As you may know, I’m enthusiastic about business networking. Although my website has helped (I currently rank second on the Google search for “copywriting services Hertfordshire”), it’s mainly been networking that’s allowed me to build up a solid client-base over the past two years, whether from direct contact or from referrals.
My regular groups are 4Networking (Ware and as many other groups as I can fit in), Business Buzz, Wenta Networking and the weekly #HertsHour Twitter networking. Last week, I tried out a new organisation, Your Business Community, at a networking meeting near Liverpool Street. A combination of meet-and-mingle with talks similar to the 4Networking 4Sights, it was enjoyable. I made a number of new contacts, as well as seeing a few reassuringly familiar faces.
It set me wondering, though: can you have too much business networking? 4N alone has groups every day of the week within my reach, and I could go to meetings run by a whole range of organisations I haven’t even tried yet. Some probably wouldn’t suit my particular needs, even though they may be perfect for others, but many would.
And that’s the problem. The aim of business networking is to get work. Not always in an immediate sense, of course. The short-term purpose is to build relationships, and anyone who judges a networking meeting by whether they walk away with contracts in their pocket is missing the point. Still, we build relationships ultimately with the hope of getting work at some time, directly or indirectly.
Diversity in networking is important, otherwise you risk just seeing the same faces at every meeting. Still, if I were to attend every networking meeting I could (even taking out those that wouldn’t suit me) I’d be doing nothing else but networking and wouldn’t have time to get my work done. Which is, of course, another way of missing the point.
Perhaps two networking events a week is an ideal rate. Three is OK, and in certain circumstances I might arrange a week with as many as four events. That has to be an exception, though, and is certainly not sustainable.
I don’t consider that I network too much, and certainly YBC, which I may well join, wouldn’t be the tipping-point. That point may come, in which case I’d have to start cutting down, but not yet. I’m still enjoying my networking.