After the huge and unrivalled success of their Lancashire Business Owners Network, founders Jennie Hardman and Cate McNeal are now taking their unique networking model to the bright lights of Manchester.
Whilst a new networking group might not seem like big news, this is a group with a real difference, which is why the duo have enjoyed such successful results over the last couple of years within the Lancashire area.
Rather than the traditional networking framework for corporate business people, Hardman McNeal focus on the smaller micro businesses, pre-start-ups and start-ups, ex-military personnel, creatives, families and sole traders, who may suffer from low confidence or anxiety – the people who usually fall through the net of support.
Cate McNeal explained: “In the very early stages of being in business, and for those who are less confident in traditional corporate networking surroundings, we believe that support and guidance is key, and that’s what we provide within our group. We know from experience that being a business owner or being self-employed can be lonely and overwhelming, yet there were so many business owners out there who just weren’t being adequately supported. We’ve fulfilled that need for the Lancashire area and we’re so passionate about what we do, that rolling it out to other areas seems like the obvious next step.”
The existing Lancashire group boasts over 150 active members, who enjoy being part of this unique business family. The group is based on Facebook, and with someone usually always online, the members then have access to help and support around the clock.
Within the group, there are free online training sessions and webinars, free downloadable help sheets and workbooks, as well as chances to promote businesses, celebrate other members’ achievements, as well as service and skill swaps, and social gatherings; from Casino nights to group dog walks!
To compliment the online group, there are local informal and friendly monthly meetings, held in the evening, which feature guest speakers and trainers to cover a multitude of hot topics such as blogging, social media, tax, GDPR, SEO, apprenticeships, referral marketing and everything in between.
Jenny Hardman added: “We are first and foremost a support group, with an element of networking. Our aim has always been to provide a safe and welcoming environment for these business owners to have a sense of belonging, and a place to be able to access the skills and knowledge needed to grow their businesses at a comfortable pace, without paying thousands of pounds in courses or mentors, who may not be relevant.”
The Manchester Business Owners Network in launching in early September and Hardman McNeal are all set up and ready to accept new members. To learn more, or for more information on how to join, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org