We’re very excited this week as we’re attending The HD8 Business Show and delivering a small seminar exploring solutions that enable small businesses to operate in a location independent capacity. I’ll also be discussing how to easily pass on the knowledge business owners have stored in their busy brains to others in their team so they can delegate more and dedicate more focus to leading.
I’m looking forward to it but do you know why? Yes, I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to open business owners’ eyes to a different way of running their SME to allow them to be more flexible and mobile, but I’m also looking forward to the networking side of The HD8 Business Show.
I can’t wait to catch up with people, be inspired by like-minded business owners, learn from other people’s experiences, console them in their set-backs and celebrate their recent business successes. I can’t wait to touch-base with existing and old clients if they’re attending. I can’t wait to nurture and develop the relationships I’ve built and to forge new ones.
If you’re an avid networker already you’ll know what I mean. Think about it: how many times has a contact sparked a great idea while you were chatting away? How often is networking the source of new business or leads for you?
Networking is invaluable. As much as we have mobile phones and emails to connect us, there’s nothing quite the same as face-to-face interaction. Why?
#1 Networking keeps you at the forefront of people’s minds. Meeting someone face-to-face is a physical and visual experience. Merely seeing someone’s email address on a screen isn’t as real. If people see you regularly enough (and you’re likable!) you become memorable- and so do the services and skills you offer. This means people are more likely to think of you when there’s an opportunity to recommend your business to others.
(I’ll be using my Zoho Card Scanner App to make sure I don’t lost or forget any important new business contacts’ details.)
#2 You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. It might not lead to a direct sale or referral but networking can benefit your business in other ways. Perhaps you can do a fellow business owner a favour by offering advice on a project or introducing them to someone helpful. The business owner you helped is likely to repay the favour someday.
The more you help others at networking events the more likely your reputation and rapport with people is likely to positively glow.
#3 A Face to the name. Being people ourselves, it’s not surprising most of us relate best to…other people. Instead of your business being just vague and abstract notion in someone’s head, if they see you representing and personifying your business regularly at professional events, they can associate you with your company. They get to know the mastermind behind the operation!
These are just some of the advantages to networking. You may think you’re too busy to take time out of your day to network but you’ll be surprised by the results. It’s a worthy investment so here’s a few local networking events the Creative Analysis team would recommend:
- The HD8 Network- since they are hosting/organizing The Business Show they deserve a mention first. The organisation aim to unite the diverse range of people, places and resources in the regions local to the HD8 postal area. They hold a networking evening on the third Tuesday of the month, between 5-7pm, with FREE networking kicking off from 4.30pm.
- Ladies 4 Networking offers confidence boosting support to women in business and promotes the learning of new skills at their events across West Yorkshire. They are hosting an event in North Leeds on October 19th 11am-1:45pm (£15 for non members, lunch included) and another in Brighouse on the 20th (same time and non-member fee).
- The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce offers support and advice to businesses in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. They host MY Network Huddersfield every third Wednesday of the month for informal but effective networking and host MY Network Wakefield every second Friday of the month. For a more relaxed setting, they also host The Last Friday Club at Harrison Social in Halifax on the last Friday of every month, which is free to attend.
- BNI is a global organisation that centres on business referrals. Many areas have a local chapter. BNI Bridge is a local Huddersfield chapter that meet every Tuesday 6-45-8:30am
- YPFridays are fairly new and are held on the last Friday of every month at various Huddersfield locations with the aim of bring young professionals together to widen their contact base.
- FSB stands for Federation of Small Businesses and is a national group that offers support and advice on things such as business law and taxes, whilst campaigning for positive changes in UK policy on behalf of businesses. They have regional and local branches, with FSB Breakfasts taking place at Hebden Bridge Town Hall, where attendees are treated to a guest speaker. The next one is on Tuesday 25th October.