Business networking - yes. But which to choose?

So where can you go to network? A quick guide to local options.

Business networking - yes. But which to choose?

Okay you want to network, you need to meet potential clients – and it’s fun! You get out there, find out about that whole wide world of business entrepreneurs, and enjoy a tasty breakfast, lunch or supper (or all three if you’re a keen networker and like your food...)

I’ve recently been researching which local-ish networking organisations to join, so here’s what I’ve found out in case it’s useful to you too. I’m sure there are more but for me this was plenty to be thinking about.

Word Gets Around Networking
– really like this, relaxed evening event 7 – 9.30pm with light meal; no annual membership fee, no restrictions on type of business, £20 meeting cost if booked online (£25 on the night). Nicely structured with time for varied networking plus a subject presentation, no obligations with referrals.

Business Network SW – looking forward to trying it, was highly recommended to me. Daytime meeting, quite extensive networking and presentations format, 10am – 2pm, carefully planned lunch seating. Annual membership £295 inc VAT, £29 per meeting. Membership never over 5% of the same type of business.

Women in Business – sorry, as you suspected, no chaps. I’m also looking forward to trying this one, it’s been well recommended. Lunchtime 12 – 2pm, annual membership £240 inc VAT, £24 per meeting, only one of each type of business allowed but can visit other groups if your type not represented.

Also worth investigating:
SWIRE – Somerset, women only, low key and relaxed, no restrictions on type of business, token annual membership cost.

Local chambers of commerce, also Somerset Chamber of Commerce which has extensive membership.

– not tried it yet. Seems very popular if you want to do masses of networking. Was just breakfast time, now evenings too. Annual membership £600 inc VAT or special 6 month offer, £12 per meeting. You can be online, can go to structured meetings wherever you want, as often as you like, no restrictions on type of business, no obligation with referrals.

Also worth investigating:
BNI - highly structured, need to give referrals, restrictions on business type. Some swear by the close, supportive group they form.

Well, that's hopefully a good start. Hope you have a good time and meet lots of interesting people..


by Sue Mitchinson on 08 March 2013

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