It seems that many accountants have experienced one form of local networking group and either decided that they like it or that it’s not for them. That’s fair although it would be a mistake to assume that all such groups operate in the same way. And it would also be a mistake to assume that there are no other options.
Perhaps the most popular formal business networking breakfasts are those run through local branches of National organisations such as BNI, BOB, BforB or 4Networking. Others are run on a more ad-hoc (pay as you go) basis by local business associations, law firms or financial advisers. There are also lunchtime business networking groups such as the ladies only Athena Network and my favourite – NRG-Networks.
A quick web search for ‘business networking’ in your local area will invariably present you with plenty of choice over and above the National groups mentioned above.
Then there are ad-hoc events arranged by local law firms, financial advisers, banks or other businesses. Although not promoted as networking events, that is indeed what these occasions are even though you can invariably attend them free of charge. They tend to provide unstructured networking opportunities over breakfast, lunch or evening drinks, before or after a short talk or seminar run by the hosts. The events are typically focused on the firm’s clients. However they are also intended to enable the firm to promote its services and expertise to prospective clients and to influencers.
A local accountant will be considered to be an influencer as you may have clients who will one day need the host’s services. So these organisations want you to be there so that they can network with you!
How do you find out when they have events that you could attend? Easy! Go to their websites and join their mailing lists. These are most often used as the basis for invitations to their events. But you will also probably receive their email newsletters!
What experience have you had at business networks and networking events mentioned above – or indeed anywhere else?