One of the best things about starting my own writing and training business has been building my network. It was always part of my plan to work with new and different clients, but I didn’t anticipate how quickly I would be welcomed as part of the small business network in the North East.
I’ve joined a couple of online networking groups, and attended a couple of face to face get togethers (for details see my blog post about networking as an introvert). And I’ve been impressed by the level of support and encouragement I’ve received from fellow business owners.
So, when three amazing business women in my new network mentioned Forward Ladies, the UK’s largest business support network for women in business, I took it as a sign that I should go and see what it was all about.
A new business network
I attended my first Newcastle Forward Ladies Power Breakfast last week. Sarah Gray of Grays Powers of Attorney even gave me a lift – how easy could it be!
My timing couldn’t have been better, as the guest speaker was the impressive owner, Griselda Togobo. She told us how she’s inspired to be in business every day by her mum, who grew up in Ghana, and didn’t go to school, but ignored all the people who told her she couldn’t, and set up her own construction business.
Griselda spoke passionately about not letting anything get in the way of being a woman in business. Making our own decisions, being the ones signing the cheques, Griselda maintains that there’s never been a better time to be a woman in business.
As it was my first event, I was given the opportunity to introduce myself and my writing and training business, Wordstruck. But more importantly, two of my new network friends, Jo Darby of Voice in the Room and Clare Talbot Jones of Talbot Jones Risk Solutions spoke unprompted, about how I’d helped them. I’ve only met these amazing women recently and have been inspired by their personal and professional approach, so their words really meant a lot to me.
That demonstrated better than anything the values of Forward Ladies. It’s not a network that’s about selling, but one that focuses on supporting each other and helping businesses grow together. That’s a value that I feel is very important to me and the way I choose to do business.
New connections and opportunities
There’s often much said and written about the loneliness and isolation of running a small business or being a sole trader. But my experience so far has been quite the opposite. I’m delighted to have found amazing encouragement and positivity from my new network of independent business people.
I am excited to be part of another powerful and enthusiastic network in Forward Ladies. And I’m forward to learning from other businesses and using my skills and experience to help them too.