BLOVEDBiz: Networking to Grow your Business
At the end of March we hosted our third wedding industry networking event at the BLOVED Hive!
With spring in the air and beautiful blooms appearing all around, we chose the theme ‘Growth’. Using a palette of fresh greenery, blush pink and yellow with luxuriously soft velvet furniture and floral display to bring the outside in.
The whole evening was designed inspire our members and industry friends to make new connections and help grow their businesses in new ways. They even got to learn a new skill, making pretty floral headpieces!
Networking events and me have a love-hate relationship. I love organising them and meeting new people, but hate attending events on my own. Yes, even if you’ve been in the industry for ages, attending events can still be a nerve-wracking experience. If you can push through the nerves, networking events and coffee mornings can be a great way to meet like-minded professionals and boost your business. The UKAWP Coffee Club and the BLOVED Hive’s quarterly HiveGatherings are great places to start (come and join us!)
In the early days of BLOVED I knew nothing about networking, and with working full-time alongside running the blog I had limited time to get myself out there and meet other wedding pros.
At the time, Twitter was the social media platform of choice and ALL of my industry conversations took part in 140 characters or less. It was Twitter which provided me with those first, important, contacts in the wedding industry who persuaded me to attend the latest wedding industry networking events, ‘tweet-ups’ in London.
Here I met the great and the good of the industry, and friends who have been a part of the BLOVED journey ever since. And not only have they provided me with support as my business has grown, but also with contacts and opportunities I would never have had without a great network.
THE POWER OF COFFEE
The first tweetup I attended in London’s Covent Garden, in a trendy basement bar was certainly an experience! It ma have been small, but allowed me to make some great contacts who I am still in touch with today. But networking isn’t just about events, it’s about making connections and building relationships with people. It could be as simple as meeting an industry peer for coffee.
This is how my friendship with BLOVED photographer Anneli Marinovich began. We met on twitter and arranged to meet for coffee at a local hotel. Through that meeting made a friend and supporter in the industry. It also lead to a snap decision to plan a styled shoot together, which meant I got to network with even more wedding pros! Through Anneli I was introduced to a PR firm where I met another friend, Gabi Sheen. She provided BLOVED with content and advertisers in the very early days, many of whom we are still working with!
Through working with Gabi on a press event I discovered wedding gift list brand, Prezola, who have become a regular BLOVED client and great contacts in the industry. And in turn, they introduced me to the organisers of the Handmade Fair where I designed & styled the Press Tent in 2015, and the editor of Vow Magazine, who published my work in 2016.
All that from one cup of coffee!
VISUALISE YOUR NETWORK
Of course there are many more stories like this from my journey so far, and I’ve been fortunate to have been able to create the network I need to support my business.
Even if you’ve just launched your business today, you can do it too! Just ask yourself, who do you want to be in your network? Are they just like you? New businesses, established names, big brands, independent retailers? Think about the kind of people you want to surround yourself with as your business grows.
If you can get specific even better, perhaps there’s a networking group out there you already know and resonate with. (If you’re looking for a lovely, friendly group come and join Meet Learn Thrive). Perhaps it’s even an individual blogger, editor, planner, designer who you think would love what you do and could work well with you.
Don’t be scared to get in touch with people who you think might be ‘too successful’ or ‘too important’. They are solopreneurs facing the same struggles as me and you! I bet you’d be surprised at their eagerness to meet and make another industry friend!
GIVE IT YOUR ALL
Successful networking is about being authentic about who you are and what you can offer and being generous too! Think about what you bring to the table. You have valuable contacts, advice, information and knowledge to share that others would love to hear!
And don’t forget to follow up when you get home. Keep promises and discuss new ideas. Create new collaborations and keep working at.
Of course my network didn’t appear overnight, or without any effort. Networking isn’t about meeting people and waiting for them to bring you work. It’s about connecting with people on the same level, building relationships, sharing information and contacts. Successful networking means collaborating and working together to benefit and grow successful businesses for everyone!
Wedding industry networking events are held quarterly at the BLOVED Hive in London. Join us at the next one on Wednesday 28th June from 6.30pm. Tickets cost £25 for non-members and £15 for members. Find out more about membership and book your tickets now at hive.blovedblog.com
Want more networking tips? Read more on the BLOVED Hive blog here