Spring Newsletter 2015

If the weather report is to be believed, spring is finally here and so is our Spring Newsletter! Regular readers of this newsletter will know that this is our favourite season at The Rural Business Community; it’s a time to reflect on the past quarter’s successes and focus on fresh, new thinking for the months ahead. And what a quarter we’ve got lined up! With a heavy focus on learning, development and giving, we’ve got an exciting and rewarding few months on the cards.

So dig into this edition of our newsletter and hear about how we are going to support our local businesses and community this spring.


New Season, New Faces

If you come down to the grange today…. you’ll see a bright, new face behind the desk at Reception! We are delighted to welcome the newest member of our team- Molly Warren our Business Management Apprentice.

After taking her A-Levels in 2013 at Stamford High School, Molly decided to take a gap year and travel around the world. Following this, Molly attended Nottingham University for 2 months, before deciding that studying at this level was just not for her. Molly wanted to enter into the world of business and decided that real experience was the best education path for her to follow. Molly is now looking forward to gaining essential administration and business acumen at The Rural Business Community.

With a background firmly rooted in catering, Molly knows exactly how to deliver exceptional service to our members and visitors. She is also be embarking on a Business Administration Apprenticeship with us, so her skills and knowledge will grow and grow, meaning that users of our centre will continue to benefit from expert care and support.

In her spare time, Molly loves travelling, ice-skating and spending time with her friends and family. Molly also has a passion for cooking and baking, and loves trying out new recipes each week.

As and when you meet Molly over the coming weeks, please take some time to say “hello”. She can’t wait to meet everyone.


The Business Book Club

I have always been a firm believer in continual growth and development, especially in business. If you have read my article called ‘What’s Stopping Small Businesses’, you will know that we have something called ‘The Learning Library’ at The Rural Business Community, whereby we reward our team if they read a range of business books and implement the ideas these texts generate. I for one am a huge ambassador and participant of this scheme, as I have seen for myself the positive impact it has had on our business. So it seems almost unfair to keep our findings a secret!

With so many great business books out there, where do you start, and, more importantly, when can you make the time to read them?! We have found that many of the business owners we work with spend too much time working in the business and not enough time working on their company. That’s why we’ve set up the Business Book Club.

We’ve got a huge library of business books at the Rural Business Community, so our team have spent their time reading and studying this valuable works for you. They’ve then taken this knowledge and written a series of concise and punchy reviews, to help you grow your business.

You can access the Business Book Club by clicking here.

We will regularly add new reviews throughout the year, so keep checking back for more ideas to help you boost your business. We’ll also post all new reviews on our Facebook page.


Competitors or Collaborators

Last August I started attending a local networking group called Talk Networking, where I met the Sales Executive for Orton Hall, Lynette Watson. Now whilst Lynette and I are both in the ‘conferencing business’, ergo technically competitors, we found that we had plenty of scope for collaboration and that Orton Hall could provide some great services and facilities for our conference delegates.

So after speaking with Lynette, she invited me to take a tour of Orton Hall and see the facilities for myself. And I had a fantastic time doing so!


Orton Hall 1

Positioned in Peterborough city centre, with easy access to the A1, Orton Hall achieves the perfect balance between convenience and luxury. Despite being in a suburban area, the hotel is nestled amongst 20 acres of beautiful conservation woodland. Parts of the original 17th century manor house have been sensitively incorporated with modern features, such as a swimming pool, gym and onsite pub, meaning that residents and visitors really do get the best of both worlds.


I also took a peak at some of the rooms, and I have to say that they didn’t disappoint, providing spacious, light and airy accommodation with modern features.

Orton Hall 2

After my extensive tour of this beautiful building, Lynette arranged for us to have afternoon tea in the in the stunning garden room. Whilst in the grand setting we discussed how Orton Hall would like to provide our conference delegates with discounted accommodation rates- something that I was delighted to hear!


Orton Hall 3

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Orton Hall and will happily recommend it to any of our conference delegates who need accommodation in the Peterborough area. If you would like more details on the conference facilities that we can provide, please do not hesitate in contacting me on 01572 338001, emailing charlotte@theruralbiz.com or clicking here.


There’s more to Facebook than Meets the Eye

To master marketing you must be adaptable and open to change. Marketing strategies and methods are forever evolving, so to be effective in your market, you must keep abreast of new technologies and adopt new and creative approaches. As the person responsible for the marketing at The Rural Business Community, I know this all too well!

Another person who I met at Talk Networking was Mike Irons of Zest Communications.   Mike is a social media guru, who helps a range of local companies develop, improve and even execute a successful social media strategies. During one of our conversations, Mike invited me to take part in one of his workshops, based specifically on Facebook.  As someone who was an earlier adopter of this social media platform, I thought I knew it all, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth!

So on a cold Thursday morning in February I took myself to the William Cecil in Stamford for a 2 hour workshop with Mike. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t 100% convinced about how much I would learn. After all, Facebook is so ‘easy’ and ‘uncomplicated’ how much could there be to know?! Well let me tell you- there’s loads!

After 2 short, fun hours, I came away with a mine of knowledge that I couldn’t wait to implement on The Rural Business Community’s Facebook page; from a content strategy to an insight into the free research tools available, I felt confident about how I could improve our social media.

I don’t want to give Mike’s content away for free, so I would urge you to contact him directly if you’d like to know more. At £60 for his workshop, it’s an absolute bargain! Not only will you learn heaps of useful information, you will also have a great time doing so.

And if you want to see our results first hand, why not visit our Facebook page?! We think that growth and development are vital elements needed for a business to succeed. So, for the next month, we will be focussing on learning new skills and sharing knowledge. That means that we’ll be sharing videos, articles and tips, as well as instigating business related discussions amongst our fans.


The Boss and His Bike Ride Again!

Many of you will be aware that The Rural Business Community is just one of the companies owned and directed by Charlie Reading. Last year Charlie’s financial planning firm, Efficient Portfolio, founded The Efficient Charitable Portfolio, which donates funds to a range of local, national and international charities, which are close to the hearts of our team and clients.

This year Charlie wanted to do something that would help increase the money we raise for them. Given that Efficient Portfolio helps people protect themselves against horrid diseases like Cancer, this seemed like a great charity to choose. And this year, Charlie is actually going to do it on the right bike!  (Charlie completed a 100 mile charity bike ride last year, using a mountain bike rather than the recommended road bike!)

When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life.

At Macmillan, they know how a cancer diagnosis can affect everything and they’re there to support you through. From help with money worries and advice about work, to someone who’ll listen if you just want to talk, they’ll be there.

They’ll help you make the choices you need to take back control, so you can start to feel like yourself again.

Charlie Bike

Charlie is raising funds for Macmillan through the Just Giving website. Donating through Just Giving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with Just Giving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

If you’d like to support Charlie, you can do so by clicking here.

Final Word

So as you can see, I’ve been a bit of a social butterfly so far this year; visiting country manors, taking part in social media workshops and founding the Business Book Club. It’s been great fun but it has had a serious purpose; developing and growing The Rural Business Community is always my key focus. I hope that some of the knowledge I’ve learnt will be of a benefit to you and that we can continue to help you are your business flourish in 2015.

I’m also delighted that Molly has joined our fold and I would like to personally wish hr all the very best with her career at The Rural Business Community.

And finally, I’d like to wish Charlie and his fellow riders the best of luck on the 2nd of August when they take part in the Prudential Ride London. The team are all really proud of him for giving up his time for such a worthy cause.

I hope that you all have a great spring and look forward to hearing about your success stories in the coming months.