Dear Aunty B,
I am a mum of three under five and a business owner. I caught up with a friend on the weekend who runs a similar type of business and it hit me that she is getting a lot of business from networking. (She is also a big flirt!)
There are only so many hours in the day and I am exhausted enough at the end of the day. The thought of going to a breakfast makes me want to crawl under my desk and die.
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I also look like a (mini) wreck and don’t think I could flirt to save myself.
Have you got any suggestions? I feel like I am letting the business down.
There are lots of tricks to this. One excellent tip of course is to do what men do: they befriend people in the cosseted networks and they then mix business with pleasure, killing two birds with one stone. What else is golf?
They also do networking on the run. They don’t just eat lunch in the same restaurants for the fun of it.
They are also good at picking up the phone and organising a coffee catch up. Who doesn’t need one at 11am every day?
Now I know it is hard with young kids.
Here were my rules:
Never go to breakfast meetings – ever – unless of course you want to escape morning breakfast hell.
Always go to useful lunches. Arrive early, network furiously and slip out early.
Pick your evening functions carefully. Look out for the 6-8pm functions so you are home to tuck in the kids. They can be great value.
Cultivate a stand-in: a key member of staff whose “networking” function is included in her or his KPIs.
And I know it is hard when you are exhausted but make sure you exercise. It will help you sleep and reduce your stress – and give you more resilience.
Finally, always flirt with your husband, never cancel the hairdresser or the babysitter and remember this: without you there would be no business.
And one more thing. It gets easier.
Your Aunty B
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