Cambridge’s Favourite Networking Event

In Cambridge, there are well in excess of 50 regular networking events, each with their own niche, target audience, time of day and formality, all aimed at a small number of the 9,000+ self-employed workers in the city. Many of these are so popular, they also attract many from neighbouring towns and villages.

Networking is frequently seen as a valuable tool to increase brand awareness, reach out to new audiences, as well as to share ideas with their peers. But which is the city’s favourite?

Here at Cambridge Business Lounge – where we host our own Mastermind Group and CBL Women’s Network events – we are looking to find the city’s favourite networking event/group, as well as the reasons why.

To cast your vote ==> CLICK HERE

Everyone who votes can also enter a draw to win a 4 Day Coworking Pass, worth £70.

You can also access a list of all the networking group and events that take place in Cambridge by clicking here.

The survey closes on Thursday 31st August and results will be announced soon after.

The winner will be featured – with the results – in the business section of the Cambridge Independent in September.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – The Ultimate Business Book?

Bearhhunt

I look forward to going home and reading to one of my kids of an evening. Well, most of the time. Not because I don’t enjoy reading to them, but because not all books are that enjoyable to read after 50 or so occasions.

Most children’s books contain some kind of feel good story and one that stands out is “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.

The premise of the book (no spoilers here) is about a family’s excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest! It wasn’t until I realised that there’s a lesson on each page that is pertinent to all business owners.

The book starts with the narrator (a child) saying “We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. I’m not scared”

Business translation: “I’ve got an idea, I’m going for it and it’s going to be great”.

Then the family take on a series of challenges. For example, “Uh-uh! Grass! Long wavy grass. We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!”

Business translation “You’ve got a challenge in front of you and you can’t avoid it. You’ve got to use the tools you have and face it, head on”

And that’s the difference between this children’s book and my business translation: The “tools”. The family only have to wade through some grass, or negotiate some mud. They can support each other through that. Who supports you through the challenges you face? Where you do acquire the knowledge and skills to ensure you’re able to go through the problems your facing?

For the narrator of the book, it’s the family; for you, it’s all the other business owners in your area. You just need to get out there and meet them.

Once you build a strong network, you won’t need to go over your challenges, or under them…you’ll be able to go right through them.

Action Point

Try coworking, visit a networking group or get in touch with a business mentor.

What We Did At The CBL Summer Networking BBQ 2015

On 9th September 2015, 80 businesses took over the stunning Cambridge Union Society for an evening of amazing live jazz, delectable food, refreshing Champagne….and informal, wonderful networking. 

Our thanks for this go to everyone who came, and especially the following:

Pendleton Events – For organising such a fantastic event with us.
Nouveau Jazz Group – Amazing jazz band. Watch them on YouTube.
Cambridge Champagne Co – This went down very well, as I’m sure you can imagine.
Big Day Catering – The food was a real highlight of the evening.
Cambridge Union Society – One of our favourite venues in Cambridge.
Ian Olsson – Who took these amazing shots below…

The Value of Reciprocity in Small Business

As humans we are hard wired to, wherever possible, avoid feeling indebted to someone. For example, when invited round to friends for dinner, we are often only too aware that we now need to invite them back at some point.

In business, reciprocity is a fantastic way to help build networks and market our business. One theory of this is the “Neighbour Principle”. Picture this, you move into a new house and visit next door to borrow a bowl of sugar as you’ve run out and the shops are shut. A few days later, and following a heavy snow fall, you decide to clear your neighbours drive as well as your own.

When someone goes out of their way to help us, we can typically feel that deep routed gratitude or indebtedness, and reciprocity doesn’t have to include tangible, physical items.  Of course, not everyone likes feeling indebted, especially Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory.

However, as the neighbour principle is applied when starting or growing a small business, it can leverage the strengths, of those involved in the relationship, to grow both of their businesses. It’s so easy too at little or no cost. All that’s needed is an attitude of wanting to help others, followed by the idea of sharing resources, knowledge or contacts.

Remember, reciprocity and small business marketing can go together like icing and cake, but don’t expect reciprocation on its own to increase sales.  You still need to build trust to create a deep routed professional relationship and, of course, offer a quality service or product.

Start this by going to a networking event with the idea that you’re going to help someone when you get there. Whether it’s putting them in touch with someone you know will help them, or sending them a blog or news article that neatly follows the conversation you’ve had with them.

See where it takes you let me know when you have @edagoodman or info@cambridgebusinesslounge.com.