Christmas at Cross Reference

With the last meeting of 2023 we had a joint meeting with the Chilterns Chamber of Commerce who we have a regular slot with every few months.

This gives both groups a chance to gain from talking to other experts and discuss other opportunities.

Our Christmas flavoured talk was from Charles Fraser who gave us an interesting take on Bingo talking about his specialist knowledge with prizes for the winner! As ever there are always some take away points that are of interest.

We look forward to our next meeting on January 5th 2024

New Member – Peter Baldacchino

Mortgage Adviser, Director at High Street Mortgages Ltd – Peter has joined the group and is already giving us a great insight into the mortgage market – as more and more people come to the end of their fixed rates it is very important to get the advice of a professional and with Peter he really knows his area of expertise and his advice is faultless.

What is even more important in the current market is the way the financial situation is changing so quickly. It can be the difference in making a decision now or leaving it as long as possible to where the market is looking at going.

Always get proper financial advice before making any decision.

First talk by new member Sharon Mitchell

We welcomed our newest member to the Cross Reference “Family” Sharon Mitchell from A-Plan Insurance at the meeting on Friday 6th January.

A-Plan are one of the rare companies that still has a physical presence – so its easy to actually go there and talk to a human face to face!

Whilst they cover almost every type of insurance, from personal car, motorbike or van, to home, pet, travel and pretty much every type of home and commercial insurance.

They have over 30,000 Trustpilot reviews so you know they are reliable and will work hard to find the insurance that suits you and your budget.

Sharon gave us a short insight into the company but also a very intriguing insight into her own background – I shall say no more, you will have to ask her yourself for details! But it’s pretty obvious she loves being adventurous.

Succession Planning and its importance

At the meeting on Friday 15th July we had a very informative talk from the knowledgeable Charles Fraser on this topic. It is relevant to businesses and perhaps more than people think – why not get thinking about this before it becomes an issue!

Please note that this article is written on the very briefest of information from Charles – if you would like informed details please contact him directly.

So what’s it about?

Well if something happens to the owners of a business – it may be just an injury that takes them out the business for a while, long term issues or even an unforeseen death. There are three main people groups that have issues with succession planning:-

  1. The Sole Trader
  2. A Partnership
  3. A Limited company
  1. Sole traders – often an executive can access the account but this may not be the case. From the moment something happens to the sole trader there are issues to be dealt with from the simple paying of bills to sorting out longer term issues.
  2. Partnerships – should have a written agreement as an informal one does not help in the event of one partner wanting to walk away – it may mean the business has to be liquidated!
  3. Limited companies – these can easily carry on after an issue because there may be shareholders but key contacts need to be in a file and not in just one persons head because oftern the really important information is just held by one main person.

So plan ahead and feel free to contact Charles for detailed information .

Meeting 17th June 2022

We had a really great meeting with a good catchup from the members and visitors today.

Steve gave us a short presentation on video with his Four “F”s – Form, Function, Finesse, Finance.

Form – make sure the video fits your brand and the message is aimed at the right audience.

Function – Ensure you plan and script out what you are trying to say so your message is clear and aimed at the correct people. Where will you be putting the video, on a website of YouTube for instance.

Finesse – make sure your video has a hook or a story. Perhaps think about live action or animation.

Finance – A better question idHow much do you want to invest in your brand?

All these 4 are interrelated as they impact on each other.

Sally gave us an exercise in vocal clarity and dicton – getting ready for that first conversation or presentation of the day. Think about being clear and undestood – do not mumble! Use tongue twisters in the car on the way so you hit the ground running! Another great example of simple ways to improve your delivery.

This mornings presentations

Todays meeting had three guests attending – Marie Massaquoi, Damaris Sende and Justin Megawarne – so good to hear what you are all up to .

We had Steve Groves from Take One Business Communications going a little off his usual topic but giving us hints and tips on how to put a presentation together. Some great tips that translate well to use on websites as well, from keeping things simple in text size, font and colours and of course remembering what your key takeaway point of the presentation is!

Tim Brooker at Beyond Numbers was talking about using your company values to get involved in adding value and impact to the outside world. Signing up to for instant to use the values you hold to help others and promote this to potential clients and the benefits of doing that.

Really good fun meeting as usual – what a great group of people who genuinely make me laugh, add value to my work and the business.

Next meeting is July 2nd so why not come along!

Meetings On Zoom

Todays meeting had two very interesting talks from members – Emma and Roger.

Emma took us through the uses of great photography in your social media – from websites to posts, headshots to selfies – she also got us to take a selfie and post it, adding a little bit of spontaneity and personality to life.

Roger gave us insights into the issues around HR currently, with one hot topic of hybrid working and the pitfalls of letting the workforce decide what they want to do vs management telling the staff what will happen. There are definite splits in what different groups want – younger worker seem to want to get back to the office for the social/learning aspects, the older staff want to stay at home, cut out the boring commuting etc.

Will there be an easy answer? Probably not!

Morning Networking

The meeting this morning was as much fun as useful. We had a talk on “word of the year” by Matt our resident copywriter – who is making us think of the word that we think will project our businesses in 2021 – very thought provoking.

Olly gave us a really interesting look at the way his company is moving into 2021 with new emphasis on the individual nature of his clients and not trying to have a one size fit all solution, or even boxes they fit into. Yes, we are all slightly different and thats worth considering for us all.

Good to see our three visitors and hope to see Jas, Dan and Wayne again soon.

Next meeting and who is talking

On April 16th we have our next Zoom meeting with the usual format giving everyone the opportunity of having a 1 minute pitch to tell us what they do, what they are up to and maybe who they are looking to do business with.

Then we have our short presentations from Olly and Matt – always useful and informative. I’m looking forward to finding out and reporting back later on what is being discussed.

Networking locally – probably better than you think!

Cross Reference is a group meeting in Gerrards Cross but currently online with Zoom.

We have a laugh, chew the fat and discuss issues as well as pass business and experiences around the group.

Today we had a short talks from Emma and Matt.

Matt is into writing…. copyrighting amongst his many talents – “less is more” should be his tagline.

He gave us an insight into Creative Writing today:-

  1. Start somewhere – don’t over think it
  2. You never have to start from scratch – use a “swipe file” and store away bits you find to use later
  3. Keep to the “why” and not the “what” in your writing
  4. Think laterally – think around the problems/topics rather than through them
  5. solve it when you walk, easier than watching a blank screen.

Emma is an award winning local photographer who has International clients as well as local ones.

She gave us yet another inspirational chat on what she has been up to in these difficult days… Does she ever sit still!

One thing she has done is diversify her business and take it online with these strategies:-

  1. Pre book online
  2. Sell vouchers
  3. Webinars
  4. Online courses

Through her online marketing of her Personal Brand and her Business Brand she takes these messages out there.

Her final thought was “Start NOW – feel the fear but move beyond it”

Excellent meeting and I personally learnt something, passed on a lead to another member and had a laugh!

Do you want to come along to find out how we can help you and your business? Drop me a message or email [email protected]