For the past week I’ve been staying way out of my comfort zone, which is where you need to be to succeed, according to most business ‘gurus’ and I did a bit more networking. (I’m not sure if this is a space you need to constantly be in, but see no harm in challenging myself from time to time.) This time it was an evening event, for local women in business. There were lots of interesting women there, all offering goods and services in the local area.
The ‘local’ bit made me feel a little bit of an imposter, as that’s not technically what I am and it certainly isn’t what the business is. (I do have another business, which is local, so perhaps that qualifies me, but this is an online business that I aim to spread far and wide.)
So was it worth it?
I’d say yes. I think all networking events are an opportunity for people to find out more about your business and what you offer. It’s a good chance to ‘practice’ speaking about your business and what you do. We did one of those ‘around the room’ things which I dread. I have a naturally quiet speaking voice and I’m never really sure that people can hear me. (Which doesn’t make it any less scary, as I worry I’ll be asked to repeat myself!)
I think you can also find parallels with other businesses even if, on the face of it, they seem completely different. For example, I was talking about wanting to work with distributors and got chatting to someone who can put me in touch with another local businessman who’s thinking about the same thing.
Most of us (small business owners) have similar challenges. Often it’s around time management, work/life balance, cash flow (in the early days especially), marketing, etc, and I think we can all learn from each other’s thoughts and experiences in these areas.
Also, I do want my business to be ‘real’ and authentic (hence this blog) and I would love to see my products stocked locally, as I am local, they were created here and I love where I live!
I’d say that if you have your own business, whatever stage you’re at and whatever it is that you do, it’s definitely worth getting out there and meeting other business owners (whether that’s locally, or virtually). You never know who you’re going to meet at these things either, so it’s probably a bit like speed-dating in that sense – in that it’s a complete numbers game and the more events you try the more likely you are to meet the ‘right’ person!