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No such thing as a free lunch? Not true! The fantastic benefits of being an ELBP client.

No such thing as a free lunch? Not true! The fantastic benefits of being an ELBP client.

A guest blog from Building Legacies client and Trainer, Renée Wallen of Imaginative Training and Development Ltd, trading as Weekend Witch Social Media.

I vividly remember meeting Glen Addis, now the head of East London Business Place (ELBP) and its Building Legacies project – but I couldn’t put a time frame on it. I just remember being impressed that I was offered a shedload of business support for seemingly no cost. Too good to be true?

Well, I’m not particularly cynical but, let’s face it, there’s usually no such thing as a free lunch. Or is there?? It turns out that there is, if you’re connected to a professional, totally client-focused, proactive organisation like ELBP. Not lunch, maybe, but networking events with a free glass of wine and some pretty scrumptious canapés. Although I’m jumping ahead now…

Initially, Glen’s team did provide the business support that I needed at that time: a mentor to keep me on track with my timekeeping, profitability and the company’s projection. And several years later I’m still fortunate enough to benefit from the accountability that Simon, my terrific Business Development Manager, offers. He’s always at the end of the phone – or dabbling about on his Instagram account – and he provides a wealth of excellent advice.

Winning business

And it’s not just Simon. While he was on leave recently, one of his colleagues, Clive, spotted a tender notice for a governmental nationwide social media coaching contract that he thought I should bid for. He pointed me in the right direction and provided excellent guidance on my tender submission, even putting me in touch with Rachel Widdows, a specialist in tender applications. The support from the team was incredible! Their website says, “Key to ELBP’s success is the ability to professionally coach and mentor clients whilst developing meaningful buyer relationships which lead to realistic contract opportunities.” And they’re not telling porkies – I’ve seen concrete proof of the results.

As a client of ELBP, Rachel also benefited from her introduction to me. She told me:

“As a consultant and trainer with Building Legacies, I have loved the diversity of businesses that I have been so lucky to engage with over the years. So many of the Building Legacies clients have inspired me with their innovation, drive and ambition to run their own businesses. It’s been fantastic watching so many of them thrive and grow with a little bit of support and guidance in the right area at the right time.”

Rachel’s guidance was only one aspect of ELBP’s backing that informed my tender application. To further support it – and to enhance my overall offering, I attended a free workshop they ran on Zoom focusing on ethical business practice and corporate social responsibility. Neil Leslie presented some key tips that I included in my tender, as well as on my website and in my marketing material. It was fantastic, both in terms of offering my services and focusing my energies on what I do to help other people and the planet!

Mark Kass, Renée Wallen and Glen Addis

Nifty networking

As a result of the regular networking events that have been held during the pandemic, I recently met Christine and Tracey from Perfect Layout. These superb web designers and SEO experts gave me some top tips for tidying up my website – which I will definitely do once I have a spare hour

or two… I was genuinely happy to be doing business with another SME from within the ELBP family, and – although I’ve never met them in real life – we’ve met up a few times now on Zoom. They also only have good things to say about ELBP:

“Our business has benefitted in a number of ways. We have been regularly challenged by our Business Development Manager, Simon, as well as developing our skills from various free training courses. In addition, their networking events have given us the opportunity to meet peers and new clients. We have found it highly rewarding and recommend other business owners to see how they can benefit from the Building Legacies programme.”

The Havering Zooms where we met are particularly good fun and we get a real insight into each other’s businesses. Through these, I’ve also become friends with a lovely podiatrist called Anita Patel; she says,

“I have attended some fantastic networking events over the years giving clients the opportunity to forge connections with a rich variety of businesses as well as the ELBP team. Businesses faced huge challenges during the pandemic, however ELBP found a way to continue with support and quickly responded to the situation by setting up The Havering Business Support Meet-up. These monthly zoom events were very welcome during such an overwhelming and uncertain period of time, encouraging local businesses to connect, and support each other and the local economy, share information and experiences, and ensure fitness to supply. This has helped me immensely to adapt, gain momentum and evolve.”

A cracking chiropractor (not literally)

I don’t only do business with women, although you might think I do from this blog! I met one of my longest standing clients when I was delivering a social media training session for ELBP a few years ago. Karen Habershon is a first class chiropractor with a practice in the city. I’ve helped her with her marketing, and she helped tremendously with my back and shoulder issues, particularly during lockdown. Briefly, Karen told me:

“The moment I started booking onto courses and met my Business Development Manager, Rob, my life changed dramatically. Not only did I walk away from each meeting or event hungry to put all I’d learnt into action, but belief in myself and my business skyrocketed. The value of sitting down with someone without my blinker vision was invaluable. I had achieved things to be proud of and future potential for my business was huge.

“I signed myself up to several courses, turning my hand to all kinds of things. I love learning and challenging myself, and mixing with other businessmen and women outside of my insular environment. Rob has got a great personality and a huge array of knowledge and skills to help guide me and encourage me when necessary. He’s a gem! He particularly helped me believe in myself, throw myself into new challenges and have huge faith that I could do it!”

Actually, I think she does literally crack some people, but don’t take my word for it. You can find out more about her services on the ELBP Marketplace webpages, another client benefit that’s available to all of us.

When I asked both Karen and Anita how they feel ELBP has supported them, they each wrote such amazing testimonials that I’ve only taken a few snippets for this blog, and you can see how wonderfully they ooze enthusiasm in future ELBP articles.

So you can see that I’m not alone in singing ELBP’s praises! I love introducing new clients to the team so that they can also benefit from the services on offer.

Bouncing on board

Most recently I’ve introduced a fabulous new business owner that I’ve been working with to support her marketing. Alana started her business after she’d been the victim of maternity discrimination and she fought back by creating a successful glamour empire – bespoke designer press-on nails that are being showcased online by celebrities and social media influencers. Corinne became her Business Support Manager, as she has a particular interest in female-led beauty and wellbeing businesses. Alana says,

“Working with Corinne has given our business a layer of accountability that was very much needed. Our monthly sessions have been invaluable in transitioning from start up to actual trading. We have really progressed in the time we have been with ELBP and I can’t wait to see where we will be on our one-year anniversary: six months to go!”

Coming soon to a Zoom screen near you…

I’ve been fortunate enough to secure the contract to deliver social media coaching to ELBP clients over the next few months, and there will be many other sessions run by colleagues on a wide range of business topics. Like all of ELBP’s workshops, they’re free to attend and they’re currently on Zoom – although we’ll soon be back in lovely training venues across London. So, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by speaking to the ELBP team and booking yourself onto a dynamic, interactive and informative session!

And what’s more, I have no doubt that we will meet up again before too long with the aforementioned wine and canapés – thanks to Covid it’s been way too long! For more information on registering as a client or booking a workshop, simply click here or get in touch with the team on 0207 537 6480.