Networking - An Open Road?Networking an open road

Do you go business networking?  Quite a few small businesses abstain from this form of promotion for various reasons.  It may be that they are quite well established already and feel that they don’t need to take time out of their working week to attend meetings.  It may be personal barriers around meeting new people and speaking in front of them.  Whatever the reasons for not attending it is worth reconsidering this option  – why?

Well when you see the same people each week, you naturally build relationships as a group and become a support network.  You have your own sales force because you will get referrals for your business from around the table.  You will get impromptu mentoring whenever you face a problem.  But most importantly you never know who you will meet.  The more you mix with people the more your brand will become better known and the more people will talk about you with others in their networks.

Networking is not simply about the people in the room, it is also about the networks they operate in too and it is those who you are truly reaching.

In addition, it is a proven fact that face to face interaction has a far higher conversion rate as a marketing channel than more remote media such as flyers and directories.

You only really need to attend two groups in your area to get better known amongst your local community, because if there are 12 people around the table you are indirectly promoting to hundreds of people.

Networking should be approached with an open mind.  If your motivation is simply to win business, this will come across and be counterproductive, it will be harder to gain trust.  If you go for the social aspect of mutual support, friendship and developing your knowledge you will find it a much more rewarding experience.

Initially you need to “weigh up” the groups in your area and may be relevant to your business. Groups are held weekly, fortnightly, monthly or even quarterly. They vary from very referral based to more social and supportive, take a look at the below few options for a better understanding;

Bizset – Meetings mainly in the North West and held fortnightly –

BNI (Business Network International)- Meetings nationwide & international and held weekly, groups are know as ‘Chapters’ –

BforB (Business for Breakfast) – Meetings nationwide and held fortnightly –

BOB (Business over Breakfast) – Meetings nationwide & international and held fortnightly –

For other groups, search “networking events in (your area)” on the internet.

If you are new to networking, get in touch with me I can invite you as one of my guests at the various events that I attend

Joanne 07928 228 764