4Networking – my experience as a new member of the largest joined up breakfast network in the UK.
If you’re considering networking as a means to grow your business, my experience may provide some insight for you.
I’ve been a member of 4Networking since May 2009; I found out about it from a guy who runs an ink refill business. I’d asked him if I could leave a business card or 50 with him as I was connected to the computer industry and he suggested that I look at 4Networking as a method of attracting interest.
I was dubious at best. I’d never been to one of these ‘networking breakfasts’ and had visions of clicky groups, Hooray Henrys and men in suits sounding off about their best business deals that week.
After a look at the 4Networking website, I booked myself onto a local meeting which was a Friday, 8:00 am (reasonable) and a mile from my house.
Off I went and arrived at 7:55 to be greeted by a chap called Kim Hambley who was all smiles, very welcoming and with a relaxed attitude to tell me how to sign in, pay for the breakfast (Full English or Continental, £10) and what was going to happen during the 2 hours.
During the meeting, I had the opportunity to do a brief (40 seconds) introduction to everyone about who I am and what I do, meet with 3 other business people (of my choice) for 10 minutes each and listen to a presentation from a guest speaker.
Since that first breakfast, I’ve been to more both in Portishead and other locations (Clevedon, Almondsbury, Bristol), making friends and business contacts easily. I’ve entered into a joint venture with one of these, Simon Bunker of Samba Consulting, to provide bespoke software training over the internet and have agreements with others where I shall be training their clients on things like Google Analytics, Microsoft Office and their own Client Management Systems.
The majority of MouseProud clients have come through 4Networking, have a look at their feedback on the work I’ve done with them.
A great service is the 4N Website, where members can:
- say hello and introduce themselves
- get help from other members on virtually any subject – there’s a vast wealth of experience in the network
- develop business partnerships
- promote their latest ventures
- get highly objective feedback on their website, logo, brand
- relax and chat
I’ve found it so useful that I’ve put together a short video to help members get the most out of their early forages onto the site. It’s in the top right corner of this page.
In addition, I’ve had people to help me with my marketing, been recommended by The Best Of Portishead, insured my car, used the services of a profile writer, found a venue for a social event that I’m organising, sold some redundant computer parts, bought a car using a personal car shopper, and re-branded the business with new logos and colour scheme (ask me some time!).
Plus all the guest speakers have given me ideas on how to progress my business.
The group leader for my area also asked me if I’d like to be Operations Assistant for one of the Bristol groups, so you’ll now find me at 4N Bristol Redwood on alternate Fridays taking breakfast money off people in the Redwood Hotel and Country Club.
Another major benefit of going along to one of these breakfast meetings is that it really does start the day positively – propelling you into achieving more and expanding your outlook.
Give it a go!
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