The Scottish Business Network has been making waves in the Scottish and London business communities recently, we asked one of their new members to tell us all about the fast growing network.
Here is a summary from Andrew Morrison, Managing Director of AM Bid Services Ltd.
I have been aware of the Scottish Business Network (SBN) for some time through Russell Dalgleish, one of my connections.
The SBN had been appearing on my LinkedIn feed with increasing frequency – it was clear that people were getting real value from it. While mingling before dinner a few months ago at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards Scotland Final at RBS headquarters in Edinburgh, I met Scott Dalgleish from SBN. Scott thought that AM Bid Services would be a suitable member of SBN and he arranged a call for David Gray, our Bid Development Director and myself with Christine Esson.
The call with Christine really enthused us and we both joined SBN – we will usually be taking it in turns to attend the monthly meetings in London. SBN is made up of Scots (or people with an affiliation with Scotland) who want to do business with other Scots in London, and anywhere else in the world – indeed it is taking strides in connecting the Scottish business diaspora across the globe. Christine encouraged us to be clear in our objectives in joining SBN, what we hoped to get out of our membership, what our ‘ask’ of other members would be and also how we can help Network members.
I have found with networking that you get out of it what you put into it. As soon as I got the delegate list for my first event in London on 23rd January (held at the London offices of Shepherd & Wedderburn, right next to St Paul’s Cathedral), I reached out to people via LinkedIn, letting them know that I had joined the Network and that I would look forward to seeing them at the event. This meant that some of the Network members recognised me when I arrived and I was very quickly welcomed in. Christine was also great in introducing me to a few members who she thought may benefit from our bidding assistance.
One member explained that his firm was in the throes of a bid to a large US company and asked what we could do to help. I explained that one of our Associates was an expert in his sector and could work with them in a technical bid writer and solution architect role. AM Bid Services would also provide other assistance including my services checking their draft submission and helping to challenge and strengthen it. I followed this up with a firm quotation which was accepted within 24 hours. So, hats off to SBN – you have already helped us to get a great new client!
What about the event itself? This was the perfect mixture of interesting speakers and breaks for networking. It started at 5pm with Fraser Allen, CEO of White Light Media conducting an in-depth interview with retail expert Julie Ashworth. Julie was inspirational describing her diverse career and life experience which has included (to date) being an IOD Board Member, Round the World Yachtswoman, CEO of Broadreach and Chair of tech start up Clear Returns.
Following another networking break, Russell Dalgleish then interviewed 3 Network members who each had an ‘ask’ of the room. First up was Eddie McGeachie, Director of Analytical Innovation at Seaforth Analytics who have pioneered an innovative way of analysing procurement spend to provide information that will allow for substantial cost reductions and efficiencies. Next was Nicole Perry, Associate Director of Investment at Grant Property with Graham McWilliam, Managing Director of Glencraft (manufacturers of luxury mattresses) rounding things off. Each was specific on who they wanted to get in touch with and many Network members had very useful contacts and ideas for them to consider.
To help publicise the Network and share my attendance with my social media connections, Scott Dalgleish took a picture that I was able to share on LinkedIn and Twitter. My LinkedIn post has received nearly 11,000 views, 72 likes and 8 comments – testament to the reach that comes from joining my own personal Network with the Scottish Business Network! I also loved the diverse range of people that I met at the event, most being entrepreneurs / people in senior positions within their organisations.
So, what’s next for us with the Network? Attending the monthly events in London, getting to know the Network members, helping them in any way that we can and of course looking to create opportunities to introduce Network members to our bidding services. We are achieving 80%-90% bid win rates for our clients, so any organisation involved in bidding (or wanting to win tendered work) will benefit from the specialist external assistance and challenge that we provide. I have contributed a Business Blog for the SBN website “Eight Bid Trends for 2018” and we will keep members up to date on bid trends with further blogs throughout the year.
A highlight for us will be when David Gray and I get interviewed at the May Network Event. We will be sure to have some clear ‘asks’ of the group. We are also speaking to David Sole OBE, our Non-Executive Chairman, to get a date for him to visit the Network as he will be a great speaker for the opening in-depth interview with an inspirational business leader.
I am sure that when we come to review our 2018 activity, we will be able to evidence that joining the Scottish Business Network was one of our game-changing decisions. Thank you to Christine, Russell and Scott for everything you are putting into making this such a meaningful community of mutual assistance and benefit.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Morrison is the Managing Director of AM Bid Services Ltd, which is establishing itself as one of the UK's leading bid consultancies. AM Bid Services launched in October 2014 and has enjoyed remarkable growth, already winning a string of awards and nominations for its work. It is a Corporate Member of APMP UK – the professional body for people working in bidding.