I am going to be a bit biast on this one as I am Co-Founder of Networking Mummies (http://www.networkingmummies.com/)
Back in 2009 I had been speaking online to a lady in an online forum for mums in business. We realised we actually lived around the corner from each other and went to the same toddler group. We met at the toddler group the following week there and on chatting we both had the same thoughts that not only were there no support for mums in business but also ones who are trying to juggle a family. We both already ran our own businesses, mine being http://www.rentabuggy.co.uk/ and Joanne’s being http://www.charliemoos.co.uk/ We decided to put a date out there for any mums who wanted to pop along and chat about business at a soft play centre local to us. We had 8 people turn up and the feedback we had was so positive that we decided to continue arranging various different events and set up a website. Dorset now has over 500 members and we now have 5 branches Nationwide and have also rolled out our Franchise Plan Nationwide this year. So why network? What are you going to get from it?
1.) With the likes of Facebook and Twitter we are constantly networking over the internet but it is also great to take part in networking events in your area to meet people face to face. One of my biggest mottos is ‘People buy People’ so by showing your face people are more likely to remember you and you can boost your reputation.
2.) Not only are you showing your face to these people but you are also telling people about what you do. It is about the connections that can be gained by working together and utilising each others skills to work within a community. You may meet customers, suppliers and service providers who are all looking for similar benefits to widen their contact basis.
3.) From all the people I have met if someone asks me if I know someone who does i.e. marketing I will recommend within the contacts I know and trust. Everyone would rather be recommended for anything they are going to spend money on as a customer whether it is a plumber, printed business cards or something else.
4.) You can raise your profile by becoming a regular networker, getting your face and business known. You can meet new people from all areas of business and build mutually beneficial business relationships.
By Laura Morris