When I first started Buckle Bow Pearl, it was lonely at points. I had worked all my life in teams and had loved bouncing ideas off other people. I am a sociable introvert so luckily I am able to get my energy from my work but I definitely (like most) love to talk big decisions through and find my ideas flourish in sharing with others.
So what do you do if you are the only person that works at your company?
I still believe I have lots to learn and ways to improve this further but there are a few things I found to be really helpful -
Find other business owners. Some people call this a 'genius club' whilst others may just say it's networking. These people do not need to be from your industry. But you need to find time to meet up or you could use Zoom etc. You can find a format that works for you but generally you go through things you are working on and people will give ideas.
The beautiful thing about these people not being from your industry is that they will think in a different way to you. Which can be really beneficial. They also haven't got the industry knowledge so in a lot of ways they will think in a more straightforward way or if you own a B2C company they may even think like your customer.
I have found these meetings to be so helpful. I have a few pools of people I do this with and it always gives me great ideas and motivation. LinkedIn can also be a great way to let people know what you are up to. I have been added into a few Woman in Business, networking groups through the platform, just purely because my job title is set to Founder.
Industry networking. Next up, find a way to network with people that are in your industry. For me I have joined a couple of societies linked with Antique jewellery. This is a great way for me to stay informed and meet like minded people and contacts who can and have come in really useful. You could also look at industry specific events. This is where you could discuss more industry specific topics, obviously being mindful if your industry is really competitive, with what you share.
Get out there. Look at your work and see what can be done away from your desk. Can you take your laptop somewhere else to complete a project? Or can you brainstorm somewhere?
- Members club / health club, can be a wonderfully inspiring spaces to work in. Not to mention that you might end up meeting like minded people. If you do use a gym it's can end up being pretty cost effective too.
- Local independent cafes / spaces (support small business always) Quite often you'll find they might host some sort of networking regular meet up. If they don't, could you start one?
- Blanket in a local green area, you could hold meeting there or meet up with someone from your business social circle and brainstorm together.
Remember that if you worked for a larger company chances are your day would be split between your desk and meeting rooms, so try to keep your week varied.
Frequently. Lastly I would just say, try to make sure everyday you have some contact. Little and often as they say. It can be as small as a chat on 'Slack' or a zoom on a daily basis but once a month make sure you are doing something face to face. You will really feel the benefit both mentally for you and in your work.
It can be scary joining these groups, it can most definitely feel a little daunting but I can honestly say it's most definitely worth it. I can see results in my business. I have used brilliant ideas from likeminded business owners that have really changed and shaped my business. Hopefully, in turn I have also added to other businesses, which is a wonderful feeling.
Best of luck and remember to be brave with it!