So, my husband and I have set up a new consulting business and we have a few bits of work coming in but that hasn’t stopped us wondering where and how to land more clients. The advice is to get out there and network, but how? And where do we start?
In the end I’ve taken the plunge first and Facebook has proved to be my saviour. I follow several businesses on Facebook including ByJoveMedia, an award-winning social media marketing agency run by Michelle Betts, and it was ByJove’s sponsorship of the Horsham Women In Business networking event that piqued my interest and led me to register at my first event – a small gathering of women over lunch at our local Pizza Express with a talk didn’t seem to be too daunting!
Despite this, I dragged my sister Annie along with me for moral support she has recently set up Annie Hall Limited, a freelance company providing web design, SEO and digital marketing services and so will also benefit from networking, but we needn’t have worried – we were warmly welcomed by a host of friendly faces. The format involved an introduction session round the table with a small overview by each of the attendees on who they were and what they offered, followed by an interesting talk by one of the members on how to lose that feeling of ‘busyness’ but achieve your goals and then a delicious buffet lunch and time to chat freely with the other ladies over pizza, pasta and salad – what’s not to like? The trick is to develop relationships with people before pitching your business – listen more than you talk!
Annie and I left with a handful of business cards each, which have developed into LinkedIn contacts and the beginning of what hopefully could be a referral tree; as well as useful business hints and tips and suggestions of other events that are worth going along to.
It’s early days yet but with the first one under my belt, hopefully my network will continue to grow…