Monday, 1 December 2008

The Good Thing About Networking

As I have noted before, the success of my business relies on word of mouth – every client I have ever had has been through referrals, introductions and 'who I know'. So networking is an important part of my life.

The term, 'networking' has a bad press; I don't mean going to speed-networking events in a shiny suit, thrusting business cards into people's hands or 'sharking' for new business. I mean meeting people, connecting with people, keeping in touch with contacts. My business portfolio is founded on that network. One client is a guy I used to work with at a partner company, another used to work for me and now runs his own business. So, I tend to be well-connected within the sectors I operate in and I collaborate and work with/for people I have known for 10 years or so.
But sometimes the challenge is in extending that network and meeting new people in completely different disciplines. It is those kinds of relationships that really stimulate me; it's great to connect with people who don't work in media or marketing. To that extent, Twitter is a great tool for connecting with new people, but sometimes that platform can be a bit virtual (although I do acknowledge many Tweeters organise meet-ups).
With this challenge in mind, I was delighted to be selected in to the inaugural Courvoisier The Future 500 Network last November enabling me to connect with a whole new bunch of people: a woman who set up her own skincare company; a guy who is an architectural foodsmith (he makes models of buildings out of jelly); a restauranteur who is also a renowned rum expert; a woman who mentors designers in the fashion industry. I’ve met some really interesting people in disciplines I would not have otherwise met.The second year intake of new members for the network was announced in yesterday's 'Observer' and I am delighted to see of my two associates in the line-up. Chris Gould, MD of All In Media and long-time collaborator Peter Wright, currently Commercial Director at Deluxe Digital London.
We will be partying this Thursday when Courvoisier The Future 500 holds an event in Soho. Phew - just think: all those Courvoisier cocktails plus 500 entrepreneurs and their egos in one room = quite a heady mix!
I conceived and presented a short film ‘Pioneering Spirit’ interviewing five members of the network; that will be posted up soon.

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