But what else can it help you with?
Gathering general business information – by sharing conversations with other like-minded people you learn about new ideas and share general business information.
Mixing with other small business owners avoids feelings of isolation – follow up formal networking sessions with a coffee and a chat. You can help each other with problems and share knowledge and experiences.
Don’t be put off if there is a potential competitor in the room - introduce yourself, you’ll find areas of difference which may be very enlightening for future marketing purposes.
Be inspired – often networking events include an invited speaker who may impart their thoughts and tips for business success and inspire you in the process.
Develop a good reputation – be genuine and become known as the person who links individuals by building strong business relationships and trust.
And as a final thought - before entering a networking meeting ask yourself what goals are you setting yourself. Are you there to meet people from a specific sector or to introduce yourself and your services to a particular size of business? Do you want to promote a particular product or event to as many people as possible or build business relationships for the long term?
Whatever target you decide upon, use it as a way to make the most of the time away from your desk and at the end of the session ask yourself if you’ve met your objectives.
MENTA is a not-for-profit organisation which has been supporting local businesses for over 34 years with business skills masterclasses, advice and events.