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Members' Articles

Coaching Dynamics Presentation on Growth Accelerator

by Tina Dulieu from Coaching Dynamics: Tina Dulieu, B.Ed., Dip CEC

15th February 2014

Post Type: Event
Coaching Dynamics Presentation on Growth Accelerator

Tina Dulieu of Coaching Dynamics was delighted to do a presentation at the Nockold's Business Women's Luncheon Club at the lovely Pledgdon Barn, Elsenham, about the Growth Accelerator scheme for entrepreneurial businesses, co-funded by the Government. Three of Tina's Growth Accelerator clients, Hilary Westgarth of AV UK Ltd, Patricia Fox of Aralia Garden Design & Build and Chella Heyes of Zoom Answer Call Services, all made presentations about their experience and business success.  As a registered and approved Growth Coach Tina was pleased to present to the business women about the programme and received a beautiful bouquet from Maria-Christina Peyman of Nockold's Solicitors.


Mariposa Bridal Boutique Special Offer

by Mark Greatbatch from Mariposa

12th February 2014

Post Type: New Member Article

 

*** MENS SUIT HIRE SPECIAL OFFER***

Book your men's suits with us between now and 31st of March 2014 and pay £95 per man instead of £125.

Charcoal grey, Navy or Black 3pc suit with accessories of your choice. New shirt to keep plus cufflinks and braces. Don't delay and book your appointment now on 01279 866011. Don't miss out on this fabulous offer. Just mention FB when booking.
 
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FitSteps...dance fitness fun for EVERYONE

by Vicky Wright from Shake & Shuffle

07th February 2014

Post Type: Newspaper Article
FitSteps...dance fitness fun for EVERYONE

Since last Summer, FitSteps has been taking over not just Shake & Shuffle's classes but the whole of the UK - the demand for this addictive fitness class is impressive with the programme not even hitting it's first Birthday for another few months.

FitSteps has been created by Strictly stars Natalie Lowe, Ian Waite & past contestant Mark Foster. It uses a combination of Latin, Ballroom and fitness techniques so you'd be forgiven if you believed this was a class for just the very fit and coordinated. However, people of all ages and abilities are finding their love for dancing and fitness through FitSteps. Co-Creator, Natalie Lowe said:

"FitSteps is for anyone and everyone. We want this workout to bring people together, so many people love to dance but think they are too old or not good enough to join in. FitSteps has been designed for people that love to dance from 5 years to 95 years old, men and women - absolutely everyone!"

Countless times I have been asked what sort of age group my participants are - a hard question to answer when the programme appeals to so many. The youngest participant we have had in class is 5 years old. The oldest? A fantastic 81 years old! And with every single class there is a vast mixture of ages, abilities and sizes! There is no target audience for FitSteps - it's accessible to everyone!

We are very proud to receive some great feedback on our classes - relaxed atmosphere, very friendly and countless benefits. As Natalie says below, FitSteps is great for the social aspect, too:

"We want to make people feel like anyone is welcome, we want people to be able to socialise in the classes as well as dance. FitSteps can be done without a partner so we are reaching out to the people who love to dance and could never go to the traditional dance classes where a partner is needed."

There are no expectations to be met when you come to our FitSteps classes. Any age, any ability welcome - it doesn't matter if you think you cannot dance or don't have great coordination. We support and encourage every one of our participants to achieve whatever goal they have. We truly believe FitSteps is for everyone and we will continue to promote that through the community. We want to get as many people moving as possible!

For more details on our classes please take a look at our website:

www.shakeandshuffle.co.uk

'Like' us on Facebook for all the latest news and updates from FitSteps and the Strictly team!

www.facebook.com/shakeandshuffle


Are your SEO practices in line with Google Hummingbird?

by Simon Thomas from Toucan Internet LLP

05th February 2014

Post Type: Other

Hummingbird, Google’s search algorithm overhaul

Customers earnest about getting and maintaining a quality online success have consistently invested time and effort in selecting the right keywords for their website and inbound marketing channels. Why? Because Google will recognise these and will index your site accordingly; done well and consistently, Google will give your site the rewards you seek with higher search engine results positions.

If you thought you’d grasped what needed to be done, Google changes the rules and in flies Hummingbird. It’s probably the most significant change to Google’s search rules in 13 years, reportedly affecting a massive 90% of all searches. Now it’s more important than ever that you have quality inbound organic referrers to your website, i.e. visitors referred to your site by other websites.

The Hummingbird change means that searches are now totally secure, suggesting that keyword analytics data could well be a thing of the past! Basically Google has switched all of its searches over to encrypted searches using HTTPS. This means no more keyword data will be passed to site owners and website owners will no longer have the ability to track users by their keyword searches.  Other search engines will still send keyword data through to help with your analytics and keyword development.

The exact way the Hummingbird algorithm works is not 100% clear, however it appears Hummingbird looks at over 200 different components when determining the search rank for a site much like previous releases.  However previously Google would focus on the specific keywords where as now, with Hummingbird, the focus is on the context of the words entered and the matching of that meaning to web pages to which it relates; web pages matching the meaning do better than pages matching just a few keywords. This is a good thing overall and will kill the trend of content writers damaging the copy of their content trying to achieve “the right level” of keyword stuffing.

What is clear is that if you are to maintain leading positions in Google search engine results your emphasis now needs to shift to the breadth of your website and to answering of specific questions for your audience. As has always been advocated by search engine marketing professionals, quality content remains key, it is that that your customers have and will continue to want to see irrespective of Hummingbird, but now the more the content aligns with answering specific customer questions, the more likely your page positions will prosper under Google Hummingbird.

In short, the new Hummingbird algorithm is trying to measure the quality and how valuable and helpful your website is in answering customers’ questions. The key is therefore having as many unique entrance pages on your website as possible offering breadth, help and expertise on many relevant topics, plus of course relevant peer backlinks.

So how do you grow the number and breadth of entrance pages? One answer could be simply by adding new content regularly to both your website and blog. The need for a blog becomes even greater if you don’t already operate one on your site. The more energy you place into the content on your site the higher you are likely to appear on Google search. It is clear that Google wants useful and relevant content to be king, and any future changes to its algorithms are likely to reflect this also. This may require many companies to examine their content strategies and look at how they can use as many forms of content to maintain the desired energy and diversity (e.g. Videos, PPC promotion of best content, info-graphics, re-blog on industry hot stories, etc.)

Are your SEO practices in line with Hummingbird? If you review your Google Analytics since Hummingbird was introduced in late August you will be able to see if there has been any decline in your website visitors. However, if you are to maintain and improve your search position you will need to reflect upon your whole online content strategy and the links to your site/content both on site and backlinks from other website and your inbound marketing from your social media. Make sure you focus on growing the number of relevant links and the quality, breadth, depth, frequency and value of your content if you are to maintain and improve your search position.


About the Author.

This article was written by Simon Thomas of Toucan Internet LLP, developing high performance websites on the Internet since 1995.  Passionate about his clients’ success, you’re invited to get in touch to see if you too could benefit:

For more information.
t: 01279 871 694
e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk

w: www.toucanweb.co.uk

 

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2014©. All rights reserved.


Hollywood Comes to Beautiful Essex Venue for Corporate Christmas Party

by Shelley from Sourcerer Events

05th February 2014

Post Type: New Member Article

AVL Powertrain Ltd. Is the world’s largest independent developer of powertrain systems and we were thrilled to be engaged to organise their annual Christmas party, bringing together around 120 staff from their Essex and Coventry offices to convene for much fun and revelry on 29th November.

Click on any thumbnail image below to view the full photo gallery for this event. Scroll down to keep reading about how it all took shape!

Bring on the Challenges!

We started with a small – but resolvable – challenge. Due to the large numbers involved, many venues would only house a party of this size in a marquee. As AVL had held their previous two Christmas parties in marquees, which can be a little chilly in the winter, they wanted something a bit different for 2013.

Sourcing a Venue

Spains Hall

Our first step was to research potential venues which would fit the bill, both in terms of capacity and cost. Essex was the chosen location, so we presented a choice of five we felt would be suitable. Spains Hall, in Finchingfield, was chosen for its historic charm. This stunning English Heritage estate, a wedding venue cherished Essex wide, has recently added corporate and fundraising events to its offering. It certainly had the indoor capacity required, and the staff were incredibly
enthusiastic about playing host to this party.

Setting the Theme

Here at Sourcerer, we’re great believers that a themed event is a memorable event. So we delved into our imagination and came up with a selection of options.

‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Masquerade Ball’ and ‘Hollywood Movies’ were put forward with Hollywood coming out the winner. And then we got to work on producing an Oscar-winning Christmas party!

Three Months in the Planning

Spains-Hall-Before-&-After

Over three months of meticulous planning, we worked closely with the staff at Spains Hall, ensuring the venue was styled to perfection and that every aspect of the brief was adhered to. We also went to great lengths to make sure the caterers followed the theme to the letter; all working together to achieve something that we were certain would really wow the guests.

The venue’s transformation was something to behold and there was an incredible buzz during set-up as the general manager, staff and owners of the Spains Hall estate were all gathering to take a sneaky peak as the creation came to life.

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A Night at the Oscars

Sourcerer Events took care of every aspect, from working with the DJ so guests were met with movie-themed music on arrival to arranging 7-foot Oscar statues, filmstrip props and a giant Hollywood sign. There were even usherettes dispensing popcorn in AVL’s corporate colour blue, a red carpet entrance and guests were made to feel like real A-list film stars with a paparazzi welcome. The occasion was also turned into a fundraiser, with generous donations made to Cancer Research UK.

Feedback & Flexibility

Having organised the company’s Christmas corporate events for the past two years, we acted on the feedback from those and tweaked this year’s event to produce even greater satisfaction. This included plumping for a winter-friendly indoor venue, and swapping from a sit down meal to a buffet for a more informal feel and more time for partygoers to hit the dance floor.

“Nothing was too Much Trouble” 

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Flexibility is our middle name here at Sourcerer, so we weren’t fazed by unusual
requests and changing guest numbers. Christopher Tytler is responsible for HR and finance at AVL Powertrain UK Ltd. He said, “Shelley was really up against it, the numbers kept changing and there were specific things we wanted. There were lots of instructions and these did change fairly often. She worked tirelessly and nothing was too much trouble. She is totally flexible and never says no. She is open to anything. She can even find blue popcorn!”

It’s what we do: we handle each and every detail of the event organisation, which in this case included not only the party planning but also booking accommodation and transport.

Hollywood Success – “Everyone Loved it!” 

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The party was a roaring success according to AVL. Christopher told me on the night that his staff were coming up and thanking him for creating such a wonderful party. “Everyone loved it! All the finer details made it just perfect. Shelley worked tirelessly throughout and her ideas and input were fantastic – especially the blue popcorn. The venue was beautiful and their staff were a joy to work with too,” he said. 

Sourcerer adored working on this event, and we were very impressed with Spains Hall. We’re absolutely thrilled to have learnt that we’ve been placed on their preferred suppliers list – it’s like winning a Hollywood award!

If you’re planning an event in Essex, and would like to make it magical and memorable, give Sourcerer a call on 01371 811108. We love what we do, and we’d love to do it for you!