Hi Simon, it is a pleasure to chat with one of the most successful entrepreneurs and networkers in the UK. Can you tell us when it all started?
Hello. My name is Simon. I came to UK more than 10 years ago. Like many Poles I was working in many different companies in Midlands – warehouses, building sites but from day one since I came to the UK I was sure that want to be a business owner. At the moment, I am proud to own several firms, including accountancy companies, recruitment agencies, consulting businesses and few others. I am an entrepreneur.
Can you tell us about Midlands Polish Business Midlands?
4 years ago I decided to start Midlands Polish Business Club with two of my friends. Our aim was to promote and support Polish business community in the UK. We also planned to consolidate Polish Businessmen as we know power is to work together rather than fight each other. We meet once a month after 6pm so all entrepreneurs can attend straight from work. At each event we do 60 seconds presentations of all attendees; therefore we get to know more about our businesses. With our meetings we have an opportunity to teach Polish entrepreneurs how to integrate and how to use properly networking in the UK.
Like me you are also a member of Business Network International [BNI] and you are successfully connecting with British entrepreneurs. Is it more difficult to network with British?
Networking fascinates me and I have discovered over the years how important is to be active in business networks. I attend BNI, local Chamber of Commerce and few other local networking groups. Networking is not about selling but about building relationships with people. These social connections are vital to your success. It is not easy to become recognizable person within British business community. It took some time to learn how to present myself, how to behave, how to communicate in other language. We must remember that British business community is very keen to work with migrants and there is nothing to be afraid. You have to build trust and then you will be able to do business.
Can you share with us any networking tip that has been a key to your success?
When you go networking for the very first time you must remember to prepare yourself.
You have to know answers to the following questions:
– Why you are going there?
-Who you are looking for?
-What type of business are you looking for?
-What do expect from the meeting?
You must be 100% sure why you are going there otherwise it might be a waste of your time. You also need practice your presentation skills or so called 60 seconds which you can use to clearly say who you are, what you do and how you can solve your client’s problems. Try to be a good listener and ask lots of questions instead of talking about yourself only. Do not forget to bring business card with you. Practice, practice and practice so next time you will become more familiar with networking etiquette. I wish you all good luck, Simon.