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Good or Evil? Business Networking

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by lula, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. lula

    lula Senior Member

    Been to a couple to try 'em out and I'm torn between thinking "what a great idea, lots of potential clients" and "this is like the Moonies".

    Anyone tried it? Your comments please guys before I sign up (or not), you're usually a sensible bunch! ;)
  2. CSparkes

    CSparkes Senior Member

    I went to something similar a few weeks back, and it has ended up with 2 clients giving me lots of work aswell as passing my details onto 2 other clients who have also given me work!

    This was the third one i have been to but this one worked well!
  3. lula

    lula Senior Member

    Oooh do you mind me asking which one it was? I've tried Business for Breakfast and the local Chamber of Commerce one. And did you have to join to get the clients? I've been told by members at B4B not to expect work until I've paid up!
  4. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    I went to some when I was starting out, wouldn't be suprised if it was hosted by the same group as CSparkes, but for me personally it was pretty much a waste of time, most of the people seemed to be going for the guest speaker rather than the actual 'meet and greet' side of it.

    Considering the fact I had to pay to enter, travel for about an hour each way and it was the same situation on the few times I went I didn't bother going more than a 3 times as it was costing me more money than it was worth.
  5. tim

    tim Senior Member

    lmfao that's awesome
  6. CSparkes

    CSparkes Senior Member

    The one i went to was a free entry, buisness with stands had to pay etc... So for me I went in for free, got free drinks aswell. And got work, It was held and Norwich City Football club this time. Not sure on full titile of event but can find out.

    O tim, how cool are you, i want to be just like you! If only you knew what that name has been used for :p you wouldnt be calling me that!! hahahaha!!
  7. tim

    tim Senior Member

    i was quoting glen ;)
  8. Russell

    Russell Member

    I've been to a few different ones with mixed results and mixed attendance. BNI is one of the largest but is I didn't join as the whole thing was a bit too much of an old boys club for me, and quite restricting: you have to refer a certain amount of other people and they limit membership to each group so if they already have a GDer on board you can't join that group.

    One I did try for 6 months is 4Networking, this was on the whole good, a lot more relaxed and more friendly atmosphere. They do a 6 month passport membership which means you can go to as many or as few events as you like anywhere in the country. You tend to get a far few accountants and IT firms who really aren't interested in designers but this does vary depending on each group.

    I didn't renew my membership as I'm doing a fair bit of work in house for clients at the moment and can't make full use of it. Other than that look out for Business Link events as these tend to be free and don't involve any long term commitment.
  9. lula

    lula Senior Member

    Ok break it up boys.

    One I tried was £10 each time, but £400-ish to join – hence my wavering about it. I know the sort of 'businesses with stands' thing you mean though so that looks like it's worth a pop. I have two other free ones to try so if i discover anything useful to all I will post it.

    Russell, that's really helpful info, thanks. Will take your advice re Business Link and have a look at 4Networking. You're right about the old boys club thing, it's putting me off too. I want people to commission me because they like what I do, not because they are obliged too!
  10. Russell

    Russell Member

    Yep it does feel a bit like joining the Masons, all a bit too much 'you scratch my back...', I'm squirming just thinking about it. Another point with Business Link, though not networking related, is their Select Supply scheme. I've (after a 2 month process) just got on to it. It's basically a list of approved suppliers so if anyone contacts your local Business Link for branding/ marketing advice etc then they may pass your details over.

    The process is a bit of a nightmare, took about 2 hours to fill out the application, had to send a copy of my degree certificate and PI insurance as well as getting replies from 3 clients to recommend me. Only just on the scheme so will keep you posted as to whether it is worth the effort.
  11. Tom Sound

    Tom Sound Active Member

    I've been to a few out of interest really. The thing with the BNI is you can go to one group (chapter) and not be too enthused about the existing members, but another chapter just up the road filled with different members may be much more suited so it's best to try a couple of different areas before you decide. As with Russell we couldn't commit to stick to their rules of attendance and referals, not because I like my lie-ins too much, just because our work is so unpredictable we can't plan far enough ahead to know where we're going to be and when. It's like 600 quid to join plus £10 per week. If you can't attend and can't get a replacement to sit in, after a couple of warning shots across your bow (letters) they kick you out with no refunds. I completely understand why they do this as they need the commitment from all their members for it to work, but it's not something I could commit to with our sporadic workload.

    Having said that, if you're a graphic design freelancer and get into BNI the fact that you are the only one in that chapter does guarantee you all the referrals from that group. So could be fruitful.

    Are you a lady Lula? I'm guessing so. There are quite a few Ladies only networking groups set up too, which is a bit sexist if you ask me :) But I'd make the most of it if I were a lady as the mum at home business start-ups seem to keep on flourishing even in this current economic downturn and there'll be plenty wanting logos/websites et al designed.

    By the way, this months avatar theme is Muppets, not My Pets :lol: cute though :D
  12. Tom Sound

    Tom Sound Active Member

  13. lula

    lula Senior Member

    Yes I am a laydee Tom, I will explore those wimmin-only groups and I agree it's completely sexist! Imagine the outcry at a men-only one!!!

    It's the commitment aspect I can't handle too. I couldn't even stick the Guides (got no badges AT ALL!)

    PS Don't tell but I don't actually know how you're all doing the Muppets avatars. Are you just pinching them of Google somewhere or is there an 'approved supplier'??
  14. Tom Sound

    Tom Sound Active Member

    Here's one of the main women only ones, i'd love to infiltrate it someday to see what goes on but I fear it may be like being trapped on the set of loose women...

    Women In Business Network - Womens Business Networking

    a men's only one is disguised by the golf clubhouse it's shrouded in :D

    As for the muppets, if there are any left, just grab one off google resize in potatoshop and upload it :up: Don't think anyone has bothered clearing the usage of images with the Jim Henson Company
  15. now that would be a job :D Approved supplier of Muppet Avatars :lol:

    as for networking meetings, only ever been to coding ones... and they've always been good for me :)
  16. lula

    lula Senior Member

    Has anyone been Grover yet? Or is Sesame Street pushing it a bit?
  17. I believe that Grover is already taken Lula :( I can't remember who has him though :p
  18. sarah

    sarah Member

    I went to a Chamber of Commerce one right round the corner from us and it was quite fun doing a mini introduction and then listening to the guest speaker. Didn't get a single bit of work out of it though unfortunately. The food was amazing though! Chicken and Tarragon. yum
  19. Tom Sound

    Tom Sound Active Member

    Look, if you're really struggling to find one as most of them have gone, I'd happily split Bert and Ernie up, it's the chivalrous thing to do. You'd have to have Bert though :D
  20. lula

    lula Senior Member

    Ah Tom, that's a lovely offer (why is it that the best muppets are always taken? Or gay?) but I'm now happily sporting this new Kelly Jones avatar. Though Kelly is undoubtedly hot, there's definitely something muppety about him around the mouth.

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