All Posts by Yvette Ankrah

About the Author

Mar 19

Networking success

By Yvette Ankrah | Marketing , Networking

Five tips to help you succeed in networking

A handshake

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay 

One sure fire way to ramp up business for SME’s is through networking. Networking provides a great opportunity to meet several prospects in one hit.

If it is not part of your marketing strategy it should be.

A good network will:

  • Provide support and access to advice
  • Enable you to develop skills
  • Provide opportunities to develop trusting relationships with others

You may meet potential business partners and you might also meet a connector. They may not use your service/product but impress them and they will recommend you to others. You can also get a feel what is happening locally or get updates in your area of expertise.

Not everyone is a fan of networking but by taking yourself out of your comfort zone you can reap the rewards. If you are new to networking try and find a local group and get meeting other businesses in your area. You can learn from other networkers and in a good group the manager will introduce you to others, so you are not standing at the back on your own!

How to ace face-to-face networking:

  1. Craft your pitch

You will have between 30 seconds and a minute to present yourself and your product or service.  Use your time wisely! How can you say in a memorable way? For example, I’m an accountant versus I help small businesses manage their money or I make magic numbers!

  • Come prepared

Know your intention for attending the event – ultimately it will be to get more customers, but some events will be designed to enable you to meet potential collaborators or people that can help your own business in other ways e.g. accountant, VA etc,. What you want to achieve when you walk out the door?

Bring your pitch, diary, business cards, brochures, samples, special offers and a smile! Take notes of who is there so you can make sure to speak to key people. Have them available to give to prospective clients/ business partners but only hand out information if they have asked for it. 

  • Listen and give

The idea is to get to know people and build relationships. Be curious and interested in what they have to say and help if you can. By adopting this approach you’re more likely to feel relaxed and have more engaging conversations.

  • Follow-up

See each business card as being a £50 note.  You wouldn’t shove it at the bottom of your bag and forget about!  Send an email or call each person who gave you their business card. Whilst they may not be your ideal client/customer they may connect you to others. You can make the follow-up easier by preparing a follow-up email in advance. Ask to connect on social media or if relevant arrange a follow-up call or meeting.

  • Review

Like any other part of your marketing you need to review the effectiveness of networking. Networking is a slow burn it can take time to build up these relationships. Consistently attending, following up and supporting your network will reap you rewards.

If you haven’t already crafted a pitch take some time to create one. Then find three networking events you can attend in the next month, so you can try it out and move your goals forward.

Aug 28

Consultant receives MBE for supporting women in business

By Yvette Ankrah | Uncategorized

Yvette Ankrah, former winner of the O2/Microsoft small business prize and consultant at Lightcliffe Consulting, has been awarded with an MBE for her work supporting women in business in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Yvette has been campaigning for more support for women in business and co-wrote the Manifesto for Women in Business in 2015. She has supported hundreds women in business over the last four years as a former host of a network and through her Harlow-based practice.

She said:

I have been humbled and honoured to receive an award as part of the Queen’s birthday honours. As a coach to women in business, I am passionate about what I do but also campaign nationally and locally for women to get support in business. I do believe that even one person can make a difference.

Yvette has worked in marketing and business development for over 20 years. She trained as a journalist before moving into public relations and then worked in marketing and business development across the arts, voluntary sector and education sectors.  She trained in coaching and mentoring whilst in employment. She found that she was using coaching and mentoring skills with colleagues and also with marketing consultancy clients and decided to focus more on that area.

She switched from working with organisations to women in business because of the women she was meeting at mother and baby groups.  Yvette met women with business ideas or who actually had a business but needed support so decided to use her skills to support them.

Yvette recently become an accredited Bird Table coach – an organisation dedicated to developing more women in business – and is launching group sessions for locally based female SME owners starting in September.