Monday, 29 October 2018

Not like other networking….

Four years ago I went to my first L4G event. I remember it well, it was a curry evening in North Watford and I went along with a friend who I knew from another networking group.

Well, it was a good evening, we met a nice bunch of people, had a great chat but it certainly wasn’t like the other networking events I’d been too.

We’d gone along with our business cards and an expectation that we would spend the evening talking about our businesses. Although we did end up giving out our cards, the whole thing seemed a bit airy-fairy. To be honest, I couldn’t see that I was going to get anything out of it!

Four years on L4G has evolved a lot and so have I. I have done a lot of networking in the intervening time and have settled on the networking mix that works for me; a women’s networking group and a number of the events run by South West Herts L4G.

Focusing on how L4G looks today there is so much on offer for business owners and less structured events where you can meet like-minded people and have an interesting chat over a coffee. Behind it all is the original idea of building community and as friendships develop the events become networking at its best. Nobody does any hard selling – it’s all about making connections, finding out what other people do and how you can help each other. When everyone goes along with the same attitude it’s a win-win for everybody.

Specifically for business there is Link4Business the BDN – Business Development Network – with the option of attending one evening meeting and one morning meeting a month.

Additionally there are learning sessions on a vast range of topics including sessions, such as; how to be more effective with your social media, set up payment buttons for customers to pay you, designing a Mailchimp newsletter and many more.

New learning sessions are now happening where people can share a wide range of their skills. Recently I went along to a soap making ‘Learning Session’ and really enjoyed making pure soaps with no nasties! … and now I hear there is to be a candle making ‘Learning Session’ too.

Also, as part of Link4Business we now enjoy peer support mentoring groups (OMG’s) where six business owners can put their heads together to help each other with the business challenges they face. The Mentoring is included in Link4Business so there is no more to pay, and for the learning sessions it’s up to you, you pay according to the value you have received.

Learning Session Room
I was so wrong 4 years ago when I thought there wasn’t anything in it for me. I have learnt so much and realise there is huge potential in collaborating with like-minded people. If we get to know each other, through networking, we will find everyone’s particular strengths and how much synergy there will be when we put our heads together and create new initiatives.

We all have skills we can share, we are mostly sole trader entrepreneurs and can help each other out, and through collaboration great things can happen. Who knows what you might learn and who you might meet along the way.

Thank goodness L4G is not like other networking groups, it is so much more. There is amazing potential to build on what has been achieved so far and create and develop initiatives together to boost our local communities and our businesses too.


Written by : Caroline Byrne