What to do when business feels lonely
Running a business can often feel lonely, whether you’re a one man band or surrounded by employees it’s common to feel a desire to reach out to someone, whether it be for a shoulder to cry on or for advice from those with experience of the challenges you face.
I’m a mum and I liken the experience of setting up your own business to that of being handed a baby… there is no instruction manual in either case and you can sometimes feel as though you’re grappling around in the dark. Just as with parenting, there is no foolproof way to run a business and there are a lot of grey areas – unsettling for those fans of black and white among us!
During the rollercoaster of setting up a business I have gained incredible support from networking groups and dedicated entrepreneurial clubs, set up with encouragement and collaboration in mind. I have featured a few here, the ones which I have personally found the most helpful.
Hot Success Sessions – This is quite a new group I set up recently. There is no membership fee, just a £5 per session fee towards room hire and refreshments. Meet ups are once a month at Platos in Kirkby Lonsdale. Group members are all in varying stages of business, some well-established, some start-ups and some who are on the cusp of launching. A really friendly group who love getting together to hear Natalie give workshops on online marketing. Each session has a theme, which to date has been anything from blogging for business to Facebook marketing. Anyone interested in joining the group should email Natalie on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lakeland Businesswomen’s Network – A wonderful group of inspirational Cumbrian businesswomen. Each meeting features a talk or workshop from successful local business owners and members themselves. The membership fee is very reasonable at £25 for six months or £50 for the year. Visit http://www.lbn.org.uk for more information.
Cumbria Growth Hub – Provides free business support, training and networking events to help grow your business. I have gained invaluable support from my business support adviser, Sue Coulson of Coulson Associates. You can find out more at the Growth Hub website.
This really is just the tip of the iceberg. It would be easy to make a full time job out of attending events like these, but as this is not an option for most of us, it helps to find the right fit with one or two groups and nurture your connections and contacts within them. We’re all in the same boat so let’s collaborate, support and share.