If you are trying to create or build up a business, one of the most important things you need to do is to let people know you exist. Even if you have an exclusively online business, you should still try to get out to meet people face to face.
This was one of the reasons why I attended Ladies Who Latte. The other reason is because my sister, Pamela, had attended a couple of meetings and recommended it to me.
About Ladies Who Latte
The concept was born in 1999 by a woman called Sharon Connolly. She had just retrained as an Image Consultant and needed a way to build up her client list. Together with Mary Flavell, they created a simple way for women to get together, make new connections and promote their businesses in an informal way and for FREE.
Since then, Ladies Who Latte is stronger than ever. Several groups have sprung up and there are over 30 meetings taking place each month.
The meeting I attended was about a ten minute bus ride away from where I live. It was held in a cafe and was attended by 10 women. Each person was given a few moments to introduce themselves, introduce their business and mention their reason for attending.
It was a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere and, while enjoying a lovely cappucino, I got to meet some very interesting women who were in the midsts of creating their own business empires.
The Benefits of Going To A Networking Meeting
I had to skip out of the meeting early in order to go to work but while I was sitting on the train, I thought about the advantages and benefits you can gain by attending these sort of meetings. I came up with 4 great reasons.
# 1 – You Get Out of Your Head & Home
If you work on your own, you might find times where you actually miss the company and comaraderie of being with other people. An excellent way to combat this is to meet up with other people who also run their own independent businesses.
Networking groups and meetings exist almost everywhere. You just have to find a group that is situated near you. Some meetings require registration and a payment fee. There are plenty of others where you can drop in without prior notice. Some might be like Ladies Who Latte, where you pay for a drink, as these meetings usually take place in coffee shops.
# 2 – You Can Meet Other Entrepreneurs
This is such an exciting way to meet other people who are running their own businesses. Everyone who attends is there because they have chosen to be. You can learn about enterprises that are new to you, you can discover fantastic resources that you never knew existed. And you can just meet up with a group of lovely women.
# 3 – You Can Offer Your Services
Networking is about meeting people and exchanging information. You have the opportunity to present the service that you offer. The great thing is that you do not have to go for the hard sell. You can have a lovely conversation about what it is that you do. The idea isn’t to come away with stacks of appointments and sales. It is to spread the word about what you can offer. The person you are speaking to might not need your particular service, but they might know someone that does. Personal referrals are so much more effective than cold calling.
# 4 – You Can Learn How To Promote Yourself
One of the best lessons you can get when attending networking meetings is learning how to promote yourself and your business. If you want to be sucessful, you need to know how to explain what you do in a way that is understandable to people who are not in your industry.
If you are shy, this can be quite a challenge but going to meetings where the atmosphere is calm, relaxing and inviting means that you can just be yourself. You can observe how other people present themselves and you can take mental notes and incorporate this in your own mini presentation of yourself. You can learn how to talk about what you do without sounding like a walking advertisment.
The Women I Met Today
I just wanted to add a little shout out to the women that I had the pleasure of meeting at Ladies Who Latte.
Jane Miller – The Therapist’s Coach
Ruth Elkins – Poweroshea
Ali Westmorland – House Of Colour
Jennie Brem-Wilson – The Utility Warehouse
Lavinia Osbourne – Butterfly Wealth Creation
Chinyere Kejeh - International Service Provider
Krupa Patel – My Delivery Cab
Pamela Virgo – Bop and Boogie
Carys G Daroy – Carys Personal Training Consultancy
Although I had to rush off before the meeting was over, I did get to speak to a couple women and find out about new businesses. I definitely look forward to attending more meetings in the future. I will be able to hone my own service offering so that I know exactly what it is I would like to promote.
Have Your Say: Have you attended any type of networking meetings or gatherings? What has been your experience? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.