The Northern Affinity (Virtual) Partners Meeting – Friday 27th March 2020

The Northern Affinity is all about community and support and never has this been more important. Many of us have had to make adjustments to the way we work at the moment. We know there are many of you juggling work with bouncing children and we salute you! We’re all in this together.

Despite the hurdles, we were so thrilled to be joined by so many of our partners at this month’s meeting. Thank goodness for Zoom, right? 

Protecting your intellectual property.
The meeting’s theme took the theme of protecting our businesses, particularly during these strange times. We first heard from Matt Sammon at Sonder IP. Often, when we think of intellectual property, we think of trademarking a logo or name. Matt took us through the many other components of your business that might be worth protecting. For example, colours or moving images as well as your company designs and website content. But why should we bother? Well, there’s many advantages to it as Matt explained. Not only will it give your business continuity, it protects your investments and helps future proof your assets. In addition, the improved continuity will help your commercial appeal.

Protecting your website.
Next up, we heard from Phil Storey who walked us through his new app, Glow. Much like a car needs a regular MOT and service, so does your website and that’s where Phil and his team step in. It’s worth noting that Glow is only available for WordPress sites however, you can easily check whether your site is compatible or not on Glow. Investing in your website maintenance could save you a great deal of hassle down the line, as we found out from Phil’s case study. The client didn’t take up the monthly plan and then found themselves in the middle of an enormous hack and ultimately had to commit to rebuilding their website from scratch – ouch! 

Phil kindly left us with a few tips for protecting our websites that we can easily do at home. 

  1. Always change the default login. 
  2. Always update plugins
  3. Always change the default username
  4. Use a strong password. 

Thank you to both Matt and Phil for sharing some really valuable knowledge with us. If you’d like to present at a future partner meeting, please contact Michael. 

Update from Michael.
We wrapped up the meeting with a few words from Michael on how we can continue to support one another through the next few weeks. To all our partners, please continue to make use of the Whatsapp group and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or arrange a Zoom call, even if it’s just for a quick chat and a virtual brew. Michael has also curated a Twitter list where we can continue to share, like and support each other’s social media posts. 

We have recently set up Workplace by Facebook which is another social hub for us all to chat and share ideas. You can use Workplace even if you don’t have a Facebook account. 

Finally, we quickly discussed the available grants and schemes the government has announced for those who are self employed. We are lucky enough to have several partners based in finance who are happy to answer questions on this for those wanting some more guidance. Please see our partners to see who you can connect with. 

Remember, we will be hosting a series of webinars throughout next month as part of our April Business Booster. You can find more details on our Eventbrite page.

Thank you again to everyone who joined in this morning! We’re learning everyday and will be back with you next month for the next meeting. Wishing you all the best of luck and please stay in touch!

How to stay motivated during business challenges.

Any business has its challenges, there’s no doubt about it. Many of our partners in The Northern Affinity are self employed or part of an SME. These often pose their own unique ups and downs. How do we stay motivated when we hit the inevitable bumps in the road? We thought we’d compile a few tips and tricks to keep you going when the going gets tough. 

Set short term goals.

We all have big goals for our businesses, there’s no doubt about it. Ambition is imperative to driving a successful business forward. However, sometimes in challenging times, those goals and aspirations can feel a million miles away. Setting a list of short term goals will help to plan out your days and, more importantly, give you a sense of achievement at the end of them! 

If you know you want to double your annual turnover in 5 years, break that down into smaller manageable chunks. This way, you can devise a realistic and achievable action plan and get your mojo back. Whether it’s a bad day or a bad week, reaching those mini victories is a fantastic way of keeping your business moving forward. 

Remember to take care of yourself.

70 million work days are lost every year because of mental health related issues. Pretty alarming, right? 

When we start out in business, we often forget about looking after number one. Understandably, we put our hearts and souls into making ourselves and our companies a success but this means we sometimes forget to put the same effort in to ourselves and our own wellbeing. 

If you’re finding yourself becoming unmotivated or disillusioned, maybe it’s time to evaluate whether you’re doing right by yourself. After all, a car can’t run when it’s all out of fuel. The ‘SHED Method’ is a practical way of checking in with yourself to find out whether you’re performing at your best. Put some time back into you so you can maximise the time you put into your business. 

Relight your fire. 

This may be the simplest of advice but often the hardest to heed. It’s really hard to stay motivated during challenging times if you lose sight of the reason you started. Motivation without underlying desire will only get you so far. 

At times like these, it’s useful to have nailed down your business mission, vision and values. Being able to refer back to these will be useful during difficult periods. You will remember why you started. 

Despite living in a world where we now expect instantaneous results, business is not an easy route. There will always be challenges whether you’re a multi million pound cooperation or just starting out with your first business. Results take time and effort and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. In The Northern Affinity, we hope we provide a support network to our partners; a soundboard for new ideas and a shoulder to lean on during the tough times. You can read more about finding your business tribe in our previous blog.

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