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Broadland Business Forum enjoys networking with a difference


The Broadland Business Forum, which is run alongside the Broadland Online Business Directory enjoyed a day on the Broads on Wednesday 25th April, when they met at the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club for the quarterly breakfast forum.

Alongside the chance to hear from some top speakers on tourism in Broadland, including Barbara Greasley of Norfolk Broads Tourism and former Radio Norwich DJ Steve Bradley, members also had the opportunity to enjoy Wroxham Broad with a trip out on boats provided by the speakers and the Yacht Club.

The Norfolk Broads itself, is looking to expand its global appeal with a raft of initiatives, which were announced by Norfolk Broads Tourism Chairperson Barbara Greasley during the Broadland Business Forum at the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club.

“The Norfolk Broads is a jewel in the crown for this part of the world. James Berresford, CEO of Visit England vacationed on the Broads with his family in 2011 and will return this year and we need to ensure that others follow his lead. That is why we set-up the Broads Tourism Forum in 2005 and are continuing to grow our links with local businesses. Recently we have pioneered the Broads Quality Charter, which works with local eateries to promote locally prepared food and are expanding the Broads Outdoor Festival for 2012” announced Barbara.

Barbara also asked local businesses to get involved with the Broads and announced the new ‘Nuture the Broads’ fundraising initiative. “We are acting to safeguard the future of the Broads and are looking to raise funds specifically for protecting the Norfolk Broads unique character. We are working with local business to promote the scheme and are running initiatives such as a £1 donation on every hotel booking, to help safeguard a valuable resource”, adding “in 2009 the Norfolk Broads attracted over seven million visitors, who brought over £419m into the local economy, we want to ensure that this number grows each year whilst the Broads remain the uniquely special place they are today.”

The Broadland Business Forum also heard from former Radio Norwich DJ Steve Bradley, who has recently hung up the headphones after 15 years on the airwaves to set-up a luxury charter business on the Norfolk Broads.

Steve, who has recently passed his professional boat skipper qualifications, gave an example of how local businesses working together can maximise the benefits the Broads ever-increasing profile brings. “We work very closely with Horning Ferry Marina and the local eateries and hospitality venues along the Broads, to launch and of course at the end of a long day on the water, there is no better place to retire to for a meal and a nightcap than a local watering hole. It is a two-way relationship and everybody wins.”

Whilst the Broads are seeking to build their national and international profile, local people aren’t being forgotten, with local sailing clubs also opening their doors to encourage as many people as possible to experience the beauty that is on their doorstep.

“There are people who have lived their whole lives in Norwich and have never been on the Norfolk Broads” insisted Norfolk Broads Yacht Club Rear Commodore Malcolm Kemp. “The days of having to be interviewed before you are allowed to become a member are long gone and we are keen to encourage as many people as possible to enjoy Wroxham Broad. To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee on the 2nd June, we will be hosting an Open Day for members of the public to come along and try out the activities on offer. We also have seven wherries visiting the Broad, completing the spectacle.”

Broadland District Council also used the event, featuring over 70 local business leaders, to announce a new Environmental Business Network, designed to allow businesses to share best practice, to improve the economic and sustainable performance of local business. Kirsty Burns from the Council stated “we want this forum to be very interactive and provide a platform for businesses to ask questions of the Council’s environmental team and liaise with each other to boost business performance.”

The Broadland Business Forum is part of the BOLD Directory Group, which covers over 11,000 businesses across Norfolk. The Forum brings together over 70 local businesses at a series of events, to foster closer links between the public and private sectors across the region. For more information on how you can become part of this burgeoning business community, please contact Robert Ediker on 01603 702374.



Published on 30-Apr-2012 12:00 with No comments  
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Postmen’s Epic Journey Completed



On Wednesday 25th April four work colleagues from Post Office Limited at Wymondham completed their eleven day cycle ride from John’O Groats to Lands End.

Paul Wightman, Dean Whitnall, David Crisp and Trevor Manser (pictured) pedalled the entire journey, a distance of over 900 miles and which spans the length of Great Britain.

The team from Wymondham are all keen cyclists and after deciding they would like to take part in the endurance challenge thought it would be an added incentive to attract sponsors and collect for a local charity.

‘We chose Star Throwers cancer support as it is a local charity and does great work for local cancer sufferers and their families,’ said Paul.

The lads, who have been in serious training since January, set off on Sunday 15th April from John’O Groats in Scotland and pedalled south through snow, high winds and lashing rain to reach Land’s End eleven days later on Wednesday 25th April.

‘The weather could have been kinder! But we made it, and would like to thank everyone for all their support,” said Paul.

The teams support van was driven by Andrew Howard, who also kept the cyclists supplied with snacks, drinks and dry clothes along the way.

Upon arriving home, the team were very pleased to find that they reached their target of raising £2700 for Star Throwers. Steven Ho from Star Throwers said, “It is awe-inspiring what they have done for Star Throwers, what an incredible achievement. We are so proud of the team and grateful that they chose to support Star Throwers and the work we do.”

Star Throwers would like to express special thanks to everyone who has supported the team, Barford Van Hire for helping out with the support vehicle and Sainsbury’s at Longwater who provided energy drinks and snacks and for all the donations to our charity.

To see details and pictures of this amazing cycle ride visit www.polscnrjogleblog2012.co.uk If you would like to find out more about Star Throwers you can call a member of the team on 01953 423304 or email info@starthrowers.org.uk.



Published on 27-Apr-2012 12:00 with No comments  
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Why Does Your Business Needs Social Media?


Courtesy of Vicky Anscomb and the Eastern Daily Press:

"Social media’s a bit of a tricky one when engaging with a client for the first time. They’ll probably be familiar with (and keen to hear about) PPC, SEO and site design, but when it comes to social media, they may well lean forward with narrowed eyes and ask the dreaded question, ‘But why do I need social media?’

This is the time to stop wittering about ‘brand awareness’, ‘community cohesion’ and ‘moving forward with technology’, and time to bring out some solid reasons that companies should be on board when it comes to social media. It’s not enough to claim that everyone else is doing it, and it ‘makes a difference’. If you’re looking to impress in any upcoming meetings, the following points are sure to win over clients:

Firstly, there are mind-boggling numbers of people using social media. At the time of writing this, Twitter has over 100 million ‘active’ users (users who log in once a month) and Facebook has approximately 794 million users. These are people that you ignore at your peril - they’re out there, and it’s up to you to try to find them, and then harness their buying power. Refusing to engage with social media users is like knowing there’s a packed shopping centre in town full of browsing buyers, but point-blank refusing to set up a shop there just because it’s new and a bit daunting.

Secondly, you’ll be able to get a better idea of who’s interested in your brand - and you’ll know who to target in the future. Facebook Insights, Sprout Social, Brandwatch and other applications that measure social networking analytics can not only show you the gender of the people engaging with you, but their age, where they’re located, the main languages they speak, and the medium they’re using to surf the web. This is especially handy if you’re wondering why the app you’ve launched hasn’t taken off (users using desktop computers) or nobody’s writing lengthy chunks of text on your Facebook wall (smartphone users).

You can also get inside peoples’ heads. Not many customers will take the time to fill in a review or a long survey, but they may well respond to a tweet or update that asks them what they think of a new design. You’ll also find that you receive both good and bad feedback, and how you respond to this will shape how your customers see you. If you’re able to placate a furious customer with some excellent, speedy customer service, you’ll not only win them round, but anyone else who sees that you’re bending over backwards to assist them. Social media allows a level of transparency not often seen in communications between customer and vendor, so use this to your advantage.

Tools such as Twilert and Tweetbeep can let you know when people are talking about you - and you can set up alerts for people talking about the products you sell. So, if you see a tweet from a local person wondering where they can find [insert your product], you can neatly introduce yourself and politely ask if you can help. These tools enable you to be the butler at the party - you can overhear everyone’s conversations and step in when you feel it’s appropriate. Just be careful not to overdo this side of things, or your Twitter timeline will become a sad pool of desperation.

If you want to be seen as a leader within your field, you have to remember that your opinions are worthwhile - and you should respond to industry developments at the earliest opportunity. It’s far easier to send out a quick update on Google+ or Facebook than it is to draft a blog for your website, and your customers will see your passion for your business. If you’re making a particularly strong point, or one that generates discussion, all the better - your views will get shared, driving more people towards your social media - and your website.

If you’re looking for fresh talent, especially in the social media and online networking sphere, you should be using social media to try to find your next big star. More and more businesses are using their social media accounts to search for employees, as it’s free, the word is easily spread, and it’s a great way to drive people wanting new information to your website. Plus, it’s a very promising sign if you manage to find someone through social media as it shows they have a good understanding of the medium - and its potential.

Finally, don’t forget that the speed of social media can make it behave a bit like Lassie - it can let you know that something’s wrong long before you even have an inkling of disaster. If you receive many messages informing you that the same thing has gone awry with your product, it’s time to stop the production line and start your examination. It’s true that badly-run social media accounts have the capacity to damage your brand irreversibly, but they also have the potential to save it from a sticky end, so value your followers - they may end up saving your bacon."

http://www.edp24.co.uk/business/advice/vicky_anscomb_how_to_convince_your_clients_that_they_need_social_media_1_1351171



Published on 17-Apr-2012 12:00 with No comments  
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Broadland Business Forum set sail for Norfolk Broads Yacht Club


The Broadland Business Forum, will drop anchor at the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club for a business breakfast on Wednesday 25th April.
Hot on the heels of the recent post-budget breakfast which saw local MP Chloe Smith as keynote speaker, the forum will now focus on tourism in Broadland and ways that the local business community can maximise the potential return from the influx of visitors the area receives each year.

Barbara Greasley, keynote speaker, chair of Broads Tourism and co-owner of Broads Tours will  update the forum of 2012 plans for tourism both on the Norfolk Broads and across the county as a whole.

Former Radio Norwich DJ Steve Bradley will feature amongst the speakers. Steve will tell businesses why he has left a lifelong career he loved, to launch a luxury boat charter on the Norfolk Broads. Known to many as the voice of Norwich, Steve is now a fully qualified boat pilot and will be launching his new venture on Norfolk’s waterways in the coming weeks.

Self-proclaimed Canoe Man, Mark Wilkinson will also be advising members on how to make the most of the Norfolk Broads and the beauty of Broadland in building a successful business in the area.

Post breakfast attendees will be able to enjoy networking onboard a choice of river transport, providing an ideal and unique opportunity to get to know one another and enjoy the jewel Norfolk’s tourism crown.  
 
Parking and mooring at the venue will be available on the day.



Published on 16-Apr-2012 12:00 with No comments  
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Cycling from John O'Groats to Land's End for Star Throwers


On Sunday 15th April 2012 four cyclists from Wymondham Post Office Limited will be setting off from John O'Groats to cycle all the way to Land's End to raise money and awareness for Wymondham based cancer charity Star Throwers.

Paul Wightman, Dean Whitnall, David Crisp and Trevor Manser will be pedalling all the way with Andy Howard driving the support van.

The team, all keen cyclists, have been training hard since January and hope by April they will be able to average 90 miles for 11 consecutive days to complete the gruelling challenge.

They decided it would be a good way to raise money for charity and have chosen Star Throwers, a local cancer support charity based in Wymondham. Star Throwers offers care and advice to all those suffering with cancer in a relaxed friendly atmosphere, and offer a range of complementary therapies to produce a sense of well being. All money raised for Star Throwers is directed to benefit those who need their care.

Details of the ride can be found on www.polscnrjogleblog2012.co.uk with daily bulletins posted during the ride.

Donations can be made through Just Giving by searching for POL SC Jogle 2012 or directly to Star Throwers at 30 Melton Road, Wymondham, NR18 0DB.

Star Throwers and The Lively Crew would like to wish them all the very best of luck and a good ride!



Published on 11-Apr-2012 12:00 with No comments  
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