When I decided to set up my business there was so much to learn and to do. I received lots of good advice and one suggestion was to attend networking events to get my company out there and to start generating interest and leads.
Networking is the interactive part of your business and career success. It is a great way to promote yourself and your services, receive advice and support from other businesses and build business relationships.
There are networks that are very informal and take on more of a social event through to ones that are very structured with agendas. It is all about finding the right network that works for you.
I do find networking difficult on occasions and don’t always feel comfortable entering and speaking to a roomful of strangers but the confidence is growing.
My networking tips that I have learnt from attending a network group:
- Get to the event early – it is easier to meet and welcome others when they arrive
- Take your business cards
- Plan your elevator pitch – make notes beforehand and practice
- Ask questions and listen
- Smile – even if you don’t feel confident
- Try not to panic – remember that others have been and are in the same situation as you
Check out what network groups are in your local area and remember to look at the costs as some are free and others have a membership fee.
I have been regularly attending the Thurrock Network Group for a few months now. This is a free network group which meets once a month. There are a great number of regulars who are very welcoming and supportive to new businesses joining. The success of the group is shown with over 20 businesses attending each month.