OFFICE FLEX: Networking is the key


TWO young entrepreneurs, Jess Green and James Pasrons, have set up an office in Chichester city centre to help start-up businesses in the area.

With a regular online column, Jess will keep us updated on their progress on the new venture.

IT’S always a struggle getting your name out there when you start up your own business.

How do you expect to bring in customers, when nobody knows you exist? And how can you reach out to these customers in a way that’s professional, informative and memorable? How can you persuade new customers to choose your product or service over your competition?

Networking - in short - is simply getting out there and meeting new people, talking to other business owners, trading business cards etc. It’s all about bringing your business to the attention of others and discovering ways you can help other local businesses.

It’s a professional way of meeting people and a way of contacting people without leaflets, cold calling or cold emailing!

The first thing I discovered at the beginning of Office Flex is that businesses work together, even competing businesses! For example, if a pub was to have a busy night and run out of wine glasses, the one next door will lend it some for the night. If a hairdressers was fully booked and someone walked in wanting a perm, the hairdressers would recommend another company up the road.

Even though on the outside these businesses are competitors, they all work together and help each other because in the long run, it benefits everyone.

If you’re a new business owner, or feel you could do more in terms of networking the first thing I would recommend is joining the Chichester Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber host monthly evening meetings in different interesting venues and discuss business tips and upcoming events.

They also have advertising slots called “minute to win it” and give your business personal advice and advertisement on their website.

There is also First Friday networking which takes place at The Nags Head which is a lunch time networking session. These sessions are a more relaxed and casual way of networking and on a smaller scale.

It’s important to make the most out of the networking meetings you attend, whether it’s a large group of people or just a telephone call. To make your meeting a success I strongly recommend networking with the intention of helping others before yourself.

It’s important to create a bond with people before you start asking for their help.

Trust is fundamentally one of the most important factors in business, people must be able to trust you before they decide to work with you.

From what we’ve learnt about networking, James and myself have decided to host an open evening event on Thursday, September11. We hope to see as many businesses as possible attending and will be providing food and drinks throughout the evening. If you would like some more details on this please don’t hesitate to get in contact.