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October Round Up

Newark Business Club Roundup

By Lisa Harrison – LJH Copywriting


'Ooh fancy!' Or a phrase to that effect, was most likely on delegate's minds as they accessed Newark Business Club's new state-of-the-art virtual venue — Collab, for October's meeting.

Kerri McGarrigle, Chairman of Newark Business Club, swiftly got the meeting underway. 


This month's sponsor

Price Whiting Hodgson Financial Planning were this month's sponsor. Andy Hodgson explained that his varied career, followed by his retirement, allowed him to take his life in a different direction. Andy now helps clients to plan their retirement. And, this morning, he strongly encouraged Newark Business Club delegates to start engaging with their retirement planning too.  


As you start thinking about how to get your finances in tip-top shape for when you stop working, Andy says, "it's easy to get bogged down in jargon". He advises that we avoid the technical terminology at this point and think about these three simple questions: 

1. What do you want from your retirement?

2. What do you have in terms of finances?

3. How long will those finances last? 


Andy works with his clients to discover answers to the three questions above, and it's those answers that allow his clients to "live life and not begrudge it". He explained that the retirement planning conversations he has usually culminate in positive decision making.


For more information on retirement planning, contact andrew.hodgson@sjpp.co.uk or call 07920449534.


Survive then thrive

Following the first breakout session, a range of local professionals joined us for a panel debate. They discussed how businesses have adapted over the past few months and how they're preparing for the future.

Thanks to the following for taking part:

· Denise Starkey – Gracegentle 

· Jez Ashbury – Shooting Star

· Matthew Ellis-Mather – Ellis Mather Group


Kerri asked the first question, "What have you learned from this period we've been living in, so far?" 


Jez replied saying it's the early adapters who are thriving. He referenced Brown's Pie Shop in Lincoln as an example. Before the pandemic, they were a well-known dine-in restaurant. Now, they offer online ordering, takeaways and local delivery. It's because of their ability to adapt, that they're now seeing an increase in sales.


Denise shared the journey that she's been on with her business. When coronavirus arrived, she faced the harsh reality, like many other retailers, that she was going to have to close her shop. She had ten weeks to turn her situation around. By creating a sophisticated eCommerce site, along with launching new products such as handwritten greetings cards, she's been able to increase sales by 52%. Since launching her website in September, Denise has had over 2,500 customers. That's impressive and credit to Denise's hard work. 


Matthew talked about how his business has reconsidered its external communication. Our ability to retain information is less during a time of crisis, so Matthew and his team are reassuring customers by using simple messaging. Internally, they're supporting colleagues by holding regular briefings. They're also sharing their plans on how they hope to emerge from this experience stronger than ever. 


Moving on, Kerri asked, "have you learned any lessons since lockdown?"


Jez referenced Sports Direct and Waterstones. Initially, both businesses were resisting internal and external pressures to close their operations and stores. Their lack of empathy towards their customers and employees ultimately backfired. So, the lesson learned is: always put your people first.


To round off the session, Kerri asked, "how has being part of a community helped?"


The consensus was that the local business community have played a considerable part in helping business owners to manage their stress and wellbeing. People are communicating more and reassuring each other. 


Denise said Newark independents are a "supportive bunch" and have been championing each other for a while now. They've created a community Facebook page - #ShopNewark.


After another round of table networking, made much more fluid thanks to Collab, the virtual venue for the next generation of virtual meetings, Kerri wrapped the event up. She thanked delegates for their patience as we got to grips with our new networking platform. 


If you're looking to grow your network, then come along to our next virtual meeting which takes place on Friday 6 November. Register to become a member at newarkbusinessclub.co.uk. There are over 100 businesses at our monthly breakfast meeting, and we're all passionate about helping each other succeed. Pop along, we'd love to see you there.


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