Business Networking is a juggling act. Traditionally, business owners have had only two ways to come into contact with their potential customers. Either they wait for them to come to the business, or go out and proactively find the customers. Proactive business networking is done by meeting people, usually at a regular meeting, creating contacts, developing relationships and generating leads. But one thing is needed to make it happen, and that is, they need to physically leave their place of business and meet people who wouldn’t traditionally ‘walk in’ to the shop or business premises.
Now, more than ever, business owners are very conscious of developing relationships both with their existing customers and with new prospective customers. People just can’t rely on the business coming to them. They know that they must go out and get the business. It’s almost an insurance policy for keeping a business alive during harsh times like recessions.
The most popular way to do it is by belonging and going to business networking groups. These have traditionally promised to bring the business owner in contact with other business owners, who might be potential customers themselves, or who might know people who might be candidates for their business. Some organisations even dictate a rigid structure of using referrals as a means of bringing business to fellow business owners. These groups can be so rigid and extreme in their approach that it’s no wonder they often turn people away. Often the cost of belonging to a business networking group can be prohibitive to the small business owner.
The system works for some, but for the majority of business owners who simply want to meet like-minded people, develop relationships and do it at a cost that is acceptable to all, this system is lacking.To add to all that, some of these events required members to be there for 7am! Driving time there and back, fuel costs, feeling obliged every week to hang around for chat and coffee, and ineffective use of time were only some of the problems and challenges people had, and still are facing with conventional networking. It can also be prohibitive to women networkers to attend a breakfast meeting if they still bear the brunt of childcare arrangements and the school run.
Whilst there is an enjoyable social element involved with many of the conventional business networking meetings, most business owners we have spoken to have two things in mind; time and money.
Meet and Link have been working on a novel and certainly more practical way of creating accessible business networking events for the masses. The team has devised technology and software to allow the meeting to come directly to the eager business networker at home.
No need to get up at the crack of dawn, cut out the one to two hour drive there and back, and no need to block out four hours of your precious time for what should be just over an hour of down to earth, straight forward business networking. It’s time to catch up with reality. It’s time to make better use of our time.
Welcome to 21st Century business networking!
All will be revealed in the launch party held in NW London on the 16th September 2010.
Details can be found at the Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/?sk=events&cs=2&hc#!/event.php?eid=102962853095277&index=1=1