Thursday, 31 January 2008

A different way to do networking...

When you are running your own business, at the end of the day there is only one thing that counts.

Relationships. Establishing, exploiting, nurturing and managing relationships is what it's all about.

If I look at my existing client portfolio and work out where those relationships came from, they came from friends, former colleagues, contacts from my last 'proper job'. Renewing and growing your relationships is key to the development of your business.

Some people advocate the importance of business networking clubs, networking breakfasts and membership of organisations to create business opportunities. But like any relationship, success is often difficult to contrive - it's about chemistry and it's also about luck.
Just because you stick 20 men and women together in a room doesn't mean they will do business together.

Proving this point, today's Daily Telegraph has a feature on 'The Mother Of All Business Networks'; which reveals that many commercial partnerships and new business ventures have been conceived through attending The National Childbirth Trust parenting classes. Parents-to-be sharing a sofa and talking about nappies and breast feeding have also shared business ideas and set up in business together. The feature profiles two guys who started a financial software business after meeting at an NCT class. Indeed at my own NCT class for our first child, talk amongst the blokes soon turned to work and one of the dads-to-be was a senior Marketing Manager at a client of mine; an other was a record producer. We had more in common than just our partners being pregnant.

So if you want to meet some people to do business with, don't join a networking club. Get pregnant...

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