The Power of Networking
Caroline is passionate about networking in the wheatbelt.
Whether talking to your neighbour or talking to another business owner, Caroline Robinson recognises the power of networking in the community and across regions. Social networking is booming in our world. However you can’t substitute it for a good telephone conversation or meeting over coffee to catch up with friends or talk shop. The Facebook and Twitter interactions continue to increase and the importance and power of networking has revealed itself. Despite the World Wide Web, our digital way of living and the distance within regional WA, we are more than ever in need of contact with other people.
Being active in a networking group can benefit your job and community because it can get more potential out of you and it gives you valuable information.
The Wheatbelt Business Network (WBN) started in March 2009 and is a member based not for profit group, voluntarily coordinated by myself with the support of a dedicated group of committee members from across the wheatbelt.It connects businesses, shires, individuals and communities in the central and eastern wheatbelt and is slowly being rolled out to other wheatbelt shires. We hold monthly business after-hours (BAH) events in various towns to assist businesses to expand their contacts and
meet other business owners and employees. At these events people meet other people and, more than often, a problem is solved or a new relationship begins. The BAH events also provide an opportunity for self and product/service promotion literally at no cost!
The WBN has held BAHs as well as Stage Budget Luncheons for members and met with various Ministers to advocate on key issues affecting the central and eastern wheatbelt including housing availability for rural apprentices and the dry season. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA) and Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry WA (RCCIWA) also form important partners and help our members be heard.
My vision is to see the wheatbelt networked across various mediums – in person and via the digital world. To see this vision achieved, one of my goals is to continue to see the WBN taken up by more shires and, alongside this, used to develop and increase rural business to business communication and e-commerce. It will provide a matching service for projects and investors interested in our region and work with existing regional bodies such as Heartlands WA to conduct cooperative marketing campaigns across various industries to attract population, industry and promote our lifestyle. Professional business networking websites such as Linked In are so massive that it’s often hard to effectively connect with like-minded people with similar interests and backgrounds. The WBN is going back to basics to help rural businesses and organisations connect authentically and reach far more like minded people than you could reach on your own or through the World Wide Web. Networking in the wheatbelt, and indeed other WA regions, helps our communities create a sense of belonging, pride and of course it is fun!