Tips for Business Start-ups: Networking

Starting a business on your own can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be a scary prospect, especially if you are starting your own business by yourself:

In our series of “Tips for Business Start-ups” in this episode we look at Networking.

What is Networking?

Networking is the process of building and maintaining relationships with other individuals and businesses to achieve personal and professional goals. In the context of business, networking involves making connections with people who can provide useful information, resources, or opportunities that can help you start and grow your business.

Torbay and Devon have great opportunities for Networking, for both start-up businesses and already established ones. Networking very often takes place over breakfast, but there are also a number of lunchtime and evening meetings. There are also groups dedicated to all-female networking, as well as certain industry-specific events too. Networking usually has the same format, which involves meeting new people, exchanging contact information, and finding ways to help and collaborate with each other.

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Which networking group is right for my start-up business?

BNI – Business Network International helps small businesses grow through a referral scheme they call Givers Gain. First founded in the 80’s in America, it is now a global organisation with over 120,000 members worldwide.

It is a really well-structured event and follows a weekly agenda and has a wealth of tools and support for not just start-up businesses, but any business. Be prepared to make a commitment, as BNI requests weekly attendance, and meetings start around 6.30am. There are 3 groups that meet in Torbay, find out more about each chapter here, BNI Locomotive, Riviera BNI and an online group BNI Revolution.

It comes also with a hefty investment at almost £1000 for an annual membership, however their figures state that an average business can earn £47k annually*

*from Locomotive chapter statement.

Your Partnerships – Following on from the success of Cornish Partnerships and Devon Partnerships, Brock and Lee formed Your Partnerships to bring both regions under the same banner and begin helping other counties across the UK. With meetings across Devon and Cornwall, you can join any as part of your membership, and should you wish to have any food/drink is then paid directly with the venue.

Your Partnerships offer a variety of themed events, as well as face-to-face or online networking. Find out more 

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The Samphire Club – A private members-only group with events across the South West, events understandably draw a crowd and a high class of clientele/members. Visit the website to find out more.

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G12 Networking – G12 Business Club meetings provide a balance between informal networking and structured business exchange, which means their meetings are both fun and productive. You are encouraged to join as a member, or you can attend on a PAYG basis. All businesses are welcome and there is an opportunity to present your 60-second pitch, with 3 focused 1-2-1s at every meeting.
Find out more 

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Devon Women in Business (DWIB) – Devon Women In Business (DWIB) has transformed itself since 2021 when Louise Jenner took over the Facebook group and restarted the monthly networking lunches. The group now has over a thousand followers across social media. Its ethos is to support professional women working across the county in all sectors to celebrate their achievements.

Louise has now been joined by Maureen Frost from Astrality Business Services and together they plan to grow the organisation as a one-stop shop for all Devon Women in Business.

A mix of online and monthly lunches, with an annual prestigious awards ceremony.
Find out more

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Source: DWIB - https://devonwomeninbusiness.com/2022-gallery/

Torbay Business Forum – Business Breakfast – The TBF helps to bring together businesses throughout Torbay and South Devon.

With a broad audience of over 1000 local business contacts, the TBF also has strong links with organisations such as Chambers of Commerce, The Federation of Small Businesses, tourism groups, representatives of business sectors in Torbay including solicitors, accountants and surveyors and individual members.

All of these make a significant contribution to the economy of Torbay – with the sole purpose of making the area a prosperous place to live, work and play.

Discover the Torbay Business Forum forthcoming events here.

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How to be a good networker…

Effective networking involves actively listening, asking questions, and finding common ground with others. It requires being genuine and authentic, rather than just trying to sell or promote oneself. Building trust and establishing meaningful connections takes time and effort, but the benefits can be significant for personal and professional growth.

Follow Up and Stay in Touch: After meeting someone, make sure to follow up and stay in touch. Send a thank-you email or message, connect on social media, and continue to engage with them. Building relationships takes time, so be patient and persistent.

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Join us Networking…

Maggie and Mark regularly attend networking events across Torbay, they would be delighted to attend any event with you, and introduce you to other business owners. Fill out the below form and we will be in touch.

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