Networking is an essential tool for small businesses.
In the age of social media, you could be forgiven to think face-to-face networking has had its day. But you should never underestimate the power of meeting in person. As a recent study by Virgin has found, 85% of jobs are now filled via networking, with 95% of businesses saying face-to-face meetings are essential. 72% of participants said they were influenced by an individual’s looks or handshake, while 85% praised in-person business for building stronger, more meaningful relationships.
For a small business, networking is essential for getting your name out there. It’s a great way to acquire new business leads, and in turn opens the door for exciting business opportunities. Also, networking helps you stay on the cutting edge of technological and new business trends, establishing you a step above your competitors. Furthermore, as well as building your confidence, networking also helps to grow your new business quickly. A strong network of relevant connections will prove invaluable when you need to call in a favour. These reasons, plus many more, prove once and for all how crucial networking is for small businesses.
How should I prepare for a networking event?
Before attending a networking event, consider what you want your outcomes to be. Do you want to find an investor, or perhaps establish some new suppliers? Do your research before attending an event and be aware of who will be attending; it never hurts to be prepared. Likewise, bring along a stack of business cards for any potential one-to-one connections you may make. Being equipped may be the difference between a lucid business deal or a missed opportunity.
Visualise are proud members of Norwich Kitty.
Unlike BNI and 4N, Norwich Kitty are far less corporate, instead focused on creating a friendly, intimate networking atmosphere. Attendees arrive between 5pm and 6pm for drinks and conversation, before formal introductions begin at 6.15pm. Members are asked to submit ’30 words’ to describe their business prior to the event; this is the pitch that the host uses to introduce them to the room. Following the introductions, the venue will bring out some food as open, relaxed networking takes place. Norwich Kitty events are very flexible: attendees can stay for as long as they wish after the introductions.
Norwich Kitty always put small, local businesses at the heart of their events. They know people can feel intimidated by large crowds, and standing up in front of one for the first time is often unappealing for small businesses. That’s why their unique ’30 words’ concept is so popular. Attendees can present their products and/or services in a clear, succinct way, without being hindered by public speaking. Instead, the host does all the hard work, so now everyone knows who you are and what you do before the open networking session begins. Networking has never been so easy and enjoyable!