The best thing to happen this week was attending the Local Enterprise Office Women in Business network morning.
Not because of the speaker, who was outstanding, but because there was a young girl, in her school uniform who had taken the initiative to come along. Setting out on what no doubt will be the beginning of a long entrepreneurial journey, she illustrated the makings of a successful businesswoman simply by being there.
Making the most of opportunities offered by Government supported enterprise would be second on my list of advice to any budding entrepreneurs. Only topped by my first recommendation which is to tap into the magic of networking.
The speaker Susan Hayes Cullerton was billed to be talking about “Financial Fitness” I’ll be honest it sounded a bit dry, as a creative I have had to work hard to develop an appreciation of the financial mechanics of my businesses. However, based on my belief that you will always learn something from a presentation, and that networking is essential I was determined to invest my time.
My goodness I am so glad that I did!
Susan is a gifted and showstopping speaker. If you ever get the chance to see her, do not hesitate. It was like a machine gun of simple clear actionable advice pouring out across the room. A whirlwind of reminders and new ideas to take for those prepared to invest a morning out of their business to attend.
Everything a good networking event should be. Inspiring, helpful, and stimulating.
One of Susan's recommendations was to go back and check where your last 10 clients or customers had come from, which I decided to try. The results did not surprise me, but it has emphasised my belief in the power of networking with a powerful statistic.
60% of my last 10 clients came to me directly because of networking.
40% came by word of mouth, which is another form of networking.
It can be daunting to walk into a room full of strangers and working out when to talk about your business and how to behave in an appropriate way to attract a wider network.
It takes a while to relax and feel comfortable in a business networking setting.
Just watch and learn, you will see people with very different approaches from the acutely shy to those who overshare, take too much time and leave you confused as to what they actually do.
You will also see those who impress with a clarity and ability to convey their message professionally and enthusiastically, which is the ideal.
As a female entrepreneur, I have experienced the pressure of running a business on top of being a Mum, Daughter, wife, and everything else life throws your way. Taking time out to develop your circle of business support through networking, not only helps you with your business but increases your confidence, your knowledge and leads to lasting friendships with likeminded people.
As you can see in my case, it has also led to being the foundation of my business.
I wish that young schoolgirl every success with her entrepreneurial journey, no matter what age or stage you are there is magic in networking if you are prepared to give it a go.
My next networking opportunity is the NWED I hope to meet you there.