Seize The Day

14 July 2009, 13:10 pm
Speciality Bites by Paul Hargreaves

Following a day trip to Henley Regatta, Paul Hargreaves talks networking

We’ve just finished celebrating out ten year anniversary, so I’m writing this blog in a slight alcoholic haze.

Having reached such a milestone, we celebrated at Henley Regatta together with around 30 of our top customers. It was a fantastic day, roasting hot and most of them had never been to the Regatta before, so it was a real treat. We had farm shops, delicatessens, garden centres and food halls represented and we even watched the odd boat race alongside the Cotswold Fayre magician.

One thing to come out of the day was the valuable opportunity that these business owners and managers had to network with others in similar lines of business. One actually asked us to arrange a similar event every year, which next time they would be happy to pay for, and call it the “Cotswold Fayre Networking Event.” Now that comment may have been induced by too many glasses of Pimm’s, but it was very clear that not enough of this kind of opportunity is present in the speciality food world. We all tend to be so busy, working all hours, dealing with crises, etc… Sure, we attend trade events such as food shows where they are others there, but don’t really have the opportunity to pick each other’s brains about current issues.

It really is essential to steal ideas off others, and even learn from their experience of getting it wrong, before we try something similar in our businesses. That is one of the main motivations of my writing this blog every week. I am desperate for the success of the independent food halls, farm shops and delicatessens in the UK. I am even more desperate to stop the onward march to world domination of Tesco and Asda. It is all too easy to get stuck in the mundane tasks of the day to day without getting our periscopes up and looking out to the future to adapt our business to the very rapidly changing communities around us.

Come out and talk to your peers!

To read more of Paul’s blogs, visit

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