With Saturday (7th April) marking two years since the official launch of The Samphire Club, I’d like to say a great big thank you to everyone who’s been a part of our story so far.
I’d also like to say how much we’re looking forward to this coming year as we continue to grow the club, extend our offering and attune ourselves more closely to being the sort of organisation members want to see and need to have, working for them.
As we go into year three, we’ve evolved our purpose while staying true to our core values of creating a better environment for the development of fruitful business relationships. In terms of purpose, it was an article in The Sunday Times a few weeks back (“Who Speaks for Business?” Tommy Stubbington) examining how the influence, relevance and authority of big business groups such as the IoD and CBI had been eroded over recent years which helped me define how The Samphire Club has been evolving.
Our Club sits at the intersection of being small-scale and intimate – a community of shared values across the South West – while offering access to a variety of organisations and individuals with a wider strategic reach and influence. As a result many of our members have been able to scale their businesses and extend their operations through coming together as Samphire Club members.
While it’s never been the transactional, “pay your subs and you’re on your own – it’s what you make of it,” the past year has seen us incorporate regular consultancy sessions into all our membership levels. This recognises that every member, whether they’re a company or an individual, new to networking or seasoned practitioners, will have different goals and aspirations. From a personal point of view this has been a very gratifying facet of my work. As I’ve got to know each and every member better, my facility for (as one member put it) “business matchmaking” – putting together companies and individuals that need and are the perfect fit for each other – has really taken off. It’s also helping make the Club a useful resource that delivers that magic ingredient – a place where professional expertise meets individual interest and passion – something that sees collaborations and business relationships that are particularly enjoyable and productive.
In terms of personal learnings from year two, I’ve realised the value in taking adequate time for reflection. This hasn’t come easy to me as I’ve always preferred to be out in the field and in on the action. But action, critical though it is to success, has to be guided.
An important element of that reflection has focused on my having the courage to be honest with myself and really listen and pay close attention to feedback. All too often, as the saying goes, we listen purely with the intent to reply rather than to understand. Listening and understanding what it is that members need, has driven some of the Club’s most recent developments – the sector specific approach which saw the establishment of the Samphire Property Group and the growing demand for consultancy and support alongside our ever-popular roster of events.
Plans for some exciting new developments over the coming year are well under way and include establishing the Samphire Dining Club, more Samphire Masterclasses and, also in the spirit of listening and learning, developing regional focus groups to help ensure that the Club is moving in the right direction. We’ll be continuing our support for our designated charities, St Petroc’s Society and the National Lobster Hatchery, and of course making sure that everyone – member, guest or prospective member – has as much fun as it’s possible to have, while networking.
If you’re interested in joining us, please get in touch with me, John Harvey, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!