Ok so I done a quick post in bed this morning and told you all how I was off networking and just felt I had to share my own experiences with you.
This is the amazing group of women I got to have breakfast with, divulge business ideas and inspiration, learn about their amazing work & businesses and leave feeling truly uplifted & inspired. I also want to say a massive thank you to the 3 great women who organise the Gravesend Professional Women In Business meeting every month Jo Howe of The British Heart Foundation, Emma Harrenden of Hatten Wyatt Solicitors and Isobel Brett of Brett’s Business Recovery and of course not forgetting the wonderful staff and management at the gorgeous Gravesend Old Town Hall venue.
I have been working for myself for some time now and the fact is it can get lonely and you can become stuck in a rut of procrastination and doubt every so often. Attending networking changes that, don’t get me wrong it takes time to find networking that works for you I have been to so many groups but now only attend 3-4 that I know are actually building the network of inspiring entrepreneurs (and friends) around me.
So what are my key tips in networking;
1. Know what you are setting out to achieve.
For me it’s a few things, having people around me I can call when I am not sure what the hell I’m actually doing, extending the network and variety of businesses I work alongside, building up contacts I can refer, trust and recommend to my clients and most of all put a social bit of fun into what can sometimes be really lonely!
2. Don’t expect to sell to the people you are networking with.
It’s not about how much I sell or how many new clients I get from networking its about making the businesses aware what I do, how I do it and why I’m so bloody good at it! (Haha) I want to be the first business they turn to for beauty advise, for treatments, for events, I want to be the name they say with such enthusiasm when their clients are looking for the services I offer.
3. Give Give Give
I love helping other businesses out of a rut, giving ideas or feedback, or donating my time and services to be of benefit to others. Straight after I had a great coffee and catch up with another female entrepreneur who has also become a fabulous friend Sonia Hurren Parent & Teenager Coaching Specialist we were talking about our presentations what we like what we missed, our plans for the future, (they are exciting watch this space!) and also recommending people we should each reach out to and even though our businesses are completely different we were both able to GIVE each other SOOO much!
4. Build power connections
This is something I learnt from the Evo Girls networking I attend run by Rebecca Roberston (one of my business besties!) from Evolution For Women, the idea behind power connections is a person or business who works with the same client base as you, so where you can both offer your clients something amazing but you both offer those clients a different service or requirement.
5. Follow up
Networking will never come to fruition if you don’t hold the connections and follow up, they will just remain a collection of business cards sitting on your desk of names and numbers that are of no use to you. Get to know these people, chatting for a few minutes at a networking event is not enough make strong bonds, really understand one another’s business ethos, have a coffee and catch up regularly stay connected. Again don’t sell to each other build relationships they pay off in so many different ways in the long run. For me they mainly pay off by having a list of business buddies I can call during melt downs and who pick me up when I really think I’m not rocking my biz the way I should be and they know i’ll return the favour too, because it does happen to all of us. But obviously there are a lot more mutual benefits to staying connected!
Also one thing that I think is a major business rule anyway was said in the presentation given by the hugely inspiring Zoe Cairns of ZC Social Media, and its what I’m going to leave you with today that applies to all routes of life business, social media, personal contacts ….