What to expect
Not all business networking groups are the same and there is a wide variety for you to choose from.
Here's what you can expect from your visit to one of the TBC groups.
The meetings are welcoming and friendly; particularly if you are new to networking and feeling a little nervous about attending your first event. There are no rules about what you can and can't do - you can sit anywhere you feel comfortable and bring any marketing material you have (including banners).
You will get the opportunity to introduce yourself to the other businesses in attendance via a 45 seconds "elevator pitch" - your chance to let people know what you do and the type of customers you are interested in being referred to. And the only other "have to do" is partake in a 10 minute 1-2-1 meeting with another attendee.
Unlike a lot of other groups that tend to be "at you" meetings, the agenda (below) is engaging and interactive, helping you to share your knowledge, experience and advice; helping you raise your profile and develop rapport with the group - oh and they are fun too!
- Arrival - open networking over a tea or coffee
- Breakfast - a full English (dietary requirements can be catered for) or buffet if an evening meeting
- Introductions - these are timed, but not strictly - but you should stick the time limit
- Video review - a fortnightly video on a relevant business topic that is discussed in the meeting (current video above)
- 1-2-1 meetings - 10 minutes to get to know another attendee
- Member presentation - a 10 minutes presentation of an educational nature
- "Hot Seat" - a chance for anyone to bring up a business question or request some help/advice on a business issue
- Acknowledgements - an opportunity to thank someone for a referral or act of support
- Close - open networking
This agenda may vary for some of the sector-specific groups.
You can attend up to 3 meetings before having to consider membership; at no point will you be pounced on to join up! (Some of the sector-specific groups do not require membership - you can attend as often as you like).
Unlike some membership groups, there is...
- ...no annual fee
- ...no contract - cancel any time
- ...no joining/admin fee
- ...no lock-out - all businesses welcome*
- ...no obligation to attend
- ...no pressure to refer
- ...no tie to a single group – you can visit as many of the groups as you like
- ...no application form to apply
- ...no approval process
*A little bit of healthy competition doesn't hurt and often, seemingly competing businesses, can work collaboratively.