Networking is all about building relationships and at We Mean Biz and Women Mean Biz we are so proud of the friendships and community spirit that you have all built with each other over the years. Of course these relationships that you have nurtured are vital to your businesses but the key to a good network meeting is to have a mixture of long term members and guests. This helps keep the meetings fresh, interesting and, of course, provides you with new opportunities, after all, that first time guest could be exactly what your business needs.
However, we have noticed a reluctance amongst some members to invite guests, even with the current “first time guests come for free” offer. We have been thinking about why this may be and have come up with a few reasons and solutions for overcoming these.
Being unsure of who to invite – Why not spend some time thinking about all the business connections you have made on social media, at business events over the years or even at other networking groups? We bet you have so many more contacts than you may realise and a simple message to say hi and invite them to a free meeting not only provides an opportunity for them to network, it’s also a great way to reach out to that person to build and nurture the relationship with them. Win-Win! Try not to assume that networking or our community isn’t what someone is looking for especially in the current climate. If they’ve never been to one of our meetings before what better way for them to find out if it’s for them than by coming along as a guest. Of course they may decide it’s not for them but they also may feel it’s exactly what they need right.
Forgetting – We absolutely get it, time seems to be whizzing by very quickly this year and many of you have expressed that since lockdown the meetings seem to come round much quicker than they did before!! Why not send out invites for the next meeting as soon as the previous meeting ends? By doing this you will still be in the zone and so the all important details will be fresh in your mind. How do you feel after a meeting? If you feel inspired, motivated or even less lonely during this time because of the support you receive at the meetings then please do tell the person you are inviting that. Personal experiences are always much more genuine.
Not knowing what to say or feeling shy – Hopefully the above pointers have given you some idea of how to touch base with someone to share this opportunity with them. No one will think less of you or be annoyed with you for trying to help someone’s business especially right now. Keep it simple and remember someone reaching out to them with an opportunity like this may mean far more than you realise.
So what are you waiting for? Take a look at the contacts you have built over the years and drop them a line. The worst that can happen is they say no thank you but if they do decide to take advantage of some free networking not only will you have done them a favour but you will also have helped the whole community.