A friend of NWSN recently left a business network he’d been a member of for about six months.
Why? Well, several people at the latest network meetings expressed definite interest in his projects and services, and some of them said they’d be in touch regarding projects they had in mind.
But most of the replies he got to the courtesy chase-up emails (“… it was good to see you at the network meeting on …”) he sent out after meeting these people actually showed that many of the “industry leaders” present at the luncheon event were in fact nothing of the sort. They all had to defer to someone else, people who had never met my friend, before any decision could be made as to whether they’d hire him or not … and he never heard further.
What, therefore, is the point of belonging to such a business network?
So, if you’re considering joining a networking club, consider:
- How much work you will need to get from other members and their clients in order to recoup network fees and the value of time spent traveling to and attending events;
- Whether or not existing members really do have appropriate seniority in their own companies that lets them make truly executive decisions – or if are they really just middle-management scouts monitoring business developments;
- How you will separate the bullshitters from the sincere business networkers;
- Whether or not your own business is actually suitable for networking to other members and their clients – e.g., if you cover only a certain patch of a city but others are located or based elsewhere. Might you find another, closer to home, or indeed start a new one, that is more appropriate?
And always pay fees monthly to any business network you join – rather than a full year in advance at once – so you can cancel without further cost if you decide the network isn’t suitable.