The Introbiz business network operates across the UK via a franchise model, however the Swansea and West Wales branch is setting new standards for success after a particularly successful year despite the challenges of a global pandemic.
The Swansea and West Wales Introbiz network is run by serial entrepreneur, business coach and bestselling author, Bernie Davies, and her husband, Mark Davies who is the network’s Head of Commercial and Tedx Swansea Curator.
Under their leadership, the network has gone from strength to strength.
Bernie explains how the network has thrived throughout the pandemic using a unique blend of collaboration, support, mentoring and unity with other local organisations:
“Like everyone else, when the pandemic hit, our members faced an uncertain future – at first nobody knew how the virus would impact member businesses, who all operate in different sectors.
“The one thing we knew for certain is that our member businesses are committed to the region and our entrepreneurs are used to working in a culture of collaboration and support, with members regularly referring business to each other, sharing knowledge and advice.
“As a network. we agreed that we would get through this time by doing what we do best – learning together, sharing best practice and continuing the good work we were already doing as a positive force in the region – and Bernie has put her business coaching and mentoring skills to good effect, being available for members with one-on-one advice and support as needed. It’s proved a formidable combination.”
The group normally meets in person, but they quickly agreed that this would need to switch to an online model to operate in pandemic conditions. This proved highly successful for the network in more ways than one, as members were able to invite new members to the now-free online meetings. Bernie said:
“Introbiz is a paid networking service, however the membership fees are minimal compared to the new business our members receive through the service. Members have always been able to invite non-members, but the new online model meant there was no charge to attend events and no time out of the office, so we attracted more delegates than ever before – increasing the connections our members were able to make. In fact, we even attracted new paid members to our network while some other networks were struggling.”
“The other advantage of holding meetings online is that we were no longer limited by our geography and were able to attract world-class speakers, Alison Edgar MBE and Australian Business Leader Ela Staniak Leaupepe, who would not have normally had time to travel to the region. They were delighted to be able to share their advice, experiences and expertise with our members online – and now they know about us, they will return!”
As Wales continues to exit lockdown gradually, businesses now face new challenges of operating in a new environment with rules that could change fast and possibly intermittent restrictions, but Bernie believes that the region will continue to thrive as a business hub thanks to the pandemic success.
“Swansea and West Wales is now firmly on the map as a hub for business excellence, and that can only be good for the future.
“We have seen member businesses grow, have grown our membership and more importantly, we have continued to put Swansea and West Wales on the map as a place to do business in one of the most disruptive periods in history. Going forwards, onwards and upwards, there is no limit – and best of all, we’ll be doing it ethically, supportively and collaboratively. You can’t ask for more than that!”