We are currently facing unprecedented times in our lives and experiencing something no-one thought we would ever have to go through.
According to the FSB statistics at the start of 2019 there were 5.8 million small businesses in the UK – that is a business with 0-49 employees. There were 5.9 million SMEs in the UK in 2019, which was over 99% of all businesses. The usual definition of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) is any business with fewer than 250 employees.
That is a lot of business owners currently having to make some very difficult decisions on how to manage their employees, how to look after themselves, their families and continue with their business.
A key question that will be coming out is – Should I continue marketing at this time and should I continue to go networking.
My answer to this is – Yes, absolutely.
The networks and networking groups that you belong to and have developed relationships with will be as important today, if not more important, than it was last month.
In any networking activities you undertake you will have 3 different types of network and contacts.
1. Your Support Network – these are people that you can turn to when time is tough, who will be there to help and support you through difficult times
2. Your Information Network – these are people who you can share information about. Key information about your industry or knowledge that you can share between you.
3. Your Referral Network – these are the people who you can build strong relationships with who share your target market and who you complement rather than compete with
As you think about your networking groups and the people in the groups you may start to think about who is in each of the above groups for you.
A true example of how you can network in the face of adversity and when your support network becomes important is the story of Asentiv Co-Founder Eddie Esposito. Eddie is from New Orleans and in 2005 his house, his business and his community was destroyed on Hurricane Katrina. Eddie had to relocate his family 500 miles away to Atlanta. During this time his community from around the world came to show its support and helped him through this time.
But more importantly it is what Eddie did in return to Pay It Forward and offer this support back to his community. He helped his network with support, he made phone calls to people to check in. He ran group sessions on what people could do.
Most networking groups that I know of have now been able to set up Online Versions of their meeting for you to attend so when are all in lockdown and can’t go anywhere – the networking is coming to you.
What could you do to help and support your network at this time?
1. Make some “How Are You” phone calls to your network
2. Organise some small networking group sessions with key people
3. Reach out and do something nice for someone each week and let them know you are thinking about them.
By continuing our relationships and supporting each other through this difficult period you are investing in your future and building a strong foundation that will see you through this tough time.
I would love to help you and if you do want to have a chat or a catch up on what is going on for you now reach out and we will book in a call.