The Business Café (TBC) offers a new concept to old habits. Most of us meet in coffee shops for business, support each other and share our vulnerabilities as well as the good things that we find that can help us in our business. All of us need company from time to time and the majority benefit from bite size chunks of technical assistance from others!
It is the passion of the founders to bring free community and skills to SMEs across the UK and beyond.
Penny Power OBE – CEO and co-founder
The Business Cafe is Penny’s brainchild, borne of a rainy day when the trains were cancelled and the majority of fettered passengers decamped to a local coffee shop. Whilst everyone improvised meetings and caught up with emails, no-one chatted, there was no sense of community. How wonderful, she thought, if everyone could have such a place to feel less lonely in business, even better if they could also gain new skills and support each other.
Gail Thomas – COO and co-founder
Similarly, Gail had seen the demise of the high street and recognised a need for such spaces to regenerate with new purpose to breathe life back into independent traders and the communal space. In a more transactional way, her vision was for an entrepreneur’s shop, where business people could meet, network and trade as a result.
Together Penny and Gail have created The Business Cafe vision and will bring it to market in 2018.
Helen Beardmore – Head of Skills
Immersed in the world of education from her early career and more latterly in the SME arena through her role at Peter Jones Enterprise Academy and consultancy position with Pearson, Helen joins TBC with a remit to equip the Digital Friends with the business and digital skills needed to support our SME members.
So if you’ve any questions about The Business Café you need To Be Confirmed, we hope you’ll find them here, but if there’s a question we’ve missed here, let us know…
Who is The Business Café for?
Anyone in business. Adults only though, you wouldn’t expect to take your children to your place of work and we want to respect that in our coffee shops too.
And membership is free?
Absolutely, all you pay for is your food and drink, just as you would in any café anywhere.
Do I have to sign in then each time I visit?
There will be a need for each member to identify themselves to gain access, it’s not intended to be onerous, just, as you would in any club, a requirement to ensure that membership and culture is enjoyed and respected by people who have signed up. Access may be via card swipe, phone app swipe, biometric (thumb print) or manual gate.
So there’s free training?
Our team of Digital Friends will be trained in all the apps available on our digital menu and available to all members to offer ad hoc bite size help sessions (as opposed to formal training sessions) on a one to one basis. They may be able to help directly but at the very least will be able to sign post to additional support if need be.
And free tech support?
Not so much. Our Digital Friends are less about sorting out your router and more about helping business owners to get on board with apps that can help in business, like book-keeping apps, email marketing and social media to name a few – have a look at our Digital Menu for more information.
What apps can you help me with?
Our Digital Menu features all the great companies who have chosen to make using their application easier by bringing support with it to the high street, free of charge via The Business Café. You’ll find a physical menu one on every table as well as digitally (of course) in every cafe.
Can I promote my business to other members?
By creating a community, we naturally create an appetite to exchange – support, information, best practice and of course, goods and services i.e. trade. We also recognise that there is an opportunity to more prominently promote offerings in this environment, and we facilitate this in a number of ways – get more information about our promotional Menu here [link to contact us].
When I join do I have to have an introductory session?
Each café has its own community manager who is responsible for building the community, bringing in new members and protecting the culture of friendship, support and openness to connect (as opposed to allowing the place to become isolated, do not disturb workspace). This is explained more fully by them, along with other opportunities for members, when you join up.
Can I bring in guests who are not members?
Of course, we will just need their email address and a few details to get them joined and accessed into the cafe.
Can I join online?
You can, the link is here
I’ve joined the Facebook group, am I now a TBC member?
Not yet, we’re so pleased you’ve joined us on Facebook, hope you’ve also like our page too. The group online is all about help, support and sharing in a safe environment and though each member is approved by our social media team, you still need to officially join as a member to gain access to your local café.
What is your ambassador program?
We’re keen to go where we’re wanted most so if you really would like a TBC in your town, then you are welcome to become an ambassador to help build up momentum and community. Ambassadors are obvious candidates to become Community Managers (a paid part time position with us) as we get close to opening the café.