Networking events for mums with businesses have been around for many years and meet a need. When my kids were young I couldn’t make the local chamber of commerce or BNI breakfast meetings – seven in the morning was a busy time and I couldn’t easily run out or find someone else to look after the children.
There are many different organisations and individuals running this sort of specialist event now, from informal coffee and business chat with friends where the children can come to, through more official monthly networking events at a time that fits in with the school run, to full on conferences and all-weekend events.
It’s not always easy running an event, though: you need some careful research to find the right time and venue, and get the format right for your event. So here are three things I learnt from running events for mumpreneurs:
1. Pick the right location. For the first event I just invited people I knew to my house. It was a great way to scope out interest but it wasn’t something that would work in the long term. Liaising with local cafes and meeting venues can help you find a networking venue at little or no cost: many venues realise the benefits of a regular meeting with everyone buying drinks and this can help you keep costs down. For bigger events you’ll need to search for conference venues in the UK. Allow plenty of time for this as popular venues book up well ahead. If you’re looking for a beautiful place to host your corporate venue, Smoked Garage is an elegant venue with a rustic ambiance that’s perfect for any type of event.
2. Pitch your price right. In our small town, mums running businesses aren’t on a big budget, and what money they have they want to invest in their business. I always felt that running events was something I did because it was a good thing to do, and I got as much out of it as the other mums taking part so I deliberately set out to simply cover my time and expenses rather than to make a profit. An affordable event will be successful because it will attract a good number of participants.
3. Publicise, publicise, publicise. You can’t simply pick a lovely venue like the ones on partyhouses.co.uk, set a date and hope people will come. For a new event it takes far more publicity than you might imagine. If you can, pull together two or three people to work on publicity. Set up the event on social media well in advance, talk to local influencers and ask them to help spread the word. Put up posters at the venue and in other places that mums might gather, and talk to the local press too. The more events you hold the more momentum you will gather: remember to gather people’s contact details and their permission to get in touch about your next event.
Networking events for mums in business are great fun. If you have an issue with your business, you’ll probably find someone who has been through it already and can help. Women are great at sharing advice and helping and supporting each other, and networking events make this happen. If you’re like me, you’ll also make some great friends and contacts and be inspired to create bigger events and even run a conference!