Networks introduce people to your business, enable you to learn about other businesses, help to find new customers, and build fruitful relationships. Networking works best when the network itself consists of high-quality, highly-influential and supportive components.
At The Icehouse, we see it daily through our programmes and often on a very human level.
“Take the Owner Manager Programme (OMP) for example,” says Bryar Stewart, Community Manager (Growth) at The Icehouse. “You’re with people who understand you, even if they’re in a different industry, who are going through exactly the same highs and lows and challenges. On programme, these connections come naturally and they run deep.
“Their bonds grow fast because, while they learn so much practically from the OMP experience – facilitators, coaches, and so on, they develop a social connection at the end of each day. Trust and vulnerability creates a safe place, and OMP becomes a safe community for owners and leaders which builds and prospers as the months and years go on. I hear it all the time… alumni become friends for life, provide advice and support and this leads to business opportunities for their fellow cohorts, and so much more.”
On programme, your network comes ready-made. That’s what happens at The Icehouse – through getting to know your cohort, guest speakers, coaches, facilitators, Icehouse partners, the wider Icehouse community and The Icehouse team.
“It was comforting to be with a group of people all experiencing the same thing. We shared our challenges, how we were feeling, and what we needed to focus on. I can't imagine having coped with the situation without that support, perspective and reassurance,” says Sarah Laurence, OMP alumni and General Manager at DCPower.
“The people I met on OMP 43 are all still very close friends and we communicate with each other and catch up regularly. It’s another family. Anytime you feel like you need a pick-me-up there’s someone in my cohort or at The Icehouse to help you get back on track,” says Stephanie Fry, co-founder of IdealCup.
The Icehouse network effect is multitudinous and far-reaching. The magic can be anything from being on the other end of a text or call, to acting as a sounding board, getting together to invest, or appointing an Icehouse coach or facilitator to join your advisory board.
The network can even save the day in unlikely but practical and vital ways. “[I had] my youngest son with me, who was nine months old when I started the OMP residential blocks, which has been really awesome and I use Rockmybaby, another Icehouse alumni, to organise babysitters!” says Trudi Duncan, Managing Director at Gyro Plastics.
“It helped me connect to great people in accounting, IT and new business development, and a fabulous network who show care and support with lots of sharing of ideas and experiences. It was great having my eyes opened to the advantages of engaging a business accountant, so now we work with Frank Accounting (tenants at The Icehouse’s coworking space in Auckland),” says Carol Boustead Gibb, Managing Director at CBG Research.
“One of the great things about OMP is that unexpected things can happen when you do an Icehouse programme. A few of us cohorts – thanks to the smarter folk in OMP 46 – have started an investment fund. It’s going to be exciting to see what that leads to. That wouldn’t have happened without OMP,” says Ed Hemming, co-owner and co-founder of Volare Bread Ltd,
The Icehouse network tends to follow three paths:
On programme – Being in a room with like-minded people is invaluable and quickly forges unique bonds
After programme – Using your new-found network to get further help and make new connections through the network
Later in the journey – Getting to know yet more of the alumni and their personal networks through Icehouse community initiatives and events, Icehouse Central, podcasts and Kiwi Business Stories and further programme participation
Or you can tick off a few of those advantages in one hit, when Icehouse partners, facilitators, and alumni align over a short time.
“I heard of The Icehouse through BNZ (an Icehouse partner). I was talking about doing a sales skills course, because I did not know how to do that sort of stuff,” says Mark Le Grove, owner of Collision Connect.
“I went to one of the sales programmes. Derek Young (facilitator) took the course, the guy who was sitting next to me had just finished his OMP. I asked about it and he said it was the best thing he had ever done. Now it is the best thing I have ever done.”
“Nothing is better than seeing a room filled with alumni chatting and laughing and introducing non-alumni, partners and connections to The Icehouse network.
“They’re doing business together and doing life together, helping to share our message, but also sharing the ultimate message with owners and leaders of how important it is to stay connected and have a support network at hand,” says Bryar.
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