Friday, September 28, 2012

Venus Networking Function

Recently I tried the Venus Network, a nationwide business referral community for businesswomen. Joining a Venus group means a regular round table where you can share your business cards, promote yourself and your business and find whole new business friends and contacts. There is a joining fee, but the benefits include whole new networks, business friends and referrals to expand your business on and your own mini-website with Venus among others. 

The moment I walked in, I was instantly struck by how popular the network was – there were hardly any chairs left to sit on! I must say this was the first time I’d ever seen a business community where everyone puts their business cards into a card holder for people to select at their leisure as it passes around the table. I was really impressed with this; it sure beats simply passing them around across the table or whatever. Numbers were so huge and time was so limited that there was only enough time for us to go right around the table, saying who we were and what we did. But I did find out that the Venuses pair up to ‘rave’ with each other outside their regular meetings. 

As luck would have it, I timed that tryout so well that I found out the Lower Hutt Venus groups were hosting the latest Venus social function at HVCC on 21 September. Venus groups from all over Wellington, including Mana, would come to meet and mingle over drinks and nibbles, and then settle down to watch Venus women from Lower Hutt give one-minute powerpoint presentations Just one minute to explain what they do and promote their businesses. And for the Venuses who had come from outside Lower Hutt, it was their chance to learn about what their Lower Hutt counterparts had to offer. Presentations included ‘Nourish ‘n Nurture’ natural eating consultancy and why diets and scales don’t work; Rags2 Fitness – for fitness, of course; Jin Cowan photography; Thrive Consultancy; SendoutCards who make gift cards to order; Hutt Valley Disabled Resources Trust, the number 1 trust who make intellectually disabled people visible; and so many others to list here. And here are some photographs of that event. 

So there were my first impressions of Venus. I certainly had some surprises and thought it was a bit…different. I have not yet decided whether or not to join, although their pamphlet boasts of testimonials from people who say it was one of their finest business investments.
If you want to find out more about Venus, their site is

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My impressions of Hutt Valley Business Expo 2012

On 12 September we had the Business Expo at the Horticultural Hall. The Hutt News said it was the first in two years and had received a strong response. The paper did not say that every single one of the 60 stalls was booked out. When I first walked in, I was stunned at how big and busy it all was with all 60 stalls up and running and doing a very happy business! They ought to be with the six page spread they received in The Hutt News. All 60 stalls were listed, so that must have brought in hundreds of people seeking restaurants, vodafones, iPads, new security features, travel agents, exposure on the radio and so many other services and products that Hutt Valley has to offer.

For the first time, the Business Expo was providing seminars on how to improve your business as well. One seminar was on getting your business up in Google search results. Unfortunately I could not make it to any of the seminars, so I have no feedback there. But I can certainly tell you that there was something for everyone there, whether they were in business or not, as someone will always have a use for banks, home loans, book keepers, coffee makers, iPads, Vodfone, Weltec, caterers or someone to mind the house. I even found a few surprises; I didn’t expect to find Work and Income there, but there they were, telling business owners that WINZ was an outfit they could call about recruiting needs. And there was Hutt City Council telling us about their community projects, including how we can cut down on vandalism if we ‘adopt a spot’. There were some stalls that raised a laugh, such as the little indoor golf at Boulcott Farm (see above). 

So you could just stand and have a quick putty on the indoor green while chatting away. For refreshments there was the Tickled Pink stall, where you could have coffee and cake and be in the draw to win their cake. Yes, there were plenty of draws to enter – mostly for bottles of wine, but there were services and products as prizes as well. Always be sure to take plenty of business cards to the Expo so you can enter the draws.

This must have been the biggest and most successful business expo the Chamber of Commerce has run to date. I hope to be seeing it again next year, looking even bigger and busier and happier. And I close with some shots of the Business Expo.