Starting up and growing your business can be a daunting task, it can be an isolating experience. It doesn’t have to be and by building a solid list of contacts you can connect with or learn from, can make your journey that little bit easier. We will cover what networks could be available to you and how you can leverage these to support your business journey by connecting with like-minded individuals, meeting mentors, new friends and helping with self-doubt.
By building a good network you can be inspired to take on new challenges and develop your business further, below is our top five list of networking ideas:
Business contacts past and present
As you’ve moved through your career you’ve probably built up a list of contacts and formed working relationships with past colleagues. Remember these relationships don’t need to end when you go it alone, social media, a quick message or a good old fashioned phone call can be all that it takes to gain some external perspective about your business.
Your local council and Business Gateway
Many councils offer start-up and existing businesses the opportunity to network at specified events, workshops and community gatherings. Business Gateway also provide you with the tools and events to help grow your business and network at the same time. These are great places to start and expand the conversation around your business.
Breakfast and supper clubs
Networking can be off putting, but with a perfect ice-breaker of chatting over a cup of coffee or a 5pm beer often helps alleviate networking anxiety. You will find that these events are much more relaxed, allowing for connections to be made and conversations to flow naturally. A quick search online is all it takes to form the next branch of your network.
Chambers of Commerce
By becoming a member for your local accredited chamber of commerce you can access a whole host of events, business sectors, contacts and opportunities that you would never of have had before.
The Federation of Small Businesses
From start-up to scale up, the Federation of Small can help learn everything you need to know about starting a small business, including business law basics, finance fundamentals, and tips for securing your first sale. They also run Scotland wide member events that you can learn new skills, and expand your network designed specifically for small business owners and the self-employed.
Social Media Groups
Whatever your business topic is, you’re sure to find an online group that can introduce you to people with similar interests. From accountants and mentors to tradespeople and labour, joining a social media group is a sure fire way to contact business owners. It is also a great way to ask for guidance, tips or even test the market demand for your business.
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