Bartercard member and networking queen Terri Cooper runs a successful networking event business in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, organising high profile business speakers and planning every aspect of the regular business breakfasts and luncheons hosted by her company, Terri Cooper Networking. Locally, she’s referred to as the ‘Networking Queen’. Yet a little over a decade ago, Terri was so nervous about networking that sometimes after arriving at events she couldn’t face entering and would drive home instead.
We spoke to Terri to find out how she went from daunted to daring and how being a Bartercard member assisted her to establish and grow her business.
Q: What led to you establishing a networking business when you personally found networking so very difficult?
A: In 2001, I was working in the entertainment industry and was also involved in a small chamber of commerce committee. My role in the chamber was to organise speakers for the events. I wanted to start a business and I think my love of helping people with their businesses eventually outweighed my fear of networking. I was experienced in organising event speakers, so I was more confident with that aspect.
Q: How did you go about establishing Terri Cooper Networking?
A: It was a very difficult start up. I kept my regular job for about a year but even so, the first two years were tremendously difficult. Financially Bartercard was a saviour in those early years. There were many things
I wouldn’t have been able to afford without it – simple things like computer and car repairs, and having my hair cut. It really took the pressure off. I was also able to have flyers printed to advertise my events.
||Q: Do you use Bartercard the same way now as you did back then?
A: I still use if for those things mentioned, but also for much more now that the business
is more established. I spend trade dollars on bookkeeping and accounting services, printing, car servicing, banners, advertising, and sometimes for accommodation
for guest speakers that I’ve booked.
Q: So how does your business earn trade dollars?
A: Two ways. We offer tickets to Bartercard members. There’s also an opportunity for members to sponsor an event with trade dollars. Event sponsors have an excellent opportunity to build personal and brand recognition. They have five minutes in
the spotlight, addressing the audience. They can have banners and signage at the event, and their brochures on display tables. There’s also an opportunity to provide a door prize. Attending and/or sponsoring networking events is a great way for Bartercard members to expose their business to potential cash clients.
Q: How many people attend your events?
A: It varies from event to event however it’s generally 70-100. The event that centred on the Facebook and LinkedIn speakers was our biggest turnout with about 190 guests.
Q: If you could give Bartercard members a single tip on how to best use their Bartercard what would that be?
A: Use it to conserve cash. Be mindful of what you’re spending your trade dollars on. Don’t spend it just because you have it, make it count. It’s a great tool for business if used wisely.
For information on Terri Cooper and upcoming events in Queensland, visit www.terricooper.com.au.