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East Midlands Chamber News

Online business community celebrates first anniversary

An online community, set up to help business owners in the East Midlands to connect and support one another through the challenges of lockdown, is celebrating its first birthday.

Communicate with Purpose is the brainchild of High Peak communications consultant, Lucy Rennie. It was set up as a supportive space where business owners across the county can share ideas and lessons learned with other small business owners and managers.

Since its inception in March last year at the beginning of lockdown, the community has grown from an early membership of 20 to some 130 business owners, with that figure rising each week and now attracting members from across the UK. As well as providing members with the opportunity to collaborate with others in the group, it opens doors to other areas of the UK that weren't previously on members’ radars.

Lucy Rennie, director of communications and marketing consultancy LR Comms, said: “When I started my business six years ago, I always had in mind that one day I would build an online space, a community platform, to help small business owners in all things communications and marketing.

"With access to easy to use and expert resources, advice and support and creating a safe space for people to share in the ups and downs of the rollercoaster ride that is the life of a small business owner. Covid-19 certainly accelerated those plans.

“We attract very different members to the group – from bookkeepers to bakers, potters to photographers, and swimming coaches to software developers. While the products, services, audiences and journeys of each may be entirely unique, the common thread that binds us is that we are all committed to building businesses that are aligned with our personal values, and for the long term.

“I’m delighted that the group continues to go from strength to strength. Every Thursday evening, we host a virtual coaching session on a topic of value to small business owners delivered either by me or by a guest speaker.

"Of course, we have a hard core of 20 or so members who attend each week, but the number of ‘active’ members in the group – in other words, those who might simply tune in to the recordings at a later date – is closer to 100.”

Members of the community also have access to a range of resources including stakeholder mapping tools, a social media calendar and content planning templates.