Networking can be paramount to your business success and is a powerful marketing tactic. Networking is all about making connections and "building" relationships with people. Here, building is the key word.
It's not a quick fix and definitely won't happen overnight. You will need to invest time and effort into making networking "work" for your business. "Consistency" is important and flitting randomly from meeting to meeting rarely brings results.
If you are new to networking it's initially fine to try out a few different meetings to see what might work for you. You will find that you are attracted to groups where you feel comfortable and welcome and you feel connected to the people in the group.
The Benefits of Networking
• Establish Business Contacts
• Create a Referral Network
• Develop Knowledge Resources
• Accelerate Your Business Development
• Create Friendships
• Obtain Help and Assistance
• Create Opportunities
• Has a Positive Influence on You
When, Where and Prices
Networking happens on every day of the week, at every time of day and at locations near to you. It varies in price with some groups requiring a membership fee alongside a cost for the meeting. With others you "pay as you go", perhaps for a breakfast, lunch or just a coffee.
Although prices can vary from well over a £1,000 per annum to just a few pounds, the networking clubs that do require a joining fee will normally let you "try before you buy". Quite often they will also have a "lock out" which means there can only be a single representative from a particular area of business, for example one solicitor, photographer, accountant and copywriter.
You could argue that the more you pay, the more valuable it is and the more you would get out of it and a meeting that only costs the price of a coffee certainly couldn't bring results. However, It's not about what you pay, it's about what you personally get out of it.
Once you have decided on a particular event or events, stick to them and go along regularly. If they meet once or twice a month or every week, put the dates in your diary and make the time to attend. Don't expect new business to come flooding in after the first meeting! It takes time to establish trust.
Rome wasn't built in a day!
On a personal level, I'm a firm believer in the power of networking and after several years of going along to many meetings, I have decided to take the plunge and co-host my own monthly meetings. This doesn't mean I will stop going to other networking meetings, this will just be an addition where I feel I can help others get the most out of their networking.
Networking in Hailsham, East Sussex
Hailsham Ladies Who Latte in East Sussex will be meeting on the second Tuesday of each month at The Boship Hotel. Events run from 10am until midday and the cost is just the price of a tea or coffee. The event was the inspiration of Jane Mather, a leading Make-Up Artist and Style Consultant and I'm delighted to be involved to give a helping hand and support.