The thing with networking is you need to keep turning up, certainly if, like me, you are new to an area and wanting to get known. Once you are established, you can cut back on spending your days driving to one networking group after another. The initial challenge is working out which ones to go to. If you’re like me networking is the lifeblood of your business and you may need to go to many.
I had great difficulty tracking down some groups when I first started looking in August (Google doesn’t throw them all up when you search for ‘networking in Surrey’) and only learned about some of them through talking to others at networking events (always a good icebreaker conversation asking about which networking groups people go to).
You could easily spend a fortune going to them all on a regular basis. And you’d never get anything done because you can networking from dawn (literally!) to dusk (and beyond).
When you first start, I would recommend trying out each group several times – most allow three visits before you have to commit to joining. Over time you will find the ones that work best for you and you can start to drop some of the others. I aim to go to between four and six a week, but I very much hope that within a year, I should be able to drop it down to two to three and then only go to the ones that really work for me or that I just like going to!
Below are the 12 groups I have been to over the last four months. I have decided not to critique them, as much as I would like to. This is because different people have very different opinions about the groups they go to and I don’t want to put people off/encourage people from certain groups. What works for me may not work for you.
There are plenty of other groups that I am still finding, but haven’t tried as yet. Please let me know if you’d like me to add any more to this table. If you let me have the information, I will happily include them in the table.
Have a marvelous weekend and see you next Friday.
|Networking group||Meeting frequency||Structure of meeting||Cost*|
|BoB (Business over Breakfast)National networking group||Fortnightly6.45am – 8.45||Freeform networking followed by breakfast, 60 second round, ten minute education section, referrals and thank-yous.Only one category of business per group||Cost of breakfast – usually around £10Annual fees if you join –
Joining fee – £95
Annual fee – £295
|BNINational networking group||WeeklyUsually morning slots – 6/6.30 am for two hours||Freeform networking followed by breakfast, 60 second round, ten minute education section, referrals and thank-yousOnly one category of business per group.
You have to commit to going weekly. If you can’t make a meeting you have to send a sub in your place. You are actively encouraged to refer business to other members of the chapter. You may only join one chapter, but can ‘sub’ at others.
|Cost of breakfast – usually around £12Annual fees if you join
Joining fee – £125
Annual fee – £475
Get access to BNI Connect – international connection to all BNI members.
|4NNational networking group||Fortnightly – vary from morning, lunch and evening groups.Breakfast 08:00 to 10:00
Lunch 12:00 to 14:00
Evening 18:00 to 20:00
|Freeform networking, breakfast/lunch, 60 second round, choose three people to have a ten minute one to one with, 10 minute education slot.No restriction to types of business, so there could be more than one of your business there.
You can go to as many different meetings as you like, you aren’t restricted to one group.
|Cost of meal – usually around £12-£15They operate a Passport scheme – so you pay £200 for 200 days.
You get extra days if you bring visitors or become involved in your group – there are many roles available.
|Fabulous Women and Marvellous MenNational networking group
Surrey Groups are:
|MonthlyMorning groups – start at a more reasonable time of 9.30 for two hours||Free networking followed by breakfast, 60 second round, 10 minute education slot, get assigned another person to have a ten minute one to one with.No restriction to types of business, so there could be more than one of your business there.
You can go to as many different groups as you like.
|Cost of meal£10 for members, £15 for non-members.
Annual membership – depends on type.
A full contributor membership costs £180 a year. You get access to the website to write blogs and post events and the opportunity to do a 10 minute talk at the groups. Standard membership giving you a mini profile on the site and member costs for each meeting at £100.
Prices are going up to
£250 contributor membership
£150 standard membership from January 2015
|Women in BusinessNational networking group
Surrey Groups are:
|Meet monthly – lunchtime groupWomen only group||Free networking, lunch, 60 second slot, 10 minute education slot.Only one category of business per group||Cost of lunch – £22 (but will vary depending on location)Annual membership cost – £220|
|Surrey Chamber of Commercehttp://my.surrey-chambers.co.uk/eventcalendar.aspx||A whole variety of different events, from networking meetings through to workshops and lovely days out. Chamber meetings tend to be in the morning at 8-9.30am||Freeform networking followed by breakfast, 60 second slot, 10 minute education slot.No restriction to types of business, so there could be more than one of your business there.||Cost of breakfast – usually around £10Annual membership cost – depends on the number of employees. Plan A for 0-6 employees costs £230 per annum
Get discounted rates for events and the ability to advertise your events on their site.
|Leatherhead Chamber of Commercehttp://www.leatherheadchamber.co.uk/how-to-join/||A whole variety of different events, from networking meetings through to workshops and lovely days out. Chamber meetings tend to be in the morning at 8-9.30am||Freeform networking, continental breakfast, followed by 60 second slot.No restriction to types of business, so there could be more than one of your business there.||Cost of breakfast – usually around – £10Annual membership cost. Depends on number of employees you have. Starting price is £57 per annum.
If you join this Chamber you can get Surrey Chamber member prices for events.
|Trusted Contacts – Dorkinghttp://trustedcontacts.co.uk/||Weekly7am-9am Betchworth – Hartsfield Manor Hotel||Freeform networking followed by, breakfast, 60 second slot, 10 minute education slot.Only one category of business per group||Joining fee – £100Annual membership cost – £160
Monthly meal cost – £53
|DRFC (Dorking Rugby Football Club)http://www.dorkingrfc.com/news_detail.php?news_id=744||MonthlyWednesday evenings 6-8.30||Freeform networking followed by a talk from one of the attendees. Then you are given three table numbers and you move round each table every 10 minutes getting to talk to 3-4 other people.||Cost – £15 per meetingIncludes one free drink and delicious canapes.|
|Monthly – 9.30-11.30Hartsfield Manor Hotel, Betchworth||Freeform networkingWith coffee, tea and biscuits||Joining fee – £35 per annumOr £2.50 per meeting if you are not a member|
|Women in Business – SussexNot to be confused with WIBN – it’s a different group||A variety of meetings, from breakfasts and lunches through to evening events hosted by members||Lunch networking meetings follow the usual form. It’s a sit down lunch with 60 second rounds and a ten minute talk from a member||Joining fee – £80 per annum plus the cost of the events.|
|First Friday networkSouth East based network||Meet on the first Friday of the month!Also have a Second and Third Friday. Check out the website for dates and locations in your area.||Free form networking. Free entry, no lock outs, no 60 seconds, no need to pre-book. Just turn up with your business cards||Free, but you can pay £10 (plus VAT) to become a premier member on their website giving you more prominent positioning and the ability to post a blog.|
* Joining fees exclude VAT