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GDPR – What’s it all about?

GDPR – What’s it all about?

What’s it all about?

There has been lots of talk about the new regulations that will come into effect in May 2018. The big question has to be who does it affect? Well if you’re a business and you use email marketing or send direct mail, or make sales calls, the law is changing what you can and cannot do. Things you do today may soon not be allowed anymore!

This all happens on the 25th of May 2018, which is really just around the corner in business terms. On that date, the General Data Protection Regulations come into force. The reason you’re hearing so much about it is that it is a big deal, particularly if you get it wrong. I am guessing that one of the big temptations is to leave this until nearer the time. For what its worth I feel that is a mistake and that there are some very simple steps you can take right now!

It is also important to point out that this new law is very detailed and quite complex and I am only just scratching the surface in this article. Its purpose is only to get you thinking in the right way and not a comprehensive guide or how to document, it is merely a few tips to help you start the process of compliance.

The key to all this is for you to understand what data you’re collecting, for example, if you’re using Google Analytics then under the new rules you will be considered to be storing data covered by the GDPR. In essence, the law applies to any data that can be traced back to an individual and people have the right to know what personal information you’re storing about them.

You must have a Privacy Policy!

If your site lacks a Privacy Policy then this should be one of the first things you put right, because you’re going to need one to comply with the new regulations. As a member of the Rainmakers Club, you’ll be able to find a number of members who can help you with this.

Let the People have their say

If you are sending someone email marketing before you can do it you need to have obtained their explicit permission to do so. You certainly can’t assume you have their permission. They must opt-in! We would suggest this is something you should start sorting out right now and not wait for the changes to come into effect.

Check your contact and registration forms, used for your websites and make sure they have an opt-in tick box. The key is it needs to be opt-in, not preset!

Time-sensitive opt-in

So it’s very clear people need to opt-in, but there is a little more than that to consider too. You are going to need to record when they gave their permission and you need to have a record of what it is they saw when they made the decision to opt-in. One of the easiest solutions perhaps is to have an email notification sent to you for each opt-in but then to fully comply you’ll need to ensure the email clearly states what the tick box said at the time of completion; retain and store securely those emails as part of your audit trail for compliance purposes.

What about other laws?

GDPR seems to be quite explicit in this regard, saying that if there’s another law that conflicts with it, then the other law has the priority. A good example that has been used in the publicity running up to the eventual implementation is that of email and telephone marketing covered by PECR, as this allows for what is called ‘soft opt-in.’ In effect, this means that if you have sold something or negotiated with a client you can send that person. marketing about the same kind of thing they were interested in.

However, it is also worth noting that PECR looks set to be replaced by a new stricter ePrivacy law currently being debated in parliament. At this time it is not clear if ‘soft opt-in’ will remain. With that in mind, you could argue it makes sense to work on explicit opt-in as a matter of standard procedure.

People have the right to say No!

People have the right to stop you sending them marketing. More than that, you must make it easy for them to opt-out of future marketing.

The simplest solution is to ensure all emails of this nature carry with them the ability to opt-out. We would suggest a simple link that allows them to click on opt-out. If you’re using printed mailers they need to clearly tell people how they can stop receiving more of the same.

Once a person has opted out you need to maintain a ‘do not contact list’ and maintain it. If you don’t do this you could be facing some very hefty fines.

What about TPS?

If you make sales call to someone who’s on the TPS list you will be breaking the law. A word of warning times have changed and the current organisation responsible for this, the ICO are much stricter than Ofcom who used to ensure compliance with this regulation. You don’t need explicit permission to make a sales call but you do need to check the TPS list before you make the call. Don’t be fooled into thinking this only applies to individuals at home. There is also the CTPS, the corporate version! Checking numbers is simply a case of going to the website http://www.tpsonline.org.uk

Secure your site

Have you got the little padlock symbol on your browser bar when you are on your website? This icon indicates to the rest of the world that your site has an SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer). If you’re storing any personal data on your website, you need to have an SSL. This will ensure that the data is encrypted. Last October Google took this to another level by labelling sites without SSL as non-secure.

This means that even if you’re only using a basic contact form on your site and you don’t have the SSL, you will be marked as insecure! This may well impact on how people feel about visiting your site and so SSL is worth investing in. We have a few good Rainmaker members who can help you with this.

The GDPR Mission

Its all about the protection of personal data and to prosecute organisations who misuse that personal data. As with many compliance-related missions, this will make life a little more difficult for the majority of good honest and decent organisations, who are just working hard to build their contact database and attract more business.

But just a few simple steps mentioned in this short blog can help you navigate through the main points of the new regulations:

1. Have an explicit opt-in for your email marketing (you can still take advantage of soft opt-in for as long as it lasts).

2. Check the telephone preference service list before you make that unsolicited sales call.

3. You don’t need explicit consent for traditional mailers in the form of letters, brochures or catalogues. This is providing that you make it clear how they can stop getting future mailings from you and that the content is relevant. Sending direct mail is ok as it is still seen as a legitimate action in the interests of your business development.

A bit more on direct mail

Direct mail seems to be experiencing a bit of a revival. Direct mail is less common and perhaps that’s why it tends to indicate better results than it has historically? The fact is that most of us are getting less traditional post than we used to and a knock-on effect is that we take a little more time with our traditional mail as a result. So at the very least, this may be worth revisiting, maybe!

If you would like a referral to one of the Rainmakers Club Partner Members who can help you with all things GDPR, marketing and web, you need only ask, use our contact form and ask for help, or use the mobile app, we are here to help you and your business!

The Business Alchemist Series

The Business Alchemist Series

I have worked hard all my life chasing greater success, like all rainmakers do, and there have been times where it felt like I was completely on my own, but there have also been times where I have felt the significant influence and support of those who have mattered the most to me in business and my personal life.

Some, closest to me, might venture to say that it is difficult to see the difference between my personal and business life! I guess that comes from my endless passion for business, and the people with the courage to go into business for themselves, not forgetting my true passion for the development of those brave souls working in and on the various businesses and projects.

Life, or at least mine, seems to be peppered with events and unforeseen circumstances that interfere with the perfectly formed plans that we all make. Those who are truly successful are often those who show the greatest flexibility. They also show the greatest emotional intelligence, and the greatest willingness to learn and share their knowledge, this, in turn, gives them all they need to be able to roll with the punches, change course and continue with the ultimate mission. Sharing knowledge also results in them developing themselves while helping others to develop too.

These are the general principles behind the Rainmakers Club. If you’re reading this you are either a member or thinking about joining us, either way, I hope you enjoy the new series of books we are about to launch, called Business Alchemist. This series of books come in ten parts and each one is also supported by workshops that will be released during 2018. The hope is you’ll learn something new, or remind yourself of lessons already learnt and perhaps forgotten. In the series of books we will educate and remind you and in so doing equip you to refine your skills and pursue the aim we all share, the production of exceptional and sustainable results while building businesses of true worth.

The Business Alchemist Series is dedicated to you my fellow Rainmakers. The first volume is dedicated to my brightest stars past and present, the people that have never doubted me and always been there to offer support when I needed it most, those who did not judge me. Its dedicated to you because you’re the people that have and do matter to me the most. So thank you Don, George, Lucy, Julie, Emma, Steve, Mike, Scott.

It is also paradoxically dedicated to all those who have been my naysayers and doubters, for it was you that inspired this book on how to behave in business, it was your actions and attitude that motivated me to design on paper the perfect way to act when working in or on a business!

My hope is many people get to read this, think about it deeply and then act. I wish you good  fortune on your own journey, and above all else, keep believing in you and never stop learning.

Chris Batten

Director Rainmakers Club

Why Stella won’t shut-up

Why Stella won’t shut-up

Stella is one of our early Partner Members and the first to write a guest blog  for The Rainmakers Club about her first public speaking steps. We welcome her input titled – 4-Sights & Zones…

Throughout our lives, opportunities present themselves to us every day. Good or bad, welcome or not, they are opportunities all the same. For many, an example of an unwelcome opportunity comes in the form of any kind of public speaking. This was very much the case for me as far back as my school days where I was bullied. This led to me becoming reserved and something of a wallflower and meant that I never looked to be the centre of attention at all. Naturally, as I grew up it affected my general confidence and I liked to stay in my comfort zone as much as possible.

During the course of my adult years, I found my confidence levels came and went. In August 2016 my confidence was at an all-time low for a variety of reasons. I had lost a sense of who I was and life seemed not worth living. I joined the business networking organisation, 4N. I embraced it fully and committed to being part of a team early on, networking two and three times a week. I heard about “4sighting” and learned this meant giving a talk in front of the members who attended the meeting. The topic could be about a personal experience, sharing a skill, life lessons… pretty much anything as long as it was not direct selling. I decided that if I was going to change my life and make things happen, then I needed to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. I just knew that this was going to help me to change my life for the better if I could somehow manage to do it.

I agonised over the subject and ultimately changed my mind on topic after a few months. The positive impact that 4N was having on my life soon saw me settling on a title: “Networking Through a Black Hole and Out the Other Side”. The subject was my personal journey through life’s ups and downs and how 4N had helped me to change my life for the better and find myself.

After a few failed attempts, I booked myself in to speak on 26 January 2017 at the Kings Lynn 4N meeting. I also set myself a personal goal of completing at least seven 4sights before the end of 2017. Then the agony began.

I wrote several pages of A4, practiced in front of a friend, cut it down to four cue cards and then practiced again in front of another friend before deciding it was ok to try out for real. I introduced a prop into my talk – a picture from a key part of my life. This gave me something to focus on and broke up a potential monologue (at least in my head that is how it sounded).

In the two weeks before my 4sight slot came round, I was quaking and panic attacks were not far from the surface. It was around then that I met Lusana Charles, The Brain Detox Specialist. I had several sessions with Lusana and focused my brain on how great I was going to be and how I was going to do a good talk.

Before I knew it, the day had arrived. I had a very tame audience of nine, I knew every single person there and they were all rooting for me. I could not have had it easier. Lusana even personally came along to the meeting, encouraging me all the while. Despite this I was still quaking. I remember a few visits to the loo and focussing on my breathing a lot (thanks Lusana!) The meeting progressed through the usual breakfast and 40 seconds round and finally it was my moment.

I vividly remember standing there with an encouraging audience and feeling very awkward and uncomfortable but somehow I began my story. Initially it was stilted and I was focused on my cue cards but suddenly I felt myself “click in” to my story, my memories and experiences were being shared with my audience. There was silence, then laughs, smiles, applause and I felt a big sense of relief when it was over.

I was then booked in to speak on 7 February 2017 at the brand new 4N Fakenham group and that day came round all too quickly. Again there were lots of nerves and feelings of panic. I was shaking, drawing breath and back and forth to the loo but this time, it was somehow easier than the first. I recall the audience was around 24 this time. Some I knew but there were many I had not seen before among them. Our Regional Leader, Craig Davies was there so it was daunting.

When I finished my talk, I truly felt a sense of achievement when Maureen Prior (who had been at the Kings Lynn 4sight) announced to the room that I had come a long way from when she had first met me in August 2016. Only those who had been there at Kings Lynn could appreciate what she meant. I was embarrassed but pleased all at the same time. In less than two weeks I had done two talks and the second was much better. My confidence was rising and I began committing to more 4sight dates and by April I had booked a 4sight tour of the Midlands for October.

On 18 May 2017, I was speaking at Wymondham – the very week it became the biggest 4N breakfast meeting in the UK. Then came Dereham and I breezed it. Hot on Dereham’s heels was Ely – a short-notice slot appeared and I had never been there before. Again, I breezed it in front of a large audience.

I was on a roll and by September I was 4sighting at Great Yarmouth. For the previous few 4sight slots, I had been contemplating losing my cue cards but had not been brave enough to actually leave them at home. On the morning in question, I left the meeting room at one point, leaving my cards out on the table and, Group Leader, Chris Batten decided to play a prank on me and quietly hid the cards. Strangely enough, I had a sixth sense he would do this for some uncanny reason and thought to myself “What would I do if he did take my cards?” The answer was: “No problem – you can do it.”

I returned to the room, awaited my introduction and ignored the fact that my cards were missing. I confidently took the floor at which point Chris offered my cards to me. But I declined them and carried on regardless to the bitter end. I was on a high. I had cracked this public speaking lark!

Then in early October I set off to the Midlands for my first ever speaking tour. All was great UNTIL I came to speak at Cannock Evening, my first date of a 3-date tour. It should have been a doddle – Great Yarmouth was great and NO cue cards only two weeks previously. My audience was not as large as Wymondham or Ely.

However, for some reason I felt like I was right back there at Kings Lynn on day one. I was jittery, ill at ease and it felt like an ordeal and I certainly was not letting go of my cue cards. No Sir! I badly needed my crutch! Somehow I got through it and I arrived at Solihull the next morning ready for my second speaking slot of the tour. Once more I felt ill at ease but it felt better than Cannock had done. I puzzled over these two experiences and reflected on the glories of Wymondham and Ely and my journey to date but came to no conclusions.

Then I moved on to attend Leamington Bloody Spa (yes that is what they call it in 4N) as a passporting member only at the stunningly beautiful Binswood Hall. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I met a number of 4N friends and other familiar faces at the meeting including Craig Petty, the Group Leader at Cannock Evening and asked him for his observations about my presentation. His comments were encouraging, constructive and insightful – “… tremendous… you had them… make it more of a rollercoaster.”  I filed these words away alongside the closing words of the LBS 4sighter that evening, Paula Cohen: “…GET IN THE ZONE…” That was the important lesson! I was out of my natural habitat, my usual comfort zone on this tour and I had omitted to remind myself of the techniques I learned from Lusana to “get in the zone”. From these two encounters I realised why my Cannock Evening 4sight felt uncomfortable – because of nerves I was rushing and perhaps reading off the cue card list too much. Thus the rollercoaster aspect was more of a flatline of disaster or doom and gloom. More importantly, I also realised that I should prepare myself by:

  1. not taking my new found confidence for granted.
  2. getting in the zone and focussing on my message ahead of speaking.

I returned to my home territory following my Midlands tour and my tenth 4sight was already on the horizon at Newmarket. My 4sight tour nerves had rattled me somewhat and I found Newmarket a little scary to say the least (not helped by being very tired at the early start) but I am glad I did it fairly soon after my tour as it kept the momentum going.

Having said all that, am I glad I came out of my comfort zone to tell my truth? Oh boy am I! My confidence is far higher than it has been for years and I intend to keep building on this. In fact I have three 4sights booked already for 2018 and a fourth date in the offing. There will be no shutting me up now!


Stella Gooch 

SMG Virtual PA
Email: stella@smgvirtualpa.co.uk   Tel: 07788 645157

Emotional Intelligence & Business

Emotional Intelligence & Business


Everyone in business is looking for that edge! Many in business, rightly look to mentors and advisers to help them develop their version of the edge, with varying degrees of success. If we assume that all advice is taken the right way, all advice is good, then why will two people in business given the same advice have the potential to produce significantly different results? Why if you put two different people in the same situation will one fold and the other excel?

EQ makes a difference

In many cases, the difference is emotional intelligence. That being the case this is really great news. Why? Simply because unlike IQ, Emotional Intelligence, or EQ as it is also known, can be developed, can be improved and what is more, as it improves, so too does the performance of the business you’re working in or on. Wow, armed with that knowledge what would you do next?

When I think about this, I find it exciting and motivating. Back in the day, I made some real howlers in my businesses, some I got away with, others were catastrophic. Then, I was introduced to EQ, first I was tested and then the weaknesses were developed and so inspired was I that I set about working with EQ testing and development. It was a short step to then developing the relationship between EQ and business development, helping other businesses to achieve truly exceptional results using this combination. Today we just call it the Rainmakers Club, a place where EQ and business development walk hand in hand.

Open up your business to EQ

When you understand this and can apply it to your business it’s as if someone turned the light on and then turbo-charged your personality. Well, that’s how it worked for me at least. I did turn a little geeky about it and so for those fellow geeks, here’s a little more.

The components of EQ are widely recognised as including, self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy and social skill. When it comes to business the higher up the chain you go, the more established your business, the more EQ matters, particularly when it comes to distinguishing the most effective leaders. If you look at most large companies these days they use a system of competency models in order to help them identify the haves and have nots, as well as to identify training opportunities. We have a similar model for our Rainmaker Club members to use on request.

A key fact is that the ratio of technical skills and IQ to EQ as ingredients of exceptional performance, EQ has been proved in numerous studies to be twice as important than the others in a business leadership environment.

If I was a Warlock

So if I was a friendly forces warlock I would be waving my wand at you in the hope you’d join those in the know and start to develop EQ throughout your business.

If this has left you wanting more then simply ask. If you’re already a Rainmakers Club member and would like to get into more detail or perhaps be tested then lets talk soon. Exceptional results are just around the corner…


Conflict Resolution, needs a soft touch…

Conflict Resolution, needs a soft touch…

We have all been in situations of conflict in our businesses and I can think of many examples of disagreements and misunderstandings that have escalated far beyond where tey should. Often this is because we tend to employ too much emotion. Here are just 10 simple tips you could employ next time you find yourself in a situation of conflict and you want to resolve it amicably.

1. Mutual respect –  When we respect ourselves, we naturally want to solve any problems or difficulties we run into and we make sure the solution meets our own requirements. By respecting the other person you will encourage an environment that leads to consideration for both parties needs, leading to a win-win solution.

2. Look for common ground – Rarely do two people have entirely opposing views with absolutely nothing in common. If you look hard enough, you’re bound to find points of agreement or shared goals on which to build. This subtly shifts us from being ‘opponents’ to being on the ‘same side.’

3. Redefine the problem or point of disagreement if necessary  – If you can’t find anything to agree on, try a fresh approach. Step back and see the dispute from the bigger picture, step in closer and see the details or ‘step to one side’ to view the predicament from a different angle. The more we keep ‘moving around the problem’ to explore it, and view it from all angles and perspectives, the more likely we are to increase our understanding of it and find an answer.

4. Start with a goal acceptable to all parties – What is the end result both parties want? Forget win-lose. That’s for sports. Conflict is not a sport.

5. Focus on your goals – Staying focused on your points of disagreement will only keep you there.You need to focus on how to attain the goals you both share to find paths around the problem.

6. Create options – Are you searching for  the ‘one best answer?’ The reality is, there are probably several workable options. The only decision is ‘which will work best for you?’ When you agree on crystal clear goals and crystal clear expectations, this gives you something to assess our options against.

7. Keep an open mind – Rigid thinking,’wearing blinkers’ and holding onto preconceived ideas all destroy attempts at conflict resolution. They lead to treating a problem in terms of competing solutions, or in terms of ‘only one possible solution – mine.’ The more open-mindedly you explore a problem and search for alternative solutions, the more you increase your chances of finding a way out of conflict. A flexible approach allows you to hear views, other than your own, and to explore a variety of options.

8. Be positive, not negative –  Behaviour breeds behaviour. Negativity is catching and a negative approach is depressing and destructive. A positive approach is catching, too. It’s uplifting and encouraging. Shifting our thinking and our words from negative to positive might require some thought, but the results are well worth the effort. Before you disagree, outline your reasoning and finish up with something like: ‘And that’s why I look at it differently,’ or summarise your understanding of the other person’s views, then say ‘And here’s how I see it…’

9. Get’on the same side – It’s easy to argue with someone sitting opposite us and difficult to argue with someone sitting next to us, which encourages an attitude of cooperation and allows a collaborative mindset to surface – ‘You and I are working together on a shared problem.’ It might be subtle, but it’s effective. Problems are usually best discussed sitting down, since body language can more easily become aggressive and intimidating, or be interpreted that way, when we’re standing.

10.Work together to solve the problem   – We’re more committed to the success of a path that we’ve had a part in planning and that meets at least some of our needs. If we share information, pool ideas, discuss our needs, wants and worries, and search for a solution that meets as many of them as possible, we’ll increase our commitment to a solution and our understanding of each other at the same time.

We don’t need Vision, Mission & Values. That’a just ‘boring old school!’

We don’t need Vision, Mission & Values. That’a just ‘boring old school!’

Talking about Vision, Mission, and Values, may well be a bit old school but nonetheless, it is an essential part of the building blocks of your business, well any business, at any stage of development. It would be easy for me to use bland and inaccurate statements, such as it’s never too late to start. Trouble is the longer you leave it the harder it becomes to take full advantage of what is an essential tool for business development.

Yes, that’s right I said essential tool. Contrary to the many businesses that use these elements as a bunch of slogans for screensavers or posters on the wall. Ther is a much bigger and essential purpose for these cornerstones of your business. I would say, the sooner you have carefully designed and thought through Vision, Mission and Values published and acted upon the better you’ll be going forward.

Of course, if you can’t keep to them the perhaps its best not to bother, but for those of us serious about the business we know what a difference they can make to development, retention, attraction, reputation, brand values, lead generation, sales, and exit.

I have found over the years, very few businesses understand the full importance of this element in the development of, in particular, their reputation and brand, which invariably touches all other parts of their business.

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