Running a small business can sometimes be rather isolating – especially for those who work from home. We are all so busy with our day to day work that we literally don’t get out much. However, it’s good to talk (as they say) with people in a similar situation – and that is not the only benefit of business networking. Through attending a few networking meetings, we have made some really good contacts, discovered new promotional channels for our guesthouse and got access to some very useful training. Here’s some information about two local networking groups of which we’re members.
Clara Lawrie - who runs the very informative West Somerset and Exmoor news and events website http://www.aboutmyarea.co.uk/Somerset/Minehead/TA24 - has been the driving force behind West Somerset Means Business, which started up in 2011 and is going from strength to strength. Local businesspeople meet once a month over breakfast at the Reading Room in Minehead. There is a visiting speaker and the opportunity for each person to briefly introduce themselves and their business to the rest of the group. For more details, and to book your place at the next breakfast meeting, email Maureen Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you haven’t yet been to the Reading Room, then do give it a try. It’s a friendly café with a community ethos (e.g. books and crafts to buy, local information, internet access and a variety of events and courses): http://www.aboutmyarea.co.uk/Somerset/Minehead/TA24/Businesses/Cafes-and-Coffee-Shops/The-Reading-Room
Earlier this year, Elke Koessling-Winzer of CultureLine set up Exmoor4all, which aims – through extensive use of social media - to promote Exmoor as a wonderful place to visit. Part of this project is a scheme called the Exmoor Club, offering discounts and special deals across Exmoor to visitors and local residents alike. More details, including information on how you can get involved, at http://culturelineuk.wordpress.com/projects/
There are now also regular informal Exmoor4all TweetUps (i.e. face-to-face meetings of people who have ‘met’ on twitter) for local businesses, over coffee and biscuits at The Culbone, near Porlock: http://www.theculbone.com/ (a very good place for a spot of lunch, by the way).
Exmoor has a vibrant business community, supplying a huge variety of products and services. These kinds of get-togethers (both on and offline) give us all the opportunity to learn more about what other businesses do and explore ways we can work together. They are a great way to bring in new custom for ourselves while supporting other local organisations and at the same time promoting this beautiful area where we live. Everybody wins!