Archive for 2011


hello. welcome fellow friends from around the world.

Networking is about people not numbers

Recently I wrote a guest blog for Warren Cass, 'Networking is not a numbers game'. In a reply on Twitter, Roberta Ward summed it up quite neatly, "No, its a people game!".

In the article I wrote about how some people approach networking as a numbers game. Meeting as many different people as possible at different events. Or collecting the maximum number of connections or friends on social networking websites.

The people who really make networking work for them and their business build strong relationships with a smaller number of people. They don't need to go out and meet new people all the time. Their introductions to new people and opportunities come via this group.

Constantly meeting new people all the time leaves no time for relationship building. It's like starting from scratch every time or the Networking equivalent of Groundhog Day!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke

 ps Visit the new home of the business networking blog for the latest posts

Are you networking with the right people?

I met someone recently at one of my regular networking groups. When he explained what he did I advised him that the group may not be great for him and his business. He sold cosmetics direct to consumers and was there to generate leads for his business. The group was made up of professionals and providers of business services.

He said, rightly, that everyone there either used or knew people that used the types of products he sold. I said that was true, but they were all there because they shared the same target market. They were not selling directly to consumers of domestic products so the best network for him would be with others selling directly to the same domestic consumers.

Successful networking for business development is all about building relationships with the right people. A good place to start when selecting a networking group for business is to find one where the other members sell to the same target market as you.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke

 ps Visit the new home of the business networking blog for the latest posts

What is a Business Networking Group?

I wrote this after a dinner party when one of the other guests asked me what I do. I used the phrase 'Business Networking Group' in my reply and she said, "What's a Business Networking Group?"

I was a little thrown at first, but realised I shouldn't be. I think we often assume that everyone knows more about whatever it is we do than they actually do. I once met someone on a Referral Institute training course who had written technical manuals. He said that the instructions included the advice to write so that an 8 year old can understand.

Wikipedia describes Business Networking as 'a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities. A business network is a type of social network whose reason for existing is business activity'.

A little complicated so I realised that I needed to explain a little bit more. I explained that there are now many more people running their own business than ever before. Many of them are specialists in what they do and do not have any marketing or sales people. They rely on personal recommendation or word of mouth for their business. Their main problem is that they need more of these opportunities than they currently have. Many of the older business support services in the public and private sector do not really help these business people with generating positive word of mouth. As a result specialist business networking organisations have emerged.

Any club or group group exists because the members share and are committed to a common cause. The common cause for the members of a business networking group will usually be helping each other in business. This may be around sharing business, support and information (or all 3). It is mainly the need to generate more business by recommendation that has lead to the growth in the market of specialist business networking groups.

A business networking group is a club where the common cause is helping each other become more successful in business.

The most important thing in an effective business networking group is that the members don't just share the same needs. They must be in a position to really help each other. That will often mean that the members share similar target markets and provide similar value services. Success is then down to the commitment and contribution they make.

Would an 8 year old understand how you describe what you do?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke

ps Visit the new home of the business networking blog for the latest posts

The small business advantage in the Digital Age

I wrote this on a train heading into London earlier this year and it was first published at the new home of the business networking blog. I was on my way to a 'Digital Mindset' workshop from Ecademy founders Penny & Thomas Power. The idea that Ecademy website was about 'Learning, networking and business development for the digital age' got me thinking about whether things have really changed.

If we are in a 'digital age' what does this mean for the Owners, Directors and Partners of small specialist businesses and professional firms? It is mainly these people who go networking as their primary route to market.

Most of the people I meet in this category are passionate about what they do and are open and transparent about what they do and why. It is this passion, openness & transparency that gives them an advantage in this digital age. It is exactly the right approach online.

Contrast this with the news furore at the time about wikileaks. Whatever the rights or wrongs of leaking the information the revelations showed some of our politicians, diplomats and representatives of big business taking the opposite approach. Saying one thing in private and another thing in public. The internet has made it easier to judge openness, honesty and transparency. The very things that small business is mainly better at that big business.

You may have heard the expression 'people buy people'. The approach for the digital age is the same as what came before.

Be yourself!

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

ps Visit the new home of the business networking blog for the latest posts

The Business Networking Blog is moving

The Business Networking Blog has a new home at Please check the new location for new posts with business networking tips, hints, advice and stories.

The full archive of posts is also available at the new site.

For new posts go the new home of the business networking blog.

EDIT July 5, 2011
A number of people still visit here so I'm going to start adding posts here too. It may take a while to catch up.

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke

Do you know where you are starting from?

Over the last week or so my inbox has been full of well meaning advice about goal setting and new year resolutions. The same topics have seemed to dominate on blogs and social media. One thing has been missing from a lot of what I have read - the importance of knowing where you are starting from. You may be a lot nearer to your goals than you think. One of the common mistakes people make when building a business network is thinking that it is all about making new contacts. Don't forget the people who already know, like, rate and trust you.

I shared some tips on how to identify the people already in your network in a short podcast that you can listen to here:

I heard someone say once that if you don't know where you are going then any road will do as you don't know which one to follow. Equally if you don't know where you are then you don't know which road to take.

Good Networking!

Dave Clarke