Running a business has unique challenges and benefits that can be hard for other people to understand. Building and maintaining a strong business community or network can be invaluable. It can help you:
- Obtain strategic advice from others in the same industry
- Strengthen connections with like-minded businesses
- Share your experiences with people who can relate to them
Here are some places to find, build and grow your community.
Attending industry specific conferences can be a great way to meet likeminded people who have similar experiences to your own. Bigger business conferences tend to be held annually, which means it’s a great time to refresh your skills and reconnect with people you have met previously.
When you get training or education for skills that help you to run your business, it can also help grow your network. Your local Chamber of Commerce may be able to help you find a class. This might also help you to connect with local groups that have similar business interests, or are wanting to develop their skills and their networks.
Making time to meet new people can be difficult. Look online and you might find industry specific business groups on social media sites that can provide daily support or connect you to people in similar situations, business or development. Women in Focus is an example of an online support network.
If you’d like specific, personalised support, consider looking for a mentor or business coach. These are people who are experienced in the challenges of running a business and may have helped business owners like you before.
If you run your business from home, think about venturing into a shared office space on occasion. Getting exposure to people who are forging their own paths can help keep you inspired and on track.