magic of business networking infographic

It takes time to find the right business networking group that matches the kind of person you are and business you run. It took me 6 months to find the right group and to decide to become a member.

A positive effect of looking for the right group is that time spent searching is not wasted. Each new communication introduces new people and new stories to learn from. New suggestions are offered and more people hear about your business.

I remember my very first meeting with Business West in Cheltenham. The one thing I learned immediately was that PEOPLE TAKE ME SERIOUSLY, which on its own was very encouraging. My company had only been operating 3 months at that time, I had no new customers and to feel that I was doing something that made sense to other business people was of a great value.

At that meeting I connected with people who influenced my business and still offer support and encouragement when I need it today.

After Cheltenham I visited many other groups such as WomenMeanBiz in Swindon, WinBiz in Nailsworth, FSB in Bath, Integrity Networking in Cheltenham, Business Network (SW) in Bristol to name but a few. As my personal circumstances changed I had to re-evaluate the criteria for my future networking. I could no longer attend breakfast meetings and I decided to look for something closer to home. This is how NRG came into my professional life. To begin with they were meeting for lunch in my favourite local pub/restaurant. After attending a couple of sessions I decided to join.

It was a sort of experiment – I wanted to see what meeting the same group of people can do to help with my own business. I remember wondering ‘what is the point of it’? Surely it must be better to keep hopping between random groups, which increases the probability of growing my own customer portfolio. I was under the wrong impression there. People forget you as quickly as you forget them.  By staying with the same group for longer you become memorable. By building the relationships of trust and friendship and allowing more opportunities for questions, things begin to take a different shape.

Business networking is full of unexpected events. Its unpredictability brings something magical to it. I couldn’t help but remember that famous Forest Gump quote: “(…) life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” It is also very true in the case of networking – you simply never know what you are going to get but whatever it is you can be sure your business will benefit from it in a positive way.

 

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