, a lovely idea, but why? Knowing the real reason you do what you do, keeps you positive. Maybe use the answer as the screen saver on your computer.
I know you work with several micro businesses and start-up businesses, who face the added challenge of isolation. How can they get support around them to help with this?
This can be done in a number of ways today, so different to when I started when I was 21 years old. By using a mentor, joining an online group of business owners (like ecademy or LinkedIn), joining a business group (like BNI, Athena, 4Networking), 7 Training run Business Success Groups (limited to just 7 people) once a month - they are a brilliant way of business owners to not be on their own. Building a strong supportive network around you is key and accepting that asking for help and support is vital to your success..
Do you think networking works for everyone? That's a hard one! If you asked me “can networking work for everyone” then obviously the answer is yes. Just think of the 'old boys' network.
If you ask “Does it work for everyone?” Then no. Why? Because a great many people don't really understand networking. They think it is about selling to everyone they meet, when in fact it has little to do with selling. First, and foremost, it is about getting to know people, about building a relationship. Biggest mistake - sticking your business card in someone’s face and saying "call me when you need me" and dashing off.
Where can I find out more about networking and how do I find the right group for me? As I believe in word-of-mouth start by asking people you know if they belong to a group and would they recommend it for you. Then of course there is always Google.
Start by searching on 'networking’ - and where you live (or work) - local always works best. There are many groups to choose from and they cater for all tastes. If you are really serious about networking, and want good long-term results, then look for a group that meets regularly and expects members to make a commitment. You have to get involved if you want to see results – as the BNI philosophy says “Givers Gain. It's worth belonging to a couple of groups, not the same type, but something like BNI and 'Best of' or your local Chamber. But don't spread yourself too thin as in the long term building a strong, two-way, relationship with a few key people will bring greater returns to both parties than lots of 'one-off' hits.
You work with many business owners in your role as an Area Director for BNI (Business Networking International), what benefits do you think membership of a networking group brings to them? The biggest one is business that comes from recommendation (referrals) - there is no better way to find business and because of the personal introduction and recommendation, business by referral has the highest conversion rate. You also get great support from the fellow members and I have seen several amazing examples of members helping fellow members and making a real impact in their businesses and lives. It goes much deeper than that, however and real opportunities for personal and business development exist.
The training BNI offer, which focuses on developing networking, relationship and presentation skills is a huge bonus to members and has created many success stories. The sense of isolation that faces many business owners is often part of the reason they start networking; being part of the right networking groups and communities can make the journey a far less lonely one.
You can find out more about David Wimblett here www.7training.co.uk ?