CAP Members Perform Magic - But before I start, here is a brief message from Kate McHardy, the lovely lady this story centres around.
"When Piper and I set off for a three month road trip in 2019 I had no idea what lay in store or how my life would change. After three wonderful months in Scotland we found ourselves stranded and homeless on the way south and thus began a whole new life in the Forest of Dean. It has been an amazing ride and I am proud and happy to have been introduced to the incredible CAP people who made this all possible. This is a story of life and a glorious testimony to what can happen when people step up to the plate and support each other. Thankyou".
Saving a fellow members home from re-possession!
Obviously, this story is more complex than told here, but you will get the gist. It’s about real kindness, true empathy and the magic that can happen when you bring collaboration to the table.
After running CAP Business Clubs for almost 10 years, I have come to recognise that a myriad of amazing things happens every week across the clubs, and why wouldn’t it when you have a community of members consistently supporting each other on a regular basis. But one story that has arisen from CAP is truly magical and I would like to share it with you.
Kate McHardy (and her faithful dog Piper) lived in Spain where she ran her business ‘The University of Light’. In February 2020 Kate and Piper were visiting the UK to help friends with some house sitting, when Covid19 broke out, therefore she could not return home. This was a real dilemma, as now she needed to rent a place here in the UK and still pay her mortgage in Spain. On top of which, Kate had to start attracting a new client base just at a time when we were all having a melt down regarding the lock down restrictions.
A friend of Kates suggested she came along to a CAP meeting, which she did, then joined our community and began putting her business back together. A few months later we held a ‘CAP Extra’, which were a series of ‘extra’ meetings designed specifically to help those struggling during the pandemic. Inside these meetings we split off into groups of four, and each group would brainstorm ideas for those requiring help.
It was during one of these meetings Kate first opened up regarding her predicament and that she was in danger of losing her house in Spain. Apparently Spanish banks are not too helpful (even during a pandemic!) and were pressuring Kate for payments that she was simply unable to make. This had now led to a threat that they would repossess the house....and very soon! Kate was devastated and felt completely helpless. The other three members in this particular brainstorming session, Matt Jupp, Ian Whitburn and Juliet Newton-Evans all immediately realised the consequences for Kate if she failed to meet the payments. She would lose her home, and right at the final hurdle as there was only eight thousand pounds left to pay on the mortgage, so it would have been a real tragedy to lose the house at this point (Not that there’s ever a good time). But the banks were adamant and made it very clear they meant business.
Further meetings from this mini group were set up to form a strategy on how to help Kate save her home. This was all done on their own time and willingness to help a fellow member; and please keep in mind two of them had never even met Kate before as they were from different CAP groups. They all worked together and decided to launch a Facebook appeal, which I am happy to report worked! Many people from all over the country and beyond kindly donated, and in a relatively short space of time it got the banks off Kate's back and gave her time to get back on her feet.
I am so happy to report that at the time of writing this (April 2022) Kate has just one more payment (about 400 euros) to make and the house is hers. And furthermore, things continue to work out for the best. Kate is busy building her business here in the UK and plans to develop her Spanish property into a retreat to help others with their wellbeing. So, consequently the benefits of this project will touch many more lives for the good in the future.
Matt, Ian and Juliet should be super proud of themselves, as their contributions really were above and beyond. I know it was a fine line and a mad race against the Spanish bank deadlines, but they did it ...by a whisker!! And Kate, what a brave lady she is; firstly, to have opened up and asked for help (often we don’t for whatever reason), then to have gone through so much; it really has been one hell of a journey for her (too much to mention here) with many twists, heartaches and sleepless nights.
So, in conclusion - With the world seemingly ever more bonkers by the day, this story is so welcome and proves that despite the most desperate of situations, people are amazing and do amazing things. I for one am very proud to be associated with this community, and long may magic of this nature continue to happen, not just at CAP Business Clubs, but all over the globe. Just imagine, through no fault of your own, you were going to lose your home to the banks and then out of the blue the kindness and generosity of others helped pull you through and create a situation to help others in the future. Now that truly is Magic!
The majority of experts would say yes to this question and many kindly offer free advice on this subject, which is awesome, especially if you are new to networking. But….maybe, just maybe there is more to it, depending on the type of networking events you attend. Let’s take a quick look.
So, if you tend to network across many groups, such as the extremely popular FSB meetings currently taking place all over the UK then a sharp approach would be effective. These meetings are different in the way that they are not a club with the same members who attend weekly, monthly etc, but rather more towards the ad-hoc approach. In instances such as these, professional advice would be - Be clear who you are and what you do, the benefits of working with or buying from you and throw in a testimonial if possible. This approach would also work well in networking organisations such as 4N and BNI.
There is however another point of view which would apply to groups like CAP Business Clubs, where the same people attend weekly, therefore are very familiar with each other. In these cases, we find the around the table/zoom introductions can be put to other usage. For example, just this morning a member at CAP Thursday Club used his intro to update the group on the progress of his business and asked for advice on storage for his stock. Another member offered advice on website traffic. You get the drift. There are exceptions to this though, for example - when other businesses visit or if you are new to the club.
To summarise - For the most part a well thought out clear, concise introduction is and should be executed exactly as the experts teach. But keep in mind, I believe (and it’s only my opinion) we should also be prepared to have a much more flexible approach depending on circumstances mentioned above.
The main thing is, just get out there and do it, learn, and enjoy!
I had the preconception that networking was for knobs and was full of go getters who were up their own asses with big egos - Look at me me me type people. So, avoided like the plague. Then in 2007 my wife and I bought a marketing business. After taking advice from other successful marketing businesspeople, I was advised to go networking. I decided this was not the route I would like to take…. however my wife persuaded me to go (yet another argument lost!).
I joined my local group and I remember very well my first 1-minute intro – I read my own name from a piece of paper, hands shaking and to be honest …whole body shaking. It was after this very first attempt at relaying to the group who I was and the purpose of my business that I realised that no matter how bad you are at this stuff, it really doesn’t matter…everyone is on your side.
Once I realised the potential, not just for my business but for me as a person there was no stopping me. I soon settled in and joined other groups too. Over the next 4 years we built the business, then sold it due to my wife having health issues. I really missed the networking side of things but thought it had been a good experience anyway.
Then a year later an opportunity came along for me to start my own networking business group…I took it and CAP Business Clubs was born. At the time of writing this, CAP is fast approaching its 9th birthday. We have grown from a single club into 5 thriving clubs. The journey has been incredible in so many ways, but I think the biggest change for me is ‘as a person’. I found that by listening and learning from a diverse set of members over the years I have become a better person….and let us be clear – A much better person. I have developed more empathy, more tolerance, much better business skills and I now fully understand power of collaboration. Doing things ‘Paul’ way was ok and worked to a degree, but now, I understand properly how other likeminded people can change the way you think for the good of your business and personal life.
There have been so many heart warming stories of members pulling each other up during challenging times. And especially during the ‘Covid’ period, where CAP members across all the clubs shone like beacons in the night. I am so grateful to be a part of this fantastic journey ….and best bit is – The best is yet to come!
5 Top Tips For Successful Networking
Author - Paul James - CAP Business Clubs
The days of the ‘hard sell’ has diminished. However, people still have a ‘need’ or ‘desire’ to buy. This is equally true when it comes to networking. We mostly buy on emotion and trust, so be the ‘go to’ person for your product or service by demonstrating your powers of knowledge, reliability, and empathy.
1: Listen Learn & Help
Pay attention to everyone else in the group. Learn how they work, find a way to help them and book some time to discuss further. This will demonstrate you have listened to their challenges and can help with a solution. Now, here’s the trick – Still do this process even if you are not likely to achieve a sale from it. Maybe it’s not a product or service you supply that they are looking for, doesn’t matter, your advice will be appreciated and more importantly, remembered, therefore increasing your chances of future business not only with the member you helped, but their contacts too.
2: Be Consistent & Trustworthy
Being consistent will establish you as a trustworthy and conscientious person. It will also be an indication you are serious about your business. This is extremely important for the long-term success. If you say you are going to do something, do it! If you can’t, tell them. Treat everyone with the same respect.
3: Be Open to Diversity
Be tolerant of those differences, of people’s opinions and approaches. Embrace the fact that everybody has a different experience and look for what you can learn from them.
4: Success Stories
Everyone likes a story! Especially with a happy ending. How you helped someone get out of pain, or how much money or time you saved them, how it made them feel…how it made you feel. People buy predominantly on emotion, and stories are the best format to attract new business in your group.
5: Have Fun!
Work without fun is just work. Be the kind of person others wish to spend time with. Who wants to hang around with miserable, complaining people anyway? No-one. Well, the same applies to your business (networking) world. Be the person who others can have a laugh with when appropriate. We all know the power of laughter and how it affects the brain in a positive way …Enough said.
The world around us constantly changes, including the business world …No-one can stop it and now changes are taking place faster than ever before. In fact, the next 10 years be a pivotal point where changes will be greater than ever, and it would appear the world will become a vastly different place. The next generation of technology is upon us, the infrastructure is ready to unleash a whole new way of being for mankind. Electric cars will become the norm, robots will be our personal assistants and the virtual world will become ever more real….and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
So, do you perceive this as good or bad?
Whatever your answer, you will be right in your mind, but if your answer is, this is a bad thing, consider this. Currently, never in history of mankind have the people of the world been so affluent. Our creature comforts are far beyond the imagination of our predecessors. Hot water and warm homes on demand, his and hers vehicles, 50” tv’s, gadgets for everything, choice of foods from all around the world. I could go on. I think if we were transported back just 100 years we would have the shock of our lives!
So, do we believe as human beings we have arrived at our destination? That there is no more to achieve or improve? That our generation finally made it to finish line?…..No, of course not. So why do we find changes such a challenge?
Mindset is the answer – Changes require learning new skills, often unfamiliar which take us outside of our comfort zone, which in turn makes us feel uncomfortable. So how do we change our mindset? Acceptance is the answer – The world will continue to change whatever your views are. The more you accept this the easier it will be to thrive going forward.
Some changes will seem like a bad idea and some of them will be. Remember, everything we have achieved up to now is not necessarily the best thing. But changes will come so the best way forward is to accept and even embrace them. And keep this in mind – There will be countless opportunities for you, if you just look.
Paul James - CAP Business Clubs