I attend a networking group. I’m not an official member but I am always welcomed whenever I am able to attend their meetings.
The networking group is called WINK: Women Interested in Networking Knowledge.
We meet on the first Tuesday of every month, 9:30 – 12 noon. Apart from January.
Our meeting place is at a hotel on the way up to The Lake District, it’s called The Villa. It’s a beautiful hotel. Set in a beautiful part of the world and although it’s near the by-pass, you can’t hear the traffic. Nor can you really see the traffic from the hotel.
As the name suggests, it’s a meeting of women who have their own small business. There’s a wide variety of small businesses, such as ones that are involved in health and well-being, arts and crafts, food and drink along with insurance brokers, personal and admin assistance. Not one business is the same, although there are some that are similar, they are not the same and each one brings support, advice and knowledge to each meeting.
During some meetings, one of the members does a presentation about their business – what got them started, what their plans are for the future of their business.
It provides a great insight as to how which techniques may work for one, may not work for another. As it all depends on your product/service and the demographic you’re aiming for.
On some occasions, we have an outside speaker. Someone who gives a talk in how to progress, usually it’s based on social media presence and how to use it to it’s full potential in relation to your business.
As for me, I have been attending the group for just over a year. It’s all due to an existing member who also makes jewellery. She follows my Facebook page and noticed that I was struggling: in my posts, pricing and overall marketing. She suggested/invited me to attend and I have to say – I have really benefited from it.
Listening to other business women in what they have achieved. One has an Etsy shop which is in the top 5% of Etsy shop sellers no less!! As well as listening to their advice and accepting their compliments.
At the start of each session, we all introduce ourselves and give an insight to our business. After a while of me attending the networking group, one of the women approached me to say that even though it was only a few months of me attending, she has seen and can hear the confidence in me growing. Something that I wish to continue.
So to the benefits:
Gain knowledge and advice to further professionally and personally
Meet new people
I’m sure there are many more but they are the points that I’ve discovered. Even though I have not gone to every meeting, nor stayed for the entire session (due to work commitments), I would highly recommend for those who are starting their own small, local and independent business to go and attend their nearest networking group. Or go to various groups to see which one suits you and your needs to grow the business.
WINK have a FB page which helps to promote its members and they are holding a birthday event. That includes shopping of course! They did one last year, which I attended as well as a Gala dinner the night before and I really enjoyed it.
This year it will be WINK’s 4th birthday and to coincide with celebrating women with their own small business, this year’s Gala dinner is taking place on March 8th – International Woman’s Day. Whilst the shopping day itself will be the day after March 9th.
So to conclude, that’s the main benefit for me attending this networking group. I get to meet all sorts of amazing women from different backgrounds and different businesses. I believe it has helped me grow in confidence and have a better idea as to how to make my business – Emaz Beadz grow.