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Why we love business networking!

When Emma and I met at a networking meeting back in 2011, we thought we were competitors.  

In fact, when I first started going to those meetings, Emma was on holiday and all I heard from the other members was – oh you must meet Emma, she’s wonderful!  Grrr I thought, another brilliant marketing consultant!

But rather than worrying too much about whether we were competitors or not, as soon as she was back we arranged to have a coffee and quickly discovered that we had complimentary marketing skills.

Emma is an ex-journalist and loves writing and editing, whereas I am more of a digital marketer and designer – we also found we had leads that we felt we’d be more likely to turn into business together than as solo freelancers.

So over Emma’s kitchen table we created The Marketing Matrix – a consultancy that we have now been running together since 2012!

And that’s the thing about business networking. 

You never know who you’re going to meet and what those meetings might lead to!  You might be hoping to meet future clients – and that will often be the case – but the happy side effect of local networking is that you might also meet future friends, business partners and collaborators.

Over the years since we have taken part in all sorts of business networking events. From the most formal, results driven organisations to relaxed coffees or drinks with no agenda. There’s room and reason to attend them all, particularly at the beginning of your business journey. As we always say – the more people you know, the faster your business will grow – however, there comes a point where you are so busy that your time becomes precious and you need to start thinking about how best to allocate your networking time.

Why bother networking if you’re busy you might ask? 

One of the most common problems our clients ask us to help them solve is the ‘feast or famine’, or rollercoaster cycle of business.  They win a contract or start working on a project and in the meantime their marketing work has to take a back seat. Sure enough, usually around three months later, the project is wrapping up and they discover their sales pipeline is dry, and they need to start marketing again to find the next piece of work which often takes time, leaving them with a gap in revenue.

Another common problem our clients face before they work with us, is that they are busy with low-level, low-fee work that makes them feel like they’re not getting anywhere.  The time required is out of proportion to the fee they can charge, so they find it difficult to imagine how they can grow their business when they are so busy ‘in’ the business. Their clients are often demanding and stress inducing.

As always, if you want to promote your business effectively and win premium contracts from clients you love working with, it comes down to understanding who your Ideal Client is. When time is limited or the business you’re working on is not fulfilling, it becomes extremely important to spend the time you do have in places you are most likely to come across your Ideal Client. 

Depending on your services, this may very well be at general networking meetings, and we truly believe that it is important to keep broad, local networking in your marketing mix. But as you develop your business and your understanding of your specialisms and ‘business genius zone’ as we like to call it, a more focussed approach can be valuable.

The reasons for specialising and nailing your niche are numerous and include:

  • The clients you’ll find are more likely to understand and value what you do.
  • They are more likely to have larger budgets and more complicated problems they want to fix.
  • The chances of you becoming part of a team of associates providing ongoing support increases.
  • The speed at which you will reach a commercial agreement tends to be faster.

This is all because you’ll be speaking your Ideal Client’s language, dealing with the detail of the problem they want to solve and will probably have the background experience that means they will trust you to provide the solution.

But the more niche the market you serve, the less likely you are to come across prospects and referrers at general networking meetings, so it’s important to include more specialised events in your monthly calendar.

These don’t just include networking events of course. You might also look at conferences, seminars, expos and symposiums that are specific to a particular industry or problem.

Another option is to attend B2B specific networking meetings such as The Corporate Escape Club.

B2B stands for ‘business to business’, so the people who come along to our meetings and become members provide consultancy and coaching services to other businesses.  These may be small solo businesses or much larger, blue chip companies.

The idea is that we are all working with businesses that may need the services of other coaches and consultants.

Over the years we have regularly been asked by our clients for our recommendations for business coaches, HR consultants, lawyers, accountants and bookkeepers. Thanks to our years of networking, we have a wide pool of people we know, like and trust and that we can recommend depending on the type of business and the problem they are struggling with.

It’s fairly rare to attend a general business networking group and meet a large number of B2B consultants and coaches, which is why we started our meetings back in 2021 on Zoom initially of course, until we were able to offer in-person meetings at the Boathouse, here in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, UK.

We love our B2B networking meetings because our attendees:

  • Are working in the same world we are – providing professional services to other businesses.
  • Come from big corporate backgrounds. Our members have worked at Apple, Accenture, HSBC, Cable & Wireless, Scandinavian Airlines and many other blue chip companies which mean they have great networks and a huge amount of experience to share.
  • Understand the power of collaboration. We don’t insist on sector exclusivity because we want our members and attendees to meet with people they could join forces with on a project or opportunity, just as Emma and I did all those years ago.
  • They get the intricacies of the problems businesses need to solve which means they are great quality referrers, once they get to know, like and trust you enough to share you with their hard won contacts!

So while all sorts of networking is valuable, if you are a B2B consultant or coach, solving expensive and time-consuming problems for your clients, spending time with other B2B types is very likely to be hugely enjoyable as well as commercially rewarding.

At our meetings, we introduce attendees to one another in a series of 12 minute, 1:1 conversations. Where we can, we’ll pair you up with people we believe you will have something in common with, so that you can have high quality conversations with people who have a high chance of understanding what you do and can, in time, refer you to their clients and contacts.

If B2B Networking at The Corporate Escape Club sounds like it could be a valuable use of your networking time (and we can assure you it will be!) then do book your place at our next meeting now.  The first two in-person meetings and currently all our Zoom meetings are free to attend with a £48 deposit to secure your space which is fully refunded on attendance.  

If after attending two meetings you’d like to be part of our community then it will make sense for you to become a member and benefit from the huge amount of advice, support and high-quality contacts the Club provides.  

Wherever you are in the UK, at a Corporate Escape Club meeting, you will meet other B2B professionals on a similar journey to your own and our goal is to help you expand your network of expert referrers and potential collaborators who can all help your business grow.