This morning I’m heading to my monthly meeting with a bunch of other small business owners. We meet at a hotel, with a business coach, and talk about all sorts of topics including business planning, financial planning, measuring business performance, staff, marketing etc etc. It’s a great environment as we’re all in different types of business, so it’s non-competitive, and we all get along really well, so there’s always great discussion.
This type of get together is a great way for business owners to talk with like-minded individuals. Helps you realise you’re not along in this big world.
This weekend, I take this to the next level – I’m meeting with Wayne Small and Stuart Applegate. Wayne runs a business very similar to mine in Sydney, and Stuart’s business is in Brisbane. We met through the SBS community which, around the world, is unique (hard to explain – you need to be in it to really know). We are also all SBS user group facilitators and so have a passion for helping others develop their business (not just the IT component) further.
We’re meeting to discuss … business! How we run our businesses – marketing, management, reporting, client service etc etc. It’s set to be a great weekend. Our wives are getting together too which will be great for them as they’re all married to “geek” husbands who don’t really know how to stop working, so they’ve already got a very strong similarity between them (we’ve all also got 2 kids each – this is getting spooky!).
So why are we doing this? It’s a means of not only helping to further develop our own business, but also to help each other. We have a great bond of trust between us which helps immensely too – a must of this type of get together to be really effective.
It also means we have resources we can draw upon for technical work in each others state, which serves to improve the level of service we can provide to our clients wherever they are, and we have a fall-back for both technical and business support if we decide to go on holidays.
All in all, business networking, when done with trust, honesty and genuine goodwill, serves to enhance both your business and personal life – and it’s after this that the profits should start to improve too. If you get into this with the intention of just making more money it won’t work – you’ll burn too many people and ultimately yourself. Start by looking to help others first. That’s certainly one lesson that comes through time and again in the SBS community too.
Give it a try – who knows where it could lead!