By June 7, 2012 Read More →

Networking for home workers

Is networking worth the effort?

John Valentine, bizset networkingAs home workers it’s important to get out of the house and meet people, and of course we all need to maintain a constant stream of customers. That’s where networking comes in, so I asked John Valentine of bizset networking a few questions:

Hi John, why did you set up bizset?
It sounds like a cliché but it was really in response to the lack of flexible networking groups in the area. Although people perceive there to be a lot of networking groups when you analyse it there actually is limited offering. If you are a man, that’s all the women’s groups crossed off; if you are responsible for getting children to school, that’s all the pre 9am start groups crossed off and the post 3.20pm groups etc. So, when you narrow it down a quick search for networking groups Manchester may bring up many options but few choices.
I set up bizset to meet the needs that I felt weren’t being catered for, ie mainly 9.30am starts, although we do offer flexibility with 4.15pm and 8.15am starts at some groups. I made sure we had a structured meeting without any formalities, and the talking is done by the attendees about themselves. As we say we focus 100% on your business and how to get you business.
What’s your definition of networking?
A structured event focused on all parties being able to introduce themselves and have the opportunity to speak to any other person without awkward silence or fear of rejection.
Why do you think so many people feel sceptical or nervous about networking?
Good question. When I started bizset networking I desperately tried to think of another word to use instead of ‘networking’ because I felt that this word had become associated with so much negativity. If I’m really honest most people’s experience of networking has historically come from BNI. Please note I am not knocking BNI, it does work for people who ‘get it’, unfortunately it seems 90% of people who try it don’t get it and then consider any other networking event will be the same – it isn’t. However, it has to be said that this puts them off networking and this means all networking groups are compared to BNI.
The opposite end of the spectrum to this, and again another reason why networking is viewed sceptically are the turn up and mingle events. Why anyone would want to attend or organise these I will never know, but they exist and they scare people into thinking that this free for all networking is ‘networking’ – it isn’t.
BNI and other copy groups are referral marketing, non structured events are random meetings, hopefully bizset is ‘networking’.

John is the founder of bizset networking, which runs events in NW England. He will be back soon with some top networking tips for home workers and some examples of what not to do at an event!

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