Having a small business is tough, especially when you’re just starting out or working alone.
Discover why I believe business support is a necessity rather than a luxury, and how to find the right support to help you thrive in business.
When I first became self-employed over a decade ago I spent far too long guessing what I should be doing and muddling along with the help of books and Google.
That worked for a while, but what you don’t get is the trials and errors that come from others’ experiences. What would have been great would have been someone I could go and ask their opinion on something, bounce ideas off, and learn from experience.
I was a firm believer in figuring out things for myself until I realised growth would be a lot quicker with the support of others. It wasn’t a luxury, but a necessity to help plug any gaps in my knowledge.
Small business owners wear many hats, I highly recommend surrounding yourself with people who can help you with all aspects of running a business.Karen Rhodes, Rhodes Marketing
Over the years I had tried so many networking groups where I struggled to fit in and make meaningful connections.
I won’t name names, but I was invited to a networking group as a guest and had no idea what was expected of me. There were about 35 people sitting around a big table and one by one everyone had a turn to pitch their business.
At the time I was a dog walker and I was mortified when it came to my turn. I managed to talk about what I did for 60 seconds, but I saw the look on some of their faces which told me everything I needed to know about that group.
They made me feel like I didn’t belong with the electricians, builders, accountants to name a few. That didn’t stop them whisking me away from the group to try and convince me to sign up though. I couldn’t escape fast enough!
Another I tried was like an old friends club. You know then you walk into a tiny village pub and everyone turns to look at you? That’s the vibe I got there, and from chatting to a few I wasn’t wrong, some had been members for years and years. They were friendly enough, but I didn’t feel they were my crowd.
There’s so many groups that the sole purpose of the person going is to sell their stuff. I know ultimately we newtork to increase our chances of getting our name out there which will hopefully lead to sales, but for me, I don’t think this should be forced.
And the whole having to stand up and pitch your services to an uninterested room waiting for their turn gives me the ick!
I much prefer building connections and learning about them as a person before I decide to buy. People buy from people as the saying goes!
I’m pleased to say I have now found a group where I feel genuine connections are made and encouraged. If you want to check it out it’s The Business Women’s Network. The brainchild of Mandie Hogate who has not only brought together a diverse range of people (the Insiders) with varying skills, but it’s a hub of valuable knowledge for all your business needs.
Full transparency, I am an affiliate, but here’s how it’s different to a regular affiliate scheme.
The aim of BWN is to help and support you with all aspects of business and one way of doing that is using their platform to increase your visibility.
BWN works hard to promote your business and in exchange you pay it forward to the Insiders. This is done by giving members discounted services or offers so together we can support each other to thrive and grow while making savings.
Takeaway from this what you want. Try lots of networking groups until you find your tribe, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask others for support.
We love this blog article from our latest affiliate Karen Rhodes, Karen like anyone reading this will like to know that one of the reasons Mandie Holgate set up the BWN / Insiders in 2009 is because she made every mistake under the sun and wanted to ensure others got the results in their businesses without those expensive time consuming mistakes.
It’s also really important to us that everyone is welcome, Business men know they are welcome and we have nearly as many men as members now as women. We also attract charities who need to gain new volunteers and funding streams and those looking to create a side business. No matter who you are, whether you’ve been with us since 2009 (as many have!) or are new to us, we want you to feel welcomed and safe to say anything.
One of our favourite sayings is
You don’t know what you need to know until you need to know it and then it’s usually too late.Mandie Holgate, Founder, crazy dancer, best selling author of Fight the Fear and Taking Control of Your Mind.
And lastly if you do want to deliver a great 60 seconds elevator pitch we can teach you or you can bypass that bit of our events altogether and just sit back and listen to everyone else. Karen is right, it’s so important to get the right business support for growth, thank you for sharing Karen and it’s great to have your Facebook Ads expertise on board!