Not everyone is a natural networker and even armed with the confidence of running a successful business, the prospect of networking can be daunting.
Your business is growing, you have strong contacts, and you’re happy with how your business is progressing, so why network? Research has shown that women in business often build narrow, strong relationships but that it’s having a wide, varied network that is paramount. Businesses need a wide range of contacts to exchange ideas, share information, solicit advice, share resources, raise capital or develop partnerships. Women entrepreneurs often spend a lot of time making contacts when they first start their business and then, as they become more and more time pressed, networking is put on the back burner and reliance on long-standing contacts takes precedence.
You may well have a profile on LinkedIn and Facebook, a Twitter account and possibly a Blog. It’s easy to feel as though you’re always communicating but are you really building a quality, varied network that is going to have a positive impact on your business? Whilst social media is of vital importance, there is still a role for engaging with others face to face in your local area.
As a successful female entrepreneur, you have a tremendous amount of knowledge, skill and expertise that would be of value to other women in business in your area. The reciprocal nature of networking can be of enormous value to you both professionally and personally.
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With limited time, it’s important to join the right networking group, but this can be a daunting, and financially challenging prospect.
A good place to start for many is Bedfordshire BusinessWomen; a nurturing, inclusive group which was founded in 1988 and has become the most successful women’s networking group in the county. With 26 members across a wide range of businesses including catering, design, health, accounting and business solutions, you can be sure to meet with women who will be able to positively impact your business in an open and friendly environment.
It’s less about macho back-slapping and more about supportive hugs!
Jude Ryan, Director at MindOptions Ltd, recently joined BBW and had this to say after her first encounter with the group: “Just wanted to thank everyone who gave me such a warm welcome at my first networking event. I found the morning really inspiring and it was a pleasure to be with you all, I’m so pleased to be a member and look forward to meeting and getting to know you all over the coming months”.
Bedfordshire BusinessWomen hold monthly networking events on the third Thursday of every month and include four major networking events throughout the year.
On the first Wednesday of every month, a Bedfordshire BusinessWomen member-run workshop also takes place. Why not come along as a guest to the next event and experience the power of networking for yourself?
For more information on upcoming events to come along as a guest, or to join, please visit: www.beds-businesswomen.org