Thanks to Sharon Whitehead of The Home Hub Website cleaning and concierge company , I was invited to go along to visit the 4N Business Breakfast in Olney. The first thing that appealed about this meeting was the start time of 8am, a little more friendly than the 7am breakfast meetings I have attended before!
Meeting details and Location
The meetings are advertised and booked through the www.4networking.biz website, which is free to join. The Olney meeting is every other Wednesday at The Bull Inn, right opposite the market place free parking and his lead by Nicky Marchant. The meeting runs from 8am to 10am and there is a choice of full english, vegetarian or continental breakfast for the visitors fee of £12 (cash paid on the day).
What I like about the website is you can see exactly what the format of the meetings will be, the timings and what you should take. It’s always good to know these basic instructions when you are going somewhere for the first time, even if you have been invited along by a colleague.
I found the pub easily even though I had not noticed it before. And I was welcomed in and immediately put at ease by a couple of the Olney Team. Although Nicky usually leads the meeting, she was doing the main talk at this particular meeting so the meeting was being guest hosted. You are encouraged to help yourself to hot or cold drinks on arrival and I was told about the etiquette of arranging who you will have 10 minute 1-2-1 chats with as part of the meeting.
You take 3 of your own business cards and number them 1, 2 and 3, then choose who you would like to get to know better and swap card with a 1 for another member’s card marked 1, and so on with 2 and 3. As a visitor I was in demand and I had swapped all 3 of my cards before I even sat down to breakfast.
We sat down in our places at 8.30 and while each attendee stood and talked for 40 seconds about our business or to introduce ourselves the breakfasts were unobtrusively served to us as per our previous choice from Full, Vegetarian and Continental. I did make a slight boo boo as I swapped a card with the lovely lady sat next to me at this point , but I hadn’t understood that the other member thought she was arranging a 1-2-1 with me but I thought I was just swapping a card – so I double booked myself on the first slot. A lesson learned by me and amicably sorted out quickly.
Once breakfast was eaten Nicky gave a very interesting talk about how food tastes have changed over the last 50 years, which prompted a lot of discussion and we all told the group about our favourite foods when eating out – mine is toad in the hole if you are wondering!
We then broke out for our pre arranged 1-2-1 10 minute sessions, which I thought was great to get to know the other members I was most interested in further. It was very focussed and informative.
The meeting closed on time, and you can use the website to see who was in attendance and contact or follow up from discussions very easily, and the bookkeeper in me was very pleased that a VAT invoice is emailed to you after the meeting too.
Would I join / visit again?
I enjoyed the timing, the format, and the friendliness of the meeting. At present though regular breakfast meetings are out of the question for me to attend. The beauty of 4N though is there is no lockout but you can attend breakfast, lunch or evening meetings in many areas locally all for part of the same membership. Currently I don’t feel in a position that I would get the most out of the membership – but it is a group I would consider joining in the future once I am no longer a school run mum.
Thanks to Sharon for the invitation to visit, and the rest of the Olney team for making me feel very welcome.
Update March 2017
Now my Mum’s taxi duties are over and youngest child is independently mobile – I have been able to commit to joining 4N and regularly attend the Olney and Milton Keynes Breakfast meetings. I have got on so well with the team that I have taken on a Visitor Coordinator role at the Milton Keynes meeting – so please get in touch for details of the meetings. You can also visit the website for further details too.