In Part One, I mentioned a mini networking meeting last Wednesday, held at the Lets Go! Business Hub, in which the subject matter was networking. Well, the Let’s Go! Business Hub at Enterprise Enfield will be launching a new network called Link 4 Growth on the 27th of November 2015. Speak to them for more information regarding this.
So although we can network or socialise and make casual connections with people through everyday encounters, organised networks can range in style and price. Some are informal in their set up and others almost military. Prices for their upfront fee and weekly/monthly subscriptions also vary from network to network.
It really is a case of doing your research and finding the one that is right for you and your business.
The two local networks that Comas of Sylvaoak Apps mentioned as having experience of were More Business Network and WeNetwork.
For WeNetwork run by MelTadhunter, their meetings cost £10 to attend, if you are a member, and £15 for non-members. The price includes refreshments. They meet on the first Wednesday of each month from 6.15pm to 8.30pm at Enfield Business Centre.
More Business Network (MBN), again organised by the founder Mel Tadhunter, see
www.morebusinessnetwork.co.uk. They meet every other Thursday from 9.30am to 11.30am at Millfield House, in Edmonton, London.
For more information about these and other local networks, see, www.enterpriseenfield.org.
So what are the advantages of networking?
According to amazingbusiness.com in the article, The top-9-benefits-of-business-networking are:
- Generation of referrals/increased business
- Raising your profile
- Positive Influence
- Increased confidence
- Satisfaction from helping others
Also according to http://www.michaelpage.com, in an article called benefits-networking, the advantages are:
- Fresh Ideas
- Strengthening Relationships
- Raised Profile
- Access To Opportunities
- New Information
- Advice and Support
For more details, see the respective websites.
So what are the disadvantages of networking?
Now, a search on the internet shows that there many articles concerning advantages of networking and even a video professing to highlight advantages and disadvantages can only come up with ‘stigma’ as a disadvantage.
Abandoning my search on the internet for any negatives, I can suggest one important factor which I believe may hold back a small or start-up business, and that is the cost.
As UK Business Forum states, it is difficult to get a clear idea about the true cost of networking, so as I said earlier, you have to do some more research for yourself. For a general idea I have included the following links:
http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk › … › General Business Forum – answering questions mainly about BNI (Business Network International).
www.cobaltaccountancy.co.uk/a-second-headline – a personal example from 2011.
The word net means something used to catch, so I guess in this respect (networking works) hence, net-works! If you want to be in a community where you feel that you are held/supported then maybe it is a worthwhile investment.
If you are unable to be part of an organised network, due to financial constraints, then continue to try to meet people the organic way through face to face encounters, talking to those around you, attending one- off networking events at places like the British Library/Business Shows and through online networks.
How you network is really up to you and you should not be forced to make a decision that you are not comfortable with. Whatever you do, make sure that you ask lots of questions before you sign up to an organised network and, of course, continue to do that all important -research!
Take care and best wishes in your endeavours,