Last week I attended the first Woodley Festival of Business, offering business advice to a wide range of businesses in the local area. For those of you that don’t know Woodley, (where I live), it’s sandwiched in between Wokingham and Reading and as such, is known more as a residential area, rather than a thriving hub of commerce. It’s 2nd best place to live, apparently.
It was a great event, modest, under-stated, yet very effective and I was surprised by the number and diversity of businesses attending. One contact made was a marketing consultant who lived only four doors away and who walks his dog past my house every day. In today’s service-based economy, our small businesses can be almost invisible, yet highly productive. I have worked with many businesses that operate from home via an associate model, yet have built a pretty reasonable empire without the overheads of premises and staff.
For 18 months, I have been an active and founding member of Woodley Business Club and many business alliances have been forged as a result. It was a privilege to be able to showcase some of my expertise by providing the PR programme for the event and a very nice surprise for the Woodley & Earley Chronicle to showcase the Festival on its front page. I thank the many media for supporting the event, local newspapers, radio and magazines and social media helped to spread the word amongst the local business community. Even our local dignitaries supported us, with two mayors attending, as well as local councillors. Theresa May, MP and Home Secretary provided a lovely quote for us:
“I am pleased to support the Woodley Festival of Business. This is a great opportunity to celebrate Woodley businesses and to encourage new ones to start up. A strong business community with thriving local companies is vital to any town, and it is important that local business owners and entrepreneurs can learn from best practice and share their experiences with each other. I hope that this event will be a boost to Woodley businesses and the town as a whole.” Theresa May, MP & Home Secretary.
Other colleagues in the Woodley Business Club provided branding, event marketing, catering and the venue. Our local schools worked hard to show their media prowess by producing videos that captured business past and present in Woodley.
Not everything went to plan on the day, does it ever, but the most important thing was that people were provided with the opportunity to network and realise that there is a thriving business community on their doorstep. While I often talk about content and the written word, face-to-face opportunities are very powerful, yet many companies do not leverage them as much as they could. Does their brand support what they are selling? Do they have a plan for maintaining contact with the leads that they make, how do they keep in touch with them and what might entice them to buy?
Don’t let the contacts you make fizzle out. Here are some top tips to help you keep in touch:
… and don’t forget to add a bit of news to your website or blog, just like this one. A press release is available at the following url, http://www.graymatterpr.co.uk/News/festival_of_business feel free to use anything in it.
Good luck with your new business connections.