I have long believed that effective networking is key to business success. This is particularly so for business to business services. However, it is always difficult to decide which of the numerous networking groups are best for your particular business. It is very easy to waste time and money doing lots of ineffective networking – by ineffective I mean networking which does not result in building ‘real’ business relationships.
I believe that successful networking is less about the format and the networking organisation and more about the individuals in the group. Are they the type of people who are moving in the same markets as you? Are they talking to the people you want to talk to? Can you see yourself building great referral relationships with them? If the answer is yes to any or all of these questions the chances are you have found a netwoking group which may well work for you.
Recently, I drew the short straw and now find myself organising the year’s programme for the Mendip Business Women’s Forum. We have meetings on a monthly basis at which speakers are invited to cover topics of interest to the group. Subjects range from NLP, to your relationship with your business, to building business relationships, and succession planning. If you would like more details please go to www.mendipbusinesswomen.co.uk.
Another networking organisation I have become involved with is NRG. They have groups all around the Bristol area and a key benefit is that once you are a member you can go to as many lunches as you like. NRG is about building a great referral business and for me is an ideal platform from which to extend my strategic introducer base. More details about NRG groups can be found on www.nrg-networks.com.
I would like to sign off by saying that it does not matter how many people you meet during your networking – what matters is how many of them follow up and build a mutually productive relationship with.