Robert Gibson – Dovedale Design

Setting out on a new path, building web sites from my home office, was initially rather a solitary affair. How could I get out and meet new people, potential clients, start to build a local network? This is probably an experience familiar to others who have previously worked within large organisations. My own experience was largely within major financial institutions.

Having joined BBF, I attended one of their networking breakfasts and was introduced to Chiltern Chamber’s Chair and Vice-Chair, Vee and Andy.

Vee was on the lookout for someone with web skills, as the Chamber’s web site was broken! Having fixed the immediate problem, I was asked to build the present web site. This was an opportunity to showcase my skills, and over time to contribute other skills and experience from my earlier career.

Membership of the Chamber has benefited me and Dovedale Design in numerous ways:

  • It gives me regular opportunities to get out of my office, meet people and build a local network.
  • Business leads have come to Dovedale Design from within the Chamber membership base, and from its extended contact base.
  • I was asked to present at a monthly networking meeting. From this arose the opportunity to tender for Amersham Town Council’s web site, which we launched in July 2015. This would never have happened without our membership of the Chamber.
  • Being a Committee Member gives me considerable insight into what’s going on around the area.
  • Twice, I have been able to find some specific pro-bono help for Tanzania Development Trust, of which I am a Trustee.
  • When moving house, we called on several Chamber members for services, including movers Clarks of Amersham, and Summerlings, who laid floors in our new home.

I was fortunate that the opportunity to help with the web site arose by sitting next to Vee at a BBF meeting! I would simply add the obvious point that an organisation such as Chiltern Chamber will deliver more to those who engage proactively with it, whether by attending networking meetings, putting yourself forward to present at one of those meetings, or by volunteering.