With 7 days remaining before the election it made sense to write 7 illustrative blog posts, one a day, about how I feel I have added value to the local community over the years, starting with being Chair of East Berkshire Federation of Small Businesses.
Around 2002, as a small business owner, I was invited to become the Chair of East Berkshire Federation of Small Businesses and began organising all sorts of functions, seminars, dinners and regular networking events.
When I started everything was done by post, with a stamp, but that changed during my time with email becoming the preferred method of speeding communications on their way.
I recall being approached by the Head of Sales for the new Ascot Racecourse after the major rebuild and asked if FSB members would like to attend a race day with full corporate dining at a crazy price.
We sent letters out to our 1,000 members one day. The next we sent an email to the few hundred we had listed, ensuring everyone had a fair chance to respond and needless to say we’d sold all the tickets by the end of the day!
I recall it being a fun afternoon…
The more observant reader will recognise the old stand in the background but the image paints an appropriate picture of the day 😉
Then there was the year of seminars and networking lunches, every other week, at the Taplow House Hotel. Members were invited to submit 150 words about their proposed presentation. We created a listing and asked members to vote online for their favourites. Dates were set and we had between 5 and 50 turn up to any given seminar which were combined with a networking lunch.
We organised many events over the 5 or 6 years I was involved and hundreds of businesses benefited from making new connections. Looking through some old photos to find one or two showing the FSB seminars, I was reminded we were nominated for a RBWM Business Award in 2005!
At the time my core business was email marketing. I was an early adopter and had negotiated favourable terms with a US firm and we were naturally looking for channels to market, so using the tools to promote our FSB events made good sense.
The newsletter I created for the FSB morphed into a wider distribution and became known as Business in Berkshire… more tomorrow in Part 2…