Terri Lee, principal of the Salem booking agency WECAM, attends the group’s events with the hope of offering helpful tips, because she knows from experience that “it’s hard getting that first client.” But she’s also sowing the seeds of future business. Networking at the Jan. 24 event produced a lead on a restaurant mural painting job for one of her clients, Tobias Allendorph of Salem, whose Tobias Artist business could use a midwinter boost.
In his role as the entrepreneurs group president, Turner offers encouragement to prospective business owners, but he is also all ears when peers have suggestions for him. He had been shy to tout his knowledge online before others in the group urged him to share car-buying tips through Facebook. As he took their advice, readers appreciated learning, for example, that the 2012 Jeep Liberty is now “super cheap” because the model is being discontinued. With help from new friends made through the group, he is building his brand and reputation as an authority.
Since the path to entrepreneurial success follows no fixed formula or corporate ladder, the emergence of a new group offers a welcome support structure to entrepreneurs. Pioneers find they are not blazing trails alone, but are part of a community that wants to see local independents thrive.
As the nascent community takes shape, it seems everyone is both giving and receiving assistance. Jill Gibson, a Swampscott chiropractor, stopped by on Jan. 24 in part to share insights as one who has run a successful business for eight years without any advertising or even as much as website.
Yet she found plenty of company, people who could help her, too, via word-of-mouth buzz about her unusual specialty in healing soft tissues. And with a few new contacts in her address book, she may launch a website after all.
“The hardest thing is just getting the word out there about what I do, how it’s different and why it’s worth it” even if insurance will not pay for it, said Gibson, owner of the ART of Healing. “So here [the group] is a venue to express it a little bit.”