I’m working with CorkBIC at the moment to help revitalise the West Cork chapter of the small business networking group SOHO Solo.
Networking is a vital part of running any small business, and over the years I’ve found belonging to SOHO Solo invaluable in all sorts of ways. Yes, I’ve gained business directly from other members, and referrals, but for me the true value of the network goes far beyond attracting new business.
The true value of small business networking
When you’re working from home you’re often working alone. As I writer I spend much of my working week sitting in my office tapping away at my keyboard, as I’m doing right now. While I’m in constant contact with lots of people through online social media, e-mail and even the telephone (hey… call me old fashioned!), sometimes it’s important to get some “face time” with other people.
Meeting other people in person helps to keep you sane, and to realise that actually, there are other people out there facing similar challenges to you. Perhaps more importantly, you also find that there are people who’ve already overcome those challenges successfully, and are more than willing to share their experiences.
Attending a meeting is a break from the routine of the home-office, and is as much about human social interaction as it is about business, for me at least.
I find that SOHO Solo is a gateway to new connections, interesting perspectives and a vein of untapped expertise and potential. An exercise we conducted a couple of years ago unearthed a staggering wealth of experience in the SOHO Solos in west Cork.
We unearthed a former shipping executive running a wedding card business, a Swiss banker running an organic wine importation business, a marine biologist/Mexican taco vendor/IT Project Manager now running a freelance writing consultancy and wedding invitation business (that would be me :-)) and a whole host of other histories spanning an eclectic mix of industries and disciplines. The point is, SOHO Solo’s – or independent entrepreneurs as I like to call them – weren’t always “solo”, and bring a whole host of skills and expertise to networking events that aren’t necessarily related to what they’re doing now.
And the great thing is that they’re only too willing to offer their help advice and support. They say a problem shared is a problem halved… but more often than not, with SOHO Solo I find that a problem shared is a problem solved.
Come and join the party
On Wednesday 17th September in the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery I’ll be facilitating an open discussion on how SOHO enterprises can harness the power of social media to help their business. From market research to networking with peers to gauging opinion, online PR and consumer engagement, social media offers a suite of tools and opportunities for smaller businesses. Let’s explore some of them together….