On Monday night two FreshMinds colleagues and I attended the Stylist Network Event 'How To Grow Your First Million' in central London. The event showcased entrepreneurs who had started their own businesses in the horticultural space; Romy Fraser, founder of Neal's Yard Remedies, Nikki Tibbles, founder of Wild at Heart, Isabelle Palmer, founder of the Balcony Gardener and Kate Gould, founder of Kate Gould Gardens. They each had different stories of entrepreneurship, how the businesses evolved and what the challenges were along the way, but all were driven by their unwavering dedication to their ideas. What an inspirational testimony to the power of passion and belief!
After hearing from the entrepreneurs, there was a guest appearance by Sophie Cornish: columnist and founder of notonthehighstreet.com. Sophie kindly told us her top tips for being a stand-out networker, and then we went to put her tips into practice during a mingling session with the other guests. We thought we'd share Sophie's tips with you, along with a few of our own;
• Preparation. Remember to do your homework, if you know who's going to be at a particular event, look them up beforehand.
• Have fun. It's great meeting new people so don't be scared, just enjoy it!
• Put people at ease. Remember everyone feels a bit awkward networking, so try your best to put people at their ease, make a joke, talk about the food, be friendly.
• Remember it's a two-way street. Networking is never just about what you're trying to get out of people, try to think about what you can offer as well as what you can take from the experience.
• Don't be shy. But if you are it's ok to take a friend and move through the throng together.
• Give and get business cards. If you've been having a good chat with somebody, make sure you give them a business card and, politely, ask for one of theirs.
• Follow up. As soon as you can it's important to follow up on any connections you've made, or on any promises you've made to really cement the relationship.
We can't wait to meet you and see all this put into practice!