Can networking really help my business?

business community, networking, event

Back in October of last year, we welcomed over 200 business owners to Carlisle Racecourse for our local business event, BITE 2018. We watched as these entrepreneurs rubbed shoulders, talked shop, and shared their biggest business challenges. The room buzzed with industry and excitement.

So, when anyone asks if networking can help their business, we always answer with an unequivocal “Yes!” because we’ve seen it first-hand.

Here are some of the benefits of networking we’ve observed over the years:

The five greatest benefits of business networking

1. Profile

Marketing and branding are fundamentally important for any small business. But sometimes, getting out there into the real world, shaking some hands, and chatting with other business owners can make all the difference. Raising your profile within your local business community can keep you front of mind should anyone in that network require your expertise.

You also have an opportunity to build a strong reputation as someone who knows their stuff, who’s supportive and reliable, and who’s willing to offer guidance and advice. Visibility is key to the success of any growing business.

2. Referrals

Perhaps the biggest benefit in this list, earning referrals is the reason why many business owners join networking groups in the first place. Even in the age of digital marketing and social media, word-of-mouth is here to stay.

And the best thing about these leads is that they’re often pre-qualified. That’s because you have the chance to discuss the ins and outs of the opportunity with the very people referring you.

3. Confidence

Launching a business requires many different skills, and chief among them is communication. Networking pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to meet and interact with different people. And in the long run, this can only benefit your confidence.

You’ll need to learn to sell yourself and your company every time you meet someone new – what some call the “elevator pitch”. This helps you get to the heart of your idea, and hones your proposition. And the more confident you feel about your business and your abilities, the more confident you’ll appear to prospective investors, employees, and stakeholders.

4. Connections

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And if you want your business to survive and thrive, you need to build a network of strong and reliable connections. If you need advice, or an introduction to a key decision maker, it pays to have that network at your fingertips.

Use your local networking events to connect with the most influential people in your business community. You never know when they might come in handy!

5. Advice

Running a business can be a lonely affair for the first few years. Particularly if you’re a sole trader. Getting up and out from behind your desk once in a while can make all the difference to your mental health, and the health of your business.

Instead of running into problems with no solution and nowhere to turn, you can grab a coffee and kick around ideas with like-minded people. And perhaps you’ll even overcome your latest business challenge with a little help from someone who’s been in your shoes before.

Try it for yourself

If you’re local to the North (or you fancy travelling), you can join us for BITE 2019 and try business networking for yourself. Join the waiting list today!

Innovation isn’t enough. You need curiosity, too.

BITE, Profitable Firm

This is a guest post from Karen Reyburn, founder of The Profitable Firm. She’s one of our keynote speakers at BITE 2018, and here’s some of what she’ll be sharing with you in Carlisle on the 12th October.

Every day I work with businesses on getting their words out in front of their ideal audience. In my case, the businesses I work with are accountants. And the accounting industry – like every industry – is full of buzzwords.

Modern.

Forward thinking.

Progressive.

Professional.

Cloud accounting.

Innovation.

Buzzwords are what happens when a word is used so often we all think we know what it means…but if asked, we would struggle to specifically define it.

What does “professional” actually mean? Does it mean suits and ties, using formal speech in emails, and only talking about business topics in business meetings? How about “cloud accounting”? It’s a throwback to a time when doing things online was new and different…but it’s not a cloud anymore. It’s simply part of this life we live.

Words matter because they have meaning: they tell us something about the thinking going on behind the scenes.

“Innovation” is a buzzword, too.

We associate innovation with technology. New things. Disruption. Change. Thinking about business and life from another perspective.

And yet true innovation and true disruption are rare. Apple is known for innovation, but the recent Apple event wasn’t really about innovation. They shared a few upgrades on existing technology. I love Apple, and I watched the broadcast live on Twitter. The only true innovative, disrupting, catch-your-breath new thing was the moment in the opening video when Kevin Lynch clicks a button on his apple watch and becomes a hologram. Now that’s innovative. (It was also not real.)

Innovation is still a good word. It’s one of the four words making up the BITE event: Business. Innovation. Technology. Efficiency.

The important thing is to explore what allows you to be innovative: and that’s curiosity.

On the 12th September, I’m going to be sharing why we need curiosity so much. Why we need to be bored. Why we need to ask ‘why’, over and over and over. And what’s possible for your business when you do.

I look forward to meeting you all there! Please do connect with me on all the socials – I’ll be tweeting, sharing pictures and live video, and doing some sketchnoting too! See you at BITE!

Book your free place here!

Connect with Karen:

InstagramTwitterFacebookLinkedIn

What’s your flavour? Becoming the obvious choice to new customers

content marketing, BITE

Those who start out in business often take anyone and everyone. There’s so much enthusiasm and energy, and each new customer provides further energy…at least at first.

As time goes by, you discover this policy of accepting every potential new customer has its downsides. Some customers aren’t a fit for your company. Others are difficult to work with, or don’t pay on time.

Enter marketing.

Not simply “marketing” as you may know it. Press releases, word of mouth, in person networking.

The marketing which will help you the most is called content marketing. It means your business shares relevant, helpful information with your customers by means of “content” – videos, blog articles, social media posts, live streams, graphics, PDF guides, and more. There are hundreds of different formats you can choose from.

At BITE, we’ll be showcasing the latest and best in technology so you can be more efficient, save time, and deliver an incredible product or service to your customers.

But even with the best technology in the world, and building the best relationships, you’ll still need to use great marketing to help the right customers actually find you.

We’ve asked Andrew & Pete (of…Andrew & Pete) to come to BITE and share with you their enthusiasm, their hilarity, and their wisdom about how your business can become the obvious choice for the right customers.

Here’s Andrew & Pete now! You can meet them by video (oh look, it’s “content”) and best of all you can meet them in person when you join us at BITE.

Technology is not the next great thing: People are

Ashleigh Lambert, Xero, BITE

“I’m passionate about technology and its power to change the way we live and work.” Ashleigh Lambert, Xero

Technology does have great power. But if that’s the case, why would we ask Ashleigh to speak at our BITE event about how technology is NOT the next great thing?

After all, this event is centred on the greatness of good technology. Tech like Xero, which simplifies your accounting. Like AutoEntry, which literally saves you hours of time on bookkeeping tasks. Rocketspark, which enables you to set up an effective website within days (not months).

But what is this technology doing for us?

We look around at humanity staring at their phones, heads down, constantly tapping and sending and viewing. It’s tempting to think that we have sacrificed the personal connection for the digital one.

The truth is, technology has changed the way we live. It’s an undeniable part of life. We tend to use Google maps instead of a paper map, look up an answer online instead of asking a random stranger, and text instead of call.

Even HMRC has recognised the need for businesses to utilise digital technology in relation to their accounts. Within the next several years, instead of a yearly tax return, businesses will need to set up a digital tax account and file an online return once per quarter.

There are hundreds of stories like that of Pete and Charlotte, who own a veterinary practice. Thanks to Xero they have more time with the animals and their owners, and less stress about getting bogged down with admin and bookkeeping.

You see, technology has great power: to point us back to human relationships.

We’re coming back full circle. The old days, where “people did business with people”, aren’t really the old days at all. People still do business with people. And if you want time with your family, time with your customers, time to relax, time to invest more in your business… that’s where technology comes in.

We know the power that technology has, because we’ve experienced it at Saint for ourselves and the businesses we work with every day. Delivering the BITE event for our clients and local businesses stems from our enthusiasm for what it can do for you.

Technology was the next great thing: but now it’s settling into the background. Now we can look at what the next great thing really is: people. Humans. Connection. Relationship.

You’ll get the full story from Ashleigh when you join us at BITE.  See you there!