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Getting through your first networking event

dreamscape

12-01-17

Networking is a valuable way to expand your knowledge, attain new clients and get the word out about your business. Networking gives you the opportunity to learn and exchange ideas, and possibly meet new partners and staff.

As a start-up or existing business owner operating in an ever changing business environment, we believe that networking is essential to keep up to do date with industry developments. 

Network with confidence

If you’re considering networking for the first time, don’t be nervous. Networking can be fun if you approach it in the right way.

Don’t avoid networking because you are concerned about competitors: think of them as potential frenemies not enemies and build a solid working relationship with them. You may be able to refer business to each other or perhaps you can learn from them. Do some of your competitors have a different/better business model than you?

Proceed on the basis of stronger together. There are many problems that you and your competitors can you solve together as a group, such as issues that are impossible to tackle as an individual vis-a-vis your local council, central government and HMRC etc., and joint approaches to training and industry standards. 

Use networking as the ultimate opportunity

Use networking as an opportunity to give you distance from your own business.

Are there similar issues, trends and problems in your business that the other business owners are also experiencing? Take the opportunity to discuss and share thoughts on how others have resolved their issues, it may be worthwhile implementing these ideas in to your own business. This may help you to overcome struggles you have been dealing with for a while.

It is also worthwhile giving something to get something. Pay it forward by offering training and advice so that hopefully you will receive reciprocal opportunities.

Most importantly ensure you follow up religiously after each event. Make notes of useful contacts and write down any ideas that this gives you, so that you can refer back to them when you need to, and review them before you attend next the same event. It is always worthwhile arranging 1-1 meetings with interesting people you have met, whether this be a potential partner, supplier or simply a fellow business owner. Sharing best practice, new ideas and knowledge is key to ensuring your business continues to grow and keeps up with your industry.

If you would like to discuss more tips on networking, or would like advice on growing and expanding your business, get in touch and I will be happy to chat through any concerns you have. Call 07768 611986 or alternatively send an email to simonm@businessdoctors.co.uk