16 years ago when we set up our company, there was very little help available for new businesses, so we had to learn from our mistakes. We probably made some that could have been prevented had we had a strong network of other, maybe more experienced, business owners. Although there are 3 partners in our business it can sometimes be a lonely place, occasionally you feel like you are repeating the same routine and not really moving forward. We found ourselves in that position 2 years ago and decided to do something about it! NETWORKING. A scary word for most people, few of us like to walk into a room full of strangers and start chatting. We were very sceptical when we first started our networking adventure, but we can honestly say that we are a much better business with more motivated staff. We started going to the Network5 group run by the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, from that first meeting we have attended various courses and found other events and network groups. The people we have met have all been helpful and friendly. The conversations we have had made us look at our online presence and social media, which had been a complete minefield for us. The support we have had from people we have met has been tremendous. Networking is not just about generating business it is also about connecting with likeminded people who you can collaborate with, ask for advice and offer some back. Regular groups are great if you have had a particularly bad week or have come across a problem you need advice on, there is always someone with special expertise in the group who would be more than happy to help. We hope that as reasonably experienced ladies we have helped other businesses with some of their struggles and made them feel a valued part of the Business community.