If there are any creatives reading this then you’ll probably understand me when I say that the thought of getting up a 5.45 in the morning to go and speak to the same people about the same things week in, week out may not float your creative boat. However, any negative thoughts I may have had have been turned on their head.
Until recently I’ve stuck to monthly, more casual networking like Business Buzz Watford run by the lovely ladies at My Mustard and that’s enabled me to gain confidence and build good business relationships. But as with any business, things change. New business objectives come on the horizon and quite simply, you just need to get your name out there more. So I’ve gone against any initial objectives I may have had regarding weekly breakfast networking groups, taken some advice from other business owners that I know and trust, and tested the water with a few in the area.
It’s got to be said that they are definitely NOT all the same. If there’s anyone out there thinking of joining one I would definately research the ones in your area, go along as a visitor, see how you get on with the people in the group and think about who in the room you’d be able to potentially refer people to and who you think might be happy to refer you - it’s a two way thing after all.
But it does take time, time to understand and learn what your fellow members do and also time to educate them in the services you offer, so that if you’re both in a situation where the conversation arises, you or they, are the first person that comes to mind when that profession is needed.
All this networking also gives you the opportunity to get to know the businesses in your area, but with this can come surprises as well.
One of the groups I attend, is local, very local, actually 2mins up the road local. The area that I live in has a village feel to it, despite having a Watford postcode! There’s no ‘heads down’ while you’re walking around, everyone’s friendly, and we’re lucky to have events run by a local group OVEG so there’s a real community atmosphere. The reason I say this, is that you get to know the faces of the people that live near you, but you have very little knowledge of who they are and what they do.
But I digress…little did I know that when I attended my ‘very local’ breakfast meeting that I’d see so many familiar faces. People that run successful businesses either from home or locally are right on my doorstep and I didn’t know. Straight away this broke the business like approach to our introductions because we already had something in common on top of our drive to want more from our businesses.
So do you know your neighbour, I mean really know them? If not, then it’s time to get past the daily chit-chat and dig a little deeper because there could be a business opportunity right on your doorstep.