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Sterling Causing A Stir | Business Networking

Our weekly business networking breakfasts this April were buzzing with laughter, discussions, and demonstrations, evidently leaving many of us with ever strengthening connections. BNI Sterling were victors after a social quiz event, involving BNI Waterloo.  All in good spirits, as avid business people accustomed to corporate competitiveness, we thoroughly enjoyed the rarity that is, friendly competition.

BNI Sterling Blog

Breakfast, Business, and Banter. They're all on the table.

We would love for you to be a fellow member of BNI Stirling.

The more members we have, the more effectively we can grow your business because you have more salespeople (read “referrers”) looking out for you.

We would, therefore, like to extend an invitation to the following professions to join us:

  • Surveyor
  • Contractor
  • Event Organiser
  • Estate Agent
  • Recruitment consultant
  • Corporate Finance
  • Foreign Exchange
  • Will writer
  • Office movers
  • Web Developer
  • Brand/Graphic Designer

How your business can leverage Virtual Reality! 

By Justin Wickee 
Brainstorm Strategic Marketing
Virtual reality for business

Virtual Reality is a rapidly expanding niche sector within the technology industry, dealing with immersive technology and putting the viewer deep into the midst of their chosen experience. Users experience a spherical vantage point, where realistic imagery, audio and other sensory stimulation's are replicated in order to simulate a particular environment, based on the users’ interaction with it. It is no wonder early adopters and businesses are finding so much value in the various VR products – after all, a first-person experience within a digital realm, is nothing short of enthralling. The integration of an immersive, novel and memorable escapade has the potential to redefine the limits of internal business communication, as well as lift interactive advertising to new heights. 

When shining a light on Industries such as communications, retail, Enterprise Service Providers, engineering, healthcare, education, media and entertainment, it becomes apparent as to the manner in which VR proves valuable. Doctors with specific skills can help provide care or decisions to an emergency responder in real time. IN the same breath, technicians who work in remote locations on an oil rig or an aircraft perhaps can call on distant experts for help with repairs.

Training employee’s in virtual environments, depicting real life scenario’s such as construction sites, surgical wards or crises can save insurmountable resources. This is a useful aspect for companies who develop potentially harmful products which need to be evaluated before use. They can test their product within a virtual environment without posing risk to themselves or employees. Picture the attraction for potential clients or high-level prospective employee’s as they are able to take a virtual tour of the workplace that they may soon be involved with.

Training sessions could be recorded easily enough so that a new hire or someone in a new role could get up to speed quickly. The more vivid nature of virtual reality -- being able to look around the room, interact with objects, and meet other people virtually -- could even lead to people being better trained. Plus, the trainer could record sessions once for anyone to experience.

Another two drawing cards are those of virtual worlds and prototype testing. Companies can make use of virtual worlds as a means of holding meetings with people who are based in various locations. This is often a low-cost solution to the problem of communication with large numbers of employees. Tech companies, being able to test a prototype, without actually being required to forgo the monetary and timely expenses associated with each unsuccessful version, is not merely cost-effective but also paves the way for more rapid innovation. Forward-thinking organisations that have the capacity to integrate their data analysis and forecasting trends with VR will gain a greater understanding of their research findings through simulative A and B testing and stand to gain an edge over their competitors.

As with many technologies that create value within an organisation, it does not take long until these technologies are utilised in order to bring value from the outside in, while at the same time sticking with the modern day persuasion of customer centricity. Achieving brand objectives through the use of VR is an authentic method for pioneering organisation to establish marketing prowess and differentiation. VR can be used effectively as a tactic to: demonstrate the functionality of products by providing firsthand experience of the product features and attributes.

The communication of the company mission and value propositions through enlivening storytelling, results in consumers being able to make informed decisions at the point of sale. The tracking and analytic data available feedback through VR could allow for a platform from which to build brand loyalty and increased awareness as companies learn about the usage patterns of target markets.

The limitless potential of VR is set to cause seismic waves in many facets of life. The rate of adoption and therefore the growth stage of the product lifecycle are likely to be influenced firstly the level of monetary buy in from businesses and consumers and secondly the willingness to invest time and knowledge into learning about VR in order to employ it’s capabilities to the desired efficiency.    

Education Slot public speaking and presentation skills coach at Freedom Works UK

Planning your 60 seconds - Chris Hayes of FreedomWorks

Here are three useful steps to help you plan and prepare for your 60 seconds pitch.

Firstly, and most importantly, remind yourself of your why. Why are you running your business? Why are you passionate about what you do? What inspires you about your business?

People buy into you and your passion for what you do. So it is important to get present to, and grounded in, your passion for what you do. 

Write what you are passionate about at the top of your page, and what inspires you about your business.

Secondly, forget about you for a moment, and look outwards and get in the world of your audiences, your partners, and your customers.

What do they need to hear from you such that they can have confidence and trust in your capabilities. You might want to share about your years of experience in the sector, what makes your business unique, or share a short and recent testimonial.

Only once you are clear on these two things should you begin to sketch out the content of your 60 seconds pitch.

BNI has a helpful structure:

  1. Name, company and what you do (10 seconds)
  2. Why others can refer to you with confidence (15 seconds)
  3. What others should listen out for, in order to refer to you, and how they should respond (20 seconds)
  4. Your target clients

So that’s:

  1. Get present and connected to your passion and why you do what you do
  2. Project outwards and step into the shoes of your audience, your partners, and clients. What do they want and need to hear from you? Build trust and confidence.
  3. Structure your pitch in a way that conveys your passion for what you do, and builds trust in others.


BNI Article 

Set Goals BNI Article

When was the last time you set a goal? More importantly, when was the last time you set a goal that you actually achieved?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the keys to success is to set a goal. What are you working toward? How will you measure success? This all hinges on your goal.

What are you working toward? How will you measure success? This all hinges on your goal. 


Read the full article here and assess your goals. 






Movers & Shakers!

BNI Business Networking Article

Merielle Ghali of MRG Business Associates Ltd won an award for her swift handling of a large-scale government departmental transition to a new facility. 

A unit of approximately 50 people were required to move to a much larger Government Department within the space of two months, an unusually fast time-frame for a move of this nature.

Merielle overcame numerous many challenges including but limited to:

  • Differing IT platforms between the original and new Department e.g. Google to Outlook
  • Different pay scales as well as terms and conditions in the new Department
  • Different processes and procedures, with a more risk adverse culture
  • Staff who had been through prior moves were suffering from 'move fatigue.'
  • Heavy high-pressure staff workloads. 
  • Requirement to minimize disruption to Ministerial support

Merielle Ghali took the leading role in co-ordinating this move. Her remit was to act as the lead representative for the unit, advising and helping the business to communicate effectively, and holding them to account.

To ensure a smooth move, Merielle:

  • Built relationships with key members of the new Department in advance
  • Built 'change champions' in each of the teams who were moving
  • Participated in Director General level, and Weekly Change Team meetings and cascaded information accordingly
  • Involved the Change Board, Change Team, IT and Facilities teams in weekly cascades to disseminate information and ensure direct two-way feedback.
  • Acted as a conduit between the Change Team and the staff affected by the move
  • Tracked all aspects of the move, including FAQs, weekly updating and traffic light reporting
  • The Change Champions were critical to the success of the move. Champions were selected from the Directorates of the Unit and were able to use their insight and networks to help Merielle gather and share information. Champions assisted on a practical level by owning logistics on move day itself.

With an aggressive two-month time-line from announcement to move day, rapidly integrating the Unit into the culture of the new Department was it was a high priority. Merielle worked closely with staff to manage expectations, while ensuring that voices were heard, to reach sensible cost effective solutions.

The two most challenging aspects of the move were IT and HR. Both were tackled with phased moves.

The IT move happened over six months, so that staff could move to new systems gradually. Temporary wifi solutions were set up to support this, along with sessions with IT support and floorwalking. GOV.UK webpages were updated and Merille negotiated to have them set up as a stand-alone agency to future-proof the Unit for potential further moves. Unit staff were trained to upload their own content.

Staff had concerns about differences in pay grades and terms and conditions across the two Departments. Merielle arranged opportunities for individuals to speak with HR to discuss concerns and understand the new working arrangements.

Once individuals physically moved into their new office space, Merielle led on aftercare, managing queries and problems, with a list of live and often complex issues. One example was poor lighting, which required the procurement of special lighting. The Unit kept all records and logs to act as a blueprint for future moves.

Staff feedback on the move was very positive, with staff saying that they felt wanted as part of the new Department. Merielle won two awards for her work supporting the move.


Sterling News

Take Your Best Shots This Summer!  

Our photographer Danilo Leonardi is offering a two-hour photography session with tips on using your camera on the 14th June, 10.30 to 12.30, at FOCUS, 13 Prince of Wales Terrace, London, W8 5PG.  
June is a great time to explore the camera functions of your phone or perhaps to become more confident using your camera. Join us for a session with Danilo Leonardi, a London-based photographer, and teacher who specializes in architecture and event photography. This practical, interactive course will overview certain photography fundamentals and provide tips that will result in snapshots that will be lovely reminders of great times spent with family and friends this summer. Weather-permitting - We will go on a short walk to practice our newly acquired skills. Otherwise, indoor class time will be devoted to practical photography assignments.
Please book in advance, via 
The photography session is open to both members and non-members of FOCUS, there is a charge of £15 (or £5 if you are a member of FOCUS).
Danilo has vast experience across a broad range of photographic genres, here are a few shots from his website. 
BNI Business Networking

Join us!

If you would like to visit our business networking group, please:

BNI is quite literally the best way to build a better business. We can help you seize the opportunities to take your business to the next level: making it more profitable, more effective and more successful than you ever thought possible. Everything else is just random networking.

More Profitable

Your fellow members become your unpaid marketing team, actively seeking new business for you.

More Effective

BNI’s structured, supportive and professional environment is the perfect place to gain practical advice, learn valuable new business skills and achieve best practice.

More Successful

Word of mouth is still the best way to win new business. BNI shows you how to develop relationships built upon trust so others can confidently refer new business to you.

Compiled by Brainstorm Strategic Marketing.

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