How do you start a business from scratch, or grow your business and take it to the next level? How do you 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?
We talk to three business owners about building the right professional network for their businesses, the challenges they’re facing now and how they plan to deal with them.
After a quick summary?
Jess Ratty, co-founder of The Cornwall Camper Company, talks about how she and her husband were on spontaneously bought two wrecked VW campervans while camping. With a little help from friends, a nascent brand with a passionate following evolved, and even featured in the national press.
Gus Bartholomew, co-founder of sustainable manufacturing platform Supply Compass, was a civil engineer who spotted a gap in a frustrated market. Retailers wanted sustainable and transparent manufacturers, so he set out to India for two years. He shares how he went about banging on doors in Mumbai to instigate professional networks and partnerships.
Shona Green of Wham Bam Homemade Jams experienced an unexpected redundancy that gave her the time and motivation to start cooking and gardening at home. Gifting her family and friends with jams not only proved cost-effective, but also helped her discover a passion, which turned into a business.
The trio 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. “You never know when or where you’re going to find something meaningful,” Gus agrees.
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.
Some extra reading:
“Can community power your business?” – hosted by Angelica Malin at the Asto Work In Progress Series at Huckletree Shoreditch
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