So last night the lovely Maureen Windridge of MW Bookkeeping made a plea on Facebook for someone to attend The Business Growth Club in Milton Keynes in her place. Maureen assured me that the meetings are quite informal, and the sausages tasty, so I thought I would go along and try a group which advertises itself as ‘deliberately different to all the other weekly networking groups in Milton Keynes’.
Meeting details and Location
The meetings are run by Mark Orr and are held in an upstairs function room at Abbey Hill Golf Centre, MK8 8AA in Milton Keynes. The meetings are from 7.15am until 9am and the parking was excellent.
From the group Facebook page the meetings have a “very conversational style driven by a different light theme or 10 minute tip every week. We expect people around the table to react to whatever you are saying and join the conversation.”
I arrived a little early just to be sure I was in the right place, and was welcomed by Mark and Paul Bryan, a local accountant from all tax accountants. There are hot drinks on arrival and I was made to feel very welcome and chatted to the other members and guests in attendance.
The meeting was called to order and we sit in a circle so everyone can participate in the conversations, Mark introduced the visitors and welcomed each one personally and the meeting went straight into this week’s talk by Mike Holmes about Harvesting Capital from and ongoing Business Career. Mark encourages open discussion around the subject of the 10 minute talk and it was very interesting listening to the views around the table.
A business card box was passed around, and as a visitor you could also add your own cards to the box, which is unheard of with certain other networking groups!
We then moved into the 2nd phase of the meeting where we took it in turns to introduce ourselves, and this is where the talk differed from the usual ‘1 minute elevator pitch’ from most networking meetings. Some linked their opportunity to talk to the talk given by Mike, asked questions relating to their own business, or asked advice about an idea or told a story.
While this 2nd phase of the meeting was going on the breakfast, which we were able to order individually, was served to us with minimum fuss, and as Maureen had said the sausages were delicious! There were plenty of options though if you preferred not to have a cooked breakfast or you are vegetarian.
The one criticism about this part of the meeting as a first time visitor, even though this wasn’t a traditional one minute, I wished that everyone at least started by stating their name and business name and perhaps one or two words about what they did, otherwise I spent my time trying to figure out who was speaking rather than on what they were actually saying.
Also with the way the business cards were passed around, I was able to add my cards to the box as they passed me first, but it would be very easy not to swap business cards with people at the meeting you might want to meet again due to the format. Perhaps a list of attendees each week with contact details would prove useful as a possible addition to the meeting?
Would I join / visit again?
At the moment due to school run obligations joining a weekly breakfast meeting would not suit me, but as I was made to feel so welcome and made some good business connections I certainly would like to visit again in the future, and I would recommend others to go along too. There is no ‘business lock out’ which I like, as often I find meeting others in the same line of business as myself is just as useful as meeting others. In fact it’s almost more useful as we can discuss issues and bounce ideas around which might bore none IT/Bookkeeping people’s socks off.
Thanks to Mark and the other members, and to Maureen for the invitation.