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Business Benefits of Networking: Middlesbrough & Teesside

Today’s blog post looks at networking events and opportunities across the Middlesbrough and Teesside area. We are also going to cover the benefits of such activities and discuss how networking has helped propel our company forward.

What exactly is networking?

Quite simply, it’s the process of interacting with other people in order to exchange valuable information and build business contacts and relationships.

Is Networking for Business Important?

A long time ago I had a manager who told me networking doesn’t help to grow a business. We had an interesting and somewhat lively discussion on this topic. My thoughts now are the same as they were then. Networking is absolutely vital for business. Not only do you build important business relationships, you strategically surround yourself with people who share similar interests and will give you advice, guidance and the confidence to grow.

The main point to take into consideration when networking is that you’re not there to sell. So many people make this mistake and it can unfortunately damage a business reputation in an instant. As previously mentioned, networking is all about giving, sharing and building relationships. Get this formula right and increased business will follow.

Let’s look at the benefits:

  • Business connections strengthen
  • You gain fresh new ideas to apply in your company
  • It can help you advance personally
  • Raised business profile / brand awareness
  • Discuss common interests
  • Tackle similar industry problems

The above list offers just a few of the plus points attached to networking, there are of course, many more.

Networking in Teesside

So where can you go in Teesside? It’s important when choosing events that you opt carefully. Speaking from experience, you can end up attending everything then leaving little time to actually carry out your ‘day job’. If networking is your job however, then lucky you! Get this right and you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner almost five days a week!

Fast Lane Business Networking Middlesbrough

This lunchtime event is fabulous and has built up a great reputation in the local area. Ran by the wonderful Lou Murray, owner and director of In the Fast Lane Events, the session includes a mix of professionals enjoying conversation over delicious food. With a varied choice of main courses including vegetarian and gluten free options, everyone is catered for. Upon arrival the relaxed atmosphere allows for casual networking before sitting down to food. After a main course there is a shuffle round just before desert. This way, attendees make the most of speaking with as many new people as possible. You can book your space on the next event which is Tuesday 10th October 2019 by following the above link.

Forward Ladies

So this one is just for the ladies. Remember Lou Murray who we’ve just mentioned from Fast Lane Business Networking? If you’re looking for men only then get in touch with her directly. Lou coordinates such events which to date have proved very successful.

Back to the Forward Ladies. Their next event is to be held on 31st October at Commerce House in Middlesbrough. Staring at 9:30am, business women are invited along to build new connections, brush up on people skills and share knowledge and expertise. This is a breakfast meeting finishing at 11:30am, leaving you with the rest of the day to get on with your business. Definitely worth a visit.

Networking Made Simple

What could be better than talking business whilst building new connections from a wonderful location? Based at Acklam Hall in Middlesbrough and hosted by the well-known Enterprise Made Simple, this event is held on Tuesday 8th October, 9:30am – 11:00am. With up to 40 other companies in attendance, this event is focussed and fast paced. Make sure you bring plenty of business cards and let the hosts take care of everything.

What is Referral Based Networking?

Finally we are going to look at a different type of networking. Referral based networking offers a structured approach in gaining business. The ethics of such an event is based upon ‘know, like and trust’. Once you reach the point of trust with others in a group, they are more likely to recommend you and your products or services to their business contacts. The important thing to remember here; it’s about giving. Going into this environment with the mindset of selling will not get you very far.

Referral Networking Groups

BNI hold one meeting each week, usually at 6:30am, we are going to discuss the event structure. Whilst 6:30am is rather early, the meeting finishes at 8:30am and this means your networking is wrapped up securely before the working day has even begun. Upon arrival you are greeted with other members of the group where you can network openly, catch up about your week and discuss absolutely anything. There is of course, plenty of tea and coffee to help kick start your morning. At 7am you have breakfast and the meeting begins. Various introductions are given and visitors welcomed. Everyone is given 60 seconds to discuss their business and to ask for a specific person in business with who they would like to be introduced.

Additional BNI Features

It should be noted that BNI allows only one member from each industry to join a group. This gives you the opportunity to build solid, long-lasting relationships with people you are completely confident in passing to your contacts. Each week, one member has the opportunity to discuss their business in a 10 minute presentation. This fantastic opportunity is ideal for sharing success stories, client testimonials and much more. Giving members and visitors a wider insight into what you do, this 10 minute slot makes you much more referable quite quickly.

Social Aspects of BNI

It’s not all about structured events! Each BNI Chapter has an appointed events coordinator. This person is responsible for organising non-compulsory social events. These could be anything from a meal out to a weekend away. Of course, you don’t have to attend but it makes sense to pop along, even if it’s only on occasion. It’s a well-known fact that ‘people who play together, do business together’. And you want more business, right….?

How it Works

There’s no secret. It’s all about building solid business relationships. This is achieved through meeting with members in between meetings and understanding how they operate. Over time, as your trust in that person builds, you are likely to want to find them work. The ethics you are likely to adopt surround giving as opposed to receiving. Once you reach this point you will find referrals for business coming your way also.

If you would like to know more about the BNI Chapters in Durham & Teesside, please contact us for more information.

Across Middlesbrough and the wider Teesside area we are extremely lucky in terms of networking. With plenty of events daily, weekly and monthly, we have access to building solid business relationships and a huge support network. How many events do you attend on a monthly basis?

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Helen Zagrovic

Helen writes on subjects such as SEO, PPC, Social Media, Web Design and Digital Marketing as a whole. Her 13 years of industry experience means her content is of the highest quality and reputable.

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