Chance had it that yesterday afternoon and this morning I had cause to attend four very different events, all to some extent outside the mainstream activities of a tax advisor. And very interesting they all were too.
First up yesterday afternoon was a joint Labour Party / Federation of Small Business /InstituteofChartered Accountantsevent to allow senior Labour party figures to ask key questions and listen to the responses of small businesses. They fielded an impressive array of talent, and asked the right sort of questions. The format was less than perfect, ending up somewhat rushed and with people feeling that they had not fully had their say, but nonetheless the heart of the organisers was very much in the right place, and did give the impression that the Labour party is keen on an approach of conversation rather than confrontation with the sector, which has to be good news.
Following that, conveniently in the same building, wasManchesterMetropolitanUniversity’s “Love 2 Trade” event, open to MMU alumni of their various business programmes. It featured some interesting workshop sessions, notably by the always engaging Haydn Insley of FabLab on generating business ideas and Tony Smith of Winning Pitch (an organisation of which I have had mixed experiences) on effective selling. With backgrounds including professional music and Pot Noodle selling, you might expect both speakers to be thought provoking, and indeed they were.
First thing this morning was one of my more normal haunts, Manchester Business Breakfast Club at the Manchester Tennis and Racquets Club. This not for profit breakfast networking group is the oldest inManchester, and operates on a not-for-profit basis. As a founder member 14 years ago I am naturally highly biased in its favour, but it is currently going through a good spell, with 35 members and a steady flow of guests.
Immediately after that was the clear highlight of the two days, the free(!) Pro Manchester SME Club event on Social Media. As a 50 year-old I had always assumed I was at least 20 years too old to understand this phenomenon, although readers will note that I have gone so far as to start, and maintain, this blog! However, a succession of excellent speakers delved into the mysteries of successful business use of social media, culminating in a tour de force from Jeremy Waite, Head of Social Strategy at TBG Digital.
For the first time, someone was able to explain to me in terms that I could understand what approach it is necessary for a small business to take to social media, and that in fact the approach required is entirely consistent with what I had previously thought was my slightly eccentric attitude to business. In fact so inspiring was Jeremy’s presentation that he has sent me rushing off to open a Facebook account, on the basis that I now know what I am going to say and how and where I am going to say it. The universal consensus of a large and enthusiastic audience was that this was a wonderful event, and hopefully the first of many such from this innovative new organisation. How do I join?