Networking – this is a gathering of like minded business people looking to make new contacts, find new suppliers, to promote their business and to get more business. Networking can be done online or face to face. Networking happens all the time. Every time you sell yourself and your company, you are effectively networking. It’s about spreading the word.
Events – events covers a multitude of sins. Events can be organised by you, or attended by you. They can be golf days, speaker events, dinners, luncheons, workshops, courses etc.
Exhibitions – this is a gathering of companies who share an interest in a particular topic or market sector. It is a chance for companies to have a stand and promote themselves to potential customers, suppliers and distributors. These can be half day events or 3 days events. Presentations and mini workshops can often take place during exhibitions.
Why opt for these ways?
Networking, whether it be in person to person sense at events or online via social sites such as Twitter, is an ever growing way to find new customers, keep current customers updated and to raise awareness for your business and its products and services. Personal recommendations and word of mouth are one, if not, the biggest way people find and do business these days. It’s a very effective and powerful marketing tool. If someone is prepared to speak or write good things about you, then this speaks volumes to potential customers.
There are many many networking groups out there. There are some that focus on specific market sectors and industries, but in general, these groups attract all industries.
Some suggestions for networking are:
The Athena Network – http://www.theathenanetwork.com/welcome.htm
Chamber of Commerce – http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/find-your-local-chambers
FSB – http://www.fsb.org.uk/default.aspx?loc=general&id=0
BNI – http://www.bni-europe.com/uk/
BRX – http://www.brxnet.co.uk/
WIBN – http://www.wibn.co.uk/
Refer On – http://refer-on.com/
HWCC – http://www.hwconnections.com/
Ladies who Latte – http://www.ladieswholatte.rsitez.com/
And finally our very own online networking group – Business Women’s Cafe Forum
If you are looking for an exhibition in your area of industry, try this site – http://www.exhibitions.co.uk/ or try your local business link for specific area events. Sign up for their newsletters to be kept up to date.