Is there such a thing as free networking?

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Is there such a thing as free networking?

I often hear people saying that they will only use free networking rather than a paid membership group as they feel it is better value! Which I totally understand when you are a new start business and funds are limited. However, I have to  say that once you factor in your time, your expense to get there and possibly parking costs, you have to admit that it’s not free.

Ascot Networking for womenAs a small business owner and a start up your time is the most precious thing that you own!  Trying to manage it effectively to produce your work and create sales leads can often be more like a juggling act.  In all of the networking events that I tend, when I speak to people about where their customers come from, the majority will say word of mouth.

Which is great as that’s free advertising? Well Yes and No as you need to first get yourself out there to get that referral in the first place. If you don’t network either online or in person, then no-one will know who you are or what you do.

Free Networking v Paid Networking

So it then comes down to Free networking versus paid networking which can be online or in person. So is Free Networking actually free? Possibly no as free networking takes time out of your day and often with free networking the organisers wont know how many people are going to turn up. After all its free so there is no cancellation fee if someone decides to no longer attend.

House 28 Sherfield On Loddon NetworkingThere is often some hidden cost in “Free Networking” as you have to get there in the first place. If it’s not walking distance then you will need to drive or take public transport so that’s the first hidden cost to you. Once there the event normally will be for a duration of at least 2 hours so your going to want to have a drink of something. Most events that I have gone to have water available so you could save on the cost of a coffee and just drink water, but you will more than likely buy a drink of some kind, be it tea or coffee. Add to this your time out of the office and you can see how Free networking is not actually free.

Of course a paid membership has all those costs too but what more does it offer you? For me it is always about the relationships that you build when networking with the same group, it takes time to get to know people and to find out their strengths and establish who you can recommend to use their services. In return people will get to know you better, your strengths and skills so that they can recommend you and your business.

Paid Networking with Structure

At the 10-12 Business Club, we know that our members and visitors time is precious so we have designed a structured networking event of 2 hours that ensures it is all about business.

We start with 20 minutes of open networking where you can meet new visitors to the group, chat to regular members and build relationships. We then have the opportunity to share your business details with all of the group both in a 40 second pitch and printed materials such as business cards or flyers.

Our business section includes an informative presentation by a member or visitor followed by a Business breakout session on a business topic for that month. The 10-12 Business club have covered many topics from finance, to finding more customers or planning social media campaigns.

The highlight of the meeting ends with 3 x 1-2-1’s which gives you lots of opportunity to get your business in front of everyone at the meeting and possibly talk to most of the people at the meeting.

Is Free Networking worth it?

I have never found with free networking that you have time to build relationships as some people attending these events use it as a business card collecting event.  Some people don’t even want to listen to what you have to say and are more than happy to tell you all about them, even when it is obvious that you have no synergy with each other. However they still want to collect your business card and add you to their mailing list or LinkedIn contacts!

One video that highlights the possible downsides of networking your business is this one which I am happy to say I have never met anyone quite as bad as this man. One thing I can guarantee you as a 10-12 Business Club member, you wont meet him at a meeting, as we don’t allow men! Now there’s one reason as a women business owner to try the 10-12 Business Club


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harleyford golf club network meeting

New Venue for Marlow

After 18 months at The Danesfield House hotel, the 10-12 Business Club are moving to Harleyford Golf CLub, only a few miles closer to Marlow.  Host Karen Livingstone said “we have been holding our meetings at the Danesfield House Hotel for nearly two years and felt that now was the right time to move to a new venue. The Harleyford Golf club is passionate about local business owners and the location is just perfect by the river. We are particularly looking forward to the home baked goodies that will be served with our teas and coffees.

If you haven’t tried the 10-12 Business Club then come along to this launch meeting and bring a friend for free. Just book online as a visitor and bring a friend for free.


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networking meetings berkshire

Business Networking

How to Join 10-12 Business Club

Business networking is an expanding market for new start up businesses and local entrepreneurs. To the corporate employee they may wonder why business people would commit to such an activity but there are more benefits to the business owner than downsides.
Here are just a few reasons to consider networking;

  • It is a great way to find new clients.
  • Build relationships with like-minded individuals.
  • Learn from the success stories of others.
  • Spread the word about your own business.
  • Opportunities of joint ventures, speaking and writing etc.
  • Generate leads, referrals for your business and increased sales.
  • Find local suppliers for services or products you offer.
  • Share business problems to find solutions.
  • Feel part of a team
  • Raise your profile

Founders of 10-12 Business Club To help business owners experience networking, these events are held at various times of the day and in various formats. From early morning breakfasts to late evening drinks, structured boardroom style meetings to open networking over a coffee, the choice is endless.If you are considering networking for your business search out some of the local organisations offering this service and try one of each. Some events are free of charge and can be very busy but often the smaller paid membership groups are the ones you gain the most benefit from and build better relationships and ultimately receive referrals for business.

The 10-12 Business Club offers networking for Men and women in the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire area.