Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Savvy Entrepreneur: Business Groups Rock!

One of the 3 things I stress to all my clients is gathering a solid, supportive, and like-minded community to help you grow your business. There’s nothing like having people in your life who get it when you’re feeling overwhelmed by keeping you listings up to date on Etsy, feeling run down by craft fairs, or totally jazzed because you just made your 100th or 300th sale.

Today I want to share with you the importance of a business group. When Shelly and I first started Lightbox SF we asked a few of our friends who also ran their own businesses if they’d be interested in meeting once a month to talk success, struggles, and general business. We ended up gathering 7 or 8 women to start. We’d meet at someone’s house on a Sunday afternoon for nibbles and wine while we all took turns sharing the good things that had happened over the last month, where we might have hit a roadblock or two, and mining the group’s varied experience to help us solve issues. It was totally inspiring and motivating. I am still friends with all those women even though we no longer meet.

Last month I was lucky enough to be a part of a new group that is just starting up. We are 10 women strong and call ourselves the Success Squad. In our first meeting we all shared where we were at with our business, what we hoped to get out of the group, and our big goals for the year. I am not only honored to be included with such an amazing group of women, but am truly impressed by how creative, driven, and successful they all are.

I share all this with you because I firmly believe finding a group like this is one of the most valuable thing you can do for yourself. While The SF Etsy Team provides all sorts of knowledge and support, there is even more value in breaking into a smaller group that meets regularly and really forms a bond. Not only will you benefit from the collective experience and knowledge, it’s extremely rewarding to have a front row seat to witness others taking their business to a new level.

How do you find this group? Start by asking the other creative people you know, connect with and/or admire if they belong to a business group or if they’d like to start one. If you can find just two people you’re off to a good start and most likely those two people can bring one or two more and then you have a group. I would advise you to keep it around 10 people so that there really is a chance to connect with everyone and time for each person to be in the spotlight without a meeting taking more than 2-3 hours.

These people will become your supporters, confidants, cheerleaders and guinea pigs. They will pull you through the lows and toast the successes. They will be your sounding board and most importantly they will help you see your business in a whole new light.

Do you already belong to a group? How has it helped you?

Genevieve not only writes The Savvy Entrepreneur she is the Co-Founder of Lightbox SF where she empowers creatives to take over the world. Check out the blog or send her a note.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


mishshell said...

Great read! I hope to join a team near me. You guys are awesome and enjoy learning from you all.

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

love this! one of my goals for the coming year is to help our vast, spread out, geographically diverse team localize a little more. these kinds of smaller groups sound ideal!

ij said...

I never thought about this. This is a really great idea/suggestion. Thanks for sharing, I'd like to try this and find other card crafters and support each other :)

Anonymous said...

I foresee business groups popping up all over the place.

ij - while similar businesses are great for learning from specific experience, having other sorts of businesses in your group is a great learning experience and potential customer base. i've been in groups with bakers, caterers, makeup artists, and photographers and learned from all of them.

Adriana (ClayCatShop) said...

Wonderful article! I agree! there is nothing like the support you find from meeting with other like minded artists and entrepreneurs!

Ever since I became part of SF Etsy I have been wishing & wanting to meet you all, but I live in Pleasanton and I have 2 small kids, thus going to the meetings is not easy for me... however I read (better said, devour) the articles and try to learn as much as I can from you all about this wonderful adventure in the Etsy-World! :)

I would love to have/start/participate in a group in the trivalley area, you can put me as a contact! :) (Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore area)

Happy weekend!


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