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Advice for small businesses

PUBLISHED: 16:16 30 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:09 07 September 2010

Susanna Wilkey A SUCCESSFUL Muswell Hill networking group to help small traders and self-employed people boost business is being rolled out in West Hampstead. In the face of the worsening recession, North London Network co-founders Dominique Meeroff and L

Susanna Wilkey

A SUCCESSFUL Muswell Hill networking group to help small traders and self-employed people boost business is being rolled out in West Hampstead.

In the face of the worsening recession, North London Network co-founders Dominique Meeroff and Liz Bygrave believe self-employment and small business is crucial in getting the economy going again.

Their group, launched two years ago and boasting 350 members, is designed to create local support systems through regular meetings and a dedicated website.

It is a low-cost organisation run by and for small business owners, freelancers and self-employed people to promote their work, increase income and build up a customer base.

Self-employed therapist Ms Meeroff said: "Two years ago, we were both looking at what was out there for small businesses to help us grow and develop.

"But everything was very expensive and we wanted something more causal and local.

"So we launched the network and suddenly we had 30 people coming to the first meeting and more and more people listed on the website.

"We help people to work together, put projects together and create a new type of business or just learn the tricks of the trade from each other.

"We have a lot of members in West Hampstead and Hampstead who say Muswell Hill is a bit far so we decided to expand to West Hampstead.

"We have a whole range of professions of people who join - from music teachers, small shopkeepers, therapists, web designers and consultants, yoga teachers, restaurant owners and people who make things such as jewellery and clothing.

"Self-employment is now going to be crucial in getting the economy going and that is why

we are so important in the

community."

Traders who join get a free listing on the network's website and pay £5 for each meeting they attend. There are often coaching talks at the meetings to teach people the skills of self-employment and how to be successful.

"People find they can work together and develop relationships at the meetings and, from it, learn that they can change aspects of their business," Ms Meeroff added.

"They are learning stuff from each other and recommending each other and getting to know other people and businesses in the local community which is great.

"Ideas can really take off and people can bring their products and leaflets to the meeting and generate income.

"The group is very fruitful for businesses and we really feel we are filling a role in the community. We are now branching out to West Hampstead and we urge local businesses to join."

The launch of the West Hampstead branch is on June 2 at 12.30pm at the Ceylon Tea Room, Elephant Walk, 98 West End Lane.

There will be free exotic teas from around the world, Indian snacks and raw chocolate treats. Monthly meetings will then take place in West Hampstead on the first Tuesday of the month.

For more information, visit www.northlondonnetwork.com.


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