By Clare Mullen
RAW Human Resources has officially been in business since March 2016. But like many businesses with just one staff member, Rob spent the first 18 months or so focused primarily on delivering services. When I joined the business late 2017, it was an opportunity to look at new ways of connecting with other businesses. Since then we’ve learned a lot about the business networking scene in Perth…
Getting help with the people issues in your business can be a personal subject. You need to trust the person you’re getting advice from – firstly, that they know their stuff from a technical point of view. But equally important is that you feel you can be completely candid with them about the issues you may be facing in your business – so you can get help to fix them. This is why we’ve focused on networking as a key marketing strategy.
- What were we looking for?
When we started being proactive with networking, we had three main aims: build positive relationships in our local area; connect with businesses across Perth where we can add value by helping them with their people problems – either directly, or through referrals; and learn from other successful businesses.
- Where to find groups?
We started by looking on our local government website which put us on to our local business association – and found it valuable to connect and share our experiences with and learn from other local businesses. Building on that experience, we went on the look out for another way to connect with similar minded groups.
We got some recommendations from people we’d already met, and I also searched online for “business networking Perth”. (If you’ve done that you’ll know there are almost 5 million results via Google!) With our objectives in mind to help us whittle it down, off we set!
- What kind of networking?
We’ve attended breakfasts, lunches and sundowners. We’ve attended free events, paid events, and those events which are clearly sales funnels (because we believe there’s always something you can learn). To keep track of the all the various groups and events, I started an informal list which I share with other business owners who are getting started on networking (email us if you’d like to receive a copy of this – it’s not exhaustive, but it’s a start).
As an aside it’s worth saying that at the start of my career – when I worked in fundraising in the UK, the idea of “networking” used to send me into a tailspin. The idea of having to focus on making connections with the aim of getting something out of the other person just didn’t fit with my values – and I hated attended networking events, which was a big part of my job.
But after reading Networking: The Art of Making Friends by Carole Stone the world of networking took on a whole new hue. It outlined an approach which wasn’t about trying to get something from the person, but rather was about seeing how you can add value to the person. While that won’t be news to many of you now, it was welcome news to me when I was starting out.
And this is the RAW Human Resources approach to networking now. Obviously, we’re in business and want (need!) to make a living, but our guiding philosophy is – how can we add value to this person or business? It means networking is fun, and you can focus on getting to know the person you’re talking to and listen out for how you can help.
After a few months of “fact finding” we opted for three groups that we participate in regularly. We absolutely believe that the key to successful networking, actually isn’t networking at all – but rather it’s about relationships. Those groups are District 32 – we’re in the Vic Park zone that meets in Ascot, but also attend meetings in other zones regularly; Facilit8 – this group meets regularly in the Maylands/Inglewood area; and an informal networking group that meets monthly at Aloft in Rivervale.
Still not sure?
There are lots of events each month and visitors are welcome at many of them – get in touch with us if you want to hear more about our experiences with D32 and Facilit8, or check out the Facilit8 website and the D32 website
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