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Reasons to Run Your Own Business Networking Events

October 22nd, 2020

Are you thinking of running your own business networking events? If you are you might want to take a step back to consider your reasons carefully so that you ensure that your events really are a success and don’t, like so many, fall at the first hurdle.

Firstly here are some reasons you might want to run your own group or event:

Earn an income
Run an event which offers something not currently available
Expand your own network
Do some thing you enjoy
Raise your personal profile of that of your organisation
Do something you are good at and be better than the competition

For me the reasons for running networking events were a combination of all of these and which helped me make the decision to buy a business networking franchise. And for me it was great decision – I did make a profitable business out it at the same time expanding my network of valuable business contacts and raising my personal profile in the business community.

However running your own business networking events isn’t always a bed of roses …

Whilst I considered that I made a success of running business networking groups it didn’t come without its difficulties and there are many who really do struggle to make a viable business from this industry.

Firstly like any business it requires hard work and if you are running another business in parallel you need to consider how you will balance the two. Because my primary business wasn’t fully up and running before I bought my business networking franchise and since I was the only one in my business, I found my focus shifted. I had to make a choice and chose to put all my efforts into my new venture, putting my coaching business on hold until I had the structures and processes in place to allow it to manage itself.

Many people fail to realize what does actually go into making a successful networking event and think it is as simple as inviting a few people along to a venue and expect them to mingle. But effort is required to get those people along – events like any other product or service needs to be marketed so there is good attendance by the ‘right’ people who can all benefit from each others’ attendance.

And slick organization both prior to the event and on the day, with immaculate attention to detail is vital – attendance lists, name badges, ensuring the event is fully resourced to ensure there are people available to meet and greet attendees and facilitate introductions. Attention should be given to the structure of the event – getting an appropriate balance of informal and formal networking, relevant talks and opportunities for attendees to really meet who they want to meet.

The other misconception is that running networking groups is an easy way to make quick money. Too often the costs are ignored – the costs of advertising and promoting the event, the costs of your own time in administration and marketing, the costs of the venue and refreshments and all too often the costs incurred by those saying they will attend but do not turn up.

As with any business it isn’t just about being good technically (in this case good at networking) and having a passion for what you do, you have to be good at running a business and this means ensuring that all aspects of the business are covered – marketing, finance, selling, human resources and operations. So if your primary reason for running a networking business is because you enjoy networking think on – to be successful, this won’t be all you have to do in order to be successful.

Another reason for running you own networking events is to raise your profile and yes this can be a great way to do it…only however if you do it well. You are in effect putting yourself in the spotlight and if you don’t succeed then consider the impact this will have on your own image and that of your business.

Finally running networking groups is a an increasingly popular industry with more people than ever before engaging in this form of business marketing and with it an ever increasing number of events, groups and clubs meeting these needs. It is therefore getting extremely competitive so if you plan to be successful in this market you need to do your research carefully and ensure you not only are meeting a real need but what you are offering really is the best there is.

Business Networking – The ABC’s

October 13th, 2020

People have often asked me what I consider the ABC of networking are.

Interestingly, the ABCs I tend to pick have little to do with the process of networking, but more to do with the WHY, WHO, WHERE and WHEN.

To that end, I’m going to give you my ABCs with a brief explanation of some of the words and why I choose these above all others.

A – Aptitude, Attitude, Attention, Action and Ask. These are all powerful, ‘A’ words which are important in business networking. You need to have a strong attitude to take action and and create an aptitude for asking the right questions.

B – Business, Branding and Brevity. These ‘B’ words are all about being focused on the Brand you’re trying to put forward, keeping it brief and ensuring that you’re always about business.

C – Commitment, Communication, Connection, and Clarity. Commitment is a very strong part of good business networking. It allows you to create powerful connections, while communicating with absolute clarity… this shows you the power of the ‘C’s’.

D – Dedication, Determination and Diplomacy. In business networking, you have to have a very determined mindset. Always be diplomatic, but always be determined in achieving your target or goal.

E – Enthusiastic, Empathic, Emotive and Engaging. When networking, you need to be focused on creating a strong connection. You need to show your enthusiasm by being engaging and empathic while using emotive language to get your point across.

F – Friendly, Focused and Fun. Even though you are focused on achieving connections. The more fun, you create in the process, the more friendly you will appear to the people you’re meeting.

G – Goals, Gratitude and Give. One of the key elements of business networking is giving, but in giving you need to make sure you do so with gratitude. And that you are focused on achieving your specific goals in helping others.

H – Happy, Host and Helpful. The ‘H’s’ in networking, a very important. When you are a networking function always act like a host be as helpful as you can be to assist others to feel more comfortable. In doing so, you’ll feel a lot happier, and they will also be happy to meet you and be happy to be at the function.

I – Interested, Ideas and Innovative. One of the keys to business networking is showing people that you have innovative ideas and are interested in them and their business. You might just be the key to their future success

J – Jovial, Just and joyful. These seem to be rather interesting words to use in a business networking context. However, if you don’t have an attitude of joy and a sense of joviality and is very difficult to accept the judgement of others. Despite what other people think we must always have a just attitude to people and their ideas.

K – Knowledgeable, Kudos and Keen. These tend to speak for themselves. When talking to another person it is always appropriate to give them kudos for any achievements that they will tell you about. It is important that we show that we have a knowledgeable understanding of their business, and if we don’t, that we have a keenness in learning more from them.

L – Likeable, Listen, Learning and Laughter. The ‘L’ words cover some important aspects. We must always listen, if we are going to learn about our contact. Being able to laugh with them and show that we are likeable, is an important step in creating this relationship.

M – Motivation, Mentoring and Managing. When going to a networking function. It is important that we take a role of motivator and mentor, particularly to those who are new to business networking. But we must always be mindful to manage our connections, and our goals when we are at an event.

N – Noticeable, New and Nuances. It is key at all networking functions to make sure that we are noticed, one of the best ways to do that is to always offer something new and listen and look to the nuances in the reactions of the people we are talking to. These are the clues to building a strong connection.

O – Openness, Open-Minded and Opportunities. These words are very obvious. We must always show that we are open to other people, and that we’re open minded to their ideas and also to their opportunities.

P – Positive, Present, Passionate and Profitability. One of the true keys in networking is to be always be present, in the moment, with the person you’re talking to. Your passion and your positive attitude will lead you closer to creating a profitable relationship once you take your connection to the next step.

Q – Question, Quirky and Questing. Whenever you’re with any group of people, it is important to ask appropriate questions. Often these questions can be quirky and fun, because this gives the recipient an idea that you are questing for more than just the standard answers.

R – Reciprocity, Real and Rapport. Business networking is about developing a reciprocal arrangement with someone else. If you’re honest and real, you will find it very easy to build rapport with that person. Once this is done, you will find that developing a reciprocal arrangement becomes easier.

S – Sincere, Succinct and Silent. People often say, silence is golden. it is important that when you ask a question, keep it succinct, and then let the person answer the question. By allowing others to complete what they have to say reflects on your sincerity.

T – Tenacious, Thorough and Transparent. At a networking function, you need to be tenacious to your goal. Be thorough in the methods that you use, but always be transparent in your dealings with people.

U – Uniqueness, Useful and Understanding. One of the real opportunities when networking is to be able to show how useful and unique your business can be and how you can help others achieve success. By making an attempt to understand their business, you can show them how useful, you can be to them.

V – Visibility, Versatility and Value. Stepping out at a networking function is all about visibility. In the process, you need to show people that you have value and versatility to be able to assist them in their business.

W – Welcoming, Warm and Worthy. When meeting anyone, it is important to be welcoming and warm in your approach. You need to prove that you are worthy of their time and their interest.

X – Xanadu and Xenophile. I bet you didn’t think there were any x-words. Treat every networking event, like your personal Xanadu. All networking events are special places. Also it is important to be a Xenophile. This means that you are prepared to embrace everything that’s new and look at differences in people and businesses to be able to help them.

Y – You and Yes. You are the most important person at a networking function. It is important that you embraced the concept of saying yes to as many things as you can and be able to move any and every relationship forward for your and their success.

Z – Zeal and Zest. Zest is like passion and energy. It is important to show both at a networking function. You’re zeal on the other hand, is your attitude and your focus.

There you have it! My ABCs.

I hope to expand on these in future articles and be able to share with you some of the very real benefits of embracing these ABCs so that you can use these tools to help you create profitability and success in your business.

Business Networking Doesn’t Work For Everyone Or Does It

September 25th, 2020

Have you ever spoken to someone in business who says “Oh yes – I tried networking once and it didn’t work for me.”

Over my years in business and having attending hundreds of networking events, I’ve heard this or a similar phrase many, many times. I’ve also been told that business networking doesn’t work for everyone and for a while I reflected on this point to see if I agree and actually, I don’t.

Now if you put it another way and say “not everyone who does business networking makes it work” then that is another matter. Also, “not all types of business networking events work in the same way for everyone” I can agree with that as well.

Whatever your business or profession, networking at some level can and will have a positive impact on you and your business, especially when you do it well.

Over my last 7 years in business, I have been an active member of a business referral group and I have seen numerous members come and go. Frequently I see people in the same business or profession who achieve very contrasting results from their networking activity. Why is this?

I’ve seen business owners leave declaring that networking is rubbish and a waste of time and then someone else has joined to replace them and they get so much business that they happily declare that the group has been their absolutely best source of business and they wish they had joined years earlier.

The difference isn’t their business or necessarily their professional competence. It is however their attitude. The successful Networkers are the ones who commit to and embrace the qualities and values of the group. They focus on helping others first and trust that they will be helped in return. They build trust and respect and because they regularly attend the meetings and support the group and its members, including at social events, they become well-known and definitely well-liked by their colleagues and associates.

When you start with a great positive attitude and add to that tried, tested and proven skills and techniques of rapport building, etiquette and personal communication among others, you dramatically improve your personal effectiveness.

In terms of not all networking events working in the same way for everyone, it really is important to find groups that you feel comfortable in. Networking is a powerful and highly effective way to generate referral business, wherever you do it.

Networking isn’t a quick fix to generate immediate extra business and sales when you suddenly realise that your orders have stopped coming in. Networking isn’t a hard sell ‘close the deal’ approach to business.

Networking is a slower process for cultivating trust and nurturing contacts and connections. Networking is highly effective at generating strong personal and business relationships that will deliver long-term repeat business on recommendation and referral.

Whatever your business is, having other people tell people they know about you and being happy to refer others to you, is a benefit that will leverage your own time and resources. When you add value for and help the people you meet, many of them will help you in turn.

If however, your focus is on a quick return, ‘a fast buck’, what’s in it for me approach, networking will not deliver what you are looking for.

Tony Altham is Business Networking Coach, Trainer and Professional Speaker who specializes in teaching entrepreneurs and professionals how to build powerful relationships that generate long-term profitable business via referral and recommendation.

What Are Modern Business Networking Groups Anyway

August 10th, 2020

Maybe you’ve just started up in business and you’ve heard about modern networking groups and how important they will be to your new business. Maybe you need to expand your business and venture into new areas and feel that networking groups may help. So what is this modern networking all about and how does it differ from the old-fashioned networking where you simply kept in regular touch with your friends, peers and business colleagues?

Here is some good news. There is no fundamental difference. Networking, in both the personal and the business sense, will always be about building solid, quality relationships over time.

Modern business networking groups are basically groups of business people who meet regularly for networking purposes and business growth.

The bad news is that a great many modern business networking groups are actually profit generating businesses in their own right. Attendance of the various groups can be quite expensive for new or expanding businesses. Getting the fundamentals of networking right can, however, more than recoup the outlay in terms of business generated and profits made. As with all aspects of running a business, the onus is on you to measure this Return on Investment (ROI) and act appropriately to ensure that you are where you want to be at all times.

As this article is aimed at business networking, I will talk about using the “Know, Like and Trust” approach and why it is an excellent way to go. It is a proven and repeatable process that will stand you in good stead. As with so much in life, the more time and effort you put into the process, the better the results you will obtain.

Remember that business networking should never be about selling – you should be engaged in quality relationship building. You may of course sell early on if conditions prove ideal but that is not your primary aim. Pushy salespeople will be easily get to the Know stage but rarely any further.

At the Know stage of the process you are aiming to build a network of people who know about you and know about your business. You should commit to being consistent in attending events and make a real effort to keep in regular contact with your developing network group. The members of your network group will then see you much more and therefore get to know you much more. You will be on their collective radar. At this stage you will get to know them as well. You may well know many, if not all, of the network group within quite a short time. You will begin, hopefully, to move into the Like sector.

Reaching the Like stage is not actually about being liked in the sense of “I like Andy, he’s a really great guy”, although being liked in this way is obviously a real bonus. Rather, you will be liked as in accepted as a serious and consistent business person with a good business offering. The members of the networking group who like you would readily consider asking for your advice or input and might even consider referring you if the opportunity arose.

Bear in mind here that you are aiming for quality business relationships. You will not be liked by all members of the group and, in turn, you will not like all of the group members. It is unrealistic to think otherwise. The numbers in your network circle at each stage of know, like and trust process should reduce. It is simply a factor of the time available to spend on maintaining each relationship and the depth of the various relationships. You have to go for quality over quantity if all parties in the deeper relationships are to benefit.

The real business benefits start at the Trust stage of the process. Here, people will genuinely want to work with you or have you do work for them and they will happily recommend you to others if asked. They may even become advocates for you; actively and enthusiastically looking for opportunities for you, as they work with their own clients and customers. This group should be your networking core. You will form close bonds and you will likely become good friends with them. You will likely be acting as their advocates as well. You will have to earn this trust and maintain it well. Remember, what goes around comes around in the world of business and business networking.


Business Networking – Spiderman’s Not The Only One Building Webs

March 11th, 2020

Business Networking is crucial to the success of your business. Building a foundational web of contacts, support and resources can be the difference between success and moderate success, or success and failure.

If you are new to online business, Internet marketing, or the business of doing business, you may not be as familiar as you should be with business networking. Let’s discuss this very important aspect of doing business, especially as it relates to business online.

The term business networking refers to the practice of people spreading knowledge of their business, products, and services to others in a manner that leaves a good impression, lets people recall you and your business, and encourages the formation of strategic alliances. It is a process of meeting and familiarizing yourself with others, and building relationships that are important to the success and profitability of your business.

Most Internet marketers and entrepreneurs quickly come to realize that in order to grow their businesses, they needed to engage in business networking for all of the same reasons offline businesses do – sharing services, forming partnerships to help promote one another, building sources of support, and expanding their reach and resources. This is really the crux of business networking, to form alliances which translate to mutually beneficial relationships.

Even though some entrepreneurs have years of business and professional experience offline, for whatever reason, they often ignore the practice of networking when becoming engaged in online business. This may be due to their unfamiliarity or inexperience with the Internet, where they may not immediately grasp its fundamental principle. After all, the Internet is networking; the ultimate means of sharing of information.

Business Networking is an activity. Its purpose is to find and build upon connections and relationships that will benefit you and your business. Period. It requires the active participation of the parties involved, and it includes connecting with other people who may be your peers, potential mentors, individuals who have similar business interests, or people who have other things in common with you.

You will likely discover various benefits of networking. These may include new sources of support, added business knowledge, and increased financial resources, however, always be clear in your understanding that the end goal of your networking is to find what benefits you and helps you to succeed.

There are numerous business networks in existence, both online and offline, where members may share special privileges and benefits. For example, a network may encourage members to share or exchange services among one another within the network for reduced fees, in comparison to what is available to outsiders.

Some networks are more formal than others, sometimes having administrators who coordinate activities and events within the organization, enforce governing bylaws of the membership, or collect membership fees annually. Other networks may not actually conduct business within themselves, but serve to gather people of like interests and bring them together. is one such business network, and allows its online members who share the same interests and location to actually meet face to face.

Now that we know what networking is and some of its benefits, let’s take a look at networking online, beginning with a quick glance at social networking.

Social Networking – The last two years have seen a substantial rise of social network activity and the growth of related sites such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace among others.

Since its purchase by Google, YouTube, has continued to become an immensely popular success story. The site allows amateurs, with little knowledge of the web and no software to download to facilitate participation, and literally anyone with a camcorder or camera/video phone to upload personal videos online and make an impression.

YouTube started as a place for friends and families to share videos, but with time, businesses and entrepreneurs began to see the importance of using YouTube to facilitate marketing and business networking. At the close of whatever type of video, publishers simply embed links or other contact information for their businesses or websites. With the immense volume of traffic to YouTube, this has developed into an extremely effective tactic. Social network sites exemplify the concept of viral marketing at its best.

Let’s look at another example. Facebook is another hugely popular site where friends can share interests, information, sell goods and services to each other, upload photos and videos and even join existing networks. Businesses which join Facebook, enter a world of virtually limitless opportunities and potential leads. As a result of their activities, members can experience a phenomenal surge in traffic to their websites or businesses.

The most important thing to remember about the advantages of online networking is that you can position yourself and your business to benefit from worldwide contacts and relationships, the potential of which is immensely greater than that to which you may otherwise be exposed. And the results of those connections can develop exponentially within short periods of time.

One last thing. In dealing with online networking (where you may rarely have the opportunity of meeting your partners face-to-face), it is especially important to focus on three fundamentals of good business: professionalism, courtesy and great customer service.

Excellent customer service skills can mean the difference in whether or not your business is recommended or selected for a contract or project. It also leaves a lasting impression on the people with whom you come into contact, helping them to remember you. With numerous online sites and portals, many businesses are engaged in competition with one another, and what may very well be a distinguishing factor is customer service and courtesy.

A few tips for business networking:

1. Create A Website-If your main business is offline, create an online presence with a website featuring an easy means of contacting you. Most offline businesses have now realized the advantages of having an online presence. A very large proportion of business is now conducted online and people usually go online to research a company before they conduct any business with it. These days, without a business website, it is impossible to fully tap into the benefits of business networking.

2. Business Cards-It may seem an archaic concept, but business networking, even for online businesses, should not be confined to the Internet. In order to succeed in networking, a business representative should have business cards as part of their marketing plan, which contain the basic elements of the business’s contact information.

3. Be Skilled In Customer Service-As stated earlier, customer service can make or break a company. With numerous businesses competitors, a crucial aspect is customer service.

4. Join Social Networks Online-We cited Facebook, YouTube, and My Space as excellent sites to join in order to generate exposure to your business, and there are of course many others including common interest groups and forums.

Business networking is of utmost necessity if you are to grow your business in this immensely competitive environment. In many ways, the Internet has leveled the playing field so that small business organizations can effectively compete among each other, and against larger entities. Use this to your advantage. Create your own immense business webs. Spiderman has nothing on you.

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Marketing, Promoting and Advertising Your Business

February 28th, 2020

One thing that goes without saying in today’s business world, is that regardless of the nature of your home based business, a website is an absolute MUST. Whether you have a product or service to sell, whether local or global, your business will go nowhere fast if you don’t have an online presence. If you need internet marketing help, you’ve landed on the right article. I’ll give you some home based business marketing ideas that will help you promote your business successfully.

The first step is choosing a domain name and getting it registered. You can build your own website (if you have the time) and host it yourself or you can have everything done by another company (if you have the money). Either way, you have many options and tools at your disposal that can align with your business plan and budget. Also note that you can still start your own home based business even if you don’t have a product or service to sell. There are thousands of individuals and companies that have products you can sell for them while earning a commission, called affiliate marketing.

Of the many business marketing strategies known to man, internet marketing is, hands down, the best strategy to use for promoting a home based business as it is the cheapest method and has the potential for reaching millions of people all over the globe. Driving traffic to your site through online resources is like killing two birds with one stone. You can tackle print advertising by writing articles and publishing them to directories and ezines and by submitting ads to the many available (and most of them free) classified ad sites. Online media advertising encompasses writing press releases and distributing them to press release sites. One of the biggest and most popular online advertising trends today is via social media advertising through sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn where you build relationships with your customers. Forums and communities are also great ways to build relationships which helps promote your home based business in the long run. Simply Google your market or industry with the word ‘forum’ or ‘community’ behind it and search for one or two that seem to be the best fit for you.

All of these methods of online advertising contribute to search engine optimization (SEO), which is to say improving your online visibility and escalating in the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Your goal is to claim the #1 spot in the organic search results (the results on the left, not the right side which are paid ads). This is where your traffic will come from. If you are 800 in the list of search results, no one is ever going to see your site because very few people have the time or patience to scroll through 800 search results. Research shows that people typically won’t even scroll past 4 or 5 search results, let alone 800.

Can you grasp the importance of internet marketing for any business? If you are new to the internet marketing phenomenon and don’t know exactly where to start, there are many great programs or systems online that walk you through every aspect of marketing your online business. A lot of these systems were created by online entrepreneurs who have spent thousands of their own dollars trying to figure it all out over the years and finally DID. Their sacrifices have made it easier for newbies to become successful at their own online home based business. If you are new to running your own home based business, I recommend you find a great system (do your research, read reviews, ask questions in forums) and start marketing your home business from there. Don’t waste the time and money that so many of us have in going it alone, without a proven system, as it will just set you back further and hinder your progress.