Tuesday, 8 March 2016

BNI Meeting in Pontefract

Not sure if I have talked business networking at any length on the blog. Here, raised by my attending a meeting tomorrow are some thoughts on business networking and why it may not necessarily be for everyone.

Tomorrow morning I am going to a BNI chapter meeting in Pontefract to support a new IFA/General Broker contact based in the Wakefield area. I am going as a guest though, rather than a prospective new member - as I note below, joining a networking group is not something I would, at this stage in my business want/need to do.

Now as a general rule I have a little bit of a 'problem' with business networking. Not an idealogical one per se but rather on a practical level. I've never personally found breakfast networking to be particularly fruitful (although I'm sure it works for some businesses) and when I set up my business six years ago I had a very young family so disappearing off once a week first thing in the morning left the house a bit 'understaffed' so to speak. In essence then I found other ways of attracting clients and popularising/marketing myself to my key contacts. That's not to say I haven't tried formal networking sessions of one kind or another several times over the years and for some months a year or two ago I was part of an informal/on-line networking capability that ultimately burnt itself out and never really went anywhere. As a last thought I could also never fully commit to the idea of passing leads to people on a formal, regimented basis - i.e. once a week or two at every meeting etc.
I've always thought leads are something that happen when clients want help rather than me creating or co-ercing a situation to create them on demand. So this was one element of formal networking that as was, a concept I did really struggle with from an ethical standpoint a little bit.

On the whole though I am looking forward to attending (the early start notwithstanding) as the part of my job that I enjoy most is getting out there and meeting people, interacting with clients and other industry professionals - all the things in fact which as your business succeeds and moves forwards you tend to have less and less time to do with more resource been spent on admin, training and problem solving.

Here's to a good meeting and hope that the snow holds off !

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