Brighton Mums went to our first Mumpreneurs Networking Club session at the David Lloyds Leisure Centre in the Marina. It’s an informal group for mums who run their own businesses to network or for those who want to reach mumpreneurs. With the number of parents looking for work/ life balance and starting projects that fit around them and the kids, this could be the place to meet likeminded women, swap tips or skills and generally inspire and support one another.
The session started with a very short round robin of who you were, what your business was and why you were there. It was your chance to sell yourself (as I was amongst the first to introduce myself I nearly blew it, so it’s a good idea to be prepared). Then the session is open for you to make contact with the people who sounded like could help you the most in that introduction. That was the buzzy bit. I had made a mental note of who to talk during the introductions but got a little overwhelmed by the number of people that grabbed me, then forgot who I wanted to chat to. It was surprising how many people were looking for blogging advice, there seems to be a real lack of understanding about what social networking could do for your business. All in all, even the most timid of people would have blended well with this group as they were friendly and welcoming.
The Networking Club was started by Nicky Chisholm and Sara Guiel, a local partnership who wanted to create an ideas swapping forum. The first you attend is free, one-off sessions are £15.00 or pay £10.00 a month for annual membership. What do you get for your money? Well actually it is ’just’ networking (you have to buy our own coffee!!) however, what price can you put on these links you are making? Nicky & Sara have estimated that £100s even £1000s worth of business has been generated at the groups. There are fashion designers looking for jewellery makers or photographers, many small business owners looking for social media help, legal help or guidance on doing their books. The idea of doing business with another parent does make you feel comfortable and confident that you are dealing with a likeminded person, someone who understands your challenges. Also, for the monthly direct debit option (see website for terms) you could visit a number of sessions a month, in Worthing, Shoreham, Chichester, Burgess Hill and soon Eastbourne and parts of London. They also have a business directory which members go on for free plus members access to helpful articles and discounts off Mumpreneurs special events.
In fact, I stated to Nicky I would join in a heartbeat if there were evening sessions, as daytimes aren’t particularly realistic for us. When I pointed that out, they told me it’s in the plan for 2011. You can’t get more customer focussed than that, can you?
To find out more plus see a calendar of sessions and to book online visit www.agoodgossip.co.uk.