Monday, December 22, 2014

Historic Women @54StJamesStreet | Home of @TheWomensOrg | Kitty Wilkinson

When The Women's Organisation opened the doors of their new £5.3mil building in the Baltic Triangle district of Liverpool, they were keen to show the influence that iconic women of history have had on the organisation.

Each room at 54 St James Street has been carefully named after an inspiring woman who made her mark in history. The Women's Organisation wanted to introduce you to some of these amazing women so you can see why they have been recognised at the Women's International Centre for Economic Development (WICED)

The Wilkinson  Suite is a contemporary designed room, an equiped IT suite with integrated PCs, wired internet as well as additional space for laptops. Portable projector is available upon request, free WiFi connectivity is also available. This room also benefits from natural light, heating and cooling system which can be controlled from inside the room.

Kitty Wilkinson (1786-1860)

Catherine Wilkinson was born in Derry, Ireland and was an Irish immigrant 'wife of a labourer' who became known as the Saint of the Slums. in 1832, during a cholera epidemic, Wilkinson took the initiative to offer the use of her house and yard to neighbours to was their clothes, at a charge of 1 penny per week, and showed them how to use a chloride of lime to get them clean.
She was supported by the District Provident Society and William Rathbone.

In 1832 a cholera epidemic was sweeping Liverpool, Kitty and Tom Wilkinson were in the fortunate position of having the only hot water boiler in their street so they invited their neighbours down to their cellar to wash their clothes and bed-linen, hoping to offer some measure of protection against cholera.

The Wilkinson's were aided in their work by Liverpool District Provident Society and the benevolence of the Rathbone family, each contributing towards the provision of clean clothes and fresh bedding materials therefore reducing the spread of disease.

The Wilkinson's wash room became so popular that is was moved upstairs to the kitchen, with a rudimentary drying area established in the back yard. Kitty and Tom asked the neighbours who used their facilities to contribute one penny per week to help towards the bedding and water costs.

At the same time, Kitty and a neighbour by the name of Mrs Lloyd established an infant school, in Kitty and Tom's bedroom. Local young orphans would be taught, continuing Kitty's desire to see working-class children educated as best as possible.

Kitty Wilkinson is permanently commemorated in a stained glass window in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, which honors the noble women of Liverpool.

If you would like to find out more about our Wilkinson Suite, and our other suites and spaces at 54 St James Street, find us here

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tilly's Tips | @54StJamesStreet | What Are The Benefits Of A Virtual Office?

In today’s commercial environment, the image that your business projects is near the top of the list! Your business partners, clients and customers are keen to deal with a professional organisation. Shoddy and late email responses, lack of meeting rooms, and missed telephone calls will struggle to hit the mark anymore.

Virtual Offices are a fantastic solution to this problem. Even micro-organisations that consist of just one person can benefit from a virtual office as this can give the impression of a business that is much larger than it actually is. With all the professional services that leasing office space traditionally offers, virtual offices match this as they offer unprecedented flexibility for the small business owner.

So what can they offer?

Virtual Office spaces can offer you 24-hour telephone answering service, so your calls are never missed and always responded to quickly. They can offer a prestigious business postal address, something that is important if you are sending and receiving deliveries, clients and customers may be more likely to trust a business address rather than a home address, and it can be perceived as more professional. They also offer additional services such as meeting rooms, useful for introductions to clients, and more professional than a hasty coffee in a Costa or Starbucks.

At 54 St James Street we have a fantastic range of Virtual Office solutions for all business sizes and types

54 St James Street is a stunning and unique new building conveniently located between the creative Baltic Triangle and Liverpool’s China Town and minutes’ walk from Liverpool One and Bold Street.
Completed in January 2011, the centre is designed to provide a light, modern, welcoming and distinctive addition to city life; an environment full of energy, rich in intelligence, debate and shared purpose.

The centre offers a prestigious L1 address to women led businesses who locate here through membership of the Business Suite and Virtual Office options.

Contact The Women’s Organisation to see how a virtual office could benefit your business.

Telephone Laura on 0151 706 8111 or email

Katie Pennington worked hard at The City of Liverpool College to achieve her dream of setting up her own beauty business

Photo by Jo Forrest Photography
Katie Pennington studied her craft at The City of Liverpool College before opening up her own business ‘Katie Diane’s Beauty’. Katie provides beauty and nail treatments in Crosby and the surrounding areas, including manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, tinting and many other treatments, working as a mobile beautician for part of the week and renting a room in a salon for the rest of the week.

Prior to setting up the business, Kate studied BSc Nutrition at Liverpool John Moores University and worked for the NHS as a Health Trainer, but always had a desire to get involved with the beauty business. Making the tough and brave decision to leave her job she enrolled at The City of Liverpool College to study Level 2 Beauty Therapy in October 2012, studying Level 3 Nail Technology the following year.

City of Liverpool College has a great choice of courses, whether these are apprenticeships, NVQs, A-Levels or GCSES, and fantastic links with employers and universities. Katie says, when studying Level 2 Beauty Therapy; ‘I learnt a lot on this course – it is more than just painting nails! There is a lot of anatomy and physiology that you have to learn, which I think a lot of people are unaware of.’ Katie passed this course with a Distinction and went on to win the Level 2 Beauty Student of the Year Award in 2013

Moving on to study Level 3 Nail Technology she reached even higher heights, passing with a Distinction and winning the Level 3 Nail Technology Special Recognition Award of 2014. Katie says; ‘My time at City of Liverpool College taught me that hard work really does pay off. I have always set high standards for myself and it was thrilling when I passed both courses with such high grades. I have brought this mindset into my business – you get out what you put in.’

Working hard is what Katie does best, and isn’t one to let anything get in her way. Katie suffers from a rare blood condition called ITP, which is characterised by a low platelet count, which can lead to severe fatigue. She says on her condition; ‘I have been determined however not to let this hinder my business goals, in fact it has made me more single minded to make my business a success’.

It was whilst studying at college; Katie decided she wanted to set up her own business, as like many others, she enjoyed the idea of being her own boss, and working in a field that is her passion. She also says: ‘I knew if I was in charge, things would be done correctly and up to my standards. I am very meticulous and organized, so starting out by myself was right up my street!’

Katie, as she says herself, has always set high standards, and works hard to get to what she wants. Whilst she was studying at City of Liverpool College, she also worked in a restaurant, and managed to squeeze in time to do some voluntary work at a salon to; ‘get the feel of how it was to work in that environment.’ For Katie, although she was working, there was still the big issue of her start-up costs. She put in the hours so she could buy all the beauty equipment that she needed and chose to avoid taking loans out for these, wanting to purchase them herself before setting up her business. 

Other issues that Katie faced were her own doubts about setting up the business, she says; ‘I had no idea where to start. You think of all the possible pit falls and worry about making a success of the business. In time confidence increases and it helps when your work is praised and appreciated.’

These doubts are experienced by many beginning their own business. Katie was able to come to The Women’s Organisation for support and advice on all aspects of setting up a business.
She says; ‘I felt I had a lot more confidence and understanding about business after attending these courses’, and built up a great relationship with her business advisor Yan Miao.

So far, ‘Katie Diane’s Beauty’ is going from strength to strength, now renting a room at Zara Jones Hairdressing in Liverpool, as well as still working mobile, and her advice to other women out there who are considering setting up their own business is three simple words; ‘Do your homework!’ as well as seeking out advice and looking into the nature of your business through market research. Katie believes it is important to make sure you have a solid support network and to not expect instant success: ‘It will take time to achieve your goals.’

We think Katie’s attitude towards her business is fantastic and we are thrilled to have helped her on her way to setting up ‘Katie Diane’s Beauty’. Katie says of her own hard work; ‘I hope to be successful and to carry on developing as time goes on. The beauty industry is continually developing and evolving, and there are no limits of barriers to aspiration. Careful planning and attention to detail will always be one of my main priorities as well as continuing to deliver a high level of customer service and standards within my work.’

If you would like to find out more about ‘Katie Diane’s Beauty’, the details are below;

Twitter: @kdbeauty_1 Instagram: @kdbeauty1 

To find out more about how The Women's Organisation will be helping City of Liverpool College Students to pursue their business dreams in 2015, contact

Photo Credit: Jo Forrest Photography

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

City of Liverpool College Join with The Women’s Organisation for an Enterprising New Project

City of Liverpool College have linked with local enterprise support agency The Women’s Organisation to showcase the entrepreneurial talent lying within their students and staff.

The college’s ‘Student Enterprise Ventures Programme’ will run from November 2014 throughout the college year, to inspire students who are bursting with business ideas to take them forward.

Maggie O'Carroll with Elaine Bowker and Angela Cox 

By developing a unique partnership with The Women’s Organisation, City of Liverpool College have designed an innovative programme that will offer students the opportunity to say; ‘I am Enterprising’. The project will build their ideas and culminate in a final business pitch competition where they could win real investment in their business to turn their dreams into reality.

City of Liverpool College’s ‘Student Enterprise Ventures Programme’, will be an exciting and fresh mode of encouraging students and young people to think differently about their choices and options after education. This fantastic programme, established and coordinated by the City of Liverpool College will challenge and excite both the students and staff who are interested in the idea of running a business venture and being self-employed.

City of Liverpool College, which resides in the heart of Liverpool, offers over 500 courses and collaborates with partners of all kinds. They work closely with local training providers and employers in different sectors, to ensure that their students are aware and equipped for the working world. Developing and engaging with the ‘Student Enterprise Ventures Programme’ will encourage and ensure success for their students in many different divisions including self-employment.

City of Liverpool College Students will be able to gather advice and support from The Women’s Organisation team over the coming months. They will be able to research their business ideas and develop a plan at a business boot camp. Students with outstanding ideas will compete against one another to win judges confidence in their business in a Dragon’s Den style competition, where the ‘I am Enterprising’ title will be awarded to one budding entrepreneur.

Former student and role model for the programme Katie Pennington who started her beauty business with help from The Women’s Organisation and training from City of Liverpool College, told us why she wanted to start her own business; “I can choose how to spend my time which is so appealing when compared to the constraints of working for someone else…I am answerable only to myself and the success of the business is my sole responsibility.”

Katie, who was awarded Level 2 Beauty Student of the Year Award in 2013 and Level 3 Nail Technology Special Recognition Award of 2014, credits her success to her tutors at City of Liverpool College. “I had brilliant teachers, Kat Welch and Lisa McKenna who were so encouraging and had a love for nails which was contagious.”

She continues; “My time at City of Liverpool College taught me that hard work really does pay off. I have always set high standards for myself and it was thrilling when I passed both courses with such high grades. I have brought this mind-set into my business – you get out what you put in.”

On the ‘Student Enterprise Ventures Programme’, CEO of The Women’s Organisation Maggie O’Carroll said; “It is great to be working together with City of Liverpool College to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.  It’s important to encourage young people to recognise from an early age that they have options beyond working for someone else and aiming for promotion. Why not start from the top being your own boss?”
“We are pleased to stand alongside City of Liverpool College staff team and highlight their commitment to raising the profile of enterprise as a core passion of the college. We would encourage every student to come and chat to our team when they are around the college over the coming months, no matter how lose you think your idea is.  Sometimes the simplest ideas become the best businesses.”
Elaine Bowker, Principal at the City of Liverpool College said: "Entrepreneurship is a key engine of growth for the UK economy and it's vital that we support students who want to be the next business owners and leaders of the future.  Our partnership with The Women's Organisation is all about inspiring students and empowering them to develop their own business ideas, create their own business opportunities and take control of their future careers."

To keep in touch with the developments of the programme follow #IamEnterprising along with @TheWomensOrg and @COLCollege on twitter.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Grow Your Business | Identifying and Overcoming Your Business Barriers | Part 1

 Every business has their own difficulties that are specific to them, and can prevent them from expanding. At The Women’s Organisation, we think it is so important that our business women try to identify their barriers and learn how to overcome them.

Research from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) showed that in 2011 67% of SME employers had an aspiration to grow over the next two to three years but only about 20% will grow each year.

In the past there has been little focus on the performances of small businesses in relation to growth, with the measurement of growth looking more towards big business. But there are barriers that SME businesses face when they are looking to expand, which can differ depending on factors such as location, industry and structure. However, there are issues and ugly doubts that rear their head at any time in an entrepreneur’s life.

In a series of blog posts focusing on overcoming your business barriers, we are going to look at identifying these doubts and insecurities and think about solutions to overcome them.

            You’ve lost your mojo!

We’ve all been here, your get up and go has deserted you and you no longer feel self-motivated, you might even find yourself wondering why you bother with this business. You’re not busy and you can’t be bothered to get busier.

If running your business seems to be a 24/7 job, maybe you need to carve out more of a life outside your business. Earlier this year, the Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology came out with a study of 350 people with a variety of jobs and hobbies, and found that the more people engaged with a hobby the more likely they were to be better problem solvers in their job.
Or perhaps try to challenge yourself within your business, challenge yourself to find ways of attracting new business. Perhaps because you haven’t been trying to bring in new customers, you’ve just been going through the motions. Focus on your marketing, seeing quick results may spark something and help get your passion and mojo back

             You lack focus

So you might be really busy, but do you struggle to finish things, or have so much to do that you don’t know where to start. Perhaps you’re bogged down with the everyday tasks and can’t find time for the important ones. You might wish you were more organised or efficient.

Thankfully there are plenty of ways that you can become a more organised individual, apps on your smart phone, detailed diaries and notes upon notes. We would recommend writing a master plan in terms of growing your business. What are the overall aims then break these down into manageable chunks, setting yourself targets, deadlines and rewards. Having this laid out in front of you can look daunting but it’s better than being all up in the air.

             Cash flow problems?
Is your business active and busy, but are you lacking funds in the bank account? Maybe your business spends more than it makes, or there is always money tied up in places, so you have insufficient funds to complete your work-in-progress.

Without very diligent cash flow management, or the raising of more funds, a business is often constrained by this. Many fantastic entrepreneurs cannot overcome this obstacle in their business, and cannot understand why lenders can’t provide financing as SME’s don’t always have the security to support the debt.

But the solution is easier than many of us realise. It beings, as most great things do, with a plan. Plans to see what your cash needs are and when your cash needs to rise. Then you are in position to manage it and focus on cash management techniques, making you more likely to be successful in your business.  

           You have no support network

It can be lonely if you are a SME, and running your own business. There aren’t big meetings where you can talk ideas and brainstorm strategies, and the buck stops with you! Always! Nobody holds you accountable so your plans can often slip behind schedule.

Many entrepreneurs and business owners can feel alone in their business. Check out this fantastic article written by Meredith Fineman; ‘An entrepreneur opens up about how she fights loneliness at work.'

‘Sometimes you need to feel those dips to be happy with the peaks. It's also learning how to disconnect, or to unplug from all that is going on around you in order to focus on what you need, what your company needs, and where you want to go’

             People Problems

You’re finding it difficult to manage your employees, who aren’t working well together as a team. Your staff don’t have any role descriptions and are perhaps underperforming. What can you do to overcome this big barrier?

Sometimes a lack of management skills is a problem that is probably the most difficult to deal with, as in most SME’s, the senior management team is limited. The solution is to determine what the areas of weakness are, and then develop a plan for dealing with those challenges. Once you spend the time recognising a weakness, it is often compensated for without a lot of time, effort or money.

Street Style Surgery’s Sissy is ‘Sole Trader of the Year’ Thanks to Hard Work & an Inspirational Mum

Local entrepreneur Sissy Rooney has taken her inspirational social enterprise from a one woman operation with its headquarters in her bedroom, to a nationally recognised and award winning training provider.  But how did she do it?

Founder of ‘Street Style Surgery’ Sissy reflected “It started with just me delivering t-shirt spray painting workshops now I have a team of over 200 qualified and inspiring trainers delivering many workshops all over the UK.”

Having been nominated for ‘Inspirational Woman of the Year 2014’ and ‘Sole Trader of the Year’ at the EVA awards (Enterprise Vision Awards) Sissy was delighted to be selected as ‘Sole Trader of the year’ 2014.  And it isn’t surprising looking at her journey and what she has achieved.

Sissy Rooney was born in Toxteth in Liverpool where her family lived “on the bread line”.  For Sissy and her family, times got ever tougher when her dad was murdered when she was just 9 years old, leaving her mum with 3 kids to look after.

“I watched my mum really struggle to make ends meet” said Sissy. “She even worked through the night sewing up clothes for a factory to try and make some money to support us.  I learned what strength and courage a woman could have and how inspirational it was to be a woman with a mission.”

Having moved to Manchester aged 21 to study at University, Sissy Rooney took the inspiration her mother had given her and in 2007 established her social enterprise ‘Street Style Surgery’ there.

“The Street Style Surgery is a high quality provider of engaging creative workshops across the UK” explained Sissy.  “We want to give young people an opportunity to be exposed to a vast array of creative subjects from body popping to beatboxing, fashion designing to music production, film-making to business and enterprise, cool science workshops, circus skills workshop, healthy relationship and sexual education to name just a few.  All our sessions can be tailored to schools/youth group’s needs, topics and themes; we can even create bespoke packages.”

Sissy is focussed on continuing to build the Street Style Surgery brand, and recently took advice from The Women’s Organisation, through their ‘Venture Accelerator’ programme.
“I’ve found my meetings with my adviser Mike really useful in helping me focus on my goals and develop a clear strategy for growth” Sissy told us.

And Sissy has seen great success this year even beyond her award win. As well as trebling her turnover, Street Style Surgery have recently been appointed as a partner in Kenco’s rewards scheme to raise the aspirations of young people in UK and Ireland by running a ‘spoken selfies’ project.  

“It allows young people to look at themselves and where they want to be in the future in a creative way and make plans to achieve those dreams! The public can donate their point from a jar of coffee to our projects and have a valuable impact on raising young people aspirations 

Now sporting the title of ‘Sole Trader of the Year’ Sissy has definitely become that “woman with a mission” she saw in her mother those years before.  Looking at her journey she said “I think the key to my success is that I just don’t give up, no matter what is thrown at me I still get back up and try my hardest.  Seeing the results of my workshops and hearing the young people’s feedback spurs me on even more.”

To find out more about why Sissy was chosen as an EVA award winner, check out her website or follow @sssurgery on Twitter.

Women who are running a successful business in Greater Manchester who are inspired by Sissy’s story can contact to find out more about how The Women’s Organisation can support you to develop a strategy to grow your enterprise. 

9xTable© by Louise Barson of My Life Pack | Getting you organised for life and getting you organised for business

Louise Barson has always gained great satisfaction from helping people in her corporate career by informal mentoring, and nowadays as an IOEE (Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs) Business Mentor. But when a corporate project ended in late 2008 and the recession hit, Louise found herself without an income.

She decided to set up her own business, but, with a spin. She wanted to focus on helping others to save time, money and stress so that they could get on with enjoying other aspects of their lives, saying; ‘I’ve always believed in collaborative models and paying it forward, giving to gain.’

She began with her business concept Silver Concierge in 2010 and has won awards for her decluttering and organising services including The Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday Award, EVA Awards New Business Runner Up in 2011 amongst others. 

Moving on from this, Louise continued to solve problems and provide solutions for her clients, by creating a product. A life personal organiser, which she has trademarked, self-published and named; My Life Pack…Your Life at Your Fingertips™. She says; 

‘I’ve had to learn a lot of new skills around this process as well as different marketing skills, moving on from a service to a product.’

Highly-organised Louise has had some enforced time out over the past 18 months, as she fought (and beat) cancer, and lost 3 family members within 5 months of each other, but she says;

Time out for a micro enterprise often means no business as you are your business, but I’m back in action now with big plans for My Life Packfor 2015 which I started putting together in November 2014, and I am attending courses on and offline to build up my knowledge of digital marketing.’

Micro Enterprises and Micro Businesses have always been an interest  of Louise’s after she spotted a tweet by Tony Robinson OBE, a Business Mentor and Public Speaker, promoting a national Micro Business Matters Day on the 9th January 2015. Tony Robinson primarily advises on and promotes ways for organisations to engage with and benefit from start-ups and micro enterprises.

 He enables people, policies and programmes which help those starting and running their own business to survive and thrive.

He says; ‘Micro enterprise (0-9 employees) owners are essential customers and suppliers to larger organisations. They are major contributors to every nation’s employment, innovation, communities and economic growth.’

‘In the UK alone there are over 4.5 million, representing 96% if all businesses. One in seven of the UK workforce runs their own micro-enterprise and the number of micro-enterprises and their contribution to employment and the economy continues to increase. With the right help in the first 18 months for every 100 start-ups, 85 will survive beyond 3 years and 6 will become substantial, employing businesses.’

So on the 9th January 2015, the initiative for MicroBusiness Matters Day is to get everyone (whether they are large or small businesses, or the general public) to spend 9 minutes on the 9th January promoting or helping individual micro businesses. Louise spotted a way that micro businesses like herself could use this national event to raise their own profiles whilst helping others at the same time.

Her big idea is called 9xTable© Your Proactive Micro Business DigitalMarketing Sessiona flexible session which you can host around your kitchen table or your office desk. She says;

‘You need your laptop or tablet and your pre-prepared social media marketing messages that you would like more people to see. And work with between 3 and 9 other micro businesses proactively sharing your marketing material for 9 minutes across various social media platforms. You repeat the 9 minute rounds for the number of people sat around your 9xTable© Thus increasing your reach and improving your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). 

Louise firmly believes in the importance of micro-enterprises and is determined that January 15th is a successful day for micro business owners;

‘As a micro enterprise owner yourself you know that you need to be proactive and resourceful. Why? Because most, but not all, business support initiatives are aimed at limited companies and large organisations. The support around to help micro enterprises is not always easily found. I found The Women’s Organisation when I first set up and have kept in contact since.’

‘95% of all businesses are micro enterprises. Collaborations and sharing ideas allows us to help each other, keep each other going, help each other grow and level the business playing field.’

If you think that this is something that your business could benefit from and work with on Micro Business Matters Day on 9th January 2015, then get involved! Take advantage of the national coverage and use the hashtag #MicroBizMattersDay and #MBMD on Twitter, to raise your profile and that of your contacts.

If you decide to run your own 9xTable© session with 3 to 9 of your contacts, then get in touch with Louise, she can send you a FREE social media marketing template with ideas for marketing actions! Follow Louise and My Life Pack on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest using the links below to get in touch and hear updates about 9xTable around the UK and about what is happening on #MBMD and My Life Pack hints and tips on saving time, money and stress.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Historic Women @54StJamesStreet | Home of @TheWomensOrg | Millicent Fawcett

When The Women's Organisation opened the doors of their new £5.3mil building in the Baltic Triangle district of Liverpool, they were keen to show the influence that iconic women of history have had on the organisation.

Each room at 54 St James Street has been carefully named after an inspiring woman who made her mark in history. The Women's Organisation wanted to introduce you to some of these amazing women so you can see why they have been recognised at the Women's International Centre for Economic Development (WICED)

The Fawcett Room is a light and airy semi-circular room on our third floor is appropriate for networking and training events and can accommodate up to 20 people. The Fawcett room is available from £50 for half a day session, or £75 for a full day. This room also benefits from natural light, heating and cooling system which can be controlled from inside the room.  Free WiFi connectivity is available.

Millicent Fawcett (1847 - 1903)

Millicent Garrett Fawcett was born in Aldeburgh, Suffolk in 1847 and was twelve years old when her older sister Elizabeth Garrett moved to London in an attempt to qualify as a doctor. Millicent's visits to London to stay with Elizabeth and her older sister Louise, brought her into contact with people with radical political views.

In 1865 Louise took Millicent to hear a speech on women's rights made by the radical MP, John Stuart Mill. Millicent was deeply impressed by Mill, and became one of his many loyal supporters. John Stuart Mill introduced Millicent to many other campaigners for women's rights. This included Henry Fawcett, the radical MP for Brighton.

The couple married in 1867. Millicent Fawcett joined the London Suffrage Committee in 1868. Although only a moderate public speaker, Millicent was a superb organizer and eventually emerged as one of the leaders of the suffrage movement. She also campaigned against the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act

Millicent also took a keen interest in women's education. She was involved in the organisation of women's lectures at Cambridge that led to the establishment of Newnham College. In 1890 Millicent Fawcett was elected president of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). She believed that it was important that the NUWSS campaigned for a wide variety of causes. This included helping Josephine Butler in her campaign against the white slave traffic. Fawcett also gave support to Clemintina Black and her attempts to persuade the government to help protect low paid women workers. 

If you would like to find out more about our Fawcett room and our other suites and spaces at 54 St James Street, find us here

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tilly's Tips | @54StJamesStreet | How To Run A Successful Conference

Coming up on our blog in the future, we will be taking tips from our mascot Tilly, as she shows us around 54 St James Street and tells us about all it has to offer! Firstly, she's giving us her top 5 tips on how to run a successful conference

1. Plan. Plan. Plan

Everyone knows the key to any successful event, is planning ahead. By selecting a date and a location as early as possible, you will be able to accommodate those coming from out of town. By choosing a venue with good links rail and road links and nearby to an airport, this will help those travelling tailor their journey. One thing to keep in mind is a location with a selection of hotels and restaurants nearby too, for post-conference dinner, drinks and a good night’s kip!

2.  Follow A Theme
Determine a theme for the conference and carry it through from the beginning to the end, beginning with the conference invitation, continuing with the registration form and ending with a thank you, and follow up note. This will help to build a momentum and excitement for those attending and grab their attention from the beginning. Check out some of these links to inspire top themes for your conferences

3.  Variety
The most interesting events and conferences are those that have variety within their scheduling. By scheduling different types of presentation events, from live speakers to hands-on workshops, round table discussions and networking meetings, your guests will be engaged and the material will feel fresh and exciting.

4. Equipment
There is nothing worse than having technical struggles and glitches in front of a room full of expectant people. Testing all of the audio and visual equipment that you will be using beforehand is the best way to avoid this. By having knowledge of how each piece of equipment works will help you to assist speakers during their presentations if any problems crop up, or if this isn’t possible, have someone with that tech savvy knowledge on hand to help you out.

5. Entertain!
Conferences shouldn’t be all work and no play. Have a go at scheduling social activities for your guests in their free time, such as organising trips to local attractions and holding informal drink parties in the evenings. Making the attendants feel comfortable is a key trick to holding a great conference, little touches such as free phone calls and Wi-Fi access for them to keep in touch with their home and work life whilst at the conference is a great way to make the event a success.

54 St James Street is a stunning and unique new building conveniently located between the pioneering Baltic Triangle and Liverpool’s China Town and minutes’ walk from Liverpool One and Bold Street.

This fully accessible and flexible venue is a perfect location to host business meetings, conferences or private events. A range of individually styled rooms appropriate for gatherings of 2 to 150 people are available for hire with rates from as little as £10 an hour.
Our private garden provides relaxing external space within the venue, and the two fourth floor terraces provide chilled-out, music enhanced, reception spaces with excellent views of the City.

With friendly reception staff, complimentary wireless access throughout the building and a range of audio visual facilities including integrated data projectors, blue-ray players and smart boards; plasma screens for projection or TV; and video conferencing facilities this building meets the needs of people who require a highly professional service in a contemporary setting.

If you would like to find out more, or hold your conference or event at 54 St James Street, get in touch on 0151 268 5695

Downtown Liverpool in Business Teams up with The Women's Organisation for 3rd City of Liverpool Women in Business Awards

Downtown Liverpool in Business has announced that it will team up again with The Women’s Organisation to celebrate female entrepreneurs and business owners from across Merseyside by hosting the third annual City of Liverpool Women in Business Awards gala lunch next year. 

The 2015 event will take place on Friday 6th March 2015 at the Hilton Hotel.
This gala lunch event will reward female entrepreneurs, business owners and decision makers from across the city region.

This awards event will recognise the achievements of truly inspirational women who have created successful ventures and contributed to economic growth.  

The chief executive of The Women’s Organisation Maggie O’ Carroll commented:
“We are delighted to be partnering with Downtown Liverpool in this initiative. Earlier this year we enjoyed a first class event that had a serious business focus and celebrated some fabulous female business leaders who make a real difference to regional economy.”

Downtown chief executive Frank McKenna added:
“We have been at the forefront of the agenda to promote women in business. This event offers a further opportunity for us to highlight the talented business women and female led companies which are continuing to thrive. The positive feedback we have had from the event in previous years meant that there was no hesitation in deciding to continue this an annual occasion.”

To nominate women who you believe are worthy of an award, please CLICK HERE

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Venture Accelerator | The 5 Types Of People You Meet When Networking | The Women's Organisation's Top Tips For Networking

Networking. It’s a word that will make many of us break out in a cold sweat. The idea of walking into a room full of people you don’t know and immediately begin interacting with them, learning about them and telling them about yourself, is not the easiest task, even for the most confident of people. Some businessmen and women are unsure about networking. Is it just an excuse for a chinwag and a couple of free drinks, or can it be a productive and proactive way to meet people, make connections and further each other’s careers and businesses?
At The Women’s Organisation, we know that networking is fantastic…If done properly. For us, networking is more than just a buzzword. It’s probably the best opportunity you will ever have to make connections, build relationships and help yourself and others in the networking group succeed. Networking with like-minded individuals is also a great way to explore new career options, learn about a specific industry, gather insights from peers on critical business issues and grow professionally.

But beware! Of people who don’t take networking as professionally as they can! Here, The Women’s Organisation will give you the rundown on the 5 types of people you might encounter at a networking event, and our top tips on how to interact with them, and network successfully.

1.The Card Collector

Who are they?

Everyone knows this one. They've plastered their business card into your hands before they've even shaken it, or tucked it in your pocket when you weren't looking. The Card Collector’s aim is to try and meet as many people as possible when networking. They've set themselves an aim, and they’re not leaving until they've interacted with all 100 people at the event. Our best tip when meeting the Card Collector, is to remain polite and pleasant, but don’t expect an email in your inbox tomorrow!

The W.O’s top tip

Having an aim before attending a networking event is a great thing to do. So don't arrive at a networking event without a plan of attack. First, find out which person or organization is sponsoring the event. Next, see if there will be speakers, presenters or any special guests in attendance. Last, make a list of people you expect to be there and want to meet. Do a little research on each of them. A little knowledge goes a long way. If you know something about the people you approach, it's much easier to start a conversation -- and keep it going. And you won’t run the risk of becoming a Card Collector! No one wants to end up with a drawer full of dusty business cards and no real connections

2. The Wallflower

Who are they?

No one is quite sure who they are…Glen Gould, networking expert and author of ‘Is Your Networking Working?’ and ‘101 Networking Nuggets’ says; ‘Wallflowers come to networking events and spend most of their time hugging the wall. Once encountered by another, Wallflowers quickly leave, because they find the entire experience so uncomfortable’. And to be honest, we can understand why! Networking can be difficult for those not comfortable interacting with new people.

Our best tip for interacting with Wallflowers is…being nice! Don’t force them into an interaction they’re not comfortable with, but by being friendly, you can make them feel slightly more at ease. Although try not to get too upset, if you turn around and they’ve disappeared!

The W.O’s top tip

If you know yourself that you have a tendency to be a bit of a wallflower, here’s what we recommend! An easy way to relax at a networking function is to take the focus off yourself by first listening to the other person. This technique also helps you gain insights as to how that contact can help you, making the connection that much stronger. 

Stylist Magazine in their article ‘How To Network Without Being Annoying’ writes; ‘Be brave. Sadly, there’s no magic formula, just take a deep breath and dive in. Admit from the start if there’s something you don’t know about, and ask questions – often your perspective will be different and interesting so try not to get bogged down if you feel like you’ve said something silly.’

     3. The Social-Lite

Who are they?

A great phrase we have discovered. The Social-Lite is heavy on the social side, and lite on the professional networking. This party animal is most likely only here for the free food and drinks, and they’re unashamedly unreserved about this. Sure everyone enjoys having a glass of wine or two, and not having to fork out for it, but the Social-Lite takes this one step too far. They may be ever so slightly entertaining after that fourth glass of champagne, but they might not remember you’re interaction as well as you do in the morning! Our best tip for interacting with the Social-Lite, is exactly that, keep things light! Don’t expect you are going to wake up tomorrow to a phone call from them offering you a new business venture, but they certainly did make you smile!

The W.O’s top tip

Bernie Cox, our fantastic Training Co-ordinator has some stern words on this topic:
It isn’t a party. Remember why you're here. The purpose of a networking event is to help you advance professionally. It's a social event -- but a professional one. Think of it as a conference social or a business dinner. The cardinal rule of networking events: Never get drunk. We all remember what happened to Melanie Griffith in ‘Working Girl’ you want the people you meet to remember you as capable, competent and polished -- not as the person who was wearing a lampshade on their head at the end of the evening.

       4. The Social-Media Addict

Who are they?

They haven’t looked up from their phone since they entered the room. They’ve already tweeted about the event, changed their profile picture on Facebook and requested you as a connection on Linkedin. Perhaps they’ve forgotten how to interact without their Iphone 5/ The Social-Media Addict will keep their phone in their hand at all times, dash out the door to take that very important phone call, and still send you a friend request in the morning. Our best advice for dealing with this tech-savvy individual is to stand your ground. Don’t feel pressured into befriending them because it will look good on the internet. If you feel as though nothing genuine or progressive will come out of their interaction, politely move on and talk to someone else.

The W.O’s top tip

If you feel at risk on becoming a Social-Media Addict when at a networking event, try turning your phone on silent. Try putting it in your bag or in your pocket and not getting it back out for half an hour. The world won’t end, and yes, you may feel naked without the comfort of that LED screen, but if you’ve meet someone within that half an hour, made a genuine face to face connection rather than a new Facebook friend. You’re on the way to becoming a fantastic networker!

      5. The Ultimate Networker

Who are they?

And last but not least, the person we all want to be…The Ultimate Networker. The person who meets a lot of people, but not too many people. The person, who makes you feel great when you speak to them, listens to what you have to say and engages you in interesting conversation. On these people, Gould says of these people that they; ‘understand that networking events are for meeting perhaps three to five quality connections in the hopes to find a way to help them expand their network’ By seeing networking as not only a way to help themselves but also as a way to help others, The Ultimate Networker is the type of person you want to meet at an event! If you happen to stumble across this rare breed of networker,be sure to watch how they interact, what they do that makes people feel at ease, and how you can learn from them.

The W.O’s top tip

It takes time to become comfortable and confident at networking, no one is expecting anyone to become a pro after a month of events. Be patient with yourself and don’t push yourself too hard at the start. Our top tip that we’ve learnt from a powerful networker is; when receiving someone’s business card at an event, make sure you have a pen handy to jot down notes about the interaction so you can make connections of value later.

At the end of the day, at The Women’s Organisation, we believe networking is a great use of time, it can be fun and definitely rewarding, and it’s a way to grow your business through making contancts and connections.
If you own your business and think you may already be a dab hand at networking, The Women’s Organisation has a challenge for you…

Women business owners in Greater Manchester can benefit from FREE support to take their business to the next level with The Women's Organisation. The Women's Organisation who have been working in the north west since 1996 offering enterprise support to women, can offer business growth consultancy to local women through their Venture Accelerator business growth programme in Greater Manchester.

Through Venture Accelerator women can be linked with a specialist business growth advisor who will offer tailored support to take their business to the next level. Programme Manager Mike Marsden and the Venture Accelerator team have already supported a number of local businesses to expand their team through apprenticeship schemes, funding for growth and looking at organisational structure.

The Venture Accelerator Programme runs to June 2015 and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. If you are a women-led business in the Greater Manchester area and you would like free advice to build your staff team or grow your turnover, contact programme manager to find out more about the help The Women's Organisation can offer, and follow @TheWomenOrgManc on twitter.