Business networking wimp: Tell me something I don’t know

It’s fair to say that ‘getting out there’ and business networking – online or offline – is not something that comes naturally to me.

Truth be told, if left up to me I’d slouch alone in my home office all day listening to folksy music with headphones on and ignoring the telephone.

So I was obviously euphoric when Robert informed me we were off to mingle with 1000+ business owners at last week’s launch event of Energise Enterprise, Victoria’s small business festival.

I know the drill. Robert swans off to be Mr Big Shot presenter, while I’m left manning the stand.

However, the funny thing is that as much as I dodge them, I always love these events when I get there. It was great to chat with a constant stream of wonderful business owners and entrepreneurs. And the massive business benefits in terms of contacts and promotion are obvious.

For me, the challenge is simply turning up. I’ve found that once you get there, the conversations and connections just seem to happen by themselves.

It’s the same thing with business networking online. Before getting involved in Flying Solo, I’d never commented on an article. And before we started the forums a few years ago, I’d never made a post on any forums, let alone helped look after one.

I’m far from alone in this. Our surveys and feedback consistently reveal an aversion to (okay, fear of) networking amongst small business owners. In fact, generally more than 95% of readers online – affectionately known as lurkers – don’t actively join in the conversation, preferring to listen and learn. Which is, of course, totally fine.

But today, I invite you to take the plunge. If you’ve never or rarely posted anything online, take the first step towards online networking and leave a comment on this article.

To make it nice and easy, simply tell us what you enjoy most about running your own ship and if there’s one thing you’re looking for that will make your life easier, tell us that too and let’s see what the community can do to assist. If you’re a regular commenter, then by all means hop in and show us how it’s done.

So, tell me something I don’t know. I’ll start.

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