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How Business Owners Can Shake the Summer Doldrums

How Business Owners Can Shake the Summer DoldrumFeeling stuck this summer?

If business is slow, there are two things you can do about it: Sit and stew or get out and learn more about how to grow. If the latter interests you, consider the many free and cheap opportunities to break out of your rut and brainstorm with other business owners coming this summer and into the fall.

Look around for a local summer networking event taking place in your town -- and if nothing of note is planned, you can always invent your own event. That's what BarCamp is all about.

Founded in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2005, BarCamp is a free, ad-hoc unconference shaped by the participants. BarCamp is a global movement, and anyone is free to participate.

If there isn't a BarCamp planned for your area, just find a venue and invite local business owners. All you do is create your own schedule, choose your topics and make it as long or short as you like.

Some BarCamps pull in all different types of businesses such as the upcoming BarCamp planned for Grand Rapids, Mich., on August 19th and 20th.

Other BarCamps focus on a specific industry or business type. For instance, HealthCamp SFBay in San Leandro, Calif., will bring healthcare-industry business owners together in September. Other BarCamps in the past year have focused on freelancers, the mobile industry, Linux, social innovation and cloud computing.

If you're just trying to get your business off the ground, there's the day-long ManUp Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, which promises you can "come with a dream, leave with a game plan." The next bootcamp takes place in Tulsa, Okla., Sept. 10, with additional camps in the planning for Oklahoma City, Dallas and Denver. Tickets are $97.

Where will you network this summer? Leave a comment and tell us where you're finding inspiration and new ideas.

Carol Tice, a freelance writer, is chief executive of TiceWrites Inc. in Bainbridge Island, Wash. She blogs about freelance writing at Make a Living Writing. Email her at carol@caroltice.com.

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