I’ve been doing a bit of networking of late. It’s reputed to be one of the most effective ways to grow your business. In fact, according to write Adam Small, it is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organisation. It’s also quite a sociable thing to do, so what’s not to like?
I don’t remember how I first came across Dean Cassidy, director of Professional Social Networking (is not remembering a social networking gaff, I wonder? I don’t think we met face to face. I don’t think he knows how we first came in contact either so maybe we’ll just keep quiet about that and move on.)
I received an email from him recently, informing me that he would be inviting people to an event, and then, by chance, met him at another networking event. I liked him and his enthusiasm. So when I got the invitation to his inaugural networking event at the Stirling Bar at the Gherkin, I was in.
There are several networking organisation’s around, from chambers of commerce (which, to be honest) vary in their effectiveness from area to area, to dedicated networking organisation’s. When you are starting a business, it’s all a bit hit and miss. Or at least, that’s the way it has been for me. You don’t know where to go or how to build your business, which networking groups to join or not. The one I liked the look of, from a membership point of view, was 4Networking – you pay a membership fee but there is no compulsion to attend every week as there is with some. It was at one of these lunchtime meetings that I met Dean face-to-face.
I like Dean. He’s young and enthusiastic. He’s worked for another networking organisation but his is different. He doesn’t charge an annual membership fee, but he does charge more for an entrance fee. It’s around £37 a throw. Some people said to me that they thought it was quite expensive – I did a quick tally up in my head – actually, it’s not. When you work out the annual fee that you pay to other organisations, and the fee for breakfast/lunch, Dean’s events are on a par or a bit cheaper. Plus we got wine, yay! (That actually didn’t work out well for me, I found a soul mate, or maybe I should say a drinking mate, and we ended up getting ever so slightly Brahms and Liszt, but that’s another story.)
There were about 16 of us at this event, which is a good size. If there are too many people, it can get unwieldy. I was lucky enough to see a couple of people I already knew, and met some nice new people. There were people from a wide range of employments there: a jeweller (who is about to become my new BFF, her jewellery is stunning), a tax accountant, an osteopath, someone from IT, graphic designers, to name just a few. Everyone I spoke to was very friendly and, I guess because we are all in a similar position, we are all prepared to try to help each other out.
Dean has big ideas – and good on him – he wants to be countrywide within two years. I think that is entirely possible. That works for people like me, too, because, if we happen to be working somewhere else, and the timing is right, it gives us a chance to go to a networking meeting elsewhere and meet different people. (4Networking does that too.)
So what next? Dean has another lunch coming up in a couple of weeks, which I won’t be able to attend, so I’d best be ready for the November one, when the tickets are sold, they are sold.
If you want to find out more about Dean’s company, check out his website:
© Susan Shirley 2016