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28 min listen

Work in Progress Episode 1 – The Trouble with Being a Nobody

What do you do when you start a business from scratch or are looking to grow your business and take it to the next level and you know you need help? How do you begin to build up a professional network or a customer base? Who do you turn to when you don’t know anybody in your industry?  Can friends & family help?

Bex Burn-Callander chats with three business owners to unravel the methods they used to move forward in building the right professional network and relationships for their business, the challenges they’re facing now and how they are planning to deal with them.

Jess Ratty, co-founder of The Cornwall Camper Company and of her eponymous PR agency Team Jess discusses how she and her husband were on a camping trip when they spontaneously decided to buy two wrecked VW campervans. With a little help from friends, a nascent brand with a passionate following evolved to one featured in national press.

Gus Bartholomew, co-founder of sustainable manufacturing platform Supply Compass, was a civil engineer who spotted a gap in a frustrated market for setting up retailers with sustainable and transparent manufacturers. He set out to India for two years and shares how he went about banging on doors in Mumbai to instigate professional networks and partnerships.

Shona Green of chutney, jam and jelly brand Wham Bam Homemade Jams experienced an unexpected redundancy that ironically gave Shona the time and motivation to start cooking and gardening at home. Gifting a network of family and friends with her jams not only proved cost-effective, but also helped her discover a passion in jam-making and turning it into a business.

When it comes to being a nobody in business, the trio all agree that you need to get out there and network. “A handshake, hug and a beer are so much better than a LinkedIn invite”, advises Jess in talking about strategies to make key alliances. Gus agrees “you never know when or where you’re going to find something meaningful”.  Shona has never attended a formal networking event – but in her trade, she explains that hustling at market stalls every weekend is a richer form of communication.

Tune in for future episodes on making your first hire, working outside of the London bubble and business development overseas.

The views and opinions expressed by any individuals interviewed or participating in our Work in Progress podcasts are their own and do not represent the views or opinions of Asto.”

Bex Burn-Callander on twitter


The Cornwall Camper Company | Supply Compass | Wham Bham Homemade Jams

Some extra reading:

Community is key for survival | Launch, Nurture, Grow

Additional listening:

“Can community power your business?” – hosted by Angelica Malin at the Asto Work In Progress Series at Huckletree Shoreditch

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