Is networking part of your business marketing plan this year, it's always been apart of mine. However I have never jumped on it as much as I should. The thing is, I see myself as a lone ranger. Out in the bushes, just me, my laptop & graphic pen. It's been like that for a long while. Well that all changed when I started talking to you and other creatives here on Best2KeepitSimple. I'm a pretty shy girl, so being a lone ranger, fitted me great, plus networking wasn't always easy before TI = The Internet.
I mean you had to travel to meetings, sorry I mean find a meeting to travel to. If you had a family, then childcare was an issue. If the meeting wasn't local, then a day trip was involved :). However now we do have the Internet and networking is more accessible.
There's still issues with online networking if you are shy like moi but that's an area you & I have to overcome.
With so many ways to network online you can be spoilt for choice. But having a network as part of your business marketing plan is a must, not just for your business but also for your sanity.
Being in business alone.
Can be overbearing at times. Your clarity & focus can get clouded, you get the picture. Being able to talk to someone who really understands what you're going through can be a god send. It's not enough people pretended to understand, even with good intentions.
Today I'm interviewing Donna who has built up a huge network of makers, designers, creatives who fully support each other in their everyday businesses.
1 Why is it so beneficial for a small business owner to have a network as part of their marketing?
Well it's very important to have a network because you need to be building your business in a community with other like minded other entrepreneur and colleagues. If you don't have that around you then are sort of flying solo and alone. An your network should include people who are in industries that are similar to yours. It should include people who are in the same industry as you, it should include your customers, your local entrepreneurs friends, local chambers of commerce and local meet up groups you belong to.
So your network should extend across multiple disciplines so that you have the benefit from people with different backgrounds. While also having the opportunity to learn more and grow more because you have diversified your networks.
2 What should you think about when looking to find a network to join?
You should think about what you need. Do I need help to do something, Do I need to understand how my industry works, Do I just want to be around like minded people. So you need to decide what you need first, then you are empowered to go and find it.
3 Was you part of a network before you created indiebusinessnetwork.com? If yes, what was your personal experience, an if no, why not?
Yes I was, before I started my business theindiebusiness, which was back in 2000. Before that I had been a practicing attorney and so my network was other attorneys, people in the business world who served the industry that I served at the time, which was tele-commications. Which is nothing like what I do know.
Yes I've always been a part of organizations, trade associations, groups of people who meet for dinner, or some professional events or debate clubs. So yes when I started my business I knew it was important enough, that's one reason I started the indiebusinessnetwork. I wanted other entrepreneurs, makers, creatives and people to have a network that was professional and also focused on helping them grow.
4 I do have to say, you take networking to another level because you do cruises now with your members. How does that boost your members businesses or is it more about personal relationship building?
Its about a lot of different things the indie cruise, which is an annual cruise event is really about people who are serious-minded about their business. Who are willing to take a full week off to come together and mastermind, learn and grow in an intimate setting. We really let our hair down, it is relationship building. Relationships that have been built during that event over the years are very strong. An they stay in touch between events, some return because they want to see each other again.
They learn so much, they grow we mastermind in the ocean, there's absolutely nothing like it. We all learn new things, we are vulnerable, we also show our strengths. So what I bring to the table someone else needs. What someone else brings to the table I need, so its a very powerful networking event. Which happens to be connected to business and its one of the most amazing ways that's I encourage people to use their business to create the kind of lifestyle that they want to enjoy.
5 What does your network offer and if anyone wanted to join up, how would they go about doing that?
Thank you Janet, for asking and allowing me to share. The indiebusinessnetwork offers mentoring and coaching for makers and handmade entrepreneurs. We also offer afford product liability insurance. Those are the benefits that we use to help people be successful. The insurance help you get your products a retail store shelves, into the shows and farmers markets that you want to sell your products at.
The mentoring and coaching that we have allows you to learn & grow in community. An also really just to understand how to use the internet and technology to market your business effectively. How to build your confidence, how to grow your leadership skills. So not only do you have a business, you are also able to improve your life so you can create additional businesses as you grow.
The insurance that you offer, do you have to be based in the USA or is location not an issue?
The insurance that we offer is for companies that are based in the united states. Or who have business addresses in the United States. An also the insurance we offer as a member benefit but it is actually under written by an insurance broker. So the indiebusiness is not the insurer, we actually have a real insurance company that provides. We just offering to our members as arrangement with them at a greatly reduced price.
Thank you Donna.