When I was Entrepreneur in Residence at University of Brighton Business School, I often sat on the panel of business owners to hear business pitches by final year degree students at the end of their Entrepreneurship Module. The students presented a business plan to the panel who critiqued their pitches for practical and potentially profitable business ideas coupled with a creative marketing plan. And we get them both! It was inspirational to hear their ideas.
It was clear that there is a delicate balance in business of money vs. time/effort. There’s no doubt that if you’re lacking one then you’ll need more of the other. If you have lots of money to invest in your marketing then you won’t need to invest as much of your own time or effort. If, on the other hand, you are like most small business owners and have a limited marketing budget (if any!) then you’ll have to invest much more of your own time and effort. You’ll need to be both creative and persistent.
More return for your efforts
So where is all that time and effort best spent? In Ed’s and my opinion, it’s in networking (although I wish someone would invent a new word for it!). We both feel that effort and time spent getting to know other business owners in your local area can transform your business. Not only in terms of new contacts and contracts, but in terms of the pleasure of running a business and the support of your peers. It just makes all so much more fun to be in business.
And where could you network? There are more and more groups which you can join, from your local Chamber of Commerce, to the Enterprise Agency, from your local branch of the Federation of Small Business, to BNI. The Institute of Directors is a good place for directors of limited companies to meet up with other directors. There is something for everyone.
There’s nothing to stop you networking! Get out there and strut your stuff…