So you’ve set up your business, and you spend lots of time on Facebook and Twitter promoting what you do. From time to time someone mentions “networking” to you, and you shudder at the thought, imagining all those dull people in suits with fancy brochures and perfected “elevator pitches” and sales patter.
I’ve been networking for over a year now, and I’ve rarely gone to a meeting that matched that description. I’ve experimented with a few different groups and found the ones that suited my needs.
So why do I think you should get out there to some (carefully selected) networking events?
1. You get to meet other business owners and share ideas. And if you meet them regularly they can become friends too.
2. You get to tell other people what you do and practice it until you’re confident and people really understand what you offer and to whom. Maybe they’ll know someone who is an ideal client for you. Perhaps they themselves will be your ideal client.
3. You get to chat about all sorts of topics other than business, it’s a great opportunity to meet new people.
4. You fill your contacts book with useful people like plumbers, photographers, people who can help with your tax return, mobile hairdressers. So when you need one of these, you know exactly who to call.
5. You learn a lot more about what’s going on in your local area.
Networking is about meeting new people, finding out what they do, and building relationships with other local business owners. It’s just a case of finding the groups that are right for you and your business.
What experiences have you had of networking? Do you have any tips for this first time networker?
Next week’s blog post will focus on how to decide which networking events to try, with some suggestions of groups to investigate.