Happy Birthday Business Network Chester!
10 years old – where has that decade gone!
We may not have celebrated as we wanted (as we had to be Online for our Business networking event) but celebrate we did!
So it seems a good point to stop and reflect on our journey to launching and establishing this brilliant group of businesses that attend our Business Networking events in Chester
The Launch of The Business Network Chester – why bother?
I remember having many conversations especially with venues (!) that basically said “there are too many business networking groups in Chester already – just don’t bother love!”
Now that’s like a red rag to a bull!
When it comes to me if someone tells me it can’t be done then I go into overdrive to prove that can be done and it can be done in a brilliant authentic and positive way.
So we began our lunch activities networking, calling businesses, attending business networking events in Chester to see how they operated, emailing invites even sending postal invitations in the good old days of pigeon post!
In those days there was no real “Social media” marketing.
Instead it was about being present being visible and connecting with people of the same mindset. It was about “givers gain” and helping others – for the hell of it – not for secret backhanders, or because they were a mate. For sure networking with friends works so long as they do a great job – but what if they don’t?
In that regard not a lot has changed. Yes we all have websites, blogs, social media platforms, where we connect online. We follow people and attract followers. We may focus on milestones of getting 500, 1000, 10,000 followers/likes shares – but the people that matter are the ones that we really Know Like Trust.
Business Network Chester – Our guiding philosophy.
There are a number of things that are as true today as they were back in June 2010.
Following a long career in large corporates like adidas and Speedo and working also in manufacturing I have always subscribed that people need a compelling vision to “Buy into”.
That vision MUST be central in how ny organisation operates – and as leaders it’s imperative we “walk the talk”.
The vision I set out for Business Network Chester events and membership group was founded on some simple but unique guiding approaches to networking:
- Be a coach, guide, encourager, connector for Business Network Chester members
- Accept that different people run different “stories” when it comes to business networking
- Remind people to never be dismissive of anyone – you just don’t know who they know
- Set the expectation that we have a helping mindset in our business network Chester – when everyone comes with the intention to help others then that would just come back in bucket loads
- Developing relationships based on getting to “know then like then trust people” – when business is done this was its much more sustainable, ethical and fun
- Remember 99% of people hate business networking so make it fun, relaxed and enjoyable – and a productive use of time
- Don’t be fake – encourage everyone to be real and to be honest
- Make sure we were a learning and sharing network – knowledge, insights, passions
- Be prepared to stand true to the essence of how the business network Chester group should feel – not too big, diverse, always relevant
- Attract and connect with people of the same mindset who want to help others in the Business network Chester group
- Don’t bend out of shape or deviate to chase a number – the business network works due to the quality and buy in of the right people – not by chasing vanity metrics.
So how many of these stand true 10 years later?
All of them!
Business Network Chester – through COVID-19
Sadly we did not make it to The Chester Grosvenor to celebrate our 10th birthday face to face due to the lockdown – but we did still meet online with nearly 70 Businesses at our online business network Chester event.
As leader of the business network Chester I had done the homework to make sure that as a group we could stay connected through “Lockdown” and was ready with the tech to “pivot” to online business network Chester.
That has brought its challenges – but what became clear really quickly was we had to step up and fill the void.
The void of
- wanting to still be networking and doing Business!
So at a time when other business network groups in Chester disappeared – we stepped up. I am proud that with the huge support of members, we created a positive, encouraging, can do environment and support network for people to be honest, vulnerable, and connected.
We saw members seize opportunities to try new things.
We saw selfless sharing of mindset tools, money advice, social media tips, how to sell online – and how to make sure your physical and mental wellbeing was in check.
As we transition into new ways of working, we have a advice from H&S experts, HR professionals, Employment lawyers, coaches and trainers – all eager and keen to help and support.
Some members are undertaking massive transitions – offering completely new lines of Business to the business network Chester members and guests.
Many have said without us – they hate to think how they would have got through this time.
Many have said we have given them the confidence and push (or shove) to do the things that have been rumbling for some time – and the “COVID-19 space” has enabled them to move forward in a whole new direction.
Some have bunkered down and are now emerging – safe and secure in the knowledge that all the time – we were there for them and we had their back.
So has what we have done through COVID-19 altered our guiding philosophy for the Business Network Chester?
No – if anything it has re-energised and forced us to critically look at the habits we had developed and question how should the next 10 years look.
I have a strong deep rooted philosophy above all these which is one to “Never go back.” So even as a revised version of “Normal” emerges – will we revert to the status quo pre Lockdown?
Time to evolve, time to celebrate and cultivate the good that has come from the COVID-19 crisis and time to evolve for the next 10 years. WATCH THIS SPACE!
If you would like to learn more about us and be a part of the next 10 years then why not simply book a call and we can chat and see how we can help?