Category Archives: Business Networking
Most of you who read my blog know that I organised the first Canterbury Tweetup on 7th September 2011 at the Millers Arms in Canterbury. I meant to write how it went soon after the event, but as always I have been devilishly busy (which is not necessarily a bad thing!).
Canterbury Tweetup, which is simply an informal business networking meeting arranged through Twitter, went extremely well. I was very excited and a bit anxious before it started, but the turnout was good, and a friendly bunch of people came along. The number of attendees (11) was ideal for allowing everyone to speak to everyone else, although we could easily accommodate some more for future meetings. A part of the group consisted of wonderful people I met at the Whitstable Tweetup, which is held every third Thursday on the month at Hotel Continental. I am very grateful to the Whitstable Tweetup organisers: Jules @pressupgroup, Maggie @Officehounds and Ken @Ken_W_Lloyd for marketing the Canterbury event.
The venue, the Millers Arms pub, proved to be an excellent choice, not only due to its convenient location next to the Northgate car park, but also due to its atmosphere, friendly and helpful staff, and lovely coffee. We also discovered that they also offer a customer loyalty card, meaning that the 7th coffee is free, which will be a nice bonus for future meetings.
The atmosphere was nice and relaxed, rather different than in the large (and costly!) networking organisations. I find the structure of these too rigid, thus losing focus on the key aim of networking. In my view, the most important part of networking is not what it brings for me, but more about meeting new people in a friendly atmosphere, working on forming relationships and seeing where I can help. It was lovely to find out that Roger, whom I met at the Whitstable Tweetup, was happy with the client I referred to him. I was extremely pleased to find out not only that my friend was happy with his teaching methods, but also that they decided to continue tutoring through Skype. I am very much in favour of innovative methods of reaching the client.
We were a small group of people, some of whom knew each other, and others who were newcomers representing a wide array of local businesses. The group was small enough to talk to everybody, get to know them and what they do, and actually remember it! I hope the event will continue to grow and will represent a friendly platform for Kent businesses to make useful and fun business relationships. This way it will be useful not only for finding new clients, but also for forming friendships and providing long term support and advice to each other.
The next Canterbury Tweetup business networking meeting will be held on the 5th October 2011 at the Millers Arms, from 10:00 until noon. Everyone is welcome and feel free to tell your business friends and colleagues, too. Events will be held regularly thereafter on the first Wednesday of the month. I hope to see you there!
You need to bear in mind, however, that networking is not about personal chat or bragging about yourself. You need an effective strategy to ensure that networking results in word-of-mouth referrals, which are known to be the most effective marketing tool. At the end of a day most people rely on trusted recommendations for the services they need.
Networking is less costly than traditional marketing, but does not come free. You need to engage your time and effort to make it work for you. Be a proactive rather than a passive networker. Use multiple channels to maximise the outcome of your networking efforts. Become active on Twitter, engaging passionately into discussions and providing professional, high quality advice to build trusted relationships. Offer advice on LinkedIn. Attend local networking events, and once you have a substantial network of business colleagues set up your own event to expand your network even further.
After building your visibility on line and in the local business community, you still need to work on building credibility and trust. Again, this will require time and effort, but will pay off. The most important thing is to excel professionally to the highest standards. Make the quality of your services exceptional, your pricing transparent, ensure excellent communication and exceed customers’ expectations in meeting their needs. Benchmark against your competitors, see what they do and do it better. Also, be realistic and ensure you never under-deliver or over-promise.
The very first Canterbury Tweet-up will be held on Wednesday 7th September from 10 am until noon, at The Millers Arms, Canterbury. Following the successful Whitstable Tweet-up, held at Hotel Continental, Whitstable on the first Thursday of the month, I decided to set up its sister event in Canterbury.
Everyone is welcome, so please come along, bring your business cards and join us for coffee/tea/drink. You are welcome to bring your friends and colleagues with you.
What is a tweet-up?
Tweet-up is an exciting and free networking opportunity for businesses in Kent. Come and have a chat about what you do in a friendly atmosphere. The Millers Arms is a lovely pub so you can even have a bite to eat if you so wish.
In principle, a Tweet-Up is an opportunity for business people who use Twitter to meet face-to-face. You do not need to be on Twitter to join, but it might prompt you to join this exciting and powerful marketing tool in the future. The idea is to have an informal networking meeting once a month, share ideas, and hopefully help each other to become more successful in your business. Let’s bring the East Kent business community together!
How much does it cost?
The event is free, but you will need to pay for your own refreshments.
For more information and to book please hook up with me on Twitter @acgtranslation, email me at aga.gordon(at)acgtranslation.com or give me a ring at 07878 957519.
You can also subscribe to the event on Facebook.
I am looking forward to seeing you there!
About the organizer: Aga Gordon is a business consultant, coach and Polish translator specialising in business, scientific and medical translation. She holds a PhD in chemistry and an MBA, her interests lie chiefly in strategy, creativity, innovation, change and social media marketing.