It never fails to amaze me the absolute energy and goodwill that exists in the small business community. A vibrant, diverse group of high achieving individuals who are passionate about what they do and passionate about helping others do what they do.
Social media has magnified this ability to connect, online and offline, in a more meaningful way than ever before.
Over the past few months, I have been involved with the Ausmumpreneurs Awards. I have met some amazing women and seen the power of social media in the way these women use Facebook in a lively and highly engaging manner to support each other in their endeavours.
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Their passion and sheer will is an inspiration. Some of the female entrepreneurs I met at the Ausmumpreneur of 2014 awards ceremony have succeeded despite great adversity and it demonstrates how, as business owners, we can all create our own successful outcomes if we believe in ourselves and in each other.
With a flurry of amazing international visitors, Business Chicks has been busy too, over the past couple of months hosting Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington, Rachel Zoe, as well as our own former PM Julia Gillard.
Business Chicks has afforded me incredible offline day-to-day business connections and people who I can collaborate with, do business with and share success with.
However, it’s not all about the event (and each one I have attended has been truly inspirational) – it’s about making connections.
And it’s not just about women’s events either.
At a Business Connectors event recently there was a good mix of both businesswomen and men; all chatty, lively and great at making brilliant suggestions and connections, in this particular instance on funding. You could feel the physical energy, passion and goodwill in the room, with no bias towards gender at all.
The Village business network in North Sydney is talking giant steps, even producing its own publication, The North Sydney Times. The Village provides numerous opportunities to network with other business owners in this previously quite dispersed part of greater Sydney.
Co-working obviously creates great opportunities to network too, with The Hub Australia delivering great services to our start up and entrepreneurial community.
Then there’s Jack Delosa’s fast-growing community of young entrepreneurs at The Entourage, which has been making big news in the AFR and on the BRW Rich List. Jack has achieved his own big dream, becoming a self-made millionaire under 40, while he helps others through mentoring and networking to achieve the same.
Social media is undoubtedly an important channel for creating connections, but research shows these conversations are only part of a broader engagement, with many more others (65%) triggered first via face-to-face, email or phone contact.
It just goes to show, you can never underestimate the power of the blend of on and offline networking.
Fi Bendall is the managing director of Bendalls Group, a team of highly trained digital specialists, i-media subject matter experts and developers.