Up until about a year ago if you invited me to a networking event I would have tried to find an excuse not to go.
I hated networking. The very word filled me with fear and it was not something I looked forward to, but I felt like I ‘should’ do it.
The reason for this was the image I had in my head of what networking was. Stuffy meetings, with boring people in suits asking me about what I did and expecting a well crafted “elevator pitch” style answer.
But I’ve changed this image. I’ve given ‘networking’ a new meaning in my own mind; one that I can embrace & enjoy.
In fact the dictionary definition is a pretty good one – “the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.”
Networking is SO much more than a group event. It’s about building relationships, something we all do in different ways, meaning there are many different actions we can take to network.
Here are the 3 reasons I now love networking:
- It can lead to more business opportunities. Many people I work with have been through my network; either meeting them at different events (online & in person) or through referrals via my different networks (and yes the class whats app group is a network!).
- I get to meet people. I like people; I am energised & inspired by meeting and talking to others, so being in different networks is key to building my business and helping me set my own priorities.
- Most importantly having a network cuts down the loneliness. Running your own business can be very isolating, you can sometimes feel you’re the only one struggling with the many challenges it brings. Finding your network can bring a tremendous amount of support; fellow business owners to discuss it all with, to sympathise, empathise, commiserate & celebrate with you. I honestly wouldn’t still be going if it wasn’t for some of my business buddies – who have all been found through networking in some form.
THE BUZZ HUB CO STYLE OF NETWORKING
Networking can be large scale in person events, one to one over a coffee or simply chatting to someone on Instagram. There are many different ways you can build your network, and it is definitely worth investing some time in finding what works for you.
The formal “elevator pitch” style meetings do exist but if you don’t like them, you don’t have to go.
At The Buzz Hub Co, I am working to introduce different networking opportunities – hopefully something for everyone to help facilitate local business owners to find their network their way.
Last month we held our first Small Biz Social – definitely one of my favourite networking events so far! Hosted at the amazing Tring Winery, with good wine & cheese and the opportunity to informally meet & chat fellow local business people. Safe to say it was a great success and we’ll definitely be repeating it again soon!
We have also now held a few ‘netwalking’ events. These have been terrific, with many people coming away with new contacts and feeling inspired!
For our members, we have an exclusive Facebook group – a space to share news, ask questions & gain support. As well as monthly virtual networking sessions (aka a chat on zoom) and our new brainstorming sessions.
So it’s safe to say networking is now one of the favourite parts of my business, and an area I’m keen to grow as part of The Buzz Hub Co. If you feel like networking isn’t for you, or if it fills you with dread, then I encourage you to reframe it. Find your own style of networking that you can enjoy.
Photos from Aldcroft Photography.
If you’d like to hear more about our future networking opportunities do sign up to our new Business Co-mmunity mailing list to keep up to date with future dates. Click here to join.