A group of local women have joined forces to open new businesses on Beacon Avenue in Sidney – and they hope that their hard work will attract like-minded people.
On Saturday, Dec. 13 Upstairs on Beacon officially opened its doors at 2405 Beacon Ave. It’s the umbrella organization covering six businesses owned by the women.
Cheryl Young, the spokesperson for Upstairs on Beacon, says if it wasn’t for the group’s willingness to work together and cooperate, most of them probably would not have been able to open up shop.
This collective retail development helps each other.By putting in some sweat equity, they share the spaces and save on rent – in a town where high rents have been noted as potential detriments to small business. “It’s a no-brainer. It’s a numbers game,” said Stephanie Solyon, owner of Glamour Girls Vintage in a media handout. “On top of that, the like-minded entrepreneurs benefit from being able to learn from one another and take on marketing as a collective effort.” The Upstairs on Beacon series of shops will be open 12 to 5 p.m. daily.
Steven Heywood | Peninsula News Review
Networking with President Ian Brown
Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
Networking is the most often cited reason for joining a Chamber of Commerce yet many members don’t reap all the benefits that connecting with other business owners has to offer.
The Saanich Peninsula provides a host of networking opportunities ranging from simple events like regular coffee mornings to major functions like the Mayor’s Breakfast. These outings bring together business people from small, medium and large companies covering all sectors of the economy as well as local, provincial and federal politicians. Networking opportunities abound but if you want to benefit from this ‘target rich’ environment you must do one simple thing – show up!
When we analyze our event attendance statistics we find that our strongest members continue to be the ones who participate most. This is not to say that participation in a Chamber event guarantees success – far from it – but it does follow that those who are successful view networking as an important part of their overall business development strategy. We all lead busy lives and most of us don’t need another lunch/dinner/breakfast but we make time for these networking event for one simple reason – people do business with people they know, like and trust …. And there’s no better way to develop that type of connection than meeting face to face.
This is particularly important in our digital age where face to face contact is increasingly scarce, so much is being done on-line and picking up the phone and actually talking to your customer seems to be going the way of the dinosaurs. Clearly email is efficient, and it’s great to be able to put your information out there on any of the ‘connection’ sites, share pictures and stories but does this help you get to know, like and trust those people – and they you? If you really need an answer to that question try a simple exercise – list all the people in your email address book, Linked -In network, Twitter followers, Facebook friends and any other groups you may have and ask yourself “how many of these people would I invite to dinner in my home?”
Building a network of people who know, like and trust you is a very simple process but its not easy – its takes time and it takes effort – and participating in the events put on by your local Chamber is one of the best ways to get started. Here are a five tips on how to do it.
First, don’t attend the same event over and over again – mix it up. Any one event attracts a particular type of person so once you’ve made as much of one type of event as you can move on.
Second, focus your message. The conversation will inevitably come around to ‘what do you do’. Practice answering in 30 or 60 seconds and include a little humour. Having a cabinet manufacturer tell you he or she makes ‘food boxes’ is infinitely preferable to a five minute discourse on computerized machining.
Third – do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. If you agree to set a meeting or arrange lunch – make the call.
Fourth – stay ‘top of mind not ‘on top of’ your customer. Find valid reasons to stay in touch but don’t be a pest.
And fifth, be yourself. Open, honest, sincere communication is the best way to get people to know, like and trust you. And if you’re just not likeable, stay and home and send someone who is.
Networking is a powerful business development tool and attending your Chamber’s events is an effective and efficient way to tap into that power. So next time you receive a Chamber event notice make a ‘networking plan’ and show up.