Being a small business owner or a sole trader can, at times, be a lonely place.
I'm only a couple of months into my own business and I can see that already. That's why weeks like the one I have just had are so important for well-being and enabling business people to remain energised for their company, to keep teams motivated and to inspire growth and diversification or just doing what you do that little bit better.
My week was Dumfries and Galloway Business Week, now in its fourth year. With each event I was learning more on vital topics for modern-day businesses such as digital marketing, training and finance. It was also a sociable week, to get to know fellow businesses in the region and to do that old-fashioned networking thing; seeing how valuable connections can be made to bring greater benefit to a bushiness through collaboration.
Back in 1624, a wise man named John Donne said, “No man is an island”. It's true, human beings do not thrive when isolated from others, but we sometimes become so absorbed in what we are doing that we burrow deep into our businesses, getting on with the day-to-day and lose sight of new innovations, new ways to reach out to more customers or ways that we can work together to boost what we all do.
Business Week also provides access to the plethora of agencies and services that are available through regional councils to support businesses. You really are NOT alone. I realised that when I began looking at setting up my business. My first port of call was www.bgateway.com
Since last week I have learned that the following agencies in Dumfries & Galloway and beyond are all there ready to give you support, guidance, help you grow and diversify and to make sure you know you are not alone:
For business direction, advice on growth and signposting to others who can help you develop your business www.dumgal.gov.uk www.bgateway.com www.dgchamber.co.uk www.gapdg.co.uk, for tourism businesses www.visitscotland.org, for the creative industries www.culturalenterpriseoffice.co.uk www.dgunlimited.com www.dgleader.co.uk www.thirdsectordumgal.org.uk, for hiring and training www.apprenticeship.scot www.ourskillsforce.co.uk and for women in business www.wescotland.co.uk
They say people buy people, and that is true but people also instinctively want to help people. It starts with getting out there and striking up a conversation – you never know where it will lead. And remember, shy bairns get nowt so get your voice heard and never feel you cannot ask for help – it's out there in abundance.