Let the festivities commence!

let the festivities commence

We usually touch on the highlights of the month and this month – as the festive season ensues – it has to be catching up with friends, enjoying a mini break to Marlow and taking part in Startup Bromley’s Winter Showcase event at Bromley Central Library.

As much as the latter was a great awareness exercise for the imminent launch of Life In…Bromley magazine, it was also a time to catch up with some lovely small businesses that we’ve enjoyed getting to know over the last year.

And actually, networking is a great way of not only raising awareness of what you do, but also a great way of meeting like-minded businesses. We recently attended Bromley Business Network at Bromley Football Club – it’s on every two weeks for those who don’t know about it – and were pleasantly surprised to discover a great bunch of welcoming people, but also people who were genuinely keen on supporting and help one another. And that’s what true networking is about.

Over the last year, through networking and meeting others, we’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to collaborate with others, and being able to connect people with similar synergies has been particularly rewarding.

For example, we put the lovely Jackie Groundsell from 12:30 The Women’s Company in touch with Ed from Love Da Beat radio. Next thing we know, Jackie has her own radio show with Ed – amazing! Perhaps we should launch a match-making service! But what we do know is that it’s hugely rewarding and we want to do more of this in 2022!

Automation is king!

When we gave a talk on productivity at the Beckenham Business Day last month, we mentioned that one of the ‘top tools’ for automation is IFTTT. And we stand by this – simple, automatic processes that can be set up just once and repeated automatically can save a small business so much time.

So when we recently read an article from Keap on things every small business should automate – we thought it would be great to share. It offers some great ideas on systems and processes that can be automated. Our advice? Start with one (the one that takes up most of your time) and see how you go!

Let us know how you get on – and just for some extra encouragement, here’s our usual inspirational quote!

“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.”

– Stewart Brand, writer –

Crimbo Limbo

Crimbo limbo

Oh boy, are we looking forward to Crimbo Limbo! It’s that time of the year when we can take a breather from the trials and tribulations of running Life In Magazines, as well as juggling side hustles, family etc…

We’ve had to make a few changes this year; we were originally planning for a second magazine launch in the first few months of 2020, but with Covid came new priorities – and sadly our goals had to change too.

With different demands and pressures of life in lockdown, we’re not ashamed in admitting that we sometimes struggled to cope. We made the decision to bring out digital-only issues for a couple of months (while in total lockdown) and we also had to regulate the copies of magazines being printed; with a heavily reduced footfall it made no sense to waste throwing away magazines if they weren’t being picked up.

So instead we made a huge effort to plough funds into online advertising. This ensured that we continued to grow our subscribers list, meaning more eyes on the magazine. It was very much a trial-and-error situation – and one which we didn’t always agree on. But who knew Covid would come along and challenge most small businesses on all fronts?

Our (ever changing) working life

It made us review and change the way we worked; it forced us into looking for new opportunities and different ways of bringing in money. And it even made us more creative (we like to find that silver lining!)

And it’s this resilience to whatever life throws at us (including turning into teachers at home for our children and dealing with serious illness over the last 12 months) that has kept us going.

Comments, letters, social media tags and conversations with the public and other small businesses, have continued to inspire us – and ensure that we’ve not given up. So, while we can, we’d like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you for believing in us – and for all your wonderful comments. It’s lovely to be able to spread a little joy with the production of Life In Orpington every month.

Your continued support is very much appreciated. And we would ask for you to shop local where possible. Please support the businesses that advertise in Life In Orpington by giving them a try. We have gotten to know most of them as individuals and they, like us, depend on your support to keep them going.

Plus you’ll also be helping keep money in the local economy, supporting those businesses who need it the most and of course being part of a community that supports, cares and helps one another.

So on that note, we’ll leave you with this very true and poignant quote about Christmas:

“As you grow older your Christmas list gets shorter because the things you want can’t be bought.”

Until next month, have a wonderful Christmas whatever you get up to and whoever you spend it with – and stay safe!

Nicky and Lauretta

December: Feeling Festive!

December Blog 2019

It’s almost Christmas and we’re ready to kick back our heels, relax for a few days and enjoy precious family time.

It’s been a busy month as usual – and even busier it seems in the run up to Christmas, start with Christmas card lists and shopping!

We did however manage to hook up with a couple of people for a catch up including The Bed Post (thanks for the drinks Steve!).

We also joined the girls at One One Seven in Farnborough Village for one of their evening events – and ended up treating ourselves to some new clobber.

Plus we visited Lord Harris and his team at Tapi Carpets at the Nugent Shopping Park to take a team picture, which you’ll find on the centre pages of the December issue.

New stockists

Talking of the Nugent, we’re thrilled to be able to say that Life In Orpington magazine can now be found in our new outdoor stand in the Central Plaza (near the seating area). We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to reach more people and raise awareness of community issues, as well as offer an entertaining read of course!

St Christopher’s Hospice at Caritas House on Tregony Road near Orpington Hospital is also stocking the magazine – thank you to Jo and the team for offering to have them. Our new counter stands arrived this month – and if we do say so ourselves they look great – we’re super pleased with them!

We’re working on increasing our stockists for the magazine and we’ll be listing pick up points at the back of Life In Orpington as usual each month.

December Blog 2019

Out and about

Aside from delivering magazines, meeting new stockists and enjoying the company of some of our advertisers, we’ve managed to have a few days off.

Nicky enjoyed afternoon tea in Otford while Lauretta managed to get invited for a weekend in Germany, which was lovely. Highlights included a trip to the Christmas markets and a visit to Phantasialand.

We also managed to give ourselves a day off work one Monday to do a spot of Christmas shopping. We’re rarely able to fit things like that in to our busy lives, so it was nice to schedule some time to get some shopping done in time for the big day.

From a business perspective, we joined the December Movers & Shakers meeting as the monthly PIB meeting where we managed to catch up with a few advertisers to give them Christmas cards and gingerbread cookies, freshly baked the night before.

We also enjoyed our debut attendance at the Successful Mums get-together where we heard founder Jane Knight talk about the importance of setting goals for our businesses – sound advice and one which we aim to implement.

December Blog 2019

In between all of this, Lauretta started her daily radiotherapy treatment, which is ongoing until early January. Juggling work, home life and family along with her treatment has been tricky for her – but not impossible! She even found time to join other breast cancer patients for bag packing at Marks & Spencer in Bromley to help raise funds for The Primrose Centre.

Thanks to them, Lauretta has managed to get some extra help in managing her recent diagnosis of lymphedema by utilising one of their lymphedema machines to encourage the file of lymphatic fluid through her arm.

A huge welcome

Finally, despite being a busy month in the run up to Christmas, we’ve managed to welcome a few new advertisers this month.

They included Valentine & Turner, Tapi Carpets, 42 Cycle, CWJ, Aletta Shaw and Semosh.

Look out for our Facebook and Twitter posts where we promote our advertisers, as well as our Twitter stories.

That’s it until next month, which will now be next year! Until then, wishing all our readers a very Merry Christmas – and here’s to health, happiness and business success in 2020!