A key factor in the success of small businesses tends to be overlooked: access to networks. Digital serendipity is achieved by using online introductions and networks to meet people with whom you wouldn’t normally cross paths.
This works well for many small business owners who are now working from home and often running their businesses in isolation, including business-owning mothers.
Networking is already hard. But networking is valuable. People tend to hire and make other business decisions by drawing on their personal networks. COVID-19 has further limited the chances to interact with a broader range of people and increase the size of your professional networks. Spontaneity has been removed.
We recently lost so many of the impromptu conversations and unplanned encounters that spring up when people can meet face to face, such as gathering at the water cooler, sharing lunch in the staff kitchen, finding yourselves sharing a lift, or passing each other in a corridor.
So, what’s the water-cooler alternative if you’re a small business owner or working from home?
Embrace and create digital serendipity opportunities to find spontaneous connections, knowledge sharing and creativity. Even fun!
Leverage online, caring business networks like Mums & Co for designed, casual encounters and attend events such as monthly member meet ups. These environments are conducive to facilitated networking but also random conversations where ideas can gel and answers arrive.
Scout LinkedIn, or industry specific networks, Clubhouse (currently only available on iOS).
Spend the time to find brands and people each week to invest in – those who resonate with your purpose or who you admire. Invest time once a month to genuinely converse with them.
Seek out meaningful connections. Set a target of three introductions for you, and three introductions for others each week. Aim to engage with three to five people during a digital event. Don’t be shy to use the chat board to reach out and start a conversation as the online activity progresses!
Be strategic. Do your research and make the why in your ask clear. If approaching someone to make the introduction on your behalf, provide them with the information they need in a clear, concise way, so they can simply forward on your email.
Adopt a mindset of generosity. View introductions not for personal gain but for the other person’s benefit. Pay it forward. Invest by making referrals or giving reviews if you’ve had a positive experience with a business or service.
Read more: Let’s Talk: Networking
During the first wave of COVID, Mums & Co embraced digital serendipity and moved 100 per cent digital. Our Chatbot feature and monthly online events, like “Practice your Pitch” and small-group member meet-ups, help members feel supported, build confidence and make meaningful connections.
Digital serendipity doesn’t and shouldn’t replace face-to-face encounters. It will, however, go some ways in creating that sense of connectedness, belonging and support that people are seeking more than ever in our rapidly digitising world, particularly since COVID-19.
At Mums & Co, we are continuously looking to harmonise ambition, livelihood and wellbeing. Unplanned happy encounters can help us to think differently, or help us to ease our own load. Be curious. Adopt strategies to achieve digital serendipity and see how making a great introduction can optimise your chance of success.
This year, the Mums & Co annual Be MPowered conference will return as a hybrid digital and face-to-face event to be broadcast nationally. This new format provides for business-owning mothers across Australia, but importantly in regional and rural areas, an opportunity to upskill, network and ultimately achieve digital serendipity.
Mums & Co has a special offer for Dynamic Business readers – a discount to attend Be MPowered by Mums & Co on 2 June 2021 – type DYNAMIC when booking tickets via Eventbrite for 25% off.