Get Business fit with Business Village

Get Business fit with Business Village

29 December 2018

Get Business fit with Business Village

Free event will help businesses and their owners get fit for 2019

Getting fit for 2019, in personal and business life, will be the focus of a free event kicking off the New Year for breakfast networking group Swindon Business Village.

Ian Locke and Shirley Hensher will jointly deliver a presentation: ‘Fit for business: achieving personal wellbeing is key to your business success’ on Thursday January 10.

Get business fit for business village

Ian is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He runs Thrive Personal Training, helping people move, eat and live in ways which improve their health and wellbeing. Shirley, under her business banner The Change Agent, enables corporate professionals and business owners to shape working lives which fit with their values and aspirations.

Shirley said: “The presentation is aimed at helping business owners who want to manage their health and fitness with the same level of energy and focus with which they manage their business. In other words, business owners who need motivation or support to create the opportunities for more ‘me time’ in their working week.”

Ian added: “For many of us, we are the most valuable asset our business has but we often ignore our own wellbeing in favour of the needs of the business. At the heart of our presentation is the question, your business needs you, but are you fit for business?”

The event, on Thursday January 10, is the first after the group’s Christmas break, and is free to anyone wanting to attend, as well as Business Village regulars.

It runs from 7.30-9am at The Campanile, West Swindon, and includes networking, one-minute introductions and breakfast. The usual charge for each weekly, Thursday meeting is £10 for booking online in advance (£9 early bird) or £12 on the door. The group charges no membership fee.

For more information and to book for the presentation, and other events on the Swindon Business Village calendar, visit

In their separate businesses, Ian and Shirley both work with corporate executives and business owners seeking personal transformation.

For more information about The Change Agent visit and for Thrive Personal Training visit

Event: Closing a sale – a free presentation at Business Village

Event: Closing a sale – a free presentation at Business Village

August 2018

Spotlight will turn on closing a sale at free business presentation

A free presentation to Swindon networking group Business Village will focus on avoiding mistakes that cost businesses a sale.

The breakfast event, on Thursday September 6, is the first after the group’s summer break, and is free to anyone wanting to attend, as well as Business Village regulars.

Story-led marketing coach Sarah Archer will deliver a talk entitled ‘How to avoid the three biggest mistakes businesses make around customer objections that cost them the sale.’

Sarah, who is based in Royal Wootton Bassett, said: “So many business owners lose the sale to hot prospects at the last minute. So in my presentation I’ll look at the three most common mistakes made, why they happen and how to avoid them.”

Sarah Archer - Closing a sale - presentation at Business Village

Sarah has a background in comedy and acting. She is an author and playwright, with more than 20 years in corporate life, and she is on a mission to make business owners less boring and more successful.

The event runs from 7.30-9am at The Campanile, West Swindon, and includes networking, one-minute introductions and breakfast. The usual charge for each weekly, Thursday meeting is £10 for booking online in advance (£9 early bird) or £12 on the door. The group charges no membership fee.

For more information and to book for Sarah’s talk, and other events on the Business Village calendar, visit

See also:

And – Swindon Business Village

Swindon’s Famous Duck Race: It’s Quackers!

Swindon’s Famous Duck Race: It’s Quackers!

24th April 2018


Swindon’s Famous Duck Race: It’s Quackers!

Swindon Old Town Rotary

Right then listeners! I’ve been trying to get something written on here about the Old Town Rotary (one of them) and their world famous, in Swindon, duck race for I don’t know how long! And as the time is drawing near for this quackers event I thought I’d best get on with it.

Here’s the when and where part:

Bank Holiday Monday May 28th 2018

at Westcott Recreation Ground (opposite ‘The Runner’ pub)

Wootton Bassett Road, Swindon

supported by

Nationwide Building Society


McArthur Glen Outlet Village

featuring the Blue Cross Fun Dog Show

Swindon's Famous Duck Race


Find the Duck Race on Facebook:

Public Duck Sales

Please note you will be able to get your duck tickets for this year’s race from us at Asda Saturday 31 March,10am to 4pm, The Co-Op Old Town 14 April 10am to 4pm, GWH 25 April 9am to 3pm;

Christchurch Beer Festival 11, 6pm to 10pm & 12 May

10.30am to 4.30pm GWH 9 to 3pm; Co-Op Old Town 19 May 10am to 4pm

It’s a fun day out, all in a great cause – and you never know – your duck might win!

 And now to Swindon Old Town Rotary


‘The Rotary Club of Swindon Old Town meets every Wednesday morning to share breakfast with likeminded friends before work.

We meet on Wednesday mornings at Hotel 20 (formerly the Kings) in Wood Street SN1 4AB for breakfast. In just over an hour a week, you’ll have the opportunity to meet other professionals who want to offer their service in the community, share ideas for fundraising, hear great speakers and get connected with the local community.  Together we can do so much more.  For more details contact us at


Now a bit about the Rotary Club in general: You might not be aware bit the Rotary Club is an international, global organisation of:

‘1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.’

The Rotary movement began in 1905 in Chicago when Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney, formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on the 23rd February. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of its members.  Who knew? Not me.

The Rotary International Logo



Business Village doing the business

Business Village doing the business

30th January 2017


Since donning my business hat with AA Editorial Services I’ve dipped my toe into a few networking groups with varying degrees of pleasure and satisfaction. One that I particularly enjoy is Business Village.


But rather than write about it myself I asked another regular at the group, Jo Smyth, to write a blog post about it. And you can find out a wee bit more about Jo at the end of the post.

So with no further ado – though actually I now want to know more about Jo’s insomnia?!

Business networking: what’s all that about?

Ask a non-business owner what marketing is and they’ll probably reply “advertising”. Or, if you’re lucky, “sponsorship and advertising”.

Of course, advertising and sponsorship can and do form part of a marketing plan. But one very important element of business marketing, particularly for business owners who are operating at a relatively local level, is business networking.

For the uninitiated, business networking involves getting together, often over breakfast or lunch, and – well – networking. There may or may not be presentations; there’s usually a chance to address the room briefly about your business, but pretty much that’s it.

So you may be wondering how this is marketing. Is it standing around ‘selling’ to people? Well, no.

In fact those who try to sell overtly aren’t welcome. If you eavesdrop on the chatter at a networking event you’ll hear people talking about their holidays, their families, their new grandchild (guilty as charged, Born Again Swindonian Angela!) and what they are doing for Christmas. They also talk about business – how it’s going, what their plans are – but in-your- face “please buy from me” is a no-no.

In essence, business networking is just like any other networking; it’s forming relationships with people so, should you need their services, or should you hear of someone who needs their services, you can refer them on, or engage them yourself. Equally, it is to be hoped that if they need your services, they will pick up the phone.

Think of it like social networking for businesses: Facebook, only face-to- face and with a business slant.

There are many and varied business networking groups in Swindon. Most require an annual membership fee, others insist you attend each week, some are women only. A few are free, and you get to chat over a coffee.

One which I personally favour, and which I know is a big hit with our esteemed Born Again Swindonian, is Business Village.

It doesn’t charge a membership fee, just £10 pay-as- you-go. It’s weekly, on a Thursday at The Campanile, and the format varies but we always chat, network, and enjoy a breakfast. There are presentations, business problem solving sessions, and the chance to talk about your business and make and receive referrals.

We get a good number of attendees – up to 30 some weeks – and we do pass business among ourselves. I have a number of clients at Business Village and others who I have met through Business Village connections. Equally, I have been pleased to refer myself and others to business people I have met at Business Village. I use one of them to fix my IT and another to fix my insomnia (but that’s another story …)

Business networking as a form of marketing isn’t a magic wand. It’s been described as fishing not farming. The more often you go, the stronger the relationships you build, and the more business you will get. It’s a simple but effective formula.

Business Village doing Charity Businesss

Recently, Business Village had a bit of extra money in the pot. It is non profit-making, so the organisers were delighted to be able to donate £200 each to TWIGS, a community garden project, and to the youth organisation Inner Flame. Both excellent, home-grown Swindon charities.

The photograph below (taken by Stuart Harrison photography) shows Hew Helps of Business Village presenting the ‘show’ cheque to David Wreathall who represents Inner Flame and Chris Loveday representing Twigs.

BV cheque presentation at business village

Business Village presentations 26th January 2017. Pictures Stuart Harrison Photography.

So, all in all, we get something out of Business Village and we give something back. Job done!

Business Village meets each Thursday for breakfast and networking at The Campanile Hotel, on the Delta Business Park, Swindon, from 7.30-9am. The group charges no membership fee, just £10 per visit, and all are welcome. To book, visit

About Jo Smyth

Jo Smyth runs PR and copywriting agency Word Worker, based near Swindon, working with SMEs to help get them noticed and increase their sales using the power of the media: online, offline and social.

Ready my latest, and very punny blog post here:


Ladies who latte: Swindon

Ladies who latte: Swindon

6th October 2015

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 16.16.11

Well listeners. Here we are with a post about another networking group just for women. I’m not actually sure I’m eligible as I only drink black coffee. Shhh. Don’t tell ’em…

When I first ventured into my brave new world of self-employment as AA Editorial Services I felt networking to be something of a necessary evil – and possibly subconsciously approached it accordingly. But I can now really see the value of it – and not just in terms of getting business. I’ve benefitted in ways more important to me even than that.  Some months ago I joined Women Mean Biz and have felt my confidence slowly grow with that group.

Unlike Ladies who Latte that one is a membership group so a different sort of set up entirely. But I’ve definitely had a lot from it in all sorts of ways and have no regrets at all about the financial outlay involved. But anyway – back to LWL:

Ladies who Latte is described on its website as the fastest growing women’s network. It’s concept is simple: “We have over 30 FREE meetings every month where you simply turn up grab yourself a coffee and network. We have no speakers, no agenda, and no meeting fee.”  So there’s nothing to pay at all – only the cost of a cup of coffee.

You can read how the network came into being here:

The Swindon group of this network had disappeared for a time it seems. However the lovely Aliz, owner of Wise Bookkeeping, is getting the group going again so today was the first meeting of the invigorated, full of beans (did you see what I did there?), Swindon branch of Ladies who Latte.

It was a lovely meeting and I really hope it goes from strength to strength. I’m certainly looking forward to the next one anyway!

The Swindon group’s Facebook page:

I met some super people and some interesting businesses in particular this one: Whilst it’s more of a community news website it’s not entirely dissimilar to Born again Swindonian. The site mostly covers West Berkshire, Wantage and Marlborough and touches on Swindon so I’m hoping to get some Swindon points of interest onto the site.

So, if you’re a women in business and you can pop along to Heelis on the first Tuesday of the month it would be great to see you.

Where and when is the next meeting: Tuesday 3rd November. 10-12md. At the cafe in Heelis – the National Trust building

image of coffee cup and text


Other networking groups on this blog:


JCI Swindon

Women mean Biz

Got a YEN for networking? Read on…

Got a YEN for networking? Read on…

1st August 2015

Hello listeners. Today we welcome to the Swindon in Business section of the blog a post about another networking group.

In recent weeks I’ve published a post about JCI Swindon – Junior Chamber International and Women mean Biz of which I’m a member. But this one features a new group, one member of which is my friend Little Miss Cakemaker.

YEN Swindon -

YEN Swindon

So who are YEN?  Good question. YEN are the new kids on the business block and are an informal group created with the intention of motivating, inspiring and supporting business owners and budding entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 35.

The business minds behind YEN Swindon are Samantha Whittingham (founder of Little Miss Cake Maker), Emma Phipps (founder of Beau Tie`) and Marcus Lilley (founder of Futr Social).

Members of YEN (Young Entrepreneurs Network) meet up informally over coffee or drinks every week, usually at the vibrant Baila Coffee & Vinyl in Old Town. Members can also continue conversations and share inspirational and informative links through the private Facebook group. Samantha explains “We’ve created a platform that brings young people together so they can achieve their goals and aspirations whilst having lots of fun and being surrounded by like-minded individuals.”

Set to launch at the beginning of September, YEN will have a subscription membership package featuring a bevy of bonuses. Amongst these will be: ‘free coffees at the regular informal meetings, shared ‘co-working space’ days, access to their collaborative expertise and continuous motivation & support. ‘

They’ve got lots of plans in the pipeline and have industry experts getting involved to offer inspirational talks and mentoring sessions.

There’ll also be quarterly social outings. Possibly on a charabang to Bangor with a crate of beer.* Though I suspect it would cost more than a pound now…

Anyway – now you know a bit about the YEN team it’s time, to paraphrase the intro of R4’s ‘The News Quiz’ – to meet the team:

If you’ve a yen to know more about YEN and its founding fathers (and indeed mothers) you can:

Visit their website:

Find them on Facebook: