“It has been great to get to know who is who, where people are and what they do to be able to tap into other local people when you need a service or product. The business brews have been a great way to follow that up and put faces to names, to chat in an informal way about issues affecting us all eg CFE and to swap thoughts and ideas and, most importantly I think, identify opportunities for potential collaboration.” Donna Stokes - Daisy Chain
Bi-weekly Business Brews see members regularly taking time out to chat with fellow business owners about a wide variety of topics that are relevant to us all, brainstorm ideas and support each other. For those who spend much of their working day by themselves a regular meet up can help break the monotony of working solo. It is easy to say that you are far too busy to network or that you get business from other sources. The beauty of putting yourself in front of other people is that you just never know who knows who or how fellow business owners can help you. Oui Chef members have been busy colloborating! For example Neil Morris of Homeburger recently collabored with Bev Barker-Brown frm Chez Tante Mabel to host an evening for gite owners to sample vegan and meat homeburgers that are made fresh by Homeburger. Something that can easily be marketed by gite owners as a unique offering to their future guests.
“I don't think you can beat meeting other like minded people in business in person. The beauty of meeting people in person is that you begin to build up a personal relationship with them, you know whether you like that person and whether you'd be happy to have them work for you or recommend them and their services to others.” Vicky Renwick – Le Tilleul Gites
More recently, myself and fellow Oui Chef member Corinne Dingley collaborated, planned and delivered an undercover Christmas Fayre at Corinne's premsies Château Ardilleux on Saturday 19th November. 20+ businesses, represening a wide range of crafts and products participated.
I am a firm believer that good planning, good organisation and good promotion are key attributes for delivering a great event. As someone who encourages businesses to make the most of marketing opportunities online and off it was a great opportunity to put a blog that I wrote last year to the test – Savvy Guide To Promoting Events in France. I'm extremely grateful that Corinne and I were able to team up in this way and produce something that everyone involved was proud of. So much so we will definitely be organising the 2nd Christmas Fayre and also planning for a late Spring event in 2017.
“Donald & I were really excited to be hosting the first Christmas Fayre at Chateau Ardilleux not knowing quite what the visitor response would be! A massive success, with a footfall of over 500, meant that the stallholders had a fabulous day. Even after 14 years of living in France we know that lots of local people do not know where we are, or what we offer ..so the Fayre was an ideal opportunity to open the gates to the public” - Corinne Dingley Château Ardilleux
A network of groups has fast sprung up over the last 12 months and if you are a business owner in the Loire or Bordeaux areas, you can join Loire Business Network Group and Bordeaux Business Network Group. If you are a registered business owner within a 50km radius of Chef Boutonne, Deux Sevres  please do come and join us at Oui Chef - Boutonne Business Networking Group. It's not who you know, more rather who knows you.