I avoided formal networking for years and with lots of excuses – wrong time of day, couldn’t commit on a regular basis, didn’t like the format, pushed to join, too expensive… But the recession forced me to consider getting a job or getting more income from my business. I chose the latter, as I love being self-employed. I love the flexibility and the illusion of control and so I had to ‘get over myself’ and start formally networking.
What a benefit that proved to be! I sampled several types of networking and now regularly attend a weekly one, a fortnightly one and a couple of monthly ones. They all have a slightly different style but all are enjoyable (main criteria – if you don’t enjoy the two hours you are there, what’s the point). Not only have I increased my income through networking, but I have also been able to find great experts to help with my business.
Back in 2017 I won ‘Networker of the Year’. This wasn’t because I go to a lot of meetings, talk a lot and eat nice food – as my daughter’s boyfriend suggested – it was because through my networks I introduce and link people and businesses. I can honestly say that over the years I have met such a diverse range of businesses that I can suggest a contact for almost anything you might want for you or your business.
The fortnightly group I regularly attend is Uttoxeter Business Network. We meet fortnightly at Heath House Conference Centre in Uttoxeter. This ticks all the networking boxes – good time of day (first thing), easy to get to off A50, excellent attendance, diverse businesses, fantastic breakfast (scrambled eggs to die for), spacious meeting room and ample parking. Heath House also has small meeting rooms for us to have one-to-ones to get to know each other better, either on the day or in the week, so proves to be a great venue.
So, if you have never tried networking and are making the excuses that I and most other people make, please give it a whirl. It’s not about selling (per se), it’s about building relationships to grow and sustain your business. Before I started networking, I would have to ‘look up’ the services and products I needed but I can now personally recommend:
Accountant x 3. Architectural technologist. Artist. Audio-visual installation. Bread Baker. Bespoke creative products (art, photography, craft). Business coach x 2. Butcher. Cake Maker x 2. Candle & soap makers. Charities x 3. Childcare specialist x 2. Cloud accounting package. Commercial and domestic cleaners x 4. Content marketing. Copywriter x 2. Dog biscuit maker. Educationalists. Embroidered uniforms & promotional wear. Estate agent. Facilities management. Fascinator maker. Film & video production. Garden designer. Graphic designer x 2. Hairdresser. Health products x 2. Health & wellness adviser. HR consultants x 2. Independent travel consultants x 4. Insurance broker x 2. IT support x 2. IT systems & process mapping. Jewellers. Marketing strategy x 3. Mortgage advisers x 2. Meeting rooms – large and small. Motorcycle funerals. Office furniture (new and used). Pensions, personal insurances x 2. Personal coach x 3. Photographer x 2. Rural business adviser. Social media content. Soft furnishings. Solicitors (commercial, employment, family, wills) x 3. Therapists & massage. Utilities & energy savings (commercial & domestic). Voice activated warehouse management system. Web designer. WiFi & network installation ………and should you want a p***-**p in a brewery, I know someone who can do that too.
Find out more about Karen and how she can support your business: https://greenshoot.co.uk/human-resources/
For more information about the Uttoxeter Business Network visit:Uttoxeter Business Network
For more information about the business facilities at Heath House Conference Centre visit: Heath House Conference Centre