Ultimate Guide - Business Networking Norwich - Norfolk

Why to do it, where to do it and how to do it.

An Introduction To Business Networking

Business networking is all about creating mutually beneficial business relationships. Mutually beneficial doesn’t mean that they have to directly buy from your business, it can in turn lead to recommendations of your business or even business advice. Whilst it is good to network both in your industry, especially when considering the advice element. It is also good to network geographically, as these businesses will understand the micro-economic situations you work within. So let’s take a look at our ultimate guide to business networking in Norwich Norfolk.

Top Business Networking Events in Norwich, Norfolk

Norwich Norfolk Skyline

A common question for businesses looking to begin networking is how do I find business networking events near me. Norwich and Norfolk has a really vibrant business networking scene, here is our picks of networking events and networking groups.

Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

The Norfolk chamber of commerce, which we are a member of, has a wide array of networking events. The chamber break their events down into event types including; Careers events, special events, evening networking, conferences, exhibitions and business breakfasts. You have to pay for membership to be part of the chamber and many events are chargeable too, but with over 940 businesses, the chamber has a wide range of businesses from startups to large corporates, with lots of opportunities to network each month.

Management Consultant - Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

Eventbrite Business Events Norfolk

Eventbrite is an aggregator of events being hosted and can be filtered by event type (don’t worry, we have edited the link so it is for Norfolk and business). Events can range from being completely free to chargeable. The Eventbrite events offer something different than a business networking group that may have similar members at each event. Not that we think that is such a bad thing. Events listed include Google Digital Garage, Positive Wellbeing at Work and Strengthen Your Social Media Efforts.

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Institute of Directors – East of England

The Norfolk chapter of the Institute of Directors boasts one of the most vibrant memberships within the country. In fact, the annual dinner has the largest attendance of any IOD chapter outside of London. Where the Institute of Directors varies from other networking groups, is that membership is exclusively for Director level applicants, covering the individual, not the business. 

Events for the institute of Directors Norfolk include “The East of England – Norfolk Mastermind Group” – hosted at Norwich City Football Club, the regular “Collaborate” meet-up and varied breakfast and dinner engagements.

Institute of Directors Norfolk

Google Events – Business Networking Norfolk

The search engine king, who are constantly innovating our web experience of course have something to add to the business networking and event finding sphere. Simply clicking the above link will take you to an eventbrite style list of business events being hosted in Norfolk.

Events include BNI Networking, Relaxed Networking at the UEA Enterprise Centre and Great Yarmouth Networking Breakfast. Most events on the list are free.

Three Reasons To Use Business Networking

Who doesn’t love a great list? Well here is our top reasons you should invest time and effort into business networking in Norwich, Norfolk.

1. Confidence in yourself, and your business.

Taking the time to speak about yourself and your business is a great benefit. Most people have heard of the elevator pitch. This is where you have a very short amount of time to succinctly tell someone about you and your business. The Akcela elevator pitch is really simple, but it has proven to be effective.

We support businesses to unlock their full potential. Achieving higher efficiency, greater customer satisfaction, employee retention, revenue and profitability.

That sounds easy to recite, but it takes time to hone in front of an audience, doing so in front of other businesses in a professional environment can really support by giving you confidence in yourself, and your business.

2. Understanding market conditions local to you.

Want to know how the market is within your local community, what better than to ask other business owners. Whether you are in a B2B sphere, or B2C, how are non-competitive businesses performing currently? Is there something really working for them you can use?

3. Gain a different perspective.

Remembering that business networking is a mutually beneficial pursuit, it’s a great opportunity to discuss a business based issue that you are experiencing, perhaps someone has a different perspective than you. Perhaps they may also have the answer. Taking the time to understand other businesses situations can be readily applied to your own business.

Porters Five Forces

Making the most of Networking Opportunities

Making the most of networking opportunities is something that is learnt with time, and this is something that come with practice. There are, of course, a few pieces of advice to enhance your opportunities to begin with.

1. Networking is an investment of your time, utilise it.

Networking is an investment, the time you spend investing in building a business network creates an opportunity cost for other endeavours you could have been pursuing. It is important that you make the maximum of this time. It may be a struggle, but set yourself a goal of how many contacts to speak with.  Of course, be aware of making the interactions natural, engaging and beneficial.

2. It’s business networking, but be yourself.

Of course business networking is about making business contacts and mutually beneficial contacts, but you are still interacting with people. Be yourself. It isn’t a constant sales pitch, it is a personal interaction. In this environment business will naturally come up, you don’t need to force it.

3. Cultivate and leverage your network.

I wrote an article about leveraging your alumni network for the Norwich Business School, and I believe business networking is no different. The key takeaways for me are this:

  • You get out what you put in, be a valuable member of your network, don’t focus on what you can gain, focus on what you can offer.
  • Take time to continue to build those interactions, in a natural way.
  • Be willing to ask for advice.

How to make the most of a business networking event.

  1. Set an objective.

    It doesn’t need to only be about sales, remember networking is about gaining long term mutual benefits. A goal can simply be to make 3 more relevant contacts.

  2. Practice your elevator pitch.

    Make sure you have practiced your elevator pitch. Why your business exists, what you can help them to achieve and what it is. Networking may be about polishing this, but having it noted and practiced is a great start.

  3. Enjoy the experience.

    This may be harder for some people, after all, networking is an art form and you will grow with confidence. However going into it with a fake enthusiasm, won’t help you achieve your goals.

  4. Follow Up

    Remember networking is an investment of time. Take the time to follow up with contacts. Networking is a long term mutual relationship, take the time to nurture it.

We hope you enjoyed this ultimate guide.

We hope you enjoyed this ultimate guide to business networking in Norwich and Norfolk. Akcela offer a wide range of management consulting solutions for businesses and one-to-one business coaching. Don’t forget to take a look at our other bitesize business support articles, for more free business advice.

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