Business networks help local business growth

 

 

Betsy working late

Me working late on a Saturday

Sitting here late at night, doing work and updating social media content, I see from my chat tab, and the many posts coming through, that my fellow self employed are working late too.  Whether it is a wise thing to do or not – and some time management gurus may suggest it’s not – more and more of my fellow creatives, makers and home run business are up all hours of the day in the spirit of driving our businesses forward.

OK so we’re starting our own revolution and it is all about making local and handmade what people buy into in our towns, or at least some people anyway.  What I’m witnessing is that it’s working, however slow and painful it may be. And what’s even more amazing is that we’ve all become each others’ helpers and marketeers … and, by definition, support networks.

Last month’s get together of the Ladies Who Latte at the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise saw a group of us working on a simple task.  We wrote down a short term goal and asked the others in the group to suggest ways to help us achieve that goal. Suddenly, we all came together with answers, suggestions and ideas.  The exercise didn’t just propel the person receiving the help but made each of us think about our own goal and how we can move forward with our own business. Ladies really do care and will help, sometimes without even being prompted. We’re each others’ critical friends and we do understand how hard it is to start a business whilst running a home, managing finances, dealing with the kids, cooking, cleaning and networking. And let’s not forget the time it takes to make sure we look the part.

What’s also very clear to me now is that there is a group of men and women out there who really care about us, and the work we do.  I’ve been completely blown away by a few amazing individuals this week who have offered all kinds of support to allow the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise continue its work in Ashford. Although that’s a story for another blog, they are not hard to find if you know how to tell your story because they love businesses with a heart and businesses that are socially aware. There are more and more support groups out there also, all over Kent, and many more men who are really passionate about women run businesses.

Natasha, Sam, Becky and I at KWIBA

Natasha, Sam, Becky and I at KWIBA

A small group of us joined 200 or so guests at the Kent Women In Business Awards last week. We were amazed at the inspirational stories we heard from truly amazing women.  But one lady in particular truly inspired me, the lovely Mimi Anderson.  Not only is she a beautiful woman but she’s also an ultra runner.  Yes an ultra runner.  I was listening to her talk and was imagining myself in her shoes … but only for a few metres because when her story finished, I was exhausted, as though I had ran a marathon – her story is beautiful and worth reading so find out more about it HERE –  It did make me think about my own journey, and that of many of the women who come through our doors each year.  One thing I know for sure is that we all have one thing in common, determination; and that’s what motivates us and keeps us going.

So, to sum up, you are not alone in your journey, wherever you may be.  Get out there and find what networking events run in your area.  If there aren’t any, why not put one together yourself. Do some research and reading before you launch your business, and most of all, work together not in competition with each other.  There is a lot of information about women in business, as well as training and advice, from Prowess, well worth reading HERE. And if you happen to be in Ashford, Kent, pop into the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise and let us help.

We wish you luck with your journey, wherever it may take you.  And a great quote to say farewell:   “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher.

To get in touch with us call 01233 879877 or email info@cce-ashford.org.

 

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