About Networking

There are various types of networking groups and they all have different aims and objectives. Below we explain a little more about them which hopefully will give you an indication of what kind of networking groups there are and how to choose the right one for you.

Types of groups

Generally there are two types of networking groups; there are those where you simply meet people and then there are the members’ clubs, which have different aims, and objectives and depending on the types of objectives determines what type of group it is.

The general networking groups typically meet once a month over a coffee, breakfast or a meal.  You will often meet a whole range of people – they might be different people at different times.  Often there is an informal meet and greet/open networking at the start and the end, and we exchange business cards.  Generally people will be given the opportunity to speak about their own business for 60 seconds or less.  The amount of work you get from these groups varies from group to group, but most of the time it is about long-term investing in relationships where it pays off to do the work.

The second type of group is the membership group.  Groups such as BNI have a fixed membership.  You can turn up to them as a visitor, usually up to two times, before you have to make a decision either to stay away or to formally join. 

The membership groups are much more structured and organised which does not suit all, but they are very effective in speedily generating new business; the reason for this is, because there is a mutual commitment for the members to find business opportunities for each other.  Typically you have a chance to speak about your own business for say 60 seconds per meeting in the same way as in the other groups, (and several times a year, give a five minute presentation in more detail about your business) but rather than just exchanging business cards, this group is all about members promoting your business to the effect that you are investing in a sales force of like-minded individuals who have a vested interest in promoting each other.  Typically, membership groups cost more, but they are usually far more effective in generating new business opportunities.

Which group is right for you?

Which group is right for you depends on a number of factors; the biggest one is what is your budget, but also think carefullly about how much time commitment you have to give.

Among other questions to ask yourself is, how much business do you want it to generate?

If you have a small budget but you need to get referrals extremely quickly, you may want to consider going to one of the membership clubs such as BNI and asking to pay by instalments,

If you are not in need of a great amount of extra business referrals but you want to promote your business and invest long-term then the other groups may be better because they do not require a regular commitment and you can simply enlarge your sphere of contacts.

If you are really not sure which group is best for you, we simply recommend that you try various groups before deciding on a longer-term strategy.