Branching Out – Opening Up Your Networking Circles
Anyone that has looked into networking for their business will know just how much is out there. You could spend every day networking at a different group and still not have repeated any by the end of the month. So how do you choose which group is right for you, and make the most of your networking circles?
New Places, New Faces
Most people will tell you that networking is all about gaining new business. While that is true, it can be broken down into 2 simpler objectives; strengthening connections and meeting new people. Being a regular member of a networking group means you have the chance to develop relationships over a long period of time and these relationships can be incredibly beneficial for both parties. But you also need to be expanding your networking circle and meeting new people and that means visiting new groups.
A beginner to networking will often start by networking in the town or village they are psychically located in, which is always a great way to get started. But after a while you will find that you aren’t meeting new people anymore and this is the time to expand and branch out with your network. The easiest way to do this is to start visiting groups in neighbouring towns, moving a little further out each time until you reach your distance limit. This could be your delivery radius or just as far as you are willing to travel for clients. It’s important to branch out in your networking, not just to meet new people for your business, but also to expand your professional circle, so you can start recommending and connecting people when the need arises. The key thing to remember is that new places means new faces and that’s great for business.
Finding Your Networking Style
In the networking world there are generally 2 styles of dress that you will come across – formal and informal. The styles and approaches to networking vary between groups, so it’s important to find a style of networking that works for you. Informal networking tends to take the ‘coffee morning’ approach, providing business owners with a location to come and meet new people in a relaxed environment. There is very little structure in place, and business owners can turn up any time within the meeting, have a chat with other business owners and leave whenever they want to. These events usually take place once a month and are great for people who enjoy a ‘no pressure’, relaxed environment, but the results are often slow burn.
More formal networking events will often have a structured meeting and fixed agenda, often with weekly meetings instead of monthly. They tend to start and end with a period of informal networking, before each member gets their chance to present for a short time to everyone else in the room. The rest of the meeting gives members the chance to discuss business issues they may have been having, pass referrals to other members and exchange knowledge and deepen their connections with other members. These groups are great for developing long term connections with the same people and building trust, which ultimately leads to better business. For some these formal networking groups can be too demanding, especially if there is a heavy leaning on passing referrals.
Different membership groups have different rules on referrals – some will have a mandated minimum for you to pass during each year, while others will not demand referrals be passed between members, only encourage members to utilise and recommend other members. When trying to decide if you want to join a formal or informal networking group, the difference is really down to where you feel comfortable, and what sort of results you want to get. Low pressure membership groups like 10-12 Business Club are the perfect in-between point if you aren’t sure what you want, and a great way to meet a new circle of people. And remember, you can always visit groups before you join!
At the 10-12 Business Club we have some exciting news this month. February sees the launch of our first meeting in Ascot. This meeting will be held at The Berkshire Golf Club on Swinley Road at our usual time of 10-12am. The Ascot group builds on the success of our existing 3 groups and we are looking forward to seeing new members join and grow their businesses together. Not only that, but to celebrate this launch we are offering members and visitors the chance to bring along a friend to the event for FREE. So that’s 2 for 1 on tickets to the launch meeting in February only. To book your tickets visit our website.