"In under 18 months, my business partner and I have a membership of nearly 100 business owners and decision makers" says Laurence Grant
Laurence Grant and Robert O'Sullivan, co-founders of Shaking Hands Interactive Partnership, have combined their experience in business management, sales, marketing, publishing, and events to create Croydon's fastest-growing business partnership. We speak to Laurence to find out how they have got on over the past year and a half of starting up.
Backed by the local authorities, corporate business leaders, and the growing community of small businesses in Croydon, Shaking Hands has become the one-stop-shop for directors and decision-makers looking to collaborate across the Capital.
Having Skyped with my business partner and co-founder, Rob O'Sullivan, over 30 times in under a month, we decided that we ought to bring together as many of the small, medium and corporate voices in Croydon as possible to safeguard the interests of the South London culture and economy from "just another copy-cat town centre".
In under 18 months, my business partner and I have a membership of nearly 100 business owners and decision makers, from local to international, have hosted over 50 business events, and have reached the highest unelected position alongside the local authority to make real change happen for Croydon's burgeoning professional scene.
Keeping as busy as possible, networking as much as possible, and remaining as positive as we could were key ingredient to our initial success in the first weeks, and that momentum has never truly left us at Shaking Hands.
We're looking forward to hosting 24+ professional business events next year, introduce a B2B tender platform for our members to win and offer work, and creating a much greater technical offering through Shaking Hands with a mobile app and a website app.
That said, each and every member, client, mentor, and contact of ours has been a powerhouse of motivation for Shaking Hands, spurring us on to achieve some of our five-year targets in under two years. We really can't thank them enough.
This isn't just about money for us. It's about community, collaboration, and constructive change for Croydon and beyond.
By far the best thing you can do as a startup business is get out there, be proactive, be positive, make connections, and ask as many questions as you can to understand as much as possible about your audience, support circles, and the changing market.
To find out more about shaking hands, head over to their website. www.shakinghands.co.uk/