Do you remember your first time?

Heather Townsend
The Excedia Group
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Networking, I mean. Why what were you thinking about?

My first time networking as a business owner rather than an employee was an eye opener. I was a month into my life as an executive coach, and was very naive and green. All I knew was that ‘networking’ was going to magically help me find referrals, leads and ultimately new clients for my business. But, rather crucially, I didn’t know how!

I clearly remember being there about 40 mins early, and catching up on some phone calls in the car, before very nervously making my way in – and not wanting to be the first one there! When I scanned the attendance list at the chamber of commerce event, my heart sank – nearly a third of the list were coaches of some sort of description. Not likely to be any clients here for me...

There were so many ‘regular’ networkers there, who seemed to be totally at ease circulating around the room. I honestly knew no one, but had psyched myself up to ‘press the flesh’ so to speak. I wondered whether I would ever know enough people that I would be one of those few who seemed to confidently glide around the room.
Well, it wasn’t a wasted evening so to speak. In networking terms it was a failure – there is no one from that evening that I am now in close contact with. I also spent a large part of the evening talking to two other coaches... However, that evening was the start of a passion for business networking, in particular using both online and offline networking in tandem.

What do you remember about your first time networking?

About Heather Townsend

Heather Townsend is a brand ambassador for the Practice Excellence Programme, and the Founder of ‘The Accountants Millionaires’ Club’. In 2015 the ICAEW decided she was the number one online influencer for the accountancy profession. She is the author of 4 books, including The Go-To Expert, and ‘How to make partner and still have a life’ (co-authored with Jo Larbie).

Heather is always up for a challenge. Perhaps that is why she has built a track record of helping accountants grow the size of their practice by 50-200%, often in under two years. Often helping them make partner or equity partner in the process.

Heather is a high profile member of the accountancy profession in the UK. She has worked with over 300 partners, coached, trained and mentored over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. Heather's clients have included: 7 out of the Top 10 UK practices, including all the Big 4 firms. 

In 2016 her and her team of coaches have coached:

1) 7 people successfully to partner

2) Professionals from all of the Big 4, from every major continent in the world


As well as helping accountants make partner, she still spends 40% of her time helping small firms, typically under £1m GRF:

1) Create profitable revenue streams from advisory services and reduce their reliance on revenue from compliance services

2) Radically increase their profitability, even if they are a cloud based practice, often helping them achieve a net profit margin of 40%+

3) Double or even triple the size of their practice within 3 years

4) Win bigger and better clients

5) Grow the right team around them so they stop working stupidly high hours and spend quality time with the people they care about

Her articles appear regularly in the UK national and trade press, including The Financial Times, Accountancy Age, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. Heather is also in-demand for her speaking and has recently returned from the South African Accountancy Academy conference.


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23rd Aug 2011 11:13

Introduce others

Not my first event but I arrived once to find that the key speaker was another local accountant.

Instead of waving the accountancy flag I concentrated on introducing newcomers to others who would be able to help them. I made a few useful contacts in the process and was able to follow up in a more leisurely manner at a later date.

I usually find that I can make useful contacts and introductions on behalf of my clients and not just for myself.

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