Project Wild Thing

In January we were lucky enough to view a screening of documentary Project Wild Thing by filmmaker David Bond. It deals with the compelling issue of how we can encourage society to engage more with nature. It could have easily come across as preaching and self-righteous but instead we found it an engaging, very humorous account of one man’s journey to prevent his children from dying before him (watch and you’ll get why- you can watch online).

Whilst at the screening at Lings Forum Cinema, Kerry spoke with some of the organisers (Change of Scene, a charity that transforms the lives of young people in Eastern Northampton adventurous activities, skills and training, along with the Northampton Leisure Trust) about why the documentary’s message was important to the people of Northampton and what’s already being done to encourage people to get outside.

You can hear her interviews below

https://soundcloud.com/kerry-leese/project-wild-thing-and-change

Links

Project Wild Thing

Change of Scene

Northampton Leisure Trust

Go get Wild!

KLM

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David Attenborough does Curling

We work a lot with businesses who are looking to market their product or service. We just wish that we had come up with this one…

Enjoy

Probably the best thing you’ll experience today

KLM

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Northampton Networking

There are a lot of networking events in Northampton. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners and everything in between if you want them. If you’re not careful, networking can be all you do and with a limited budget and hours in the day, it’s hard to know which networking sessions are best. Find the events that suit you and prioritise which you attend!

Kerry has been to a fair few and having met quite a few start up businesses recently, we’ve been asked a few times about which are best. It can be daunting, especially as a start up business. There’s so much choice and the one you don’t attend (feels like it) could be the one that’ll make you a millionaire Rodney!

So here’s Kerry’s insight into some of what’s floating around. Bear in mind: whether you get new business is down to your networking style, how much effort you put in, follow up appointments etc. as much as the event itself so experiences may differ.

Why do you network?

If you don’t know what you’re hoping to achieve, how can you prioritise which session you attend and make sure that your time and money goes on the best event? You may have a different motive but usually, people and businesses network to:

A – Increase their sales

B – Increase their contacts

C – Find suppliers

And if you’re anything like us

D- To get out into the real world every now and then and have some fun!

In order to keep things fair we’re looking at a few of the sessions that we’ve attended. You get the same info for each e.g. cost, when, where.

The food/drink provided at networking events may not be important for some people but it is for our Kerry so we’ll tell you about that too!

24/7 Northampton

When  07:00 – 09:00 every other Thursday

Where Holiday Inn, Bedford Road

Cost £12 including breakfast. You can attend two sessions before you decide whether to sign up which will mean a joining and membership fee.

Benefits Social media training provided, links in to your marketing strategy, great choice for breakfast, access to around 20 networking groups from London working up the M1 if you become a member and are happy to travel, online networking (Google Hangouts), tutorials.

Drawbacks There are limited numbers that attend the Northampton event. We haven’t been to the other sessions so can’t comment on them but the Northampton group is relatively new but we gave up a while ago. The most expensive networking we’ve been to (but worth it for the breakfast). Early start.

Name Droppers

When 08:00-10:00 Friday, monthly next meeting 7th March (usually first Friday of month

Where Brampton Heath

Cost £10 including breakfast. No joining or membership fees

Benefits Informal and fun. Known as the ‘Chatty one’. Sheila runs this as not for profit. Breakfast is nice with choice of bacon/sausage bap, beans on toast. As they say, diva diet requirements are catered for. More like meeting up with a bunch of friends than networking; supportive environment. Lovely in summer as the room used overlooks the golf course. Peaceful start to the day. Usually 10 – 15 attendees. You’re not tied in with membership fees and can see if it’s for you.

Drawbacks I can’t think of any really. There isn’t any training offered as with 24/7.

Who says that networking can't be fun?

Who says that networking can’t be fun? Drinks@Dusk

Drinks@Dusk

When Pops up on demand! Ad hoc. 08:00-20:00.

Where Frank’s Hamburger House, Wellingborough Road.

Cost £10 including a delicious buffet of Frank’s food and first drink. No joining or membership fees.

Benefits Another ran by the lovely Sheila. It’s a friendly, relaxed environment and self-proclaimed ‘foodie one’. The platters of food keep coming and are just scrummy (not the most professional adjective but it is what it is!). Good mix of businesses. Once again very supportive and informal. A great introduction to networking and opportunity to practise your elevator pitch if you want. If not, just enjoy the food and company! About 15 attendees. You’re not tied in with membership fees and can see if it’s for you.

Drawbacks If you don’t like chilled or informal, this probably isn’t for you. We like to think of it as an opportunity to catch up with colleagues, especially if you’re a small business like us and want to meet others in a similar position.

Beckworth’s Emporium

When 08:00-10:00 Fortnightly, usually third Tuesday

Where Breakfast@Beckworth

Cost £10 including breakfast. No joining or membership fees

Benefits If you’ve heard of Beckworth’s, you don’t really need us to say any more. Nice food and drink. It’s ‘the classy one’ – third run by Sheila. Slightly more structured but still fun. Lovely surroundings. As with all of Sheila’s events, it’s not for profit but any surplus money goes towards Winter/Summer social events. Well attended – 30 + and you get a list of attendees emailed to you afterwards in case you can’t speak to everyone. You’re not tied in with membership fees and can see if it’s for you.

Drawbacks No formal training. Don’t always get around everyone. So that we don’t sound one sided: it’s in Beckworth Emporium so as the session comes to a draw there is often public coming in for their shopping or breakfast. You don’t get interrupted and it’s not an issue for us though!

FSB – Federation of Small Businesses

When Monthly Friday 07:30-09:00. Next meeting 14th March

Where Westone Manor Hotel, Weston Favell

Cost Free session if you’re a guest of a member. This link explains the price structure for attending a session and you can reserve your place. Non member £18. Membership starts from £120 per annum plus £30 registration fee for first year.

Benefits Formal (if you like that). Very well attended – up to 50. There was a talk from an accountant member of FSB which gave some very useful hints and tips. If you sign up to FSB you get a lot of member benefits such as legal and tax protection. We interacted a lot with the people on our table.

Drawbacks We’ve only been once and found it a bit too formal. Breakfast was not good and for the money we’d expect better. Not the best starter for inexperienced networkers. We’re a confident bunch (thick skulls) but we can imagine that it could be a bit daunting if you’re not overly confident or good at improvising. Don’t get to talk to everyone. We personally felt that it was bigger than we like for getting to know new contacts.

George Row Business Club

When Every 3rd or 4th Thursday monthly 17:30-19:30

Where Northampton and County Club (opposite All Saints Church)

Cost Usually £10. This Thursday 20th it’s free.

Benefits Relaxed in the gorgeous Northampton and County Club which used to be the town’s hospital (great if you like history and characterful buildings). Various guest speakers and themed evenings which keep things interesting, there’s been talks from David Mackintosh (leader of Northampton Council), Friends of Northampton Castle, Wine and Cheese evening, UK Haunted… Good fun and usually well attended. You’re not tied in with membership fees and can see if it’s right for you.

Drawbacks Food isn’t the best. It’s usually frozen food, wedges, pizza and little sausage rolls so avoid if you’re on a diet (has been burnt to a crisp).

Hopefully this gives you an idea of some of the networking available in Northampton. There are many, many more options available to you so just try and see what you like. Remember networking usually works when you consistently attend and build up trust with your new contacts.

If you’ve got this far, you’re interested in meeting other businesses. Keep an eye out for: Business Expo 29th April 2014 10:00-16:00 at the new Freemasons’ venue in Duston to follow up the success of October’s event.

Happy networking,

KLM

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Northampton Saints’ Podcast

Possibly a poorly timed post considering Saints’ appalling performance on Saturday (we nearly cried!) but despite that, we’re proud to work with the great team and fantastic brand that is the Northampton Saints.

Kerry Leese Northampton Saints Dorian West

Interviewing Dorian West

Saints realised that their fans wanted another way to get the latest club news and previews, thus at the start of this season the Saints’ podcast was born. It features interviews with the players and coaches, info about what’s going on at the club, tips on how to improve your game – for example how to make the perfect tackle according to Luther Burrell – perfect for any rugby fan. Unless you’re a Tiger perhaps..!

You might just recognise one of the voices behind it! We’ve been told that we keep people company whilst they’re walking the dog, cooking dinner, on the commute home from work! It’s quite a nice thought. Have we spoken to you without realising it?

It’s completely free so have a listen and let us know what you think. It’s particularly useful this week for all those aspiring hookers who want to throw like Dylan Hartley. He’ll tell you how in his own words!

Enjoy,

KLM

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Coming soon on a website near you

Can you see the excitement on Kerry’s face?

We’ve recently been working with some fantastic creatives to conjure up our dream website. You know the one. It’ll reflect our personality, delicately highlight our skills and mesmerise our target audience so there’s no way that they can continue life without us…

Given that brief you can imagine that it’s taken a while to materialise but never fear, launch date is nigh! We’re aiming to get it up and running by the New Year, if not before, so please keep your eyes peeled. We realise that it’s not a huge thing to any one but us (or at least to our director Kerry), but we would hugely appreciate your thoughts when it’s set free into the great world wide web.

In the meantime, do continue as though nothing’s changed (although we know different). You can carry a hint of excited around with you though! Exciting times… no? Just us then!

(An excited) Kerry Leese Media

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Get Inspired!

As we’ve told you before,  Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) were a real source of support for us when starting up in business. We went to their workshops “Is it for me?”, social media, business planning, HMRC capital allowance and expenses you name it, we were there bright eyed and bushy tailed. Ok not quite so bright on the HMRC one but it was useful!

It’s approaching a year since the workshops started so NEP will be shouting about them and so they should! We were honoured to be asked to give a case study of our experience. You can read about it here and for more information on NEP here.

Being your own boss is a tough business but it’s worth it. If you’re thinking of branching out for yourself, just give NEP a call! They help new businesses to consider everything from business plans and financial forecasting (eek!) to actually giving them a grant. They won’t drag you along if they don’t think that it’s the right move for you. It sounds cheesy but NEP have been such a rock for us that it’s worth emphasising!

Let us know how you get on.

KLM

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