Since launching my business, I’ve been to a few networking events. One of the really useful ones was with The Women’s Organisation earlier this year, two really inspirational speakers and a room full start up businesses. Great for sharing ideas, finding suppliers and partnerships, but not so great at finding paid work.
So lately I’ve been looking into other Liverpool business networking opportunities, but ones that wont break the bank! The first one I tried was Simply Networking. You pay £10.50 for the event you attend and that includes food. This time the event took place at Yard and Coop, Thursday 12th April, and I was looking forward to a bucket load of fried chicken!
I arrived ridiculously early, but the venue were happy for me to sit and work in a corner until the event got started. The great thing about being the first there was that everyone introduced themselves to me on the way in – I felt like part of the welcoming committee along with Mark Greenwood – the organiser of Simply Networking.
Mark explained that he set up the networking opportunity 12 years ago after attending too many well structured events. Inspirational speakers are great but Mark explained that he just wanted to use the opportunity to talk to all the businesses there, so he set up Simply Networking to allow for just that.
It was really interesting how after the first 10 minutes, two groups had formed, of men and women – it looked like a dance hall. However, after spotting it, I immediately walked over to the male group and started talking. It’s weird at first, introducing yourself to strangers, talking about your business and their business, but everyone was really friendly and interesting and I think I got away it!
There was a lot of support for my venture, particularly from Chris Davidson of Active Presence, sales presentation tools and speaker training, who explained that good copywriters are as rare as ‘hen’s teeth’ and particularly ones with a marketing communications background, which was very reassuring. I’ve already had one introduction by email from Chris which I’m very grateful for!
I went on to meet several other organisations from solicitors to waste management, accountants to holiday providers and some of the best advice I was given was to just be there. Just attending these networking events and passing on your cards will put your services in the minds of several organisations who may well come to you when they need your help. It’s really not about selling at all, it’s just about being yourself and talking to people.
The food arrived and I’m afraid to say I took the opportunity to get into the queue immediately, as I was getting pretty hungry by then! After a plate full of chicken and a natter with a few more attendees, Mark announced the winners of the free advertising opportunity he was offering and thanked us all for attending.
There was a fairly sharp exit at around 2pm as most people needed to get back to work, and after talking none stop for two hours and managing, successfully, to avoid dropping food down myself, I was also pretty shattered! In the words of Arnie though – I’ll be back!