Simon Robinson the head of Commercial Law and Partner at Baldwin and Robinson has recently become president of the Caterham BNI networking Group.
While this is a great honour for Simon it also takes up quite a lot of his time, so why has he agreed to support the group in such an intense way?
Why? Because of the power of networking.
Even in this day of technology, people still buy people for whatever trade they are looking for. A local networking group is going to be the most efficient way to meet potential customers and clients. While that sounds obvious there are some additional reasons why networking should be key to your business development strategy.
To build relationships
The primary reason for networking events is to meet like-minded individuals in an informal environment. If your goal is to meet contacts in your industry, then you should most certainly attend a networking event. The events allow you to get to know people outside the workplace making it a more relaxed setting, and are imperative in both the initial relationship building and the relationship maintaining stages.
To keep up-to-date with trends
Whether you are in a group with people from your own industry or a general business group it’s ideal to hear the latest business gossip. This provides a great opportunity to hear what trends are occurring, and areas in which others have been focusing on. It is also a great chance to understand what’s going on locally in the business community giving you a heads-up on opportunities before news comes through the formal channels.
Gain new ideas
Quite often there will be a guest speaker at networking events. Hearing the ideas of those who have been very successful is a wonderful opportunity to learn. You will also pick up ideas from your peers at the event. If you treat the event as a learning opportunity, you will find them to be very beneficial to you.
To connect with key influencers
Again another obvious but key reason to go networking. It gives you the opportunity to connect with influential people that you may not have come across in your day to day life. It’s often awkward to reach out to people without a specific reason, however networking events provide the environment to approach these people and have a discussion.
To be motivated
After hearing new ideas, being engaged in interesting discussions outside your workplace can be inspiring and boost your motivation. It’s not a competition but when you have spent time with fellow high achievers, it is hard not to go home and wonder what else you can be doing.
Networking can break up your day. While you may think that you are too busy to attend, a break and a chance to socialise can actually re-energise you leaving you refreshed to carry on with the rest of your day.
To recruit new employees
Recruiting people can not only be expensive but can be tricky too. You don’t always see the real person in interviews alone, if your potential recruit is someone you have been networking with regularly you will already have had an insight into how they would fit into a team. You can also save money on recruitment advertising, letting people know you have a vacancy can lead to recommendations from the group and again some of the vetting process will also be done for you as people are unlikely to recommend you people they didn’t think would fit the role.
Simon, when asked about networking, said “The benefits of networking are there for everyone to take advantage of, you don’t have to have an official role to get maximum return on effort, getting out and meeting people will always prove to be a key driver in business development.”
There are lots of networking groups throughout Surrey but if you are particularly interested in the BNI, the Caterham Group meet at the Surrey National Golf Club. For more information visit their website