You would think that as an IT geek when I say ‘networking’ I’m talking about connecting computers up. However, I’m not that much of a geek and I speak proper business language so ‘networking’ means a method of helping my business to grow.
For decades people have complained about ‘The Old Boys Clubs’ where people who went to the same school help each other with introductions and connections, but that’s just a form of networking. It’s mostly people outside those groups who complain. Today’s business people have got wise and introduced their own ‘Clubs’ where people help each other with introductions and connections.
If you’ve never been to a networking event you must have been locked in the office for years! There are many options to choose from including:
- Organisations with an international membership, but a local focus where only one of any type of business can join to ensure exclusivity. These are usually subject to an annual membership fee and have a structured meeting.
- National groups where membership allows you to attend any of their groups, with no exclusivity. Again there is a membership fee, either monthly or annually and, mostly, a structure for the meetings.
- Independent groups, some with membership and some with no commitment required that vary in structure and attendance criteria.
- Informal networking at groups such as Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses and the various associations and institutes local branch meetings.
Which will work best for you? Only you can decide that – go along as a guest to a few different types of group and see how you get on. I find them an excellent way of connecting with people who will recommend my skills to others – and, regardless of the size of your business, I expect you will too.