Business networking is described as a social activity where businesspeople and entrepreneurs meet to build social capital and form relationships that create opportunities, share information and provide potential partners.
Email marketing, social media, pay per click advertising and many other methods have all been proven to generate new business. But word of mouth is still the best form of marketing, and networking is great way to encourage that. You can’t beat looking a fellow human being in the eye as you passionately describe what you do and why you do it.
Provided you can avoid being an aggressive space-invader, the potential for your message to spread is open ended. Your new contact may themselves have conversations with hundreds of other businesses throughout the year, leading to a recommendation for you and new business being won.
That said, keep in mind that focussing too much on getting sales is a great way to turn people off. Instead, concentrate on offering value in every interaction. You’ll be glad you put in the effort when you have a wide network that provides a consistent flow of opportunities for your business.
Of course, you can’t simply turn up at your first event and expect the world to fall at your feet. You need to spend at least twelve months making connections and building relationships to see the true benefit of networking. And the benefit isn’t always getting sales. Your business has needs, whether that’s marketing, IT, finance or HR. Needless to say, it’s often best to meet and get the measure of someone before you decide to invest hard-earned cashflow into their services.
Cheltenham is lucky to have a vibrant and diverse business networking scene. The monthly Cheltenham Chamber events typically sell-out in advance and are always stocked with a mix of long-term stalwarts and new entrants to the scene.
Other organisations such as the Cheltenham BID and Gloucestershire Forwards also offer a range of popular events, with the latter set to host an all-day networking event at the upcoming Gloucester Cricket Festival.
Membership to an organisation such as the not-for-profit Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce can open your business up to a world of county-wide networking. If you would like to know more, please contact our friendly secretary Pauline at firstname.lastname@example.org.