on 04-09-2017 02:49 PM
Ok hands up, how many of you attend any local networking events?
Now I know you’re busy growing your business, but you never know who you’re going to meet.
It may seem like ‘2 hours that you could spend planning world domination’, but believe me, you might be pleasantly surprised.
So I’m not saying your going to necessarily meet your next big contract at your local networking event, but the people you meet there may well be in contact with your next big client. They may have a friend who works in the industry they may have an email address of someone they recommend you speak to.
If you go to the event and the network of people isn’t right for your business, you don’t have to return, but don’t let that put you off either. Try a few different events and see the kind of people you get to meet.
There are plenty of like minded business people in your area who are interested in growing their network of contacts. We have met some amazing people – We found a much better quality printing firm, we managed to secure some great business premises and also were given the names for some great contacts for some businesses we are wishing to target.
We have also been asked to speak at business events, networking events, executive dinners, College’s and Universities. This has been great for not only building our brand, but also our personal profiles as well.
To find out about your local events, check with your local Chamber of Commerce or check Google for your local meetings.
on 05-09-2017 11:22 PM
How many networking event did you attend before your business took off (Also, well done for getting your business off the ground, keep it up)?
on 06-09-2017 07:32 AM
I think you hit the nail on the head, however I would offer a little caution.
For our business we have looked at & attended many different network events over the past couple of weeks. We have had many breakfasts, some good and some bad but for the most part the events are all very similar.
There is BNI (Business Network International), BOB (Business over Breakfast), Active Business Network, 4N... I could go on.
The caution I offer is take a look at what the network does, who are the members (most have a member list) and decide is this actually for me and my business. Take it from someone that has heard close to 200 'Hi my name is.. from so and so company.. give me your wallet' pitches, you need to know if you will benefit from the event, because you can be rest assured that those sort of networking groups will definitely benefit from your cash. If you are in the health food business such a networking group may not be for you.
Our product works for all appointment based small businesses, so trying to promote that to a group of 12 is not a great use of our time. However, we are members of our local Chamber of Commerce and have attended a few of their events. These have not only been useful but educational - we got something out of them and are now giving back. Plus they run free events for non-members.
As I have said on a number of my replies, do your homework before deciding where to splash out your cash. Are you going to see a return on your investment, will you benefit before committing. By all means go have a slightly expensive breakfast & gauge the audience but be selfish, you are there for your business first.
on 04-10-2017 08:44 PM
I attended my first ever breakfast networking group back in April 2016. It was like my old City job days, getting up at an unearthly hour, the only difference was that I got to have a dodgy greasy full English and stand up in front of a room full of strangers and speak for 60 seconds about a business that I hadnt launched yet!
But.... it was worth it. I met the fundraising manager for a local hospice that was local for businesses to perticipate in thier £50 Challenge.
Businesses were given a crisp new £50 note and challenged to turn it into as much money as possible over a 3 month period by coming up with innovative fundraising ideas.
Some 50+ businesses signed up to the challenge that year, the fundraising manager accepted my offer to join the challenge, but on hearing that my website was still in beta mode, and that I was still on the look out for premises with 8 weeks to launch asked me that could she at least have the £50 back at the end of the challenge if all else failed.
To cut a long story short, with just 3 weeks of the challenge to go and zero money raised, I hit on an innovative way to complete the challenge. I offered other local businesses to 'sponsor' an ad space on my van where their logo would be displayed in return for a £50 donation to the charity. I manged to get 74 businesses to sponsor a space and we were crowned top fundraisers for that event which saw us raise in excess of £4000 and some great new connections and fab PR in local press.
The challenge was run again this year and I set myself a goal of 100 businesses which we reached and ended up with 104 businesses raising in excess of £6000 and again being awarded the top fundraiser prize. So yes you never know what may come of a networking meeting and who you may meet!
on 12-10-2017 02:00 AM
Totally agree, engaging with people is the critical key factor in building business relationships. You never know where your next opportunity will come from.
One overiding factor though is that not everyone is comfortable networking effectivly. My overiding tip, be confident and just talk, its that simple, oh and of course don't talk about yourself all the time, take the time to ask about them and of course get their business card, its the most valuable item you can get ( especialy if they are in a senior or influential.position).