Networking

Networking is a necessary evil for a start-up, so I hear. One is let lose on a roomful of other small business hopefuls, all grasping for new business and the chance to try out their newly refined elevator pitches. I’ve never come across a group of people with such a tendency to stare one in the eye with a sort of vacant intensity as if they’re trying to read their lines from the back of your eyeball.

So why go? First of all, there’s free coffee and biscuits and I’m a sucker for free coffee and biscuits. Secondly, because within those realms of overconfident pitchers are a few gems, just starting up in business and going through the same issue as me. It’s so reassuring to hear that I’m not the only one that sometimes feels that all these plans and spreadsheets are a sort of game of shop and will never lead anywhere at all.

Plus, at each networking event I go to I do seem to make one genuinely good business contact. They’re never the sort of people I expect to connect with, though I do live in hope of turning up and bumping into someone in the midst of setting up a Stretford micro-brewery. Today I met a woman who’s setting up a nutrition business. We hit on the idea of hosting nutrition lunches at the Sip Club; inviting local people down to learn a bit about how to best nourish their bodies, and have a scrummy healthy lunch alongside.

Tomorrow’s business treat is a full day workshop run by the Business Growth Hub. This time I’ll be learning about ‘company, corporation and taxation’. Yeah, sounds like a bloody barrel of laughs doesn’t it? On the plus side, this is actually an amazing free resource which will allow me to register as a limited company without the need for hefty legal fees. It’s really quite empowering to go to all these workshops and learn about the process of running a business from the bottom up. Plus, at this one I get a free lunch, and having been to this particular building before I know they serve CHIPS!

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