Networking is a word that crops up again and again when you run your own business as it’s a great way to reach out to other businesses, make new contacts, grow existing ones and build relationships.
I have a confession…I don’t do networking (well, until now).
My experience of networking is limited and, to be honest, the thought of it leaves me feeling a little panic stricken. But this changed at the end of last year when I was invited to a business breakfast, and although this particular type of networking wasn’t quite suited to me, I thought that while I’m on a roll why not have a look what else is out there.
My local business chamber seemed a great place to start, so I signed up to Tenterden & District Chamber of Commerce’s first meeting of 2016. As the time neared, I tried to talk myself out of attending. The thought of venturing out on a cold, blustery and incredibly wet January evening to force conversations with complete strangers was not too appealing. I was pleasantly surprised.
The format of the evening was informal; a drink in the pub, some nibbles, and a name label to help break the ice. No round-robin elevator pitches, no perspiration-inducing forced introductions, just a friendly get-to-know-you with only a few business cards handed around.
It was refreshing to connect with local business people, an antithesis to the sometimes faceless solitude of working remotely. And nice to feel part of a thriving business community in Tenterden. I’m looking forward to the next meeting.
For more information about business networking in Tenterden visit the Tenterden Town community website.