Cheat Sheet

Business Networking For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Business Networking For Dummies

By Stefan Thomas

Business networking is a simple yet brilliant way to grow your business or enhance your career, where likeminded businesspeople create and build upon new business opportunities both online and offline. This Cheat Sheet gives you some quick tips for finding a number of formal networking organisations both closer to home and further afield so you can pitch your business (and yourself) with confidence!

Business Networking Opportunities in the U.K.

A typical business networking event includes half an hour of open networking (meet and greet, chatting over coffee and biscuits), an introduction round where everyone gets to introduce themselves to the room, the 10-minute speaker slot where a member gets to talk about their business, and finally, a series of one-to-ones to enable attendees to get closer to the people they’ve identified as being most helpful to their business.

To help you find some business networking action near you, here’s a list of some regional and national organisations to check out:

  • 4Networking. The UK’s fastest-growing networking organisation, with over 5,000 breakfast, lunch and evening events every year in England, Scotland and Wales. 4Networking offers a unique Passport membership, meaning any member can attend any group, anywhere.

  • BNI. Organised into ‘Chapters’ around the UK, BNI exists on the principle that ‘givers gain’: the more you bring to the other members, the more you’ll get out of business networking.

  • NRG. Mainly lunchtime events for business owners and professionals with a focus on building long-term business relationships.

  • Athena. Female-only business networking groups across the UK, who meet over lunch.

  • KindredHQ. Informal networking and co-working for freelancers and independents.

  • The Federation of Small Businesses. The UK’s leading business organisation is mainly a support organisation for small businesses, and organises networking events regionally.

  • British Chambers of Commerce. A support network for local businesses, some of which organise networking events in their town.

Business Networking Opportunities in the U.S. and Canada

Are you a businessperson or self-employed and based in the United States or Canada? Are you looking to find more customers, and build a valuable support network of likeminded businesspeople? You’ve come to the right place. Here are some U.S. and Canadian business networking organisations to investigate:

  • Rotary International. Rotary’s aims extend beyond business networking to a tradition and culture of helping professionals form lifelong friendships.

  • LeTip International. With chapters across the U.S. and Canada, LeTip members share referrals (tips) between each other. They organise structured meetings over breakfast.

  • BNI (Business Networking International). Originally started in California by Dr. Ivan Misner in 1985, BNI states that it’s the world’s largest business networking organisation. The organisation is extremely well represented in the U.S. and Canada with weekly breakfast meetings where members pass referrals. In common with BNI across the world, only one person from each profession is allowed to join any chapter.

  • 4Networking. Launching in the USA in 2015, 4Networking was founded in Somerset, England by entrepreneur Brad Burton in 2006. With thousands of events across the U.K. and Australia every year and a vibrant online networking forum, 4Networking members form strong relationships, regardless of business type and location.

  • The Networker (Toronto). A network of networks, The Networker seeks to connect business people across Toronto and actively promotes any business networking opportunity.

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A business representation organisation which addresses the needs of over three million businesses across the U.S. They represent business to government and organise networking events regionally.

  • AWBA (The American Business Women’s Association). The AWBA have over 450 chapters across the U.S. Founded in 1949 their stated aim is to bring together diverse businesswomen to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition.

Business Networking Opportunities in Australia

The networking scene in Australia is buzzing with a huge culture of collaboration and celebrating others’ successes. Here’s a brief list of the networking opportunities you can find if you’re an Australian-based business owner looking to grow and develop your business.