What Does Connection Mean To You?
I love building new connections and I love people, however I always hated doing this in business. Why? Because networking felt sleazy. If you can build relationships effectively, it will help many areas of your business improve. But, if you’re anything like me then the thought of traditional networking can leave you running for the hills.
I’m sure you have experienced an awful event at some point, which has put you off wanting to walk into a room alone. You know the ones; 6am starts, a room full of pinstripe suits, a soggy bacon roll and then to make the experience even more enjoyable, you’re made to stand up and present a 60 second pitch of shame!
Working in financial services from the age of 17 I continued my way up the career ladder to a financial adviser at 23 and I was one of a few females doing this at the time. During this time I attended many different events, whether it was an official Networking event, a conference, or an awards dinner. They all felt the same – horrible. They would be full of men who were all trying to show who had the biggest wallet. There was misogyny and judgement and not only from the men. I was once ushered into the room for the PAs. I was wearing a skirt so I couldn’t possibly be walking into the adviser’s room. Anyway, all of this built up a huge block for me, so when I started to think about networking for my own business, I just didn’t want to do it.
Fast forward to April 2020, I left my corporate job and I set up my own business. The huge benefit of lockdown was that it forced us to be more active on social media. My business at the time was Afternoon Tea deliveries, so I had my Facebook page and Instagram to showcase my lovely baked goods. I had previously only used social media to share holiday pics or drunken nights out. It was never a business tool for me. Now, I love it, and I wouldn’t have my business without it.
I do understand that making genuine connections can be daunting in such a huge online space. It’s easy to sit and watch from the side-lines, easy to tell yourself that you don’t need to meet other business owners online, and that social media isn’t for you. But trust me, if you use it right, in a way that suits you, you will start to reap the rewards. Meeting new people and making new friends will add so much value to your business.
I’ve built so many amazing new relationships and friendships online, without any objective in mind. I was busy fulfilling orders, but because I was alone in the kitchen all day, I found using social media my saving grace. I built these online friendships by creating conversations, replying to people’s posts, joining groups, and just getting involved in supporting others.
I noticed that there were more women like me, who wanted to build real connections but dreaded the traditional events. More of us wanted to get back out and do nice things. While social media is a fantastic business tool, there is an icky, disingenuous side. So, because of this, I set up my second business Peakes Private Members Club.
I created a space where everyone feels comfortable. There are no cliques, no sleazy selling tactics, just a safe space for female business owners to build real friendships. I now have over 120 members, and I know that I would not have attracted these members, and now friends, if I hadn’t put any effort into meeting new people online during those 18 months. I am passionate about connecting people and helping people to take action and step out of their comfort zone.
Here are some tips for you to try right now to help build new meaningful business relationships, without any sleazy tactics or dancing in videos!
1 – Make it easy for your potential connections to find you.
This is simple, but if I landed on your profile, would I know what you do?
2 – If you like the content that someone is sharing, tell them. Not only will it make their day, but by commenting on their posts you are starting a genuine conversation. They’re more likely to remember you and want to get to know you.
3 – Go Networking.
There are more and more events popping up now, so it shouldn’t be hard to find an event that you will enjoy. My events range from luxury spa days, lunches and we’ve even been on a cold-water swim. Look at who you are already connected to as more and more people are running in-person days now. If you don’t find something you like, create your own.
If you need some help to build more genuine relationships, then you can access 14 days of Connection Prompts here. which will help you on your journey to building more genuine relationships.
What would you say holds you back from Networking and building new relationships?
Leave me a comment below.
About The Author
Nicola Peake is the founder of Peakes Private Members Club, she worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years, in 2020 during lockdown, Nicola decided to give it all up and start her own business.
Nicola hadn’t been happy for a good few years, and although she loved working with her clients, she thought there must be more to life! In April 2020, she made a huge decision and set up Chouxlicious. Nicola quickly built this into a national delivery business, turning over thousands a month.
During lockdown, this was all great fun. However, once the world started to re-open in mid 2021, she was home alone, bored of doing the same things every day and she was missing seeing people in real life. Nicola’s whole working life was based around working with people. She missed the real connections, and the business relationships that she was so used to. Nicola had met so many new inspirational people online during lockdown, and a lot of them were also feeling the same. So at the end of 2021, she created Peakes Private Members Club, as she knew that she wanted to build a community around her and create a business where she could serve and help others again, and also do the things she would enjoy in her business.
Peakes now has over 120 female members, and Nicola has created a welcoming and supportive community, who are now all enjoying the new connections and best of all the fabulous in-person events.
After building two businesses within 2 years, and experiencing all of the highs and the lows, Nicola found what she truly loves, and she now also helps others to do the same.