In many skilled professions, the sharing of experiences is part and parcel of professional development. Constructively, we gather in skill-based groups with like-minded individuals to elaborate on progress: who’s doing what and what’s new, and how can we collaborate to broaden our experiences and expand our knowledge?
Sharing experience is as vitally important in business: enjoying the opportunity to sit around a table, or share a conference hall, away from desk-based hazards and circling colleagues. Yet quite often, new businesses exist instead in a self-supporting bubble, isolated from fellow professionals in business.
And while desperately supporting the weight on all sides, stretched to finger-tips and pinky-toes, no one’s letting the outside in. The A-Team, the folk that are eating, drinking, sweating and dreaming business, are beginning to slip down the alphabet. The intellectual bubble is fast becoming musty, and the entrepreneurial oxygen has been virtually exhausted.
None more so than they require a gust of fresh air through the office: a refreshing breeze from time-to-time that stimulates new ideas and new opportunities.
But this is incredibly difficult to achieve. Circumstances conspire against this. Small businesses have little time to dedicate to reaching outside for community and support. The A-Team I referred to earlier is often just one or two enthusiastic individuals, fire-fighting on a daily basis. If not fire-fighting, it’s juggling, tight-rope walking or shape-shifting, operating immeasurable guises under the umbrella of ‘business development.’ And, if it’s not time they’re lacking, it’s funds: ‘doing business’ is making money, and how does talking to others achieve that?
Well, it does. Yes, we still have to be realistic: we can’t be everywhere all of the time, but simple round the table exercises with fellow business folk can be invaluable. We don’t know everything, nor do we have the time to learn everything, and when we spend just a short amount of time reaching out to others, we often find they have a lot to give.
It is as a result of reaching out to other organisations to find support in the areas in which we either lack experience, or have little time to dedicate to, that we have discovered opportunities and achieved significant business development and professional growth.
We’ve gained a plethora of support from external organisations willing to engage with us, including insight into similar organisations, business development opportunities, new clients, consultancy services and professional training.
We want to encourage others to engage in community spirited projects at local, national and international levels, which enable organisations to come together to learn and support each other.
We recently contributed to a case study by the Enterprise Europe Network and GLE Innovation in which we describe the support we received from them. We’re pleased to acknowledge the help that businesses like ours have gained. Read our Case Study here.
We ring fence approximately an hour a week to nurture new and existing relationships with external organisations with a more wholesome approach to our business.
Here are some of the organisations we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know:
- Enterprise Europe Network
- GLE Innovation
- Kingston University’s Kingston Business School
- University College London, UCL Innovation and Enterprise
- UK Trade and Industry
- BritishAmerican Business
- UK Export Finance
- Surrey Chambers of Commerce