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How networking at The Business Village can grow your sales

The words ‘networking event’ can bring some people out in a cold sweat. If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. Many find it difficult to instigate conversations at business events. But avoiding networking can mean missing out on some great opportunities. We know because we hold so many events at The Business Village. And people coming along often tell us how much they’ve helped grow their business.

Why networking is essential for your business

So, why is networking so great for business growth? There are lots of reasons, but we’ve listed eight of our favourites below:

1. Continuous learning

Attending a conference with experts in your sector can leave you buzzing with ideas. But it doesn’t always have to be a big convention. Signing up for a lunchtime workshop or listening to a guest speaker at a networking event can do the same. Even chatting informally with a fellow attendee can spark new ideas.

2. Building partnerships

Business friendships will develop when you begin connecting with people at events. Over time, you may decide to work together on a project. Or perhaps become trusted partners for referrals. You could also meet an amazing new supplier at your next event.

3. Advice and mentoring

At a networking event, you’re surrounded by others who understand what it’s like to run a business. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, that means another person to bounce around your ideas and problems. When you need advice, someone else may be able to help. And, in return, you can share your expertise.

4. Staying up to date

It can be difficult keeping your finger on the pulse of every new thing on the market. So, informal conversations and formal presentations at events are a great way to keep up to date. The latest software? Upcoming legislation? Social media algorithm changes? No problem!

5. Gaining leads and referrals

Getting out of your office and mixing at events is great for brand awareness. Think of it this way – if nobody ever sees your face, how will the remember who you are and what you do? The person seated next to you may know someone who needs your services. And, as people start to recognise your brand, they could begin referring you to their contacts.

6. Researching competitors

Meeting your competitors at events can uncover all kinds of useful market information. You could learn about their customers, their pricing structure, and how they approach business. You may even end up collaborating on projects together.

7. Increasing your confidence

Our comfort zones shrink with the less we do. So, by breaking out of your comfort zone and going along to an event, you can boost your confidence. Speaking about your business at events can also give you better clarity over time. Which is great when you need to give a professional pitch for customers in the future.

8. Having fun

Running a business can be lonely, especially if you’re a solo business owner working from home. Making friends and connecting with others at events can take away that isolation. Besides, it makes your business life a whole lot more fun!

We asked Business Village tenant, Zoe Wadsworth of Ask Zoe her thoughts on networking.

“Without networking, very much in the initial stages of my business, I don’t believe my business would exist. I was very much supported and encouraged by my network to take the step. It was thankfully successful, and I believe it’s been supported by my network. It’s true what they say: ‘Your network equals your net worth’.”

How to get the most out of networking events

Now we’ve sold you on the idea of coming along to a Business Village networking event, you’ll want to know how to get the most out of being there.

1. Have a goal

Before getting to the event, ask yourself why you’re going. Is it to get out of the office and make new friends? Are you looking to build connections and partner with other businesses? Do you want to build brand awareness or find new customers? Knowing your goal beforehand will change what you do and say while there.

2. Give value and be helpful

People often believe that networking events are about selling. But those getting the most out of them usually have a helpful mindset, giving value to the people they meet. In many cases, the sales will come later because you’re remembered as that helpful person.

3. Start conversations

This can sometimes feel difficult but remember that others may also be feeling shy. A great way to get things going is to ask their thoughts on the event, speaker, or workshop. A good follow-up is to ask questions about their business.

4. Take notes

It can be easy to forget important details when meeting lots of people. So writing brief notes can be a big help. If they gave you a business card, use the back to write down who they were, what you spoke about, and any follow up actions.

5. Follow up

Leading on from the last point, make sure you follow up with the people you want to stay in touch with. It could be a simple email letting them know you enjoyed meeting and mentioning something you spoke about. An even quicker method is via a LinkedIn invitation.

Networking events at The Business Village

Now you have a whole arsenal of tips to get the most out of a networking event at The Business Village, you’ll want to know what’s on offer!

Barnsley Business Brunch

Held once a month on a Friday.

This is a two hour meeting run by 4Networking. It’s a relaxed format, with 50% business and 50% social. During the meeting, there will be a presentation by an attendee, plus three 10 minute 1-1 meetings.

Learn about the Barnsley Business Brunch at The Business Village

The Growth Community

Held every other Friday.

This is a one seat type event. It means there’s only one web designer, one accountant, one marketing expert, etc present at the meetings. The format is purposeful business networking with focused conversations.

Learn about The Growth Community at The Business Village

The Creative Collective

Held once a month on a Tuesday morning.

This event pulls creative businesses in the region together. The aim is for them to collaborate and do business together. The format is a formal presentation followed by round table informal discussion.

Learn about The Creative Collective at The Business Village

Besides these monthly events above, we also host regular ad-hoc workshops and events. Keep an eye on our website for details.

If you’d like to chat with us about networking events at The Business Village, contact Kevin Steel, Business Development Manager, or email ksteel@BarnsleyBIC.co.uk or phone 01226 249 590.