Finding your business tribe – the benefits of networking.

Maybe we’re biased, but we think networking groups are a pretty good idea. Whether you’re a regular at your group’s weekly meeting or part of a social media message, there’s a community out there for everyone. There’s many benefits to joining a group; we think we can sum them up to three main wins. 

Business

Whenever starting a new business, it’s important to be visible. A community can help get your business on the map and get your name out to a whole range of new clients. Some argue that visibility is as equally important as ability. Never underestimate the power of a word of mouth referral! 

There are many opportunities for business collaboration when you join a networking group. Your product or service might be the missing ingredient for someone else’s growth. Utilise your new connections to get a fresh perspective on business challenges and get lots of fresh ideas on how to move forward.

Education

Once we get older, we forget that we have a lot to learn. There are many opportunities to share knowledge when part of a network. Often groups will have guest speakers specialising in their particular field. You might even realise that that speaker is the key player in helping you implement your latest idea. 

Take advantage of the variety of different businesses you meet. You might meet the person who can help you elevate your business to the next level over a cup of tea! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Chances are, you will be able to get an answer to every question from your new connections. 

Social

Working from home or on your own, whether you’re self employed or not, can be lonely. One of the most obvious benefits to finding your business community is the social life that comes with it. 

Business can be a tough game. It’s important to know you have others around that understand your challenges and can offer support when times get tough! Networks will often hold events for their partners. You can catch up with your connections and hear from many inspiring people in other fields. The Northern Affinity’s next partner event will be held on Friday 28th February and is open to non-partners so if you’re looking to find your business tribe, please book a place today. 

Finding your community in business boasts many different benefits. Whether you’re aiming to make new connections, learn something new or just looking to make some new friends, there’s something for everyone. If you’d like some more information about The Northern Affinity and how we can connect your business to other like minded professionals, please get in touch and arrange a meeting today.

The Northern Affinity Partners Meeting – Friday 31st January 2020

We enjoyed a fantastic partner event on Friday. It was a great opportunity to connect and share valuable knowledge. We will be hosting these events on the last Friday of every month at the Northern HQ

Business and Brand Strategy

Distinguishing a clear business and brand strategy can be confusing. However, we were lucky enough to hear from Brenda Etchells (Carduus Ltd) and Fliss Lee (Honest Folk) about combining the two to find the ‘sweet spot’ where your business values meet your customers values to create one cohesive strategy.

We have all experienced a business who don’t seem to practise what they preach when it comes to company values. We discussed at length the importance of defining your values; not just by using positive buzz words you think your customer wants to hear, but by delving in to what really matters to your customers and ingraining these in the way you run your business. 

Using some interesting examples, we learnt more about what makes up branding (it’s more than just a logo!) and how making some simple changes can strengthen your brand and help towards achieving your business goals.

 

Sales Mentality

In the afternoon, we welcomed Pete Evans (Ventas Sales) who took us through the sales process, with a difference. Identifying your sales mindset and knowing where your weaknesses are will ultimately improve your performance. Even simple things like putting your phone away before a pitch can make all the difference to your mindset when entering the room. 

One thing we often forget with sales is the importance of practising the process. Grab a friend or your business partner and go through your pitch so you’re confident before stepping into the room with the big players! There were lots of useful things to take away and I think we will all be spicing up our sales process and improving our mindsets to make sure we achieve our goals in sales.

The Northern Affinity News

Yorkshire Meetups

We are very grateful that many of you travel from far and wide to come and connect which is why we’re looking into arranging some future sessions in both Huddersfield and Harrogate to expand our community at The Northern Affinity. 

Dates for your diary: 

Our second round of peer group taster sessions will be running on Wednesday 26th February.
There will be a free open-day for hot deskers on Wednesday 27th February. Please share this with your connections who may be interested in trying out the co-working environment.
Sarah Bradley will be running a HR clinic on Wednesday 27th February for anyone wishing to discuss their HR strategy.
The next peer group coaching session for The Northern Affinity partners will be taking place on the morning of Friday 28th February before the next partner meeting. This meeting will be open for non-members to attend so please invite your connections along. Please contact Michael to reserve a space. 

For further details on The Northern Affinity and any upcoming events, please contact Michael.

The strategy I apply to LinkedIn

Over the years, LinkedIn has grown into perhaps the best social platform for business. There is no denying that.

And over the years, I have developed a strong network that not only looks good in numbers but interacts with me strongly too – I get a lot of daily engagement in the form of comments, debates and conversations.

Which is what social media is for, right? To be social! 

So quite recently I have had people asking me about my strategy on LinkedIn; and it got me thinking. Until this point, I wouldn’t have even said I had a strategy at all. Even now, I would not say I have a strategy as such, or a ‘game plan’ or some kind of tactics that I have pinned up on the wall of my office. 

The more I think about these questions however, the more I start to think about actually what it is I do on LinkedIn that seems to get me the best results. In a nutshell, I like to think of my LinkedIn strategy like that of a standard business networking meeting. 

We have all been to a networking event, right? A good chance to speak with like-minded business individuals, all of whom have their own opinions, and their own insights to life, and their own view points. The same can be said for LinkedIn, and it works for a beautiful analogy.

A networking event always goes better when people are starting conversations and discussions. If you can converse with another business owner, you can open the door to wonderful opportunities and start to develop wonderful relationships. LinkedIn is the same; hide in the shadows, and no one will be able to find you!

We all love to buy from people we love. It can be very easy to post general robotic posts about your business, why your business is so good, and why people should buy from you. But is that personal? Does that kind of post allow your connections to understand you as a person and to start to form a likeness towards you? The more personal, the better. This is social media after all, not a classified ads board. 

If you see something that you do not agree with, move on. Don’t start being the negative one and appoint yourself as ‘head of LinkedIn Police!’ – at the end of the day, you wouldn’t run over to a conversation going on at a networking event and say; ‘please stop talking about your children! This is for business!’

Finally, I always say, keep it social. This is a social media platform after all. If you wouldn’t say it in person, or in public, it is perhaps best not to say it on here. Be professional, be polite, and be yourself. You cannot get it wrong if you just be yourself. 

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