Marketing & Networking….. Sharks & Clearwater Fish

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So, Clearwater Events is officially two months old today. Happy Birthday to us! What a strange two months it has been. Time has whizzed by with such lightening speed that days merge in weeks and weeks become a blur.

The agency has already had some exciting interest and we are quietly reassured everything’s on track. The team at Clearwater Towers is busy working on our first confirmed event operating in two weeks time (yay) and we are currently pitching for a mammoth 2,500-delegate sales event for next year (yikes).

The internet and social media tools have become our best friends. The website has become our shop window and with the support from our buddies at Bare Face Media, we have learnt how to use Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook as key marketing tools.

In starting Clearwater Events, we truly believed (perhaps naively) that we would have resources at our fingertips, especially in light of the governments focus in getting people like us to start up. Certainly, the team at Start Up Britain and the Business Growth Show, along with enterprise gurus such as Emma Jones, have been fantastic in their advice and encouragement. However, by and large it seems that support, advice and networking opportunities come at a price.

There are organisations (that will remain nameless) that promise amazing networking opportunities and possible keys to locked doors. In total we could have easily spent over £100,000 this month if we had joined all the organisations and associations that appear to help new businesses and promise networking. It seems that there are a lot of sharks out there and many want a piece of the Clearwater fish!

However, my question is how can anyone think that charging £450 in membership fees to join an organisation is an acceptable figure for a small agency like ours? Breakfast and lunch networking are brilliant sales tools, if you have a spare £20 to hand. I have asked if I could bring a packed lunch for a cheaper price but sadly the answer is always no!

So, perhaps we need to rely on ourselves and the marketing and social media tools that are free, but require some sweat equity? It seems there are lot of people out to make money from offering small business growth opportunity and I for one, don’t buy it…